Sunday, January 28, 2007

"To the Praise of His Glorious Grace"

Since I spent last weekend immersed in Bible translation issues and linguistics, I've been thinking about a couple of things this week.
First of all, we as English speakers are incredibly blessed with a heritage of Bible scholars who have passed on their knowledge to us. Think of all the printed resources and electronic resources that we can access that help us in understanding the Bible. Most language groups do not have such riches.
Secondly, I've been marvelling over the incredible truth that God in all His sovereignty uses finite humans in His work. This is a fact that I have been aware of intellectually, but this past weekend it dawned upon me in a very down-to-earth way. I found myself sitting in the kitchen of a missionary family who is home on furlough. And there we were working on part of translation project of the New Testament for a tribe in Papua New Guinea. And I was there. I was a part of it. What a humbling and yet also simultaneously an exhilarating experience. There are believers in Papua New Guinea who will be helped by what we accomplished this last weekend. I have a bond with them, even though we will probably never meet this side of eternity (unless I manage to visit Papua New Guinea some day). Talk about establishing a global perspective. How great it is to be reminded that God is at work and that He chooses to use individuals to accomplish that work.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An Incredible Tolkien Book

So, I admit it, I was a dedicated J. R. R. Tolkien fan long before the movies were even in the making. I read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and even The Silmarillion while I was in high school. And yes, a friend of mine and I did write notes to each other using the Angerthas alphabet. (If that doesn't make sense to you, then don't worry; you're just not into Tolkien that much.)Well, lately I've stumbled across this marvelous book called "The Road to Middle Earth" by T. A. Shippey. (here's the link to the book's info at the Library of Congress)
I haven't finished the book, but it is an explanation of how Tolkien came about to writing first The Hobbit and then LOTR. And, it explores it from a philological / linguistic aspect. Ok, so maybe that only fascinates me - since I labored through 11 weeks of linguistic classes this summer - but it is a compelling read. Shippey's work draws in the background of Old English, Old Germanic, and Norse texts that provide the backdrop for Tolkien's works. Anyway, all that to say, if you're fascinated by Tolkien and his works, this is a read I recommend.
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