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There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only that is foreign.

—Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters

“Secrets of Language Learning” by Nida /

On a poster in a United Mission to Nepal classroom in Kathmandu, “Secrets of Language Learning,” from Learning a Foreign Language by Eugene Nida (Bible translator):

  1. Language must be automatic, or it is practically useless.

  2. Only after one has learned to sit and listen can one profitably stand and speak.

  3. Three processes:

  • Drill and repetition
  • Thinking in the foreign language, and
  • Continued opportunities to use the language
  1. In general one must murder a language before mastering it, and part of the murdering process must begin at once.
“The first thing that happened in the life of the church was translation” /

The first thing that happened in the life of the church was translation. On the day of Pentecost, God’s powerful wind swept through Jesus’s followers, filling them, like the sails of a great oceangoing sailing ship, so that they could take God’s good news to the ends of the earth. And they found themselves speaking other languages, so that everyone in the crowd could understand. …

So, right from the start, they translated. Sometimes it happened, as at Pentecost, by the direct action of the holy spirit. Mostly, though it was through people eagerly turning the message into other languages.

—N. T. Wright, preface to The Kingdom New Testament

Lamppost in a Snowy Wood /
Illustration by Pauline Baynes
Illustration by Pauline Baynes

It will not go out of my mind that if we pass this post and lantern, either we shall find strange adventures or else some great changes of our fortunes.

―Lucy Pevensie in C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

[This is a great moment in literature. A scene of common elements — a lamppost in a snowy wood — becomes a threshold to an “other” place. Even now. —C.M.H.]

“From love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling” /

I also have had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn’t stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower — become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations.

—C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (78–79)

[These words often come to mind: “drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling….” I receive it as correction and needed “Grace.” —C.M.H.]

“Please, stop having quiet times” /

Please, stop having quiet times…. Twice our Sacred Book calls itself a sword (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17).… A sword is only quiet when it’s not being used…. Envision pages littered with “pen-tina” — not rust — but circles, underlines, notes, comments, prayers.…

The Sword of the Spirit takes no prisoners. It cuts through the thoughts and intentions of the heart. It calls our bluff. It swacks through the jungle of fig leaf weeds and shows what’s really there — what’s hidden, phony, self-righteous, and where the gospel of grace is needed. Reverberations of the Sword’s presence spill out on our lives. Nuclear bombs envy the force of the Word.

Eat it up at Jeff Medders, “Please Stop Having Your Quiet Time.”

“Such a struggle… such a saint” /

“How can the regenerate Paul — man of God that he is, and author of Romans 6 and 8 — be experiencing such a struggle with sin as we see in Romans 7?”

Packer gently leaned over the table, looked me in the eye, and said, “Young man, Paul wasn’t struggling with sin because he was such a sinner. Paul was struggling because he was such a saint.”

From “A Key Insight about Romans 7 from a Conversation with J.I. Packer” at The Good Book Blog.

I had grown up in Connecticut, and gone to Mexico City, and from there to Chalco, but that did not do any good unless I went the last five feet; that is, unless I contacted the people, told them about the Lord, and taught them to use the books we had brought them.

—Eunice Pike

Remember that shouting at Indians [does] not bring relief from biting mosquitos.

—W. Barbrooke Grubb, An Unknown People in an Unknown Land, 198, as quoted in J. Loewen, “Lengua Indians and their ‘Innermost.’”

“The church would be unrecognizable or unsustainable without translation” /

Christianity is a translated religion without a revealed language. The issue is not whether Christians translated their Scripture well or willingly, but that without translation there would be no Christianity or Christians. Translation is the church’s birthmark as well as its missionary benchmark: the church would be unrecognizable or unsustainable without it.

—Lamin Sanneh, Whose Religion Is Christianity? (p. 97), as quoted by David Frank in “Reflections on the nature of Bible Translation”.