The American Sign Language Bible translation has finally been completed after 39-years in the making.
American Sign Language
In the fall of 2020, 3.5 million deaf people finally have the complete Bible in the American Sign Language (ASL) translation. The final books that were translated were Isaiah, Jerimiah, and Ezekiel. This project started in 1981 when minister Duane King of the Independent Christian Church saw the struggles of deaf people in the country.
In 1970, Duane met a Christian couple who decided not to come to church that much because they couldn’t understand what was going on. Duane started to learn the sign language to start a church and mission or the deaf with his wife, Peggy. Today, their deaf school in Council Bluffs, Iowa is now one of the nation’s leading deaf schools.
After years, they realized that it wasn’t enough to sign the English Bible, the Bible needs to be translated into ASL.
“Most hearing people don’t understand how difficult it is to learn to read what you cannot hear,” Duane King said in 2019. “Deaf people rely so much on their eyesight that they want everything to be tangible—they want to be able to see everything. This sometimes makes it harder.”
Renca Dunn, a deaf woman, shared her insights about having the Bible translated into her own language. She says that she has no problem understanding the people, places, and things in the Scripture. However, she finds it hard to understand the emotion each verse portrays. Now that she has the ASL Bible translation, the nouns now vibrate with life and emotion.
“The clapping trees. The singing birds. The dancing meadows,” Renca says. “The persistent Esther. The revengeful Saul. The weeping Magdalene. Most of all, our loving Jesus.”
Reference: Christian Headlines