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The Toba Bible

[Western Toba]

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved. Software By Serif.  Web design by Michael Browne

Eternal life. The Scriptures contain a number of key words and phrases - religious language that helps us to understand and express certain beliefs, ideas and concepts. One of these phrases is “eternal life”. How do we translate it into Toba...? Osvaldo Molina

The Greek text of this verse is as follows:

Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ εἰς ὁδὸν προσδραμὼν εἷς καὶ

And going forth he on the road, having run one and

γονυπετήσας αὐτὸν ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν, Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ,

having knelt before him, was asking him, “Teacher good,

τί ποιήσω ἵνα ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;

what may I do so that life eternal I may inherit?”

And the New International Version expresses the meaning clearly:

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

But what exactly is eternal life? How do we say it in Toba? In what sense is it eternal? We could just be talking about the fallen kind of life we live now, but unending (which might be more like hell on earth!) Or we could talk about a new kind of life, that apart from being eternal is also different in quality.

In Toba there are two words that mean life. One is used to talk about being alive (rather than dead), while the second word talks about the kind of life one has. In translating this verse, Osvaldo chose the second word, and after much reflection the other translators agreed with him.

So this is what Osvaldo’s translation of Mark 10:17 says:

Mane'e ca'li Jesus yenoĝonegue da'me jetaque yitaĝa ec, qama'le 'uo ñe'me jiyaĝaua jo'ne naqalegoqo'ta, qama'le yijoediñe naa'me leliquetel da'me dajoya'aguet joñe'me, qama'le enaac, da'me yenat:

—Paĝaguenataĝanaĝaic jo'ne am 'noota, ¿jach'e ga'me 'noota ta'le ja'uo qaedi jaqanatet ta'le jaue da'me 'yoyaĝac jo'ne ja 'naidena'a?

Which means:

When Jesus goes out wanting to be going again, then there is a man who runs up to him, then he kneels down in front of him, then he says, asking:

—Teacher who you are good, what good thing is there that I do so that I can enter my kind of life that is unbreakable?

Translating the Bible into Toba:


Mark 10:17