Literacy: An Amazing Gift from God

The other day, we went to watch a movie. We don’t often watch movies anymore because we simply don’t have time and too often the values presented within are contrary to our own. However, this movie intrigued us, so we took our oldest three children and went. It was called Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy.  It began as an apologetic for Mosaic authorship of the first five books of the Bible and ended up being an exploration of the amazing invention of the alphabet. Instead of thousands of unique symbols, one for each word, which required years of dedicated study to master, the alphabet translated the unique sounds of spoken language into a much smaller set of characters.  This, combined with the later invention of the printing press, allowed the written word to be learned by virtually everyone.  As we walked out of the movie, we couldn’t help but reflect on how God has been working throughout history to bring His very own words to the hands of His people. Often, living here in the English speaking world where books are affordable and plentiful, we often forget how precious the ability to read is.

Many people groups around the world are without a full translation of the Bible.  Not only do translators have to translate the Bible’s Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic into the language of the local people, they often are faced with creating a whole new alphabet.  They set up schools to teach children and adults how to read their written language, usually using the Bible as the curriculum. The belief that God gave us His written word has driven His people throughout the ages to teach literacy so that people could read the Bible for themselves — first with the Hebrews and later in the Christian church.

We tried to capture a picture of these challenges in our books.  Like many people in our world today, the Jyrye do not possess a full translation of the Bible in their language, having only picture books to tell the stories.  Palo, an uneducated former Fleggish slave, does not have the ability to read. The Dormankye have never seen the Book of the Way in any form.  On top of this, cultural differences create their own unique challenges, much like missionaries face in our world.

When we hold a Bible within our hands, do we even realize how much of blessing it is?  God had given us a precious gift in His written word.  We should read it, treasure it, and never forget that we are called to share it with the world.

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