by Ken Green
WHITE HOUSE, Tenn. (BNc) — I have before me the Concordance to the Ndebele Bible, written by Foy Short, long-time missionary to Zimbabwe. The Ndebele language is spoken by people in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Short, who recently turned 90, is the compiler and principle editor of the concordance, which he has been working on for the past ten years. He was quick to point out that it would not have been possible without those who financially supported the effort and those who assisted with the typesetting, editing, proofing, and suggestions of words that should be included. Short’s son Harold expedited the work tremendously with his computer programing expertise, and several others played essential roles. But without Short seeing the need and setting out to do something about it, it most certainly would not have happened.
When asked why this project was started, Short said, “A Zimbabwe preacher’s simple question caused the work on it to begin. The question was, ‘Where in the Bible can I find the verse that speaks of predestination? I have been reading my Bible for two months, but have failed to find the verse.’ This preacher should be honoured because his question caused the concordance to be prepared.”
Short was raised in Africa by missionary parents. He and Margaret (who grew up in Alabama but totally displaced her southern accent with a British one) reared their four children and spent most of their lives there. Short grew up speaking the Ndebele tongue as well as several other African languages.
Short pointed out that this was not an exhaustive concordance.
“To make a complete concordance with every word that is in the Bible would require a book of more than 5,000 pages. Such a book would be too expensive and too big to be useful to most readers. We have included the words we thought the more likely to be used by readers in their study of the Bible.”
Short explained that the concordance of 378 pages contains 4,062 word stems with 18,800 references. An index of personal names includes 404 persons with 1,543 references. An index of place names has 202 places with 867 references.
What a marvelous and useful instrument this will be for preachers, teachers and other diligent students of the Bible in southern Africa.
Editor’s Note: Loy Mitchell supplied the following information: Foy Short’s parents came to Zimbabwe in 1921 when Foy was less than a year old. His parents worked in Zimbabwe and Zambia (Southern and Northern Rhodesia). Foy went to ACC and worked for a time in Zambia, but most of his life was spent in the Bulawayo area where they speak Ndebele.
Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.