Isaac’s New Bible
My friend Isaac is from Africa. He is always neat and tidy and very friendly when we meet, whether at church, or on the street. However, as he sells “Augustin”, the magazine which homeless people in Vienna publish every two weeks, I suspect that his life here in Austria is not easy.
Isaac is a member of our Anglican/Episcopalian Church in Vienna. He comes regularly every Sunday and is always sitting in his place about half an hour before the service begins, praying and reading his Bible. Talking to him a while back, I noticed that he was reading the “King James Version” of the Bible, which was translated into English just over 400 years ago. Many older people find its language – similar to Shakespeare’s – very beautiful. I personally find it a challenge, and am not always sure of the meaning it is trying to convey.
I asked Isaac if he would like a Bible in modern English. He looked rather uncertain and then said politely, “No thank you.” A few weeks later, it seemed he had thought it over and spoke to me about a new Bible. So the next time I saw him, I gave him one. Isaac looked rather doubtful. The Bible did not look like a Bible to him. It was not black.
It was a while before we saw one another again. This time Isaac was all smiles – gave me a big hug and couldn’t wait to tell me how wonderful it is to have a Bible which he can understand so much better!
The Good News Bible in the edition which the Bible Societies have brought out recently is proving a real hit with people who have English, not necessarily as their mother tongue, and live in difficult situations with few possessions. This Bible is compact, robust and has maps and introductions to help the reader on their journey of faith. With Isaac, I say a big thank you to the Bible Societies for producing this most helpful edition of the Bible, and to the Austrian Bible Society, for making them available for people here in Austria.
Rev. Aileen Hackl, Christ Church Vienna