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    "Translated into Life"

    Retrospective #22 October 3, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
    "I want to see a new translation of the Bible..."
    "I want to see a new translation of the Bible..."

    The other day when I was thinking about my grandmother and her satchel I suddenly remembered that she possessed an unusual or rare Salvation Army Song Book in her day. Now by this I mean only one or two of them could be found in our corps and I’ve not seen one anywhere since. Thinking surely there must be examples of this book here at the archives I set out to find them. It was not to be so. Alas, there was every other form new and old of the Songbook but not this one. I even contemplated calling my cousin in Australia to prove to myself I was not imaging this and that the book had indeed existed.

    Hallelujah! Yesterday day I discovered that I had been looking in the wrong place. The volumes I had handled were “extras” you might say. They were not the “chosen representatives” of their kind. I now know that we have at least three preserved samples of this unique compilation safely kept in a file box in our temperature controlled room. (For the record I took them out of the box to take the pics you’ll find below).

    “What’s all the excitement about?”

    I thought you’d never ask!

    Both my grandmother and the Home League Secretary had copies of The Salvation Army Songbook and complete KJV of the Bible in one leather-bound book. First published in 1953 and last published in 1955 according to the information I could find although this may not be completely accurate. The copies we have appear to be smaller than the one my Nan had - that or my kid’s memory made it bigger than it actually was?!

    Most of us are familiar with the SA Songbook with New Testament & Psalms (now NIV) but how many knew we had also produced the SA Songbook with a complete Bible? Those of you from my generation and older – put your hands down!

    Excuse me? Did you just ask “what’s the big deal?”

    Bible + SA Song Book / SA Songbook + Bible (Yes, they were printed in both orders!)

    You can’t have one without the other! I just think that that’s fantastic! For me it’s a meaningful object lesson that tells me every song and teaching in our Songbook must be supported by what the Bible teaches and cannot be contrary to it. It also serves as a reminder as to just how much of scripture actually appears in our songbook.

    I realize that this seems like small potatoes in this digital age. It amazes me when I think that I’m carrying sixteen English translations of the complete Bible on my phone. Not to mention the hundreds of books stored in several Book Apps. If we were to reproduce the Songbook/Bible combo today - which of these renderings could we marry to our current hymnal? That thought prompted me to look for this one, from the Founder himself regarding the translation of the scriptures:

    “…Meanwhile, I am most interested just now in a further translation, for which either volume will serve. I want to see a new translation of the Bible into the hearts and conduct of living men and women. I want an improved translation – or transference it might be called – of the commandments and promises and teachings and influences of this Book to the minds and feelings and words and activities of the men and women who hold on to it and swear by it and declare it to be an inspired Book…
    That seems to me to be the only translation, after all, that will in the long run prove to be of any value. It is the reproduction of the Scriptures in men and women that makes their worth…It is of no use making correct translations of words if we cannot get the WORDS TRANSLATED INTO LIFE.” {Taken from THE FOUNDER SPEAKS AGAIN p.198}

    In my personal study recently an author spoke of Jesus as just such – the Word translated into life! The same author then reinforces the challenge that each of us are to be like Jesus!

    “TO be like Jesus!
    This hope possesses me,
    In every thought and deed,
    This is my aim, my creed;
    To be like Jesus!
    This hope possesses me,
    His Spirit helping me,
    Like Him I'll be.” – John Gowans

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