ISSUE 67 : AUTUMN 2012
The magazine of the Scottish Bible Society
THE POWER OF THE WORD OF GOD Changing lives
Pass it on
How Godâ€™s Word changes lives
Getting young people interested in the Bible
Learning to read and write with the Bible
Being familiar with the Bible
Meeting Bible needs Project update from Ethiopia
Have you taken part in Bible Sunday? Every year, churches all over Scotland set aside a day to celebrate the transformational impact of God’s Word. Get involved in Bible Sunday and encourage your church to take part. We provide free resources to help you organise a Bible Sunday service or group celebration. This includes a full sermon, an outline to help you write your own sermon, and materials for children and youth groups. Visit www.biblesundayscotland.org.uk to find out more.
Bring your Bible to Brunch is a new and exciting event which you can host in your church to help celebrate Bible Sunday. It’s an opportunity to enjoy fellowship with your church family while raising funds to provide Bibles for some of the poorest communities around the world. • The brunch is a great way to invite your congregation to join together and celebrate God’s Word (and some lovely food too!). • You can invite those who don’t normally come to church. • It’s fun for adults and children to get involved in. Everything you need to be the perfect host can be downloaded from the Bible Sunday website at www.biblesundayscotland.org.uk. Start with the ‘How-to’ guide’ which gives you instructions on how to prepare and make the day fun for everyone. You can print customisable invitations, posters and placemats. It’s easy to organise. All you need to do is to provide the food!
Welcome The magazine of the Scottish Bible Society
Changing lives How God’s Word is changing lives
Pass it on Getting young people interested in the Bible
SBS in numbers A look at our year so far
The Word aloud Bible recital in Malawi
Reading ahead Learning to read and write with the Bible
The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. Psalm 19: 9b-10 (NIV)
Being familiar with the Bible
Meeting Bible needs Project update from Ethiopia
Design: Hatch Design, Glasgow / Tooth Design and Print
Over recent months we have been running ‘adverts’ in various places with the tag-line: ‘The Bible changes lives’. In this edition of ‘Alive and Active’ you will read accounts of that happening in the lives of a variety of different people.
7 Hampton Terrace Edinburgh EH12 5XU Tel: 0131 337 9701 Fax: 0131 337 0641 www.scottishbiblesociety.org email: firstname.lastname@example.org Scottish Charity No: SC010767 Published in April and October Chief Executive: Elaine M Duncan Circulation: 38,500 The Scottish Bible Society – a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland no. 238687 – registered office as above. (Formerly The National Bible Society of Scotland)
The views expressed in the features and update articles are not necessarily those of the Society. Reprinting in whole or in part is forbidden, except by permission.
We may never fully understand the way in which the Bible changes our lives. The Bible will always lead us to Jesus Christ, the living Word and our Saviour. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, somehow, the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and speaks powerfully into our minds and hearts, bringing transformation.
There are times when our appetite for the Bible wavers and we struggle to read it, think about it and talk about it with any regularity. Our prayer is that as you read of how the Bible has impacted the lives of others, your hunger to know God better through his word will be stirred up. God has given us the gift of his written word and we need to help and encourage one another to fully enjoy this great gift. May we all grow in our experience of the Bible so that we can say with the Psalmist: it is ‘more precious than gold ... and sweeter than honey’. Elaine Duncan Chief Executive
Photo: Church of Scotland / John Young Media
Many of us will be able to tell one, if not more, stories of how God and his Word have changed our lives. Here are a few stories from around the world reminding us of the power of God’s Word.
Rt Rev Albert Bogle, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland I was about seven years old when I first heard the story of Ruth. I remember sitting in the Sunday school class when the teacher told her story. It’s a beautiful story and I still think the way it’s told in the King James Version of the Bible is the best. It’s about a family who have to leave Israel because of famine. They go to Moab, a neighbouring country that
doesn’t share their religious or moral values. While refugees in Moab, they settle and are integrated into the culture of Moab and indeed the sons marry two Moabite women. Catastrophe strikes the family again. This time Naomi, who is the mother-in law to the Moabite women, loses her husband and her two sons. At this point the story revolves around three widowed women and how they relate to each other in a world where women have no value without the protection of a male relative. It’s a story of loyalty and commitment, generosity and grace. In the end it’s all about how grace triumphs over law. You see, if the law had been adhered to, Ruth would never have been accepted as Naomi’s daughter-in-law because she was from a different religion and culture. Common grace at work in the community turned both women around at different times in opposite countries and cultures. In Moab, Naomi found grace in the eyes of the people of Moab for they fed and clothed her family. On returning to Israel, Ruth found grace and rehabilitation when she returned and in due course married Boaz. The story means a lot more to me today as I seek to draw out the parallels and lessons that might be learned from such a story in today’s world. Yet it was this story that spoke to the heart of a young seven-year-old about the importance of making right choices. In Sunday school that day I chose to follow Jesus and the rest, as they say, is history.
whatever choices I make, things that I say or do, God will always love me.
