What do Bible translations, orphan schools, and science laboratories have in common? For a German pastor and professor named August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), they were all part of fulfilling the Great Commission to "make disciples of all nations." Every man, woman, and child in the world, Francke believed, should be able to read and understand the Word of God in his or her own language. This meant that translation and education should go hand in hand. For over 30 years, Francke strove to provide basic literacy and access to Scripture in the "mother tongue" for as much of the world as possible, and his pioneering efforts became the model for all Protestant missionary translation and education projects after him….
His goal was "the transformation of the world through the transformation of man." Like Johann Arndt and Philipp Spener, whose Pietism inspired him, he believed that God uses both the "Book of Grace" (revealed Scripture) and the "Book of Nature" (natural science) to teach people about Himself. And so, he argued, proper belief in God requires an understanding of the Bible; understanding the Bible requires literacy; and literacy, as well as other practical vocational skills, requires exposure to the wonders of nature. Every single person on earth, whether child or adult, male or female—no matter what social class—needed to learn reading, basic numbers, practical science, and technical skills! This was a radical agenda with revolutionary implications, and it led to educational innovations, worldwide missionary ventures, and Bible translations….