Today we celebrate Reformation Day (and you thought it was Halloween!), remembering Martin Luther’s nailing of his “95 Theses” to the Wittenberg church door in an attempt to start a dialogue with the Catholic Church. This act changed the course of history and Christianity as Luther challenged powerful church officials by rightly asserting that salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, rather than by good deeds and work.
Luther did not set out to start a new church, but was concerned about specific ways the church of the time had strayed from biblical teaching. He held up the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, higher than church doctrine and teachings. Martin Luther was passionate about the Bible, and translated it into the German vernacular (as opposed to Latin), making it accessible to everyday people.
You and I are blessed today to have so many English translations of the Bible available. But what if we only had access to the Bible in Latin? Or Russian? Or Swahili? How well would we understand it? How would our faith flourish?
In honor of Reformation Day, I invite you to check out the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators (www.wycliffe.org), a Christian organization busy making God’s Word accessible to the everyday people of the world. There are currently more than 2000 languages in the world, spoken by about 350 million people, that have no part of the Bible in their native tongue. Of the 6800+ languages in the world, only 471 have the entire Bible available to them in the language they best understand.
The task is great. The workers are few. Consider how you might play a part in bringing God’s Word – and the message of salvation by grace, through faith – to the everyday people of the world so the truth may set them free. Let freedom ring! Happy Reformation Day!