It will bring a total transformation – Evang. Theophilus
The Okun Language speakers came out in their hundreds to receive the New Testament in Okun Language as The Bible Society of Nigeria dedicated the New Testament in the language at Ayetoro-Gbede in Kogi State, North Central Nigeria on Saturday, February 27, 2021.
The programme, which was interspersed with singing and dancing, brought a big relief to the speakers of the language who had been expecting the Okun New Testament since 2016.
One of those who received a copy of the Okun New Testament,
Evangelist Omolara Theophelus, said that it will make the presentation of the gospel effortless in Okun land. “We have been preaching and singing in the language, so reading the Bible now in Okun Language will enhance and revolutionise the presentation of the gospel. I am very excited about it,” he noted. He said further, “When you present the gospel in the language of the people you are preaching to, it is more impactful and productive. It will bring about a total transformation and make a monumental difference in terms of the impact it will have in the lives of the people.”
Chief Olorunshiye Kolade, who served as one of the reviewers of the NT, expressed joy seeing the Okun New Testament. He said that there are many people in the Church who do not understand English Language, but with the NT in their language, they will easily understand the Word of God. He added that the New Testament in Okun Language will serve as a unifying factor among the Okun speaking communities.
Corroborating this, the Chairman of Okun translation committee, Overseer F. O. Aguda, said the Okun NT has become a unifying factor for the Okun speaking people. According to him, the turn out of the people and the number of copies distributed during the dedication was a confirmation of his position.
A youth, Elijah Olorunfemi, was glad to receive a copy of the New Testament. He said, “It is a great joy for me having this NT today. We have long waited for it. Reading the Bible in other languages was a challenge, but with the Okun NT, it will be easy for us to understand the Word of God.”
The Obaro of Kabba, His Royal Majesty Oba Solomon Owoniyi, said he never knew it would be
possible to translate the Word of God into Okun Language because of the dialectical variations among the Okun speaking communities. He lauded The Bible Society of Nigeria for bringing the Okun NT to a reality, adding that he was looking forward to reading it.
The elated Chairman of the Okun NT dedication, Engineer Paul Ajisafe, stated that there was a time those who made efforts to translate the Word of God were humiliated and killed. He thanked the BSN for its translation efforts. He said that praising God in Okun Language evokes a special feeling for him. Mr Ajisafe appealed to the Okun Language speakers to use the Bible for worship and meditation and not as souvenirs.
Also, the Obasaju of Kabba, Chief Olarenwaju Kehinde, said it is important to have the Word of God in Okun
Language because people understand their mother tongues better than any other language, adding that it makes it easy for them to take to heart whatever they hear or read.
Earlier, the President of the BSN, Dr Timothy Banwo, said that the translation and dedication of the Okun NT was in fulfilment of the BSN mandate of making the Word of God available. He thanked the translators for their efforts and said that the translation of Okun NT would help preserve the language and culture of the Okun people.
There was a shout of joy when 2 Timothy 3:16-17 was read in Okun Language by Rev. Ibisagba Isaiah.
The Okun NT is the fastest translation project in the history of the BS Nigeria as it took only four years and three months to complete it. Okun is a language spoken in Kogi, Kwara and Ekiti States. Speakers of the language referred to as the Okun people are one of the Yoruba major ethnic groups. Okun is a dialect of the Yoruba Language. For more information on the Okun NT, visit www.biblesociety-nigeria.org