Rachel Turnbull, age 11, S1 at Broxburn Academy
Earlier this year I was at a Scripture Union Scotland camp and I decided to become a Christian because we were looking closely at Joseph in the Bible. We looked at how Joseph made some good choices and some bad choices and even so, God still loved him. It showed me that whatever choices I make, things that I say or do, God will always love me. The Bible is like a map of life, it shows you the right way to go and whichever way we choose, God will always love us. I know that just like Joseph, I can love God the way he did and be brave like him.
E changes lives Mark, India Mark is from the city of Madurai in the Tamil Nadu state, India. Born into a Hindu family, Mark lost his sight in an accident when he was a child and was eventually abandoned by his family. He was taken in by a Catholic nun and through her learned the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Mark longed to read the message of the Gospel for himself and approached several Christian organisations asking for their help. When he contacted the Bible Society of India, they were able to help him. Upon receiving his Braille Bible, Mark wept with tears as he began to read and memorize God’s holy Word for himself. “I have no words to express my great joy on reading the Bible in Braille,” Mark says. “I praise God for making [this] available to me, and I know the sacrificial labour that has gone into it. May God bless your wonderful ministry for people like me.”
Photo: UBS / Joaquim Dassonville
(American Bible Society, ‘Record’ magazine 2012)
Baroness Cox, CEO HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust) When I was confirmed in the Church of England, aged eleven, the Bishop gave us these words as our Confirmation text, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1: 9, KJV). I have often had to remind myself that this is a command: not to be afraid! When I was privileged (and astonished!) to be appointed to the House of Lords, I thought this would be a significant arena to be a ‘Voice for the Voiceless’: speaking for forgotten people – marginalised and vulnerable people in this country or further afield, people suffering oppression and persecution, trapped behind closed borders, off the radar screen of international media. So I began travelling to visit oppressed people behind the Iron Curtain, especially Poland during the dark days of martial law, spending weeks living on 32-tonne trucks where the top bunk is challengingly narrow! Then flying under fire into the war-torn ancient Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh; to forbidden air strips in war-devastated Sudan; in small boats over rough seas to Christian communities under attack by Islamist Lasker Jihad in Indonesia’s Spice Islands – and so on, until, most recently, in June this year, visiting our brothers and sisters in Northern and Central Nigeria, where thousands have been killed over decades and the death toll has risen further this year with attacks by suicide bombers during church services. I am often terrified – but remember my Confirmation text and try to ‘go beyond my fear’! When I do, I always return humbled and inspired by the faith and courage of the persecuted Church whose radiant joy, even in the midst of intense suffering, testifies to the truth of the Bible’s assurance that God must indeed be ‘a very present help in trouble’.
pass it “I think that young people see the Bible as fairy stories,” says Ines. She has two daughters, of whom Alice, 14, is the younger. “They like the stories, but don’t think that they are necessarily relevant to their lives. They don’t think that God is speaking to them through the stories.” This means that it’s hard to persuade them to open the Bible. But Alice presents a different view from that of her mother.
“I see the Bible as an old book containing stories of ancient times,” she acknowledges. “It’s a bit like the stories you read at school with knights and princesses. But you shouldn’t accept things at face value. If the Bible is presented to us in a more modern style, then it can be meaningful for us, too.”
Images: UBS/Claire Bedot
By young people, for young people
Alice shows interest when she hears about young people who are planning to use Facebook to promote the Bible through features such as a web series and links to videos and modern Christian music groups. She wants to see young people talking about the Bible. “What’s needed is for young people to say that the Bible is a good thing,” she says. “If your parents say it’s a good thing,
you think it’s not for you!” Joséphine, 17, is the youngest daughter of Elisabeth, who has four children. Her response is different from Alice’s. She states openly that she would not be interested in a web series about the Bible, even if it were made by young people, for young people. “I’m sorry, but I’m setting aside anything to do with having a relationship with God for the time being, until I’m really interested. I’m asking too many questions at the moment and that means that I can’t read the Bible. I tell myself that the Bible is a way of seeing the world. I’d like to gain more experience of the world before I form an opinion.”
