On Friday Fiona quoted from the story of the Samaritan woman. “Just another human being who needed to hear Jesus’ message. Race and gender had no relevance to her need to be saved.”
It reminded me of a story from Wycliffe Bible Translators:
Kenyan translators were checking their translation of Luke 9:48 when they hit a problem.
“Then He said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes My Father who sent me. Whoever is least among you is the greatest.'”
The English says ‘child’ – it doesn’t specify gender. In the language the translators were using, the only time you don’t specify gender is when the child is in the womb. Once the child is born, you have to use the word for ‘boy’ or ‘girl’. But which did Jesus bring to His side?
In their society women and girls are regarded as lowly. Women are usually counted with the children and have almost no rights or say in family matters. Wife-beating is common, and boys have more ‘value’ than girls.
If they chose boy-child would they aid the prejudice against women and girls? The women and girls might feel that Jesus, just like their men, doesn’t regard them highly. If they used ‘girl-child’, the men might feel challenged to reconsider; if the King of Kings regards a girl-child so highly, who are they to look down on women?
In the end they chose ‘girl-child’.
Prayer: Help us to have regard for those who are often overlooked or despised or abused. May we never find ourselves overlooking or despising or abusing others. May Bible translators around the world be given inspiration in their work to help people to understand what God is saying to them and about them. Amen.