It is the Churches’ mission to make the Bible available for everyone – said Viktor Kókai Nagy. We asked the communication director of the new revised Bible translation, which was recently finished, about the new means and ways they use to help the Hungarian Bible Society spread the Word of God.
On the 27th of April you gave thanks for the newly revised translation of the Bible. Who can use the latest translation of the Holy Scripture?
I can only give a short answer to this question: everyone. In the case of the Bible it is never the question of who can read it, since it is not a complicated decoded text or a secret document or something rare which would be hard to buy. The question is rather, who wants read it.
The Bible for all – as the slogan of the publication’s promotion says. What does it express?
This slogan is an axiom, which cannot be questioned by anyone since the age of the reformation. A more important question rises asking that why do we have to popularise the Bible at all. And this can be answered well by the slogan mentioned bellow. It is the Churches’ mission to make the Bible available for everyone. I believe that the Bible explains itself, but this must be experienced, we must take it in our hands and read it. The responsibility of the Church lies here: we must bring the words of the Bible to the readers in the most understandable form. As a consequence of this, it is necessary to occasionally revise it, and rarely translate it again.
In an earlier article you have said: “It seems that we must change the communication.” How is it in connection with the latest publication of the Bible?
Unfortunately the traditional way of getting to know the Bible, where the Scripture was introduced to the children in their own family, is starting to disappear. On its occasions, the Church can only reach those who already read the Bible, or at least they intend to start. So these forms of communication will not reach out to a new public for the Bible. As a result of this, the Hungarian Bible Society must look for new ways if it wants to fulfil its mission and help the Churches to spread the Word of God. Finding new ways of communication is always hard. Apart from the wisdom of “do not change a known path to an unknown” we must see that especially in the case of the Bible the new means should be found very wisely and cautiously, so that we do not hurt anyone with them, but still compared to our possibilities our message gets enough attention and can reach out to many people from various age groups. That is why we try to use a wider range of means for our communication: newspaper articles, radio or television interviews, online publications, conferences help our work.
Through what traditional and new means can the Word be read?
First of all: the Bible is a book. There is no need to change this form. For example it comes across as strange if we cannot see the printed book in the centre during the liturgy. At the same time adjusting to the challenges of the modern age, the new revised Bible can be read with an application too, on cell phones. The American Bible reading application called YouVersion.com is used by more than 130 million people all over the world, who can read the Bible in more than 500 languages with the help of the mentioned application. Among the Hungarian Bibles we find the revised translation as well, which will be published as an e-book soon, and within a year the audio book will also be released. We would like to launch a Bible webpage, which will be something new compared to the traditional static Bible pages, and actively helps understanding the Scripture. We can look up the meaning of words, download pictures for a certain passage or it will lead us to a movie or composition in connection with the content. The emphasis still remains on the word of the Bible, but if the reader is interested he can have access to more useful information besides. Obviously this is a long-term plan and will take more years to achieve this variety of contents, but in our opinions it is only worth creating a new webpage if it can fully meet the people’s expectations today.
The Reformed Church in Hungary carries a public Church’s social message during the holidays. This Easter the Bible stands in the centre of it. In what way and to whom would you like to bring this message?
The main goal of this sequence of messages starting at Easter is that reading the Bible cannot be limited to the holidays only. The Bible can be an important part of our lives, because it has the answers for the questions in our everyday lives. That is why we decided on the internet as the best surface which can carry the message of popularizing the reading of the Bible. This is the medium used by the majority of the people we would like to reach out to. So the framework was given, we only had to choose the right form. It was evident to make a movie or a sequence of movies about how the Bible and its message can be part of the everyday life. To whom we would like to reach out with this message, is not a question. The Bible belongs to everyone.
Written by T. Németh László; translated: Anita Polgári