Not ‘indoctrinating’ children “Children tend to reject everything their parents do, especially if it’s something their parents are very committed to,” says her mother. “And I really don’t want to ‘indoctrinate’ them.” Nevertheless, Elisabeth constantly talks about the Bible with her children, especially with Joséphine, who is the only one still Alice living at home. If Joséphine mentions a difficult situation she’s in or a problem she’s facing, Elisabeth sometimes suggests that she should read a Bible passage that will help her or prompt her to think, even if, Elisabeth confides, “it’s easier to do this with other people’s children.”
Like many Christian mothers, Ines and Elisabeth have a strong desire to pass on their faith and the Bible to their children. Why is this such a challenge?
that I was asking myself so many questions that I couldn’t possibly encourage others to read the Bible.”
Nourishment for her faith Then Elisabeth turned to the Bible as a source of nourishment for her faith.
Joséphine values these conversations with her mother. But even so, she doesn’t read the copy of a youth Bible that’s on her bedside table. “I’ve never been attracted to the Bible,” she explains. “It seems so hard to read: even if it has an index, I don’t feel like looking through it.”
Take action Ines adds something interesting to what Joséphine is saying. She believes that young people want to do something concrete, to take action.
and the desire to study the Bible comes later?” Joséphine, who wants to work on humanitarian projects and to take time to experience life for herself before seeking God, could not have put it better herself. Her mother has noticed that what gains her children’s attention most is when she takes direct action. “My children have followed me most closely when I’ve been involved in a direct and very practical task within the church, such as organising camps,” she says.
“Young people in our church want to get involved in humanitarian projects, to go out on “To start with, I soup runs with the wasn’t involved Salvation Army,” she in encouraging says. “They want to Joséphine people to read be doing things, to the Bible. I hadn’t even read be taking action. And they don’t it myself! Then I started to be necessarily want to plunge into involved in youth work. There the depths of the Bible. Maybe this is an important stage in life, came a time when I realised
“Now the Bible helps my faith to grow,” she says. “Through the Bible, you enter into a relationship with Christ, with God, nourished by the Holy Spirit who drives your life.” Ines has the same experience of the Bible. And it’s this, along with many other things that she’d like to pass on to Alice and her other daughter.
“For me, knowing God, knowing the Bible, it’s like a gift. I’d like my daughters to benefit from this as well, to find help during the hard times in their lives,” she says. “I hope that they will live according to the Bible and that they won’t do so out of a sense of obligation, but because they realise that the Bible is relevant to their lives. That’s what I’d like to see. I’d like them to have a spiritual family, too, one where people pray for you when things aren’t going well, when you’re ill or worried. It’s important to feel supported. And the support you find at church isn’t available anywhere else. Even if there’s a sense of solidarity elsewhere, it’s different here because God is present.”
Article courtesy of Claire Bedot, United Bible Societies, from the French Bible Society project “ZeBible Web 2.0: meeting young people where they are”. The study has been commissioned for the Women’s World Day of Prayer as the focus country in 2013 will be France. For more information on the World Day of Prayer, visit: www.wdpscotland.org.uk
We’ve compiled some facts, figures and pictures from 2012 so far to tell you about our work and the impact we’ve had.
... bread rolls were handed out by our staff and volunteers to people attending the ‘Heart & Soul’ Church of Scotland event in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh in May. Thousands of people turned out to enjoy a family-friendly day with Christian music, drama, art and worship. Our rolls were provided in paper bags with the verse “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33, NLT). This complemented our neighbouring exhibitor, Souper Sunday, who filled 900 cups of soup!
Photo: Black Stallion Photography
124 ... guests attended The People’s Bible reception at the Scottish Parliament in May to celebrate the 2011 project. During her speech, Culture Minister for Scotland, Fiona Hyslop, MSP said, “I was just one of thousands of people to contribute to The People’s Bible ... the project has been a fantastic way of spreading the Bible’s Word using very modern means.”
60 170 ... ’likes’ for our new SBS Facebook page in the first month of launching. If you haven’t visited our page, come and have a look and ‘like’ us too! www.facebook. com/scottishbiblesociety
... speaking engagements fulfilled in churches around Scotland by our staff so far this year. We estimate the audience to be over five thousand people! Thank you if you came to hear and support our staff. If you would like to invite us to speak at your church, contact Pete Chirnside, Church Partnerships Manager (pete.chirnside@ scottishbiblesociety.org or 0131 347 9827).
