Photo: Bible Society of Egypt
Members of a Church in Imbaba, a district in the north of Cairo, show avid interest in the biblical literature offered by The Bible Society of Egypt.
The Word in Post-Revolution Egypt Get to know the work developed by Bible Society of Egypt amidst the reconstruction of the country, and check the prayers for this quarter. In this edition, the Prayer Calendar section highlights the work developed by the Bible Society of Egypt (BSOE), a country that underwent a revolution in January 2011, known as the Nile Revolution. Inspired by a revolt against corruption and social injustice, the popular movement caused profound political changes within the region, including the overthrow of the former totalitarian regime. But the Egyptian future is still uncertain during the government transition, and many Christians fear for religious persecutions. On the other hand, however, the moment of crisis and liberation created the opportunity to provide the nation with the teachings from the Holy Bible. Therefore, a BSOE has intensified the promotion of God's Word with a national campaign with messages about Christian values as elements to help rebuild the country. “In this moment, when everyone yearns for more freedom, justice and equality, we cannot lose the chance of sharing the relevance of the biblical message,” points out Ramez Atallah, BSOE's General Director. And that is exactly what BSOE has been doing. It is now producing biblical literature in different formats, with themes related to the country's current political and social circumstances. Some examples are the Bible Selections Let's Rise Again and Rebuild Together, Comfort and Hope and True Freedom, the CD Be Strong and Brave, with several passages from the Scriptures in audio, and the booklet Yes to Change!,
containing The Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 5-7). The next publication to be released, in time for the parliamentary elections, will be entitled Citizenship, based on the experiences of Paul in Romans (13:7). According to Atallah, this is the right moment to flood Egypt with the Word of God through the free distribution of biblical materials to every audience. In addition to developing biblical literature, BSOE has been extensively promoting biblical values through advertisements in every kind of media, including social networks. “We are communicating the basic biblical truth, and offering easy access to the Scriptures,” says Atallah. One of BSOE's future challenges will be to increase its presence and the visibility of the Bible in the digital world and on satellite TV, in order to make the Scriptures accessible to Arabic-speaking peoples worldwide. Furthermore, there are plans to expand Bible distribution centers to the country's major cities. According to the General Director, the majority of the population–both Christian and non-Christian– has the utmost respect for the Bible. And, lately, BSOE has been able to overcome the barriers preventing many Egyptians from accessing the Bible. “As we serve a very Bible-oriented Church, we must continuously offer creative tools and biblical products empower this Church, which is thirsty for God's Word. Today, anyone can freely and openly have a Bible. That's why there is so much to be done,” predicts Atallah.
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The United Bible Societies (UBS), with support from the American Bible Society, was present in the largest international event organized by the Catholic Church worldwide: the World Youth Day (WYD). The 13th edition of the event took place in Madrid (Spain), from August 16 to 21, 2011, and was attended by more than two million people, predominantly young people, from all over the planet. Among a large offer of religious and cultural activities, the Lectionautas project–Spiritual Reading of the Bible– was one of the most appealing for young people. “UBS set up a stand at the Vocational Fair, in Del Retiro Park, specially dedicated to the project. With a lot of music and joy, young people concentrated in front of the stand in order to praise God and learn about the project,” tells Márcia Carneiro, Bible Society of Brazil's Social Communications Manager, who attended every day of the event, pointing out that the Lectionautas stand was the most popular one among the almost 70 stands of the Fair.
