We hear about them every Christmas. Sometimes referred to as the Wise Men, the Magi are a familiar part of the holiday season, originally appearing in the story of Christ’s birth found in the gospel of Matthew.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:1,2;10,11
Modern-day Kurds are believed to be descended from the Magi. They are Muslim, but some continue to practice Zoroastrianism (an ancient Persian religion), just as the ancient visitors from the East did.
The Kurds are considered an unreached people group. Most of them live in Kurdistan, an unofficial region spread across Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. They are the largest people group in the world without a homeland.
Amazingly, the Sorani-speaking Kurds (at least 7 million people) are also without a full Bible. The descendants of the first visitors to the Christ child do not have God’s Word in their heart language!
Biblica is working to change that. For the past 22 years, a Sorani translation has been underway. And it is now nearing completion.
“The translation team is drawn from different regions of Kurdistan,” reports a Biblica representative in the Middle East. “This is a strength but also a cause of weakness. There has been serious conflict on issues of orthography.
“The team is made up of four Kurdish brothers. One is living in Europe. Another lives in Kurdistan. The third lives in Ukraine. The fourth is the newest member – a Kurdish refugee in Turkey. He recently joined the translation team and has proven to be a real asset to the work. He was born in Iran, grew up in Iraqi Kurdistan. He has continued to be the most committed member of the translation team.”
Four translators working in four countries are diligently putting the finishing touches on the Sorani Bible translation. For the first time in history, the Kurdish people are about to have the full Bible in a language they can easily read and understand.
The Kurds may not have a homeland, but God has not forgotten about them. As the Bible tells us, “From one man he [God] made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:26,27).
Perhaps the appointed time for the descendants of the Magi has come. Please pray that as the Bible is made available to the Kurds in their heart language, they will respond to God’s invitation to salvation and eternal life in Christ.