The Tyndale Forum: A Community of Translators

The Tyndale Center for Bible Translation held a translation forum on March 4, 2019, as the culmination of a day of mission-focused sessions with The Master’s Academy International, hosted by Calvary Bible Church in Burbank, CA.

Over 85 people assembled for this special meeting to discuss critical topics in Bible translation, coming from a range of organizations including The Master’s Seminary, The Master’s Academy International, Grace Ministries International, World Team, unfoldingWord, Global Bible Initiative, Radius International, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Bible Translation Fellowship.

A number of students interested in Bible translation also attended the forum to learn more about the ministry of Bible translation.

Dr. Aaron Shryock, director of the Tyndale Center, welcomed everyone to the forum. He expressed his appreciation to the Lord that such a diverse group, united by their commitment to the Lord and the translation of His Word, could come together to encourage and learn from each other

What a joy to see the fruit of our labors in the ministry of Bible translation

Dr. Shryock then welcomed to the podium Dr. Mark Tatlock, President of The Master’s Academy International, who spoke about the critical partnership between TMAI, an international organization committed to training national pastors, and The Master’s Seminary. He stated, “We realize it’s not enough just to train men to preach, because if the people in the pews do not have a good translation [of the Bible], then they are not able to become Bereans in the way they need to be.”

Kyle Davis, the founder of Bible Translation Fellowship, then spoke on the need for pastor-translators on the mission field – “churchmen whose end goal is not a Bible product, but…the glory of God through the visibility of the Gospel through healthy local churches.” He cast a vision for more than the translation of the Bible, but for a church where “we read the Word, preach the Word, pray the Word, sing the Word, and see the Word in our ordinances.” This requires more than linguistic expertise; it necessitates translators who are pastor-translators.

The role of the church in translation was the next topic, as Jesse Griffin, Chief Technology Officer for unfoldingWord, came to the podium. He shared that his organization seeks to “develop in each lingual church the capacity to perpetuate faithful interpretation of the Bible.” He clarified that the Bible is not simply a tool for evangelism, but should be recognized as central to the life of the church.

Don Lowe, a missionary church-planter and translator with World Team, spoke about the heavily debated issues of Muslim Idiom Translation and the Insider Movement. He tracked the history of the Insider Movement, explaining the dangers and pitfalls it presents. Finally, he argued for increased transparency and accountability in translation.

The final speaker of the evening was John Sawyer, CEO of Global Bible Initiative. He highlighted the need for the body of Christ to do the translation for itself, not by itself. Thus, his organization is committed to empowering local churches to engage in translation. He discussed the potential benefits of a recently developed computer tool that “allows people who don’t know Greek and Hebrew deeply to translate Scripture because it gives them visibility into the meaning of the text.” He reminded the group that Bible translation is a catalyst for spiritual growth.

Reflecting on the evening, Pastor Conrad Mbewe remarked, “The meeting we just had…reminded me of…the need for pastors to be interested in Bible translation and to be interested enough to be involved.”

It is exciting to see increasing interest and involvement in the ministry of Bible translation. Now in its second year, the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation is committed to training students for the ministry of Bible translation. And beyond the classroom, the center seeks to be a resource for the larger translation community.

What a joy to see the fruit of our labors in the ministry of Bible translation. Please join us in praising the Lord and asking His blessing on the growing ministry of the Tyndale Center.

Jack Smith

Jack Smith

J. Jack Smith works with The Master’s Academy International and assists Dr. Shryock at the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation. He completed a B.A. in English at California State University, Stanislaus and is currently in the M.Div. program at The Master’s Seminary.

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