Jaars Center

The Bible Matters

It’s the whole story. From Genesis to Revelation, we see the full picture of God’s love, holiness, and redemption of humanity. We can’t possibly understand its depths by reading short excerpts, or by relying on someone else to tell us about it.

Deeper Understanding

You don’t need a Bible to be a Christian, of course. But without one, it’s a lot harder to grasp certain concepts—or to hang onto your faith during tough times. Scriptures let people study and reflect for themselves, truly owning and growing in their relationship with God.

Grace, Not Works

A former shaman in Vanuatu was sent out as a missionary—before he really understood the gospel. What did he tell people? “You have to work hard to get into heaven.” Then he joined a Bible translation team. After working on Galatians, he finally understood: “There’s nothing we can do to be saved. [We’re saved through] the blood of Jesus.”

“I wondered if they weren’t just preaching their own ideas. … But as soon as I learned to read in Lama and could then read God’s Word myself, I was convinced they were teaching the truth. When I read and meditate on God’s Word, I understand it just like they do.”

– Angèle Akonda, a woman who attended a literacy class in Togo

Lives are transformed.

The Bible is the best tool we have for becoming more like Christ. First, it’s an incredible guide—a lamp for our feet (Ps 119:105). And second, the Holy Spirit can speak through it to change our hearts and minds (Rom 12:2). With God’s Word, entire communities can find freedom from sin, fear, selfishness, and destructive behaviors.

Peace

Sivini was a ruthless killer. His village was in an all-out war with the Kamano-Kafe, a neighboring group in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. By chance, he wound up at a Bible translation workshop—right alongside his enemies. As they studied Cain and Abel, he saw the faces of people he had killed. Sivini repented on the spot, and later told his people not to retaliate when they were attacked.

Lasting Marriages

“Today married, tomorrow divorced” was the mindset for most Koti people in Mozambique. But the Bible is teaching people to commit to their marriages instead.

Greater Purpose

Zoltán’s stepmom gave him his first Bible and taught him how to pray.  This started him off on a journey that would shape his life.

“A lot of people who thought they understood the Bible in Swahili are now realizing they don’t. They’re hearing it in Malila and getting it for the first time. … In Bible studies and church groups, people who never used to say anything are participating now because they feel free to use Malila to discuss things. … It’s like the people in the churches are waking up.”

– Lukas Mwahalende and Juma Mwampamba, Malila Bible translators in Tanzania

The local church is strengthened.

The Bible gives leaders and laypeople a strong foundation. With it, they can learn how to live as a community of believers—and watch out for false teachings. The Bible can also give new life to every aspect of a church: preaching, worship, evangelization, and discipleship.

Ownership

With God’s Word, the local church can study, reflect, and develop their own forms of meaningful worship and community life.

Unity

Working together on Bible translation can help denominations see their common ground. As a leader in Indonesia said: “We can come together for one purpose … to see that God is glorified. This is the spiritual partnership that we are trying to see.”

Resources

Once Scriptures have been translated into a language, many other materials can be made: audio Scriptures, worship songs, children’s Bible stories, the JESUS film and more.

“For four years now I have been crushed under an unbearable weight of sadness. … Before my eyes, rebels killed my pregnant sister, my father, and my brother. They kept me to cook for them. A few days later I fled with some others. God helped me get away. After this seminar, I feel ready to forgive because the Lord saved me.”

– Woman who attended a trauma healing workshop in Côte d’Ivoire

People can make sense of suffering.

Many people have faced war, famine, oppression, natural disasters, and epidemic diseases like AIDS. They may get physical help, but have no way to work through the deep emotional scars. God’s Word can speak into their pain. “It was written by and for people who [have suffered],” says Eddie Arthur, past director of Wycliffe UK. “It isn’t a book about nice, comfortable suburban living.”

Workshops

Our partners are training church leaders in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific how to work through emotional trauma—in their own lives and with their communities. The workshops walk through basic mental health principles, with God’s Word as a foundation.

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