Auslan Bible

Understanding the Scripture reading in church for the first time

God’s word in a language that speaks to the heart

We each have a language that speaks best to our inmost being. For the hearing-impaired in Australia, that language is Auslan (Australian Sign Language).

Ruth Hampton is a former member of the committee working to produce the Bible in Auslan. Recently, Ruth had an encounter that really brought home to her the impact of this work. “I visited a church in Canberra to speak about the Bible Society. I decided to talk about the Auslan Bible Translation Project as part of my presentation during the church service. The Gospel of Luke had not been out very long and so I took the new DVD with me. ⠀

“I chose Jesus’ story of The Prodigal Son, about the young man who ran away from home and wasted his life and how the Father welcomed him back home. In church, I showed The Prodigal Son story with Kevin Beath’s stunningly beautiful Auslan signing. People were very interested to see it as they knew the story and because they could hear the English voiceover. They were excited to work out some of the Auslan signs for themselves.⠀

“After the service, a young girl came up to me and introduced herself. Through an interpreter, she told me that she was deaf.⠀

‘Thank you for showing us the Auslan Bible,’ she said. ‘Today was the first time I have ever understood the Bible reading in church!’ She was so excited and it was a thrill for me to give her the DVD of Luke.

“I have never forgotten that moment. I think it was then that I really understood that the Deaf really do need the Bible in their own sign language, in Auslan. ‘Hearing people’ like me can easily presume that deaf people can read English and so they can just read English Bibles like anyone else and understand them. But I learned from that girl that English alone is not good enough. Everybody needs the Bible in their own heart language, the language in which they think. This is just as true for the Deaf as it is for anyone else.

God wants them to see his Word in Auslan.”

You can get behind this vital work by helping Bible Society to Open The Bible at Home. There are many reasons why people across Australia are cut off from God’s word. These include a lack of awareness or desire, or barriers such as poverty, illiteracy, or the non-availability of a full Bible in one’s heart language, such as Auslan. This year we are making a special ask to help us provide 200,000 Bible resources for the work at home, and that you would pray for Australia in this season and in the days ahead.

Prayer Points

* Pray for the new translation team working on the Auslan Bible
* Pray for accuracy and speed as more books of the Bible are translated
* Praise God for the spiritual growth and sharing made possible by the Auslan Scriptures

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