Slovenia was officially a communist country until 1991 and atheism has shaped whole generations of people. Without subsequent revival in the following 20 years that was otherwise typical for many of the former Communist countries, it has also greatly influenced the youth of today. It doesn’t help much that the New Testament has been translated into Slovenian as long ago as the 16th century. The literal elevated style of “standard” translations has kept the message “locked” in a high and “Churchy” language that is difficult for the young people to understand.
But there are still at least 6.000 young people that attend the Stična youth festival each year. It is claimed to be one of the larger meetings of Christian youth in this part of Europe. But of course, that doesn’t mean that all the attendees are disciples of Jesus. Many of them are there just for the fun. But that’s okay. Them being there means they haven’t ditched Christ all the way like the vast majority of their Slovenian peers.
For the second time in a row, all these attendees of the Stična youth festival received a free gift from the Bible Society of Slovenia – the second portion of our common language translation project Life with Jesus. The consecutive launch of different portions of the NT at the festival will bring the New Testament into modern Slovenian language by 2018. This year’s edition contains the Book of Acts and 2nd and 3rd letter of John. Conveniently enough, the motto of this year’s event was taken from the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all men” (Mt 28,19).
Primož, one of the participants at the festival said: “This Bible translation strikes the essence of the 2000 year old message, because it is cleaned of old expressions. It’s great; it’s very good for the young, for the people of today”. This way it will be easier for them to comprehend the story of Acts and figure out a way in which they too will take on their role in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Another attendee, Klara said: »I really like the new Life with Jesustranslation of the Bible. Personally I prefer it to the regular (standard translation) Bible, since it is much easier to understand«.
To help the young attendees “bite” further into the Word, the translators Matjaž Črnivec (also Bible society General Secretary) and two young priests Janez Jeromen Jr. and Jernej Kurinčič prepared a challenging workshop in which they also presented the details of the translation process and shared their experiences about regular Bible reading habits with the attendees.
The Bible society staff was extremely encouraged to hear that along with the young people, many pastoral workers and priests were excited about the translation project as well. Sister Jana Rovtar says: “I have used the new translation in my pastoral work with different youth groups and it is an experience that calls for more of the Word in the modern language!” To help them with such work we included a special six-part devotional at the back of the booklet. Since we want to invite the young people to take part in the translation process, we also have a dedicated Facebook site for the Life with Jesus project, where we share the newly translated parts of the New Testament with the youth and gather their responses.
The Bible Society aims for this translation to be used in regular pastoral work, and the publication of this second portion has shown that this is already taking place in communities throughout Slovenia – both Catholic and Evangelical. After the Catholic youth festival, the smaller evangelical Churches throughout Slovenia also received free copies of the portion and the pastors were very excited about the project. Steve Telzerow of the “International Christian community” says it is an absolute necessity for the Slovenian youth to have access to this translation as it communicates the Gospel message in a more meaningful way.
The Photo album on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.717379898290297