Bible Launched with Joy!
It was the climax of 24 years' work. On 7 October 2001,
Christians from all over Istanbul crammed into a church near the Covered
Market to thank God for a new translation of the Bible. Language reform
over the last 75 years had made the old version very difficult to understand.
So there was a great burst of joy that Christians would finally have a Bible
they could understand.
One lady put it like this: "I cried a lot today... Today
the Bible is in my hand. We are very happy - more than happy we are very
proud. Today I feel myself closer to God in my own language, in my own
being. For this is my own language. The Lord speaks to me, the Lord speaks
to me in my own language". A church leader added: "I want to thank the
Lord and all the brethren, who have given the utmost importance to this
subject, those responsible, those who have given gifts. It was at the
top of our prayer list."
The Official Launch
Of course the Bible must be available to everybody, not just believers.
With this in mind the official launch was held the evening before at a
major hotel. It was geared to the media, officials and academics. A number
of Moslem theologians attended. It is not easy to teach Comparative Religion,
when little Christian material is available. One professor asked as he
came in, "Will we be able to understand it now?" One of the translators
replied, "I guarantee you will". The Greek Orthodox Patriarch, who lives
in Istanbul, also graciously attended and spoke briefly. He talked about
Jesus as the Word, who became flesh, took men's sins upon himself and
died on the Cross. He also spoke of the necessity for believers constantly
to be reading the Scriptures in a language they can understand.
A video was shown, portraying how the Bible manuscripts
have been faithfully passed down to us through the centuries and explaining
the history of Turkish Bible translations. "A video was shown" sounds
so simple. Actually the translation and dubbing of the video had been
rather overlooked. A studio in Istanbul went to great lengths to help
and the video was finally completed at 2 a.m. on the day of the Launch.
The Lord put all of this together without a great deal of planning on
From Istanbul we went on to a church celebration in Ankara and an
official reception for the media in Izmir. We are grateful to God that
all the Bible Launch events passed off joyfully, without any problems
whatever. It was striking how well this reflected on the Turkish authorities
and Turkish people at such a time. For the official launch, planned for
many months, took place the day before the bombing in Afghanistan began.
The co-incidence could have produced negative comment in the press. Instead
newspapers reported how prayers were offered for the international situation
and a minute's silence was held for the victims of terror. They also
noted the Patriarch's comment that religious leaders carried more responsibility
than ever in the light of the events facing mankind. Thank you for praying
for all the events.
After the events were completed in Turkey, we returned to London for
Thanksgiving events in the UK. 170 people gathered in Greenwich to celebrate
the completion of the project. Roger Forster spoke from Psalm
19 on the importance of God's Word. Graham Kendrick led a time of joyful
worship with a magnificent band. Behnan Konutgan spoke on behalf of the
Bible Society, our faithful partners in this twenty year project. Again
a special video was shown of the Launch events in Turkey and the future
plans of the Trust. Special prayers were offered to dedicate the new
The Bible Goes Out
the printer struggled with the production process. Deadlines were repeatedly
missed. The situation was so bad that we scarcely had enough copies for
the Launch events. As a result we were unable to get copies out to the bookshops
for the Launch date.
orders are in hand for the whole of the first printing. Pray for better
success for the second printing, which will be launched almost immediately.
Pray too that this may prove only the beginning. The Turkish church has
the goal of "A Church in Every Province, The Gospel to Every Home". May
Bibles make it into Turkish homes nationwide for the first time ever.
The end of the beginning
Many thanks to all of you, who have helped make all this possible through
your prayers and gifts over many years. We are grateful for faithful supporters.
We would, however, add a request: Don't give up now! For all practical
purposes the appearance of the Bible is the beginning, not the end! See Current
Projects for details of what still needs to be done.