The Bible Society of Ghana (BSG) has made a clarion call for financial support towards the translation of the Bible into local languages.
The society, which has so far translated the Bible into nine local languages, out of the more than 30 in the country, said it cost an average $20 to translate a verse of the Bible, meaning it would cost $622,040 to translate all the 31,102 verses in the Bible into just one local language.
A bookshop officer of the society, Pastor Ignatius Addico, made the call on behalf of the General Secretary of the BSG, the Very Rev. Dr John Kwesi Addo Jnr, at the Bible Week Sunday celebration at the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church, Bethel Congregation, in Accra yesterday.
The Very Rev. Dr Addo said the society was currently working on the translation of the Bible into the Okere, Efutu-Senya and Bono languages, in addition to its collection of local language translations.
He added that later in the year, the society would begin processes to translate the Bible into the Wassa and the Larteh languages.
“By the grace of God, we have also started work to produce a sign language Bible for hearing-impaired citizens, who constitute 0.4 per cent of the population but have little or no access to the scriptures,” he said.
The immediate past Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana, the Most Rev. Titus Awotwi Pratt, who spoke on the theme: “God’s unchanging Word: Hope for all”, urged Christians to allow the word of God to light their paths and challenge them to become better people.
He said the unchanging power of God’s word had the power to transform one into a better person.
He encouraged Christians to invest in the translation of the Bible to make it accessible to all, regardless of their background and culture.
He also called on Christians who were well endowed in the local languages to come on board and assist the society in translating the Bible into the various languages.
“Natives who are well endowed in these areas and are Christians should contribute immensely and assist translators to use symbolism in the area, so that natives can understand. That is how you can possess the Word for yourselves as Christians,” he said.
The Accra New Town District Pastor of the EP Church, Rev. Dr Setri Nyomi, said it was important to translate the Bible into the local languages to reduce deception and prevent Christians from being led astray.
He explained that sometimes in an attempt to translate verbally the English Bible into a local language, some preachers mistranslate some words, which could lead people astray, adding that the initiative by the society was a prudent one which called for more support.
He added that in these times of economic downturn, it was important that Christians held on to God’s word because that was what would bring them hope.
“I have never in my life seen more people read the Bible than the time in the 1980s when the country went to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And at that time God came through for His people.
“Now this is about our 18th time going to the IMF and people ask where the hope is. Our hope is in God’s Word that is unchanging,” Rev. Dr Nyomi added.