600 The Queen is patron to over 600 organisations, including SBS, and last visited our offices in 1991 to open Bibleworld. We were honoured to attend a service of thanksgiving to mark her Diamond Jubilee at Glasgow Cathedral in July.
3,568 ... children across Scotland have been introduced to the Bible through Bibleworld Mobile from January to June 2012. One of the thank you letters we received from a pupil reads, “Religion is not my best subject but Bibleworld made it fun ... it taught me about how much people would do just to read a Bible, it shows how much we take for granted.”
... verses of the Bible have been translated from Greek into the Gaelic of today this year (January to August) for a new version of the Scottish Gaelic New Testament. Our project team continues to work on this. Please pray for Paul Ellingworth, John Angus MacDonald, John Urquhart, John Lincoln and Ruairidh MacLean.
Photo: John Swannell /Royal Hosehold / Camera Press
100,000,000 (one hundred million!)
26,435 ... Bibles or Bible portions sold to churches around Scotland through our online shop so far this year. If you’re looking for Bibles or resources, visit our website www.scottishbiblesociety.org/shop
In November this year, the Amity Printing Company in Nanjing, China – a joint venture between the Amity Foundation and the United Bible Societies – will be printing its one hundred millionth Bible thanks to a miraculous co-operation between the Chinese government and the Church. With an estimated 90 million Christians the demand is still growing. Thanks to the prayers and generous financial gifts from our supporters, we’ve helped many people in China to receive a Bible.
The Word 2013 is the bicentenary of the birth of David Livingstone, one of Scotland’s best-known explorers and Christian missionaries. His work has influenced many countries, including Malawi, where an exciting project is encouraging Christians to read and recite God’s Word to the nation.
Through churches from different denominations and Christian organisations the Bible Society of Malawi has been working on a project called the National Scripture Recital Extravaganza Programme. Last year, nearly fifteen thousand people across the country took part by reading and reciting Scripture in churches. The project takes the form of a recital competition, which aims to find one or two people who can recite whole books of the Bible, all of the New Testament, all of the Old Testament or the full Bible. The purpose of the project is to motivate and encourage the reading, understanding and memorisation of God’s Word, as well as unearthing some amazing people who can achieve the feat of reciting large portions of Scripture!
alou The venture has captured the nation’s imagination. More than thirteen thousand people in different churches took part in the preliminary rounds. The competition is open to all age groups and participants can choose which language to recite in, from Chichewa, Tumbuka or Sena to Tonga, Ngonde and English. Such is the interest in this competition that it has led to seventeen television and radio programmes broadcasting the recitals to the nation since November 2011. It is estimated that more than 30% of the 14 million people in Malawi have been reached through these broadcasts – what a great opportunity to spread the Gospel.
10 : 11 Facts: David Livingstone Centre. Images: National Trust for Scotland / Bible Society of Malawi
David Livingstone • David Livingstone was born in Blantyre on 19 March 1813. • At the age of 10 he worked fourteen hours a day in the Blantyre Cotton Works. • Livingstone’s parents were devout Christians and attended the Independent Church in Hamilton. • Livingstone had an interest in science and read a book by the philosopher Thomas Dick which suggested that science and religion were simply different ways of exploring the truth about the world around us.
• Pray that the resulting Scripture needs of Malawi will be met through the work of its Bible Society. • Pray for the role of the Bible Society of Malawi in uniting churches and Christian organisations for this project with the focus on the Bible.
Two hundred years after David Livingstone’s birth, his missionary work in Malawi still has a lasting impact today as Christians there continue to proclaim the Word of God. Please support the work of the Bible Society of Malawi by praying for the following: • Pray for the National Scripture Recital Extravaganza Programme to continue touching the lives of the people of Malawi to reinforce or lead them to God’s Word. • Pray for the project as it seeks to extend to prison ministries and other areas not covered before.
• Livingstone found a way to combine his interest in science and the world around him with his faith. He studied the work of Karl Gutzlaff, a medical missionary in China. Gutzlaff’s work showed Livingstone how to link his interest in science, his belief in God and his desire to help people. • At the age of 23, Livingstone began medical school at Andersons College (now Strathclyde University). He successfully applied to train as a missionary with the London Missionary Society with the intention of working in China. His plan to work in China had to be abandoned because of the Opium War.
• Pray that the David Livingstone celebrations in Scotland and around the world will encourage prayers and financial support for the work of the Bible Society of Malawi.
