Accent on Scripture

February 14, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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A disabled child in China reads through a Bible written in the Chinese language during a home visit.  (File photo)

Accent on Scripture

By Dan Breen Dan short 3.jpg

I don’t have an accent. I’m sure you don’t either. We’re only told we have accents when someone who speaks far more strangely than us points it out.

When I moved from Michigan to Iowa as a child, a handful of people enjoyed playfully poking fun at — in their opinion only — the peculiar way I pronounced AR-words: car, bar, tar. They suggested I sounded more like a pirate searching for buried treasure than an Iowan. Arrrr matey.

Whether you’re from Baaaston, New Yawk, Tennessaaay or Minnesoata, everyone speaks a little differently.

In preparation for the Luke Society’s African Regional Conference this March in Senegal, I was adding French subtitles to video greetings our regional coordinators had delivered in English. Executive Director Dr. Wrede Vogel made a suggestion that I also include English subtitles. If you’re not used to listening to someone’s accent, hearing even common words is sometimes a challenge.

It goes beyond accents. When your children were learning to speak, I’m sure there were times you had to be the interpreter for others. What you heard clear as a bell from your child came out as gobbledy-gook to the person sitting right next to you.

The more you’re around people who speak differently, the easier hearing and understanding their voice becomes.

I think it’s similar to the way we hear God’s voice in our lives. The more time you put into Scripture reading; the more effort you invest in your prayer life; the easier it is to hear the Lord speaking to you. It’s hard to cultivate a relationship if your communication only happens sporadically.

Hebrews 6:1 says: “Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity.” No matter how spiritually seasoned you think you are, there’s always room for growth. Spending regular time with the Lord helps us grow and better understand our faith.

The Luke Society office is spending our staff devotions in 2019 reading through the entire New Testament together. It’s our hope that spending regular time in the Scriptures will better enable us to filter out the noise and accents in the world and listen effectively to what the Lord wants us to know about Him and his calling for us.

We invite you to join us on that journey as well. There are 260 chapters in the New Testament, so there’s plenty of time to make a commitment to reading one chapter a day.

Feel free to read in whatever accent comes naturally. We won’t judge.

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