only way

One of my favorite things to do while the students are busy in their classes is to go to the library, find a quiet corner, and translate the Bible. Well, it’s already translated, but I copy it down word by word! I take my Chinese/English Bible, a notebook, and the translator app on my phone, and together we have been dissecting the book of John character by character. I’ve been working on it on and off both during my trip in November, as well as this first month at Dandelion, but it’s a slow process. We’re about halfway through Chapter 2. 

Obviously, you can’t spend much time in the Bible without learning something life-changing and meaningful. But learning to read the Bible in Chinese is even deeper in meaning because of each character’s depth. Part of the way through Chapter 2, in the story about the water being turned to wine, I translated the word “disciples.” 

The first character is , which is translated to mean “door.” It kind of looks like one too! But a door doesn’t seem to have much to do with a disciple… The second character is , which is translated to mean “only.” Hm. Cool.  

Wait, what? 

Of all the characters in the Chinese language (and I guarantee you, there are a lot of them), the word “disciple” isn’t “Jesus follower” or “group of fishermen” or “flock of sheep” or “bunch of people who do crazy stuff,” it is “only door.” 

Jesus told us, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” He is the only way to salvation, but… what is the way to Him? How can all the salvation-seekers or world-lovers hear about true salvation and true Love? 

Romans 10:14-15 – “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”

God has laid out His plan to bring salvation to the world. And that plan is through us. Through His disciples. 

Is your life centered around His plan? That is the definition of surrender. And only surrender to His plan will lead to the most meaningful, purpose-filled, and God-glorifying life.


  1. Wow! What a beautiful thought. Thanks for sharing, Shelby!


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