• The missionary Robert Moffat inspired Livingstone to go to Africa with tales of vast, uncharted regions and the ‘smoke of a thousand villages where the Gospel has not been proclaimed’. • Livingstone arrived in Africa in 1841. His expeditions led him to Malawi in 1859. For more information and events related to the David Livingstone bicentenary, visit www.davidlivingstone200.org
In June this year, staff from the Scottish and American Bible Societies visited the town of Ewuaso near Nairobi. In collaboration with local churches, the Bible Society of Kenya teaches people from the Maasai tribe to read and write using the Bible so they can understand it better and spread God’s Word while also empowering themselves to have a better life.
Mary Parsaloi, student (left) and Mary Naigisa, literacy teacher
Even before the Bible Society of Kenya (BSK) brought a literacy programme to Mary Parsaloi’s home in the Rift Valley, the 36-year-old mother of six was praying for the chance to learn to read. “Even as a child, I wanted to read. I heard someone read the Book of Ephesians. I wanted to read the Word of God,” she said. As an adult, “I started praying and fasting [for a teacher to come to the village]. The first thing I knew I wanted to read was the Bible.”
Sometimes my pastor is there, but he cannot read.” Mary sat the government proficiency exam this summer and, based on her pre-test scores, she expects to pass. By obtaining this qualification, Maasai people are eligible for well-paid jobs outside of Maasailand.
The fact is most adult Maasai cannot read. While Kenya has the highest literacy rates of all African countries (87 per cent), only Practice test before sitting for certificate about 18 per cent After two years of of Maasai can read. Getting a classes, Mary, a member of the good education is a challenge Maasai tribe in Narok district, for these nomadic families who can read in both Swahili and move from place to place to Maa (the Maasai language). It locate water and pastureland thrills her to read the Bible in for their cattle. Girls are often her mother tongue. She has married off at a young age and read the New Testament from find their domestic duties leave Matthew to Revelation. “I am little time for school. But this happy because I can read the is changing for many Maasai, Bible very well,” she said. “When often forced by modernisation we have family meetings, I am to aquire new skills. BSK started the one who reads the Bible.
its Maasai literacy programme in 2010 with just two classes. As of this summer, there are 32 classes operating in Massailand. By training graduates of the programme to teach other adults to read the Bible Society makes the programme sustainable. This ‘train-thetrainer’ approach is working, according to Janet Wakio, the BSK Literacy Programme Officer. “We thank God for connecting us with good teachers,” says Janet. “We pray that this work goes on and on. We still have young girls who drop out of school – and old men who never learned to read because they had to take care of their cattle. If they don’t embrace education, they will be left behind.”
Article courtesy of by Barbara Delp, Senior Research Editor at Global Scripture Impact, America
12 : 13
Being familiar with the Bible I’ve been preaching recently through part of the Book of Acts and had come to Chapter 8, which describes the ministry of Philip, one of the first preachers to leave Jerusalem after the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s fascinating to read about how, under his ministry, many people became followers of Jesus despite outwardly unlikely circumstances, including an African convert, a man from Ethiopia who had been on a journey to Jerusalem.
“Why are you whispering?” he asked.
Seeing as how it was Philip’s excellent knowledge of the Bible that resulted in this unlikely African conversion I was reminded of a story told by the American preacher Jay Adams. One Monday morning he received a whispered phone-call from a lady in his congregation asking him which verses in the Bible she could quote to prove to someone that Jesus really was God, come into this world in human form.
I think most of us can identify with that story. How often we can’t remember something important at the right moment – sometimes because we were not listening well enough at the time! The only solution is to strive to be more attentive in future so that we don’t get caught out the next time.
“Because I’ve got some Jehovah’s Witnesses here and I’m not sure what to say to them!” “Well, it’s a good day for that,” he said. “You were in church last night when I preached on that very subject! You should know exactly what to say to them!” “I know,” she replied, “but I didn’t realise last night that I would need to know it today!”
