They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Nehemiah 8:8, NASB
They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read. Nehemiah 8:8, NIV.
Today’s One Year Bible reading from Nehemiah 8 touches on something I work on a lot: translating the Scriptures for those who don’t yet have the Bible in a language they understand well.
Some people aren’t aware that in the 21st century there are still languages actively used in parts of the world without any Scripture in that language. Often they are in places geographically or politically isolated. Some call it “Bible poverty.” What a privilege it has been for Marilyn and me to have a part in translating Scriptures for one of those languages, and we continue to help others still working to do that.
What were Nehemiah and Ezra doing in Jerusalem so many years ago? Constable’s Notes ( ) explains it this way:
Not only did the leaders read the Word of God, they also translated it from the Hebrew language into Aramaic, the common language of the Persian Empire. Some of the Jews present did not know Hebrew (13:24) having grown up in Babylon and elsewhere away from Jews who maintained fluency in the Hebrew language…
Ezra and his associates not only translated the Law, they also explained what it meant and how it applied to the people. This is true Bible exposition.
We are privileged to have not just one but many translations of the English Bible, and additionally we are blessed to have those who can also teach and encourage us from Scripture.

by Bob Busenitz

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