I admire people who can translate from one language into another. I remember a few words and phrases from three years of high school Spanish and scores of words in Japanese, Korean and Chinese from almost 60 years in martial arts. However, that doesn’t mean I can translate from one language into another. That is a special skill.
I was a broadcast journalist when I was saved in 1971 and began writing Bible studies and producing Christian radio programs about a year later. The programs aired in English on stations in the United States and several countries and territories in the Western Hemisphere. We published and mailed studies to several countries and territories in English in response to mail requests from our listeners. Translating into other languages was not necessary because our audience spoke and wrote in English.
We started GraceLife in 1990 as a way of serving the Body of Christ through teaching the Bible methodically and inductively. We started sharing Bible studies on the Internet in 1995 and heard from evangelists, pastors and teachers around the world asking if they could use GraceLife materials in their churches and evangelistic ministries. Our answer was, of course, YES!
We were then, and still are 25 years later, excited to know that something we write in English in the United States is helping preachers and teachers in scores of countries and territories around the world. [We’ve listed some of them at the end of this article.] We’ve been able to communicate with many of the preachers and teachers by email, international phone calls, Facebook messaging, Skype and Zoom through the years. That’s one of the wonders of modern communication technology.
Some of the preachers and teachers told us they used our materials as published because the people they were reaching spoke English. Others told us they translated our materials from English to native languages. Some translated as they were speaking. Others translated into writing for local publication. We are thankful to them for doing that.
Our first questions concerned which materials to translate and into which languages. I believe God answered that for us when a professional translator in Ethiopia contacted us on Facebook. I found that very interesting and here’s why.
The persecution of Christ’s followers in Israel that began after Stephen’s stoning scattered believers who “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). One of those believers was a man named Philip. Since Acts 8:1 reads that “they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles,” we believe the man named Philip in Acts 8:5 was one of the “seven” mentioned in Acts 6:5 rather than the Apostle Philip who remained in Jerusalem during the persecution.
Philip initially went to a “city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.” Philip spent a period of time preaching in Samaria until an angel of the Lord sent him in another direction.
“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.”Acts 8:26-29
The Ethiopian had traveled north to Jerusalem to worship. He was most likely a proselyte of Judaism. He was on the return trip from Jerusalem back to the capital city where he held a position of great authority in the government. Philip preached Christ to the Ethiopian and the man was saved and baptized.
“Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.”Acts 8:39
The eunuch returned to Ethiopia and most likely shared the Gospel of Christ with the queen and others in the royal family. The Candaces of Meroe were queens in the ancient Kush Kingdom. The Candace (Kendake – Queen Regnant) during the time of the Ethiopian eunuch is believed to have been Amantitere. Christianity eventually became the state religion of Ethiopia a few hundred years later.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Ethiopia “is a mosaic of about 100 languages that can be classified into four groups” – Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic. You may remember the name Cush from Genesis 10. He was a son of Ham and grandson of Noah.
The translator from Ethiopia who contacted GraceLife translated two of our eBooks from English into Afaan Oromo, which belongs to the Cushitic group of languages. Oromo is the most widely spoken language in Ethiopia and one of the most spoken languages on the African continent (behind Arabic, Hausa and Swahili).
We selected two eBooks we believed preachers and teachers in Ethiopia could use to assist them in making disciples of Jesus Christ. You can click on the English versions of the books first to see what we wrote years ago …
Next, you can click on the two eBooks in the Afaan Oromo language to see how the same material about making disciples looks in the Ethiopian language.
We thank Gamachu Ragasa for his work and invite you to contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like his help translating your writings into Afaan Oromo. He is also interested in printing and distributing GraceLife materials for use in churches in Ethiopia.
We have also started translating GraceLife studies in other languages, which you can find on the GraceLife Translation site. We currently have Bible study eBooks published in more than 90 languages. We will continue to add more studies and languages in the coming weeks and months. Our goal is to provide GraceLife Bible study translations to as many people as possible around the world who would like to use them for teaching and preaching the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
List of Countries and Territories
This is a list of almost 200 countries and territories where people are using GraceLife materials for personal and small group Bible studies, church meetings and evangelistic outreach.
Even though we’ve been communicating with preachers and teachers in other countries since the early 1970s, we decided to include just the countries and territories where people have contacted us since 2016 since most would still be using the GraceLife materials in their ministries.
We invite you to pray for the people who live in these areas of the world and the preaching and teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- American Samoa
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- British Virgin Islands
- Caribbean Netherlands
- Cayman Islands
- Congo – Kinshasa
- Cook Islands
- Costa Rica
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- European Union
- Faroe Islands
- Hong Kong SAR China
- Isle of Man
- Macau SAR China
- Marshall Islands
- Myanmar (Burma)
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Palestinian Territories
- Papua New Guinea
- Puerto Rico
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierre Leone
- Sint Maarten
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- St. Helena
- St. Kitts & Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent & Grenadines
- Trinidad & Tobago
- Turks & Caicos
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Vatican City
We invite you to contact GraceLife by email or leave a comment to this article and we will reply to you as quickly as possible.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.