Photos: SBB Files
Lectionautas in Madrid for the WYD
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Faith, commitment & sensibility
Driven by triumphs in every field and inspired by the actions of Jesus, women have shown how they can contribute to the growth of Christianity throughout Brazil. The New Map of Religions, a study conducted by Getúlio Vargas Foundation and published in August 2011, shows a clear expansion of religiosity among Brazilian women. Based on data collected in 2009, the research points out that the changes brought about by female achievements were accompanied by an increase in the participation of women, especially in evangelical denominations. Another point emphasized is that they try to preserve religiosity as a fundamental value to be fostered in the midst of the revolution in customs. This fact helps to explain the ever increasing presence of women in leadership positions within Christian organizations. By demonstrating faith, commitment and sensibility, they are now occupying roles that before were predominantly reserved for men. “This is something that gives us great satisfaction,” says Lourdes Lemos Almeida, a member of Bible Society of Brazil's Board of Directors. She points out that there are very well prepared women working in Bible translation, coordinating Bible Societies in some countries, running Christian educational organizations, and holding leadership posts within Churches. “It's a privilege, but also a challenge. We must occupy these positions with the trust that God counts on our performance, dedication and talents in his work,” she says. Durvalina Bezerra, Director of Bethel Seminary, believes that the ascension of women in society and within Churches is a fact to be celebrated as something natural, because evangelization is a divine mandate, that is, an order from Jesus for his Church. “As God's creation, made in his image and likeness, women have values and talents, are regenerated by the action of the Holy Spirit,
with gifts and callings that must be used in the Kingdom of God. As part of the Church, they are commissioned to the mission of evangelization.” Magaly Magda Borges, founder and leader of the Embassy of the Lord Association – Generation of David, an organization that assists families in situations of risk in Contagem, in the Greater Belo Horizonte area (State of Minas Gerais), also celebrates the more active participation of women. “I see that God is in a hurry. God is looking for people with committed and obedient hearts aspiring to sainthood. God wants to use everybody–children, teenagers, young people, women, men, the elderly–regardless of color, gender, race or social status. But we, women, can do a lot more and we must do more,” she says. Remembering the words of the author and doctor Paul Tournier, who in his book “The Mission of Women” emphasizes that our society was built on male values, Dilma Leal, President of Creative Practices & Thinking Christian Association, points out that men and women were created in the image and likeness of God, but with different and yet supplementary natures. “Unfortunately, in past centuries, and in the current one as well, men left their wives at home and built a society based on technique, power and competitiveness. Therefore, it lacks the female sensibility that sees people before things. So, it's with joy that I see what women have conquered,” she says. However, she also warns that those victories must not be wasted due to excessive competitiveness. “I defend the female way of being and acting. I don't accept that we have to be masculinized in order to have influence, lead and administer. Our greatest challenge is to have our
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Force of the Family Another factor that has been collaborating with the growth of female participation in Christian organizations is that, in Brazil, unlike other countries, women play a more important role in conducting the religious aspect of family life, as explains Dilza Christine Lundgren de Barros, a Family Court Judge in the State of Pernambuco. “In Europe, it's more common for husbands to have more influence within families regarding religiosity. In Brazil, although men are still the main providers in most homes, it's up to the wife to conduct the spiritual life of the family with sensibility and faith.” In the most popular strata of society and in vulnerable communities, the role of women as leaders of families is more common, according to Débora Fahur, President of World Vision Brazil. “They are the breadwinners. Our institution works focused on children in order to offer good treatments, face violence and promote a culture of peace. We can say that among the three million people assisted, directly and indirectly, by our actions, many of them are mothers who take care of their families, both financially and spiritually,” she says.
Companions of Jesus If in the history of humankind the role of women has been minimized in several sectors, in the Bible the role of women as protagonists can be proven in the stories of Ruth, Deborah, Huldah, Esther and the Marys that accompanied Jesus, and so many others, as recalls Lourdes Lemos Almeida. “It's natural that nowadays, when women play a more important role in society in general, there are also more opportunities in leadership posts in Churches, in the workplace, but, for sure, there is still a lot to do at home and in the family environment,” she complements. This is also the opinion of Sonia do Nascimento Palmeira, President of Methodist Church's Confederation of Women in Brazil. “I do believe in the potential of women for evangelistic work, and I think that every woman should
make a contribution. In biblical history, women have a very active participation, albeit related to the protection of the servants of God. They are always the instruments for the growth of God's work,” she emphasizes. She remembers the major role of some women, especially in the ministry of Jesus, such as the sisters of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, and the pioneer of European Christianity, Lydia. “It was to Martha that Jesus revealed he was the son of God, and not to Peter as many people think. And Lydia offered her house to God's work and led the beginning of the Church of Jesus in Europe. There are many examples that can guide us today, when it's easier to evangelize first through our personal testimony of a sanctified and committed life, and also because it's easier to enter the homes of other women can receive us without fear,” she complements. According to Débora Fahur, the Bible makes it very clear that Jesus always valued women, even though he lived in a time when they played a secondary role. “He was a friend of women and gave them his love, thus making huge transformations,” she says. Marizete Garcia, from Word of Life Foundation, seeks inspiration in Jesus in order to face the challenge she considers her mission: to bring the Word to prison inmates in the State of Paraíba, leading a team of 22 people. “Entering prisons isn't an easy task. However, I face the difficulties because I believe that evangelization is the most important mission Jesus has given us. Evangelizing is not an option, it's an order,” she teaches.
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Photo: Mila Pinheiro
female nature respected and accepted, not competing with the vision and values of a male world,” she concludes.
