By Aaron Wilson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In Romans 10, Paul states that faith comes through hearing. And for many Christians who experience deafness, hearing comes through signing.
To assist ministries that serve people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Lifeway Christian Resources has launched the “Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library,” a collection of studies using text with simplified language to facilitate American Sign Language. This format allows Bible study leaders to more easily sign talking points and discussion questions for group members. The collection is free for Bible study groups for the Deaf, with permission to make copies of the studies as needed.
“The ‘Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library’ is written specifically by and for people who are deaf and makes it possible for these Bible study groups to touch all the books of the Bible,” said Dwayne McCrary, manager of adult ongoing Bible studies at Lifeway. “We’re excited to provide this free library to help people who use American Sign Language dive into the richness of God’s Word.”
“Explore the Bible” studies are structured around a book-by-book philosophy for reading and examining Scripture. Each study in the Deaf digital library includes lessons for three months focusing on a single book of the Bible or a set of related books, like Job and Ecclesiastes. The library also contains lessons for Christmas, Easter and a special emphasis on the sanctity of human life.
In addition to the 55 lessons already available in the online library, Lifeway plans to add around two studies a year until every book of the Bible is represented. “Explore the Bible Deaf” studies are currently in development for Philippians, Colossians and Philemon; 1&2 Thessalonians; 1&2 Kings; Micah; and Jeremiah and Lamentations.
At the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, a motion was made for Lifeway to research the feasibility to produce and provide access to resources for existing and future ministries for the Deaf in the U.S. The “Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library” is a direct response to that motion, said McCrary.
“This online library, when it’s complete, will grant the Deaf community greater access to the entire breadth of God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation,” said McCrary. “The fact that this resource is free and 100% reproducible for churches will help equip more congregations to serve people in their communities who rely on sign language to communicate.”
More information about the “Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library” can be found at Lifeway.com.
Aaron Wilson is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.
About Lifeway Christian Resources
In operation since 1891, Lifeway Christian Resources is one of the leading providers of Christian resources, including Bibles, books, Bible studies, Christian music and movies, Vacation Bible School and church supplies, as well as camps and events for all ages. Lifeway is the world’s largest provider of Spanish Bibles. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Lifeway operates as a self-supporting nonprofit. For more information, visit Lifeway.com.