The Grasslands people have cultivated the land and herded small flocks of sheep along the grassy slopes and valleys in the Sierra Madre Mountains for many centuries. Churches in the area have wanted the Scriptures in their own language for a long time. Pastor Alfonso and his daughter, Elizabeth, and his niece, Angeles, both grown women, became seriously interested in this work. They are drafting the New Testament, adapting it from a related language.
Grasslands speakers aren’t accustomed to studying sections, chapters and books of the Bible as a whole, but tend to treat each individual verse as a separate piece of information. Elizabeth uses a local picture to explain how to understand the Bible. She demonstrates that when the apostle Paul wrote his epistles, he went about it in the same way as they do when they make cradles.
When Grasslands women make a cradle, they have a certain child in mind. The age of the child determines the size of the cradle, that is, the size of its frame. Once the frame is made, they use thread to weave a net that fills the frame. The thread doesn’t stick out in any odd place where it doesn’t have any function. Instead, each piece of the thread is interconnected with the rest and has the function to hold the network together.
In the same way, the apostle Paul had a certain purpose for the letters he sent to the churches. The needs of a church determined what he wrote about. His books are like the frame of the cradle. The verses are like the network that fills the frame; they contain ideas that are connected and make one big whole. Individual verses shouldn’t be treated like threads that stick out in odd places.
Pray that the translators will continue to find creative ways of showing the Grasslands people how to use and study the Scriptures.