Knowledge and Devotion: the Role of the Woman’s Bible Launched in 2003, the Woman’s Bible reached in 2011 the milestone of more than 1 million copies sold, a significant volume for a study publication targeting a specific audience. Paulo Teixeira, Bible Society of Brazil's Translation & Publications Secretary, believes the success is due to the combination of three factors. “Firstly, our close relationship with Christian Churches, which made it easier to promote the publication among women who attend the churches or hold leadership positions. The second factor is the several formats in which the Bible was offered through time in terms covers, binding and sizes. And, lastly, there was the viral marketing, also known as word of mouth. Women like it, and them recommend it. Obviously, the basis of it all is the quality of the translation and the study material included in this Bible,” he summarizes.
Bible Society of Brazil took into account, at the time of the launch, the large number of women at churches interested in having a deeper understanding of God's Word. This fact created the opportunity to publish a Bible with resources specially developed for the female universe. The Woman’s Bible features exclusive texts, such as phrases from famous women, which, in a brief manner, explain the female soul, in addition to practical and detailed studies offering readings that can be applied to the daily life. Currently, Bible Society of Brazil is preparing another edition of the Woman’s Bible featuring the biblical text in the New Translation in Today's Language (NTLH). “We're aligned to the increasing participation of women in Christian movements engaged in meeting the needs of this specific audience,” assures Paulo Teixeira, adding that in addition to the Woman's Bible, Bible Society of Brazil is also developing several publications focused on the female audience, such as editions of the Bible with covers specially developed for women, and Bible Portions and Selections about themes that interest women, such as "I am She" and "Women's Stories in the Bible."
n o i l l i m sold Bibles
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Photo: Samuel Lavelberg
Critical and Popular Success “The Woman’s Bible offers a female perspective of the Holy Book, with its colors and notes, reveal the participation of women in the story of the divine revelation, in the ministry of Jesus and in the Church.” Durvalina Bezerra, Director of Bethel Seminary.
Embassy of the Lord Association – Generation of David.
“The Woman’s Bible is the Word of God that transforms lives with resources and notes that make reading and understanding it easier.” Lourdes Lemos Almeida, member of Bible Society of Brazil's “It's an excellent Bible that draws Board of Directors. attention precisely because it includes specific information for the Christian “It's a success since its launch. woman. The audience loves it. It's And it still is the best selling the right gift in any occasion.” Luzia Study Bible, and it's the Bible of Leoni da Boamorte, owner of Lírio my heart. I really like it because dos Vales bookstore. it has texts about everything that
“The Woman’s Bible is a modern and innovative publication. I really enjoy the pictures of the blessed women from the Bible. I recommend it to every woman.” Maria Teresa da Rocha, member of the Methodist Church of Vila Isabel (Rio de Janeiro).
interests us women.” Zezina Soares, owner of the distributing company SOCEP (Evangelical Christian Society of Publications).
The sisters Regina and Renata Odilon share the interest in reading and in the evangelical work since their childhood. Today, working at the Children Asking Foundation, which assists children and teenagers from the district of Itaim Paulista (in São Paulo), they are readers and users of the Woman’s Bible. “We have a copy of the Woman’s Bible at the Foundation's library, and we use it every day. The women we assist face many challenges, and this Bible has reading recommendations and specific texts that help us to provide them with guidance,” explains Regina. According to Renata, the main feature is the part with devotional texts. “It's easy to read and understand, so it helps us to transmit values to both children and women,” concludes Renata.
“My son and my daughter-in-law gave it to me, and I immediately liked it. I read the text, and then the analyses and comments. I'm a Sunday School teacher, and this Bible is always my guide.” Gercina Medeiros Negrão, missionary of New Hope Baptist Church of Belém (State of Pará).
“When seeking a relationship with God, we can always do more and better. The Woman’s Bible is the right tool for this search. The texts inspire us, teach us and make us reflect.” Débora Fahur, President “I'm happy with the news of the success of the Woman’s Bible and of World Vision Brazil. to know that the publication was “The Woman’s Bible is an excellent officially delivered to the Brazilian work–targeted and customized–that President Dilma Rousseff.” Sonia do shows how Bible Society of Brazil Nascimento Palmeira, President of cares about and supports women.” President of the Methodist Church's Magaly Magda Borges, founder of Confederation of Women in Brazil.
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“It's an excellent publication both in terms of language and edition. I base my prayers and my life on its texts about family, discipleship, marriage, and so many other themes.” Ana Mirian Foresto Marques, missionary of the Assembly of God – Ministry of Brás Madureira (State of São Paulo). “I'm a fan of the studies in the Woman’s Bible and use them in my preaching.” Dilza Christine Lundgren de Barros, Family Court Judge in the State of Pernambuco.
