Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This Sunday we begin the Month of the Bible. In many parts of Latin America, September is recognized as the Month of the Bible because in this month in 1569, the Reina-Valera Bible was published for the first time. This is the most well-known translation of the Scriptures in Spanish in Latin America.
Casiodoro de Reina was a monk in a monastery near Seville, Spain. He fled Spain with his brother monk, Cipriano de Valera, and with his help, Reina translated the Bible into Spanish, a complete translation of the original texts. Before the King James Version, the Scriptures were translated from Latin, not directly from the original languages. In the confusion and disorder after the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe, many things were lost. The monks in their monasteries preserved copies of the Bible and other books, but only in Latin. With the restoration of communication and commerce with the countries of the East, the original texts were rediscovered. This rediscovery impelled new translations of the Bible and the invention of the movable type press by Gutenberg, impelled the distribution. Such was the context of the Reformation of the sixteenth century.
What is the importance of Bible translation? Is not it enough to have the Scriptures in Hebrew and Greek? Not everyone has the time or the ability to learn Hebrew or Greek. But, everyone must learn the message of the Bible and ideally in the language of their heart. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church, all the disciples began to speak in other tongues. People from all over the world of the Mediterranean Sea were in Jerusalem and they all heard the gospel in their own language. This miracle pointed out that the will of God is for His gospel should be proclaimed in all languages.
Also, says our text for today, "the deaf will hear the words of the book." That means, this book, the Bible. This is a Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. Our young people have studied the books of the Old Testament. All of the Old Testament was written before the birth of Jesus Christ, but all the books point to Christ. We confess to the Nicene Creed that the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets. In the Old Testament we have the testimony of prophets inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit also inspired the apostles. The books of the New Testament were written after the birth of Jesus by the apostles, such as St. Paul or St. John, or those who transcribed the teachings of the apostles, such as St. Luke.
Therefore, through the Bible, we can know Jesus. The books of the Old Testament speak of the promise of the prophet, king and high priest, the Savior of the world. All prophecies pointed to Jesus Christ. In the New Testament books, we have the clear testimony of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. In this way Paul speaks in our epistle (2 Corinthians 3: 4-11) of the two covenants. One in letters on the tables of stone, another of the spirit. By the law of Moses, we know the will of God; by Christ we know the love of God in our hearts. "The letter kills," that is, the Law condemns us. But, the Gospel leads us to eternal life. Christ fulfilled all the new covenant in our places.
In the Bible we have everything we need to know for salvation. With a translation in our own language, the Bible is clear to each one of us. "The Scripture alone" was a theme of the Reformation, and so it is for us today. Many people still do not accept the authority of Scripture. "How do we believe that God created heaven and earth in six days? The origin of the world is by causality, a development of billions of years. The men descended from the apes. "There is no room for God in this scheme.
However, when we see the immense universe in its diversity and harmony, let us see the evidence of a Designer. And in the testimony of the Scriptures, we have the revelation of the will of the Designer. From the beginning, because the first book of the Bible, Genesis, speaks of the creation of the world, to the end, because the last book, Revelation, speaks of the final day. This final day will not result from the change of climate, nor meteor, but on the final victory of Christ.
As our Gospel reading (Mark 7:31-37) says, Jesus touched the ears and tongue of the deaf mute because that was the way to communicate with him. God likewise communicates with us in ways that we can understand: Through the Word and the sacraments.
Thank God for the Bible. In his words, we have peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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