In spiritual things, the best preparation is to be as familiar with the Bible as possible – the more we read it, the more likely we are to remember it, and the more likely we are to live our lives by it. But that requires a
Murdo Macleod is the assistant minister at Smithton Culloden and works in Nairn Free Church. He tells us that being familiar with the Bible prepares us for all things.
commitment to God and to his Word that comes neither easily or naturally, and yet which brings such satisfying results. One of the youngsters in our congregation said to me one Saturday night, “I’m so excited about tomorrow!” I thought there might be something going on with her family (who are not church-goers) or with her friends the next day, but when I enquired what was happening she said, “I just can’t wait to find out what Philip did next!” It must be every minister’s dream to see the Word of God – that has gripped his own heart and the hearts of others over the years – begin to generate that kind of excited response in the heart of the next generation. And to see that same amazing power of God that was at work in the Middle East two thousand years ago in the days of Philip still at work today in the lives of young people right here in Nairn or wherever you are. Hopefully we will see it happening many times this year.
the more we read it, the more likely we are to remember it, and the more likely we are to live our lives by it
One of the projects your gifts have helped to fund is the distribution of Bibles within prisons. According to Prison House Fellowship Ministry, there are more than 70,000 offenders in Ethiopian prisons. Reading God’s Word has given many prisoners comfort and the hope of a better future. The Bible Society of Ethiopia reports that in centres where Bibles have been provided prisoners’ behaviour has noticeably changed, “Most of the prisoners have become people with soft hearts, kind, co-operative, friendly.” God’s Word has not just changed the prisoners’ behaviour but their hearts and they look forward to being able to share the Bible’s life-changing message with their friends and neighbours.
In Scotland, it can be easy to take access to the Bible for granted. Many of us own multiple copies, in a variety of translations. In Ethiopia – where there are 50 million Christians and the church is growing – many people do not have the same opportunity to spend time with God’s Word. Thank you for your support, helping the Bible Society of Ethiopia to make the Bible affordable and accessible.
Last year Pete Chirnside, our Church Partnerships Manager, visited Ethiopia and saw first hand the impact God’s Word has had on prisoners’ lives. You may remember we told you of Eyosias, a convicted murderer currently serving a 70-year sentence, who is now a Christian and one of the leading ‘ministers’ in a church prison. Pete helped to distribute Bibles at the Orthodox and Protestant churches in the Nazaret prison near Addis Ababa and he was struck by how grateful the community were for the Bibles. Yasu, one of the prisoners, said, “Thank you for bringing us Bibles, this Word can change our lives.”
Meeting Bible N Your gifts are also helping the Bible Society of Ethiopia to produce audio Bibles, known as ‘Proclaimers’. In Ethiopia, around 70% of the population cannot read. Audio Bibles have given thousands of people the opportunity to hear the Gospel. People such as Bedilu, whose life was changed by what he
heard. After years living on the street, Bedilu heard the Gospel through an audio Bible at a Christian rehabilitation centre. He says, “For the first time I felt joy and peace in my life. I repented of my sin and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal saviour ... Jesus has set me free and made me a new creation.”
14 : 15
e Needs in Ethiopia The children at Hannah’s Orphan Homes have also learnt of God’s love for them through listening to the Bible on a ‘Proclaimer’. Pete says, “The children are so content and happy. Hannah has run the homes for many years and is very grateful for the support of the Bible Society, which has helped to give the children the opportunity to study the Bible.” In Acts we read the story of an Ethiopian official who is trying to study God’s Word but only really understands the Gospel
once Philip has explained it to him. Being able to understand the Bible is crucial to be able to fully appreciate its life-changing message. While in Scotland we are blessed with a great variety of English Bible translations, in Ethiopia there are more than 80 spoken languages and a complete translation of the Bible in only 5. Your gifts are helping to fund translation work so that the 2 million Guji Oromo speakers will be able to hear God’s Word in a language they can understand. The New Testament translation has already been completed and the Old Testament is expected to be finished in 2014. Thank you so much for your support, both gifts and prayers, which have helped give people in Ethiopia the same opportunity to spend time with God’s Word as we have here in Scotland.
Your gifts are helping the Bible Society of Ethiopia to produce audio Bibles, known as ‘Proclaimers’. In Ethiopia, around 70% of the population cannot read.
• Give thanks for the prayerful and practical support from people across Scotland which is enabling the Bible Society of Ethiopia to provide greater access to the Bible. • Pray that people in Ethiopia will hear God speak to them through the Bible and be drawn closer to him. • Ask God to continue to provide the resources needed so that everybody in Ethiopia can have access to the Bible in a language they can understand and a format they can use.
Bible Meditation Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand ﬁrm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet ﬁtted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the ﬂaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV)
Take some time to read and meditate on this passage. These questions may help you as you explore the text: • What obstacles prevent us from living a Christian life? • How can we use our knowledge and experience of God’s Word and his work to help us stand ﬁrm in our faith? • Do we give every part of our life to God and trust in him to help us? • How does our familiarity with the Bible help us to be prepared for difﬁcult or life-changing events?
The Power of the Word of God