Brazil Light in
Light in Southeastern Brazil is Launched regions, we'll have governmental and private partners to carry out the program's assistance activities,” said Erní Seibert, Bible Society of Brazil's Communications & Social Outreach Secretary. Light in Southeastern Brazil's pilot trip was to Austin community, in late 2010, where it assisted more than one thousand people in just one day. During the testing phase, the project also assisted the victims of the catastrophe that hit the mountainous region of the State Rio de Janeiro, in early 2011, in addition to having benefited the communities of Mesquita and Camará. Over the next few months the expectation is to assist the communities of Itaguaí (in Rio de Janeiro), Tinguá (in Nova Iguaçu), and Jardim Gramacho (in Duque de Caxias), benefiting approximately four thousand people. For more information on becoming a partner or a volunteer visit: www.sbb.org.br/voluntario or www. sbb.org.br/parceiro.
Photo: Samuel Santos
On August 22, the Light in Brazil program extended even more its scope with the launch of Light in Southeastern Brazil. With this new initiative, the program–that was already present in the Amazonian, Southern and Northeastern regions of Brazil–now has four projects providing spiritual and medical assistance to Brazilians facing situations of social risk. The opening ceremony took place at Bible Society of Brazil's Rio de Janeiro Regional Office, and was attended by 200 people. During the event the clinic-bus that will be used for the activities of the project in destitute areas was introduced. The decision of including another Brazilian region in the Light in Brazil program was made based on the satisfactory results achieved by the program in the other regions. Initially, Light in Southeastern Brazil activities will be restricted to the State of Rio de Janeiro, and in the future they will be expanded to the State of Espírito Santo. “As it already happens in the other
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Fair Play Brazil: God's Team in World Cup 2014 Approximately 100 people attended the presentation of the Christian movement that intends to spread the biblical message during the World Cup of 2014. Evangelization, the initiative was developed with the goal of creating a mass movement in order to spread biblical principles that can help face social problems in Brazil. Furthermore, it is part of the Fair Play Movement, a joint effort of Christian institutions in Brazil and abroad, based on recent and successful experiences during the Olympic Games of Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008); the World Cups of Germany (2006) and South Africa (2010); and the Pan American Games of Rio de Janeiro (2007). “It's a huge challenge, but it's a great opportunity to spread the Word of God as well,” said Marcos Grava, Brazilian Coalition for Sports' Major Sporting Events Coordinator. The event was closed with the distribution of the “I Play for this Team” certificate to the representatives from organizations committed to participating in the Fair Play Brazil Movement.
Photo: Cláudio Arouca
It was with great enthusiasm that representatives from Christian churches and organizations received the idea of mobilizing volunteers in order to spread the biblical message and principles during the major sporting events that will be held in Brazil: the World Cup of 2014 and the Olympic Games of 2016. The Fair Play Brazil Movement was introduced on September 17, 2011, at Mackenzie Presbyterian University's “American School” auditorium in São Paulo. “It's the kickoff focusing initially on the World Cup of 2014, and we invite every Brazilian Christian to participate in this movement,” summarized Erní Seibert, Fair Play Brazil Movement's Communications Coordinator and Bible Society of Brazil's Communications & Social Outreach Secretary. Coordinated by the Brazilian Coalition for Sports (CBE), Bible Society of Brazil (SBB) and Amme
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Photos: Samuel Lavelberg
Bible Translation: Dedication and Altruism During the 7th Biblical Sciences Forum, Brazilian and international experts talked about the challenges and techniques involved in this work. As a task of high technical complexity, the Bible translation work requires an extraordinary degree of dedication and altruism from the translator. Thanks to this effort, supported by the United Bible Societies (UBS) and specialized Christian organizations, today, the biblical text can be found in more than 2,500 languages. Due to the relevance of this task of spreading the message and values from the Bible, the 7th Biblical Sciences Forum discussed the theme Translations of the Holy Bible. Featuring eight panels and internationally renowned experts, the event was held on August 18-19, 2011, at Barueri Event Center (State of São Paulo), where the Bible Museum is located, and was attended by approximately 300 participants. The event was open with the lecture Verbal Equivalence Translations. The speaker was Marlon Widnet, Doctor of Theology, linguist, and UBS' Translation Consultant. The methodology he talked about is adopted in more classical translations, featuring an erudite language, which tries to follow the order of the words that belong to the same grammatical category of the original text. Examples of such technique are translations like Reina Marlon Widnet
