The 4.2.20 Foundation is addressing each of these central roadblocks to completion of the Great Commission through its two programs, the Institute for Biblical Languages and Translation, and the Center for Oral Scriptures.
Significant strides have been made since my last update, core capacities have been further developed, key leadership roles filled, and programs implemented.
I am happy to announce the appointment of Dr. Randall Buth as Vice President of the Institute for Biblical Languages and Translation, and Dr. Charles Madinger as Vice President of the Center for Oral Scriptures. We are blessed to have both of them join our team, with rich histories and hearts dedicated to God’s Word. You can read more about each of them in our recent press release.
Institute for Biblical Languages and Translation
A new paradigm of biblical language learning
Never before in the history of the Church have we had the opportunity to accelerate the training of translators in Biblical Hebrew, which is now possible in Israel where Hebrew is once again a living language. The old paradigms of training in Biblical Hebrew can now be supplemented by a new paradigm of language learning developed by the Institute and designed specifically for translators.
In the past, Hebrew was not a spoken language outside of small clusters of Jewish scholars. Therefore Christian educational institutions were primarily able to train in Biblical Hebrew for research or exposition purposes, and only in their own language. The traditional Hebrew learning method is sometimes called the “grammar translation” approach.
School of Biblical Hebrew
It is now possible for translators to be immersed in the language using a learning method in which they learn Hebrew in Hebrew rather than in another language. This can significantly accelerate language acquisition while also improving upon the quality of the language learning. The Institute has put together a special training program aimed at taking near beginners to translation proficiency in 8 months. The School of Biblical Hebrew is scheduled to begin in June 2017. Keep your eye on the website for updates and further information on the program.
Biblical Fluency and Pedagogy training
The Institute is partnering with Serampore College (begun by William Carey) near Kolkata, India, to run a 3-week intensive Biblical Fluency and Pedagogy program for the professors and instructors of the 54 institutions that belong to the Serampore (University) network. This is in conjunction with Serampore’s initiative to launch a program to provide training in biblical translation and orality at both the bachelor and master levels.
The 3-week intensive is aimed at improving Biblical Hebrew fluency and instructional methods. We are exploring with the Serampore institutions the possibility of an exchange program with the Institute.
Center for Oral Scriptures
The Center continues to fill a vital role in support of the International Orality Network (ION). Our staff have provided administrative, financial and communication services which has included helping to update the ION website. Take a quick look at www.orality.net to see the new features including the capacity to hear and download the content of the website in audio!
Orality Think Tank
As you are aware, over two-thirds of the world population are oral learners who will not be reached and discipled with textually based approaches, yet completion of the Great Commission is contingent upon faithfulness in making disciples of this oral majority.
With this in mind, the COS has sponsored a think tank process involving a group of specialists representing various mission agencies and fields of discipline. The purpose of the think tank is to develop an instrument for assessing and profiling specific orality characteristics and the degree of orality of a people. This tool will undergo further refinement in a second think tank next month before being field tested by various agencies in 50 – 100 locations around the world. The aim is to make the tool available for use by the Body of Christ and to garner interest in developing a global data base of oral people groups which will serve the Church in praying, reaching and discipling the great frontier of oral learners across the world.
Thank you for your prayers and support as we work together to give the whole Word to the whole world.
Your partner in His service,
David Swarr PhD
President/CEO, 4.2.20 Foundation