Scripture engagement is a known concept in the hearing Church, but it’s severely lacking in the Deaf world. However, that is changing.
Donna Valverde-Hummel works with Deaf Bible Society on developing new Deaf-centric Scripture engagement methods.
“Scripture engagement for Deaf people is not only reading the printed Bible,” she explains.
“It’s not wrong. We’re ok with that, but there’s sign language Scripture, and that is the language of Deaf people. That’s the heart language, the language we easily understand, absorb, and connect to on a deeper emotional level.”
Why won’t existing methods work?
SIL International defines Scripture engagement as “accessing, understanding and interacting meaningfully with the life-changing message of the Scriptures.” Specific engagement methods vary by language group and culture; what resonates with one people group might not be effective for another.
It is the same in the Deaf world. Valverde-Hummel says Scripture engagement methods that work in the English-speaking community are not effective for people who use American Sign Language (ASL). Learn why ASL and English are different languages.