Valera (Spanish), King James (English), and João Ferreira de Almeida (Portuguese). “This type of Bible translation must be nurtured by the form of the original languages, but adapted within the historical and cultural context of the target language,” explained Widnet. According to him, in the field of translations, there is no exact equivalence, like in mathematics. Therefore, one cannot translate literally, but must do it in a natural way emphasizing the sonority and memorization of the text. “The Word of God reaches us through the translations. But no translation has the monopoly of communicating the Word of truth,” he said. The second panel of the day discussed the Support Materials for Translations. The topic was conducted by Vilson Scholz, Bible Society of Brazil's Translation Consultant and Doctor of New Testament Studies, and Paulo Teixeira, Bible Society of Brazil's Translation & Publications Secretary. They presented several important publications–based on the original texts of the Bible and published by UBS–that offer support to translation studies and work. The main publications mentioned were the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, Greek New Testament, Greek-Portuguese Interlinear New Testament,
Isaac Costa de Souza
Vilson Scholz e Paulo Teixeira
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Biblia Sacra Vulgata (in Latin), and Septuaginta (Old Testament in Hebrew). “We'll make these materials even more affordable and available as references for studying the Scriptures. It's also important for the translator to have a historical and geographical understanding of the Bible,” said Teixeira. “We're all translators. Everyone who communicates the Word of God is a translator,” complemented Scholz. The Bible Cause in Brazil was the third lecture of the day, delivered by Erní Seibert, Bible Society of Brazil’s Communications & Social Outreach Secretary. He shared current information and data about the Bible distribution and translation work in Brazil. The first day of the Forum was closed by Bill Mitchell, who talked about the 400 years of the King James Translation. Bible scholar, Doctor of Theology and UBS' Translation Consultant, Mitchell contextualized historically the classical English edition, whose translation team was multilingual. Published in May 1611, it took six years to be completed. According to the expert, the King James Version (KJV) was developed in order to favor the ideology of King James I, who ruled England, Scotland and Ireland for over 20 years. The translation was a tool for the imperial expansion by forging and shaping the English language. “On the other hand, through a language characterized by the fidelity to the original text and elegance, the KJV left a profound legacy on the language and literature, thereby influencing English culture,” explained Mitchell.
Indigenous Languages & Brazilian Sign Language The second day of the Forum featured Bible translation projects into minority languages. Isaac Costa de Souza, Master of Linguistics and a missionary among the Arara (an indigenous people of the State of Pará), was invited to talk about The Challenge of Translation into Indigenous Languages in Brazil. He listed the main obstacles to the work–especially from the ideological point of view–that involve governments, other religious Elisa Tamez, Riikka Halme-Berneking e Esteban Voth
Edesio Sánches Cetina
institutions, and even the indigenous population. “Biblical translators and missionaries are very persecuted. Indigenous peoples are neglected. That's why the Bible translation work for them must be filled with prayers," revealed Souza, who is also a member of the Evangelical Missionary Linguistics Association. Then, Brenno Barros Douettes talked about The Challenge of Bible Translation into Sign Language. Teacher of Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS), the speaker, who is hearing-impaired, is also one of the translators of the Adventures of the Bible series in LIBRAS, which is being developed by Bible Society of Brazil. His presentation, in Brazilian Sign Language, was simultaneously translated for the audience. Douettes reminded that the majority of the deaf community– estimated in six million people in Brazil–does not understand Portuguese because their first language is the sign language. That is why a lot of hearing impaired people cannot read the Bible. “The Brazilian Sign Language is a visual and spatial language, which makes it easier to be understood,” he explained. The recordings of videos in Brazilian Sign Language employ a lot of illustrations and facial expressions. But, according to Brenno, the main difficulty is finding deaf interpreters skilled in memorizing and interpreting the texts.
Translations Around the World The Forum also held a debate with some of UBS' international translation consultants. As part of the lecture The Bible Cause Worldwide, they presented a panorama of Bible translations around the world. Currently, Bible Societies have translation projects in more than 400 languages. Africa and Asia are the continents with the largest demand and quantity of languages. “Bible translation is not just an academic work. It's also important to understand it as a mission and an act of generosity,” pointed out Esteban Voth, UBS' Translation Consultant for the Americas. Closing the event, Edesio Sánchez Cetina talked about Functional or Dynamic Equivalence Translations. This methodology tries to offer the biblical text in a simpler and more contemporary language. It is the case, for example, of the New Translation in Today's Language (NTLH). “The aim of this translation is to provide a more direct meaning to the text. There is fidelity in the biblical message, not in the vocabulary,” explained Sánchez, a Doctor of Theology and UBS' Translation Consultant.
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