By David Bolarinwa
Faith Comes By Hearing, a non-denominational organisation and a recognized leader in Audio Bible production and engagement has stepped up its Oral Bible translation project in Africa even as the Bible is being orally translated into more local languages.
The group made this known at the event that marked the end of its Grow in Wisdom campaign.
The campaign which spanned a period of 31 days ended officially on January 31. It started on January 1, 2023.
Grow in wisdom campaign
The closing event for the campaign however took place on Saturday, January 28 at the Agape Generation International Church in Lagos.
The National Director of FCBH, Nicholas Okereke stated during the event that the Grow In Wisdom campaign was a 100% Digital Campaign based on the Book of Proverbs.
Participants were drawn from various churches. Every day, they listened to a Chapter of the Book of Proverbs using a GROW IN WISDOM App, then they met on WhatsApp to discuss the Chapter of the day.
The Campaign was a follow-up to the Scripture Challenge series sponsored by the Organisation.
The Grow In Wisdom campaign attracted 49 Churches across 8 states in Nigeria including Lagos and Ogun States. Also involved in the campaign were 14 ministries and churches in Francophone Africa.
Okereke admonished those at the closing event to continue to spread God’s word.
“All that is needed is a matchstick, to burn up a forest. All that the world needs is a spark from you and me,” he said.
He encouraged them to partner with FCBH in spreading the good news to people who don’t have access to the Bible in their own language.
FCBH report and goal
In his progress report about FCBH, he said, “I am glad that God is helping us to make an impact on the Awori people of Southwestern Nigeria. Oral Bible Translation into the Awori language is now underway. This will enable the indigenes to fully appreciate the Bible.”
Members of the Awori Oral Bible Translation Project were also present to show their appreciation to FCBH for bringing the Word of God to Awori land. They shared their experiences on how taxing it was to do the oral translation of the Bible into the Awori language.
In a later interview with Church Times, Okereke explained that FCBH’s primary goal is to make scriptures available and accessible in audio and video format to people of all languages.
“We reach out to everybody including those in the urban and rural areas. We believe in the scripture that says faith comes by hearing. The tools we have, to actualise this vision, are applicable to all people groups and communities across Africa.
“We collaborate with translation organizations, the Bible Society of Nigeria, Biblica, and other organizations in disseminating the audio scriptures and the video scriptures to local communities” he informed.
While disclosing there will be a follow-up to the Grow In Wisdom campaign in August 2023, he urged churches to join in the train.
Oral Bible translation
The FCBH National Project Coordinator for Oral Bible Translation, Mr. Lungfa Maikarfi gave an intriguing perspective on the work of FCBH as regards its effort in Oral Bible translation.
He talked about an online app called Render used in Oral Bible Translation adding that “over 10 languages in Nigeria are already doing Oral Bible Translation, using Render”
He said that Oral Bible Translation has been done in Zakshi, Teme, Kanu, Kadung, Kugama, Tala, and other languages while Awori is in the pipeline.
One of the greatest expectations FCBH has according to him is meeting the translation needs of people groups without scriptures by providing the audio scriptures in their languages.
Render, an effective app for OBT
The FCBH Oral Bible Translation Training Coordinator for Africa, Eliphaz Matchoudo, gave further insight.
He says FCBH has different departments. “We have the Global Partnerships department. We have the Language Recording, and then the Oral Bible Translation departments.
He said “the software called Render is a simple professional and efficient way to translate the Bible. It helps our communities to receive the Word of God in their language, in an oral format.”
Faith comes by hearing, not by reading
The FCBH Field Coordinator for Lagos State, Evangelist Edwin Ebeniro situated the work of FCBH in context.
He said the organization in collaboration with the Bible Society of Nigeria, has been having “Scripture Challenges” in Lagos since 2021. “Our goal is to expand the coast of the church by introducing people to audio and video Scriptures. We first did the 90-day Scripture Challenge in 2021, and the second one in 2022.
“Now we have just concluded the Grow In Wisdom Campaign and we are still going to do another one in August this year. What we are trying to do is to get the church to imbibe the culture of listening and discussing the Word of God.
“That was how it was among believers in the first century. The people would read the Bible publicly and discuss it. The Bible says Faith Comes By Hearing. It didn’t say Faith comes by reading. It is meant to be publicly read to a group of persons.
“It is because people no longer adhere to scriptures; that is why we have a lot of misinterpretations of the Bible. When we listen to the word of God together and practice what the word of God, says we will see that there would be a change within the Nigerian church.”
The closing event
Certificates were given to participants in the Grow in Wisdom Campaign at the event. They expressed appreciation to FCBH for promoting the gospel. They also shared testimonies of how the campaign has impacted their lives spiritually.
Those at the event also had the grace to watch a documentary produced by FCBH, titled “The Senga Fire”. It is a short story about how the Senga people of Zambia hungered to have the Bible translated to their local language, but couldn’t get it for a period of time.
Rev Katete and his crew
A Top Clergyman, Rev Katete and his crew took it upon themselves to translate the Bible into the Senga language.
They had difficulties in doing so. But through the help of God and partnership with FAITH COMES BY HEARING, they have been able to produce an Oral Bible Translation in Senga.
After listening and watching the Word of God in their own language the Senga people confirmed: “God Has Come To Stay With Us”.
Katete narrates in the documentary that the Senga people were given to early marriage. Their girls marry as early as 13 years, they lacked basic education. They were willing to be Christians but didn’t have a Bible of their own.
As a result of the Oral Bible Translation project, a huge success has been recorded as they could now worship God, listen to, and share the scriptures in their own local language.