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The Toba Bible

[Western Toba]

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Osvaldo Molina

The Greek text of this verse says (with literal translation word for word):

ἐγένετο Ἰωάννης [ὁ] βαπτίζων  ἐν τῇ  ἐρήμῳ καὶ  κηρύσσων βάπτισμα

Came     John        -   baptising    in  the desert and  preaching   baptism

μετανοίας     εἰς  ἄφεσιν       ἁμαρτιῶν.

of repentance into forgiveness of sins.

The New International Version expresses this fairly literally:

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Now: what does it actually mean? What is a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”?

The Good News Bible expresses the meaning more clearly:

So John appeared in the desert, baptizing and preaching. “Turn away from your sins and be baptized,” he told the people, “and God will forgive your sins.”

Note the changes:

(1) John’s preaching is turned into direct speech.

(2) The word “repentance” is explained: “turn away from your sins”.

(3) It expresses explicitly who does the forgiving: God.

(4) The relationship between the various actions is expressed more clearly: you “turn away from your sins”, then “be baptised” (by me), and as a result (of the repentance and baptism) “God will forgive you”.

This is how Osvaldo translated it into Toba:

Qama'le naq'aeta ga'me 'uo ca'li Juan jo'ne chilaĝanataĝanaĝaic ue'ta di'me aleua jo'ne totapega't, yiyaĝatapega ga'me jiyaĝadipi qaedi 'ñemaĝadiñe, 'viyelaĝadetot joñe'me Dios, qaedi qonachilaĝa'n, nataq'aen qaedi Dios yapalaĝa't gaa'me loeco.

Which means: “Then appeared John the washer in the desert land, he calls out to the people that they do an about turn, return to God, so that they are washed and so that God rubs out their bad actions.”

Translating the Bible into Toba:


Mark 1:4