Monday, April 25, 2016

How to Access Other Languages on YouVersion

I frequently do Bible studies with friends who do not speak English as their first language. It is often difficult for them to discuss and understand abstract texts in English. They feel much more at home with their mother tongue. I can do Bible studies with them in English, but it is limiting. Access to Bibles in their languages can sometimes be difficult or expensive. It can also be threatening for them to read in public places. One of the best solutions I've found for sharing the Bible across language barriers is the YouVersion Bible app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for free and contains a massive number of translations of the Bible, not only in English, but in many different languages.

Here's how to access them:

Open your YouVersion App

When it loads you find yourself on the homepage. Hit "Read."

The app should open the last translation you used at the last passage you read. I was reading Genesis with a friend and my app opens to Genesis Chapter one. In the top right near the center you should have a button showing the translation. Mine shows the NKJV translation. Hit that.

That will open a list of translations you have recently used and languages you have chosen. As you can see, mine is a bit mixed up because I use English, Bangla, and Arabic. Find your selected Language which should be at the center or middle of the page. Yours should say English. Mine says Bangla (in Bangla characters). Hit change.

This will open a very large list of languages. From here you are a little bit on your own. You need to be able to recognize what language you need, and you may need to recognize it in its own characters. In other words, you can't just hit "Arabic" you have to be able to identify Arabic script and hit it to open the translations available in Arabic. Start scrolling down the list. We have to get past the letter "Z" in order to find languages in their own script.

Keep scrolling.

Keep scrolling.

We found different scripts. Now we have to find the one we need. I'm going to pick Bangla.

I found Bangla. It says Bengali on the right, but I know enough of the Bangla alphabet to sound it out the first time I found it. You may need to be able to do so to find the language you need. Or get your friend to find it on the list. Just ask, "I want to show you something. Which one is your language?"

My YouVersion has three different translations in Bangla. One uses neutral terms. One uses Hindu terms, and One uses Muslim terms. I know one of the translators who created the translation that uses the Muslim terms. He and several others assured me that while it uses some Muslim terms, it retains familial language and is theologically faithful to the text. You may need to do the same kind of research to choose the right translation for your friend.

The app now goes back the text that was pulled up and it is in Bangla! I can have my friend read it from here.

To go back to English I just hit the translation button again and NKJV is in my recently used translation lists as is the Bangla version. I can navigate to a passage in English and with two buttons change the text to Bangla and show my friend. Questions or comments? Share them below.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Memorizing First John in One Year

This year I set my first ever memorization goal. I have struggled with Bible memorization since I first gave my life to Jesus. For most of my Christian life I gave up on intentional memorization and just decided to surround and saturate myself with Scripture, hoping that certain verses would stick.

A number of projects on this website were part of this approach, and it honestly worked fairly well. Reading ten chapters per day, listening to audio sermons consistently, reading books that quoted Scripture, writing articles and essays based on Scripture, leading Bible Studies, preaching, and ministry in general saturated my mind with Scripture. I ended up memorizing many verses including the references just because of constant use.

This year, I am adding intentional memorization to my goals. I have given myself the whole year to memorize the First Epistle of John. I am about four months in, and I am steadily spending time each day memorizing the book.

Are my methods effective? I will honestly have to wait until the end of the year to be sure. I know I did not choose the most effective method. I wanted to use this method:

Unfortunately this approach focuses on such small amounts that it actually requires more discipline for me. I struggled to stay interested. I decided to add another memorization habit to my life first. I took habits I already had and added to them.

  • I take a shower everyday
  • I love listening to the audio Bible with film scores behind it
I decided that everyday I would listen to one chapter of First John on a loop while I was in the shower. I recite the chapter out loud along with the audio Bible for as long as I'm in the shower (or longer in I feel like it).

I listen to and recite the same chapter in the shower everyday for one month. Then I move on to the next chapter. It is April, so I am reciting 1 John 4. Next month I will recite 1 John 5. In June I will start to writing out and reciting First John One from memory (I actually have this chapter down really well; it's the shortest). This will mean adding an additional habit, but I intend to keep the shower recitation going.

Have you memorized long passages of Scripture? What method did you use?