Bible translation in Christian mission : a case study of the spiritual and socio-cultural impact of the Bible translation strategy of the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation on the Dega people of Ghana.
After participants had been told of the processes of Bible translation during a prayer partners meeting of Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), one of them asked, "After the people have been given the Scriptures, what happens?" This study has been an attempt to supply answers to such questions. It attempts to ascertain the impact that the Bible translation strategy (BTS) of GILLBT has had on the Dega people of Ghana, especially their socio-cultural and spiritual lives. The study uses Darrell Whiteman's conceptual framework of Integral Human Development to analyse how the Bible translation strategy has contributed to their human development. The BTS comprises linguistic and anthropological research, Bible translation, literacy and development and Scripture-In-Use. The dissertation traces the historical origins and the rich but distinctive cultural beliefs and practices of the Dega. The results have shown that rete WJ bi ka, tete WJ bi kyere, "the past has a lot to say and teach us". The emergence of the Church and the BTS in the Dega Hare (Degaland) has also been outlined. One fact that runs through all the stories is the conspicuous role that the laity played in bringing the Church to Dega Hare. The Church came as early as in the 1930s, mostly from the south of the country. However, the situation is changing and from the 1990s Dega initiated churches are emerging. The BTS has been in Dega Hare since 1981 and some of the fruits have been the Deg New Testament, an ongoing Old Testament translation, a literacy program that has made over three thousand Dega literate in Deg, a Scripture use promotion program called Scripture-In-Use and an indigenous organisation, Deg Language Project. The dissertation analyses the socio-cultural and spiritual impact that the BTS has had on Dega in chapters four and five. It uses human interest stories and testimonies to depict the impact on the lives of individuals and communities. The dissertation ends with a summary of the findings and some recommendations for the future.