As he ministered among native tribes, pastor Terry Wildman would reword parts of Scripture to reflect the language and perspectives of his people. This year, his efforts to “indigenize” Bible translation turned into an official version of the New Testament published by InterVarsity Press.
The following is an excerpt from Ephesians in the First Nations Version, which released on Tuesday.
A Great Mystery Revealed
Because I, Small Man (Paul), follow the Chosen One and represent you Nations in this way, I have been arrested and put in chains. I am sure you have heard how the Great Spirit chose me, because of his great kindness, to be a wisdomkeeper to all Nations. Creator chose me, by a sacred vision, to make known this hidden wisdom that I have already spoken about.
When you hear this message, you will understand how I see the mystery of the Chosen One. This mystery was not made known to the generations of humankind that walked before us in the same way his Spirit has now told it to his holy message bearers and prophets.
This mystery is that the people of all Nations have equal share in the blessings promised to the tribes of Wrestles with Creator (Israel). They have full membership in the same body and are included in the promise through the Chosen One as told in the good story.
Chosen to Tell the Good Story
The gift of Creator’s great kindness came to me in a powerful way and created in me a desire to serve this good story. Even though I am small and weak among his holy people, he still chose me to tell all Nations about the mysterious treasures he has hidden in the Chosen One and about the unfolding of this ancient plan—a great mystery that was hidden away for many ages in Creator’s heart. So that now, through his sacred family, his great wisdom, which is like a rainbow with many colors, will be made known to the powers and rulers in the spirit-world above.
This good story gives full meaning to the ancient purpose he planned before he created all things. This purpose has now been made clear though the Chosen One, Creator Sets Free (Jesus). Our trust in him opens the way and gives us strong hearts to move close to the Great Spirit. So do not become weak of heart when you hear about how much I am suffering for you, which is proof of your great worth.
A Humble Prayer
This is the reason I bow down on my knees and humble myself before the Father above, from whom all families, clans, and tribes, in this world and in the spirit-world above, are named.
My prayer for you is that from the great treasures of his beauty, Creator will gift you with the Spirit’s mighty power and strengthen you in your inner being. In this way, the Chosen One will make his home in your heart.
I pray that as you trust in him, your roots will go deep into the soil of his great love, and that from these roots you will draw the strength and courage needed to walk this sacred path together with all his holy people. This path of love is higher than the stars, deeper than the great waters, wider than the sky. Yes, this love comes from and reaches to all directions.
I pray that you would feel how deep the Chosen One’s great love is. It is a love that goes beyond our small and weak ways of thinking. This love fills us with the Great Spirit, the one who fills all things. I am praying to the Maker of Life, who, by his great power working in us, can do far more than what we ask for, more than our small minds can imagine.
May his sacred family and the Chosen One bring honor to him across all generations, to the time beyond the end of all days. Aho! May it be so!
A Humble Path
Because I walk the road with our Honored Chief, I have been made a prisoner. I now call on you to join me in representing him in a good way as you follow the path he has chosen for you. Walk with a humble and gentle spirit, patiently showing love and respect to each other. Let his Spirit weave you together in peace as you dance in step with one another in the great circle of life.
In this circle we are joined together in one body, by one Spirit, chosen to follow one purpose. There is only one Honored Chief, one common faith, and one purification ceremony. There is one Great Spirit and Father of us all, who is above all, and who works in and through all.
The Headdress of the Chosen One
His great kindness has gifted each of us from the headdress of the Chosen One. That is why it is said, “When he was lifted up on high, he captured many warriors, took their spoils of war, and gave them back to the people.”
What does “he was lifted up” mean? It could only mean that he had to first come down, into the lowest parts of the earth, so he could be lifted up, to the highest place, and be the one who would restore all things.
Walking in Harmony
He gifted us with message bearers, prophets, tellers of the good story, and wisdomkeepers, who watch over us like a shepherd watches over his sheep. These gifts were given to prepare Creator’s holy people for the work of helping others and to make the body of the Chosen One strong until we all follow the good road in harmony with each other because we know and understand who Creator’s Son is.
We will then be like the Chosen One—mature human beings, living and walking in his ways, and fully reflecting who he is. No longer will we be like children who are tossed about by the waves and follow every voice they hear in the wind. We will no longer listen to the ones who behave like tricksters with their forked tongues.
Instead, as true human beings, we will walk out this truth on the path of love. When we become fully grown, we will be like the Chosen One, joined together with him in the same way a body is connected to its head. Every joint in this body is needed to hold it together and help it grow. When all the parts work together the way they should, then the body grows strong in the love of the Great Spirit.
From First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament by Terry M. Wildman. Consulting editor: First Nations Version Translation Council. Copyright (c) 2021 by Rain Ministries, Inc. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.