On page 74 of this month’s Christianity Today magazine (February 2005), an interviewer asks Freddy Boswell of Wycliffe Bible Translators "What about people groups who do not have a written language?" to which he replies:
"They do need a written text; they do need a written repository. But many of these people are not going to learn to read in their lifetimes. This has been a hard realization for some of us. There are many millions of people in the world who are going to die before they can read. The Epic Partnership, which we are part of, works to impact primarily oral cultures. As Wycliffe has emphasized literacy hand in hand with translation over the years, we're now strategizing more intensely about how to deliver the Scriptures in an oral or visual capacity. You see us working closely with the Jesus film, for instance.
[TBC: Certainly, the lack of printed Scriptures--and literacy--among many peoples worldwide is of great concern, and Wycliffe’s goal of beginning a translation into "in every language that needs one" by 2025 is indeed noble and worthy of support. But is it necessary, or even possible, to adequately and accurately "translate" the Word of God in a visual form? What does God’s word say?
--"So then faith cometh by hearing , and hearing by the word of God" (Romans:10:17)
--"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians:3:2)
--"Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word..." (Acts:16:6)
--"But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach" (Romans:10:8)
T. A. McMahon’s "Showtime for the Sheep" carefully addresses concerns over visual depictions of the Word of God. For more details, follow this link: