Josh* and his father are both strong Christian Deaf men. Everyone who knows them sees similarities reflected in their character.
Josh says, “My dad and I are similar in several ways. We both agree that God’s Word is beautiful and that it has the power to reach the deepest part of our understanding. Yet my dad and I are different, too. While I tend to plan things out, my dad jumps in, rolls-up his sleeves, and puts his mind to the task at hand.”
Josh’s dad has served as a deacon and leader in his church for many years. He has always read and taught Scripture from a written Bible, while Josh has come to rely on Scripture in American Sign Language. This Bible is in both men’s first language, American Sign Language. It is a true language, rich, complex, and different from English, with its own syntax and grammar rules.
For years, Josh wanted his dad to come to rely upon God’s Word in their first language – their heart language. But Josh’s dad was raised on the idea that Scripture comes in a written form, so watching Scripture in ASL would be something new for him.
Josh and his dad live in separate states, which means they don’t get to see each other often. However, he was able to recently visit his dad which opened up a perfect opportunity for a father-son devotional, using the American Sign Language Bible as part of their study.
As they sat down together to study God’s Word, Josh’s father noticed how the Scriptures came alive in his son. Their conversation unfolded watching God’s Word in their native language. Josh’s father considered the verses in new ways with the ASLV.
The Bible translated into their heart language illuminated the passages right before their eyes.
By the time that the men had finished their study, they were praising God for the clarity of His Word in American Sign Language.
Josh says, “When I was young, my father was the teacher. Now that I’m older, I am teaching him. We are still similar in many ways we love the Lord, only now, we have this father-son experience with God’s Word, in our heart language. It has bound us closer to each other and to the Lord.