Joseph* doesn’t care for desk work. He would much rather grow fruit than immerse himself in Hebrew. Instead of laboring over the translation of biblical terms, you are more likely to find him rounding up a swarm of bees with native friends.
How does Joseph fit on a Bible translation team?
Not just Bible translators
Bible translators play a key role on every team, but community development is also crucial. That’s where Joseph comes in. While others focus on translation, he focuses on helping the community develop their resources.
Both roles provide plenty of opportunities for evangelism and discipleship. And that’s ultimately why the team is there in the first place—to plant a local church.
So they’re not just a Bible translation team. They are a church-planting team.
What kind of people?
Rounding out a church-planting team takes more than the booky kind. It takes the hands-on kind too. Introverts and extroverts both have a place. Men and women. Singles and families. All-Nations teams include all of the above.
It’s not so much about having smarts as about having a heart for people. That includes, of course, love for the unreached, but it also means committed love for the brothers and sisters on the team. Nothing wears down a team faster than discord.
Serving on a team requires the humility to be a learner. Willingness to learn matters more than natural talent. A willing person can benefit from training to fill their role on the team effectively. Once on the field, there’s much more to learn, such as the language and culture of the people. Humbling oneself is crucial for effective learning.
Bible translators are church planters. People like Joseph are also church planters. Together they make a strong church-planting team.
*Not his real name
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
“Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witness of these things.” Luke 24:47, 48
“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19
“In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
“That they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:21
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” Mark 11:17
“Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance.” Psalm 2:8
“Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” Revelation 7:9
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
“As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Psalm 22:27
“Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” Numbers 14:21
“Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:3, 4
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
“That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60
“For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations.” Malachi 1:11
“All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” Psalm 86:9
“For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
"This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3, 4
"You are worthy. . .; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:9,