Doing Bible Interpretation: A Test Of Capacity
Several months ago, Clear and Simple Media launched a test project with our friend and author, Dr. Larry Caldwell. Larry, for many years, was a missionary to the Philippines. Today, Larry is the Academic Dean of Sioux Falls Seminary in North Dakota. In 2016, Larry wrote a book titled Doing Bible Interpretation. We wanted to see if we could take a book that had been published for a literate, American reader and rewrite (or translate) it so that it would be more accessible to a broader audience. So we asked Larry if we could use his book as our test case.
Larry had been teaching for a number of years when he began to realize something. While his seminary education prepared him to do high-level academic Bible study, most people in the world do not have access to the tools that were available to him. They have only the Bible. So he set out to write a book for those people. Larry wrote Doing Bible Interpretation to help people understand how to interpret the Bible, “using only the Bible.”
To help us with this project, we enlisted the assistance of MissionAssist. MissionAssist is an organization in the United Kingdom whose work is the gold standard for writing and translation into simplified English. We sent the text to Mission Assist editor/translators and received the first drafts about six weeks later. We then compared the MissionAssist draft with the work we had done. After a few more days of editing, proof-reading, and linguistic decision-making, we have sent the completed draft to Dr. Caldwell for his approval.
Once the final text is accepted, Mission Assist will place the book onto their EasyEnglish websites. Those sites provide resources for pastors and church workers around the world. Clear and Simple Media will also include the text on the A Simple Word site. We will then create a book design and put the book in print.
When we travel, we see how few useful resources are available to grass-roots church planters and Christian workers in the developing world. We in the West, on the other hand, are blessed with an ’embarrassment of riches.’ We have more books, libraries, and electronic resources than we can use. Using the controlled English style, we can make some of those excellent resources available to a broader audience in English. Once in simple English, those same resources are now much easier to translate into other languages. Then, those tools can be used even more widely.
Why did we decide now was the time to do such a project? We felt that it was wise for us to do this now because, for the past several months, we have been in conversation with other evangelical authors and publishers. A number of them have asked us to be involved with projects that are similar to this one. Dr. Caldwell was gracious enough to allow us to use his book to test our capacity.