After graduating from Providence, where he majored in biblical studies, Clay Smith went on to Westminster Seminary California, where he earned a master’s degree in biblical studies in 2013. Currently he serves as the media relations director at Talking Bibles International, an organization committed to providing audio Bibles to communities of nonreading people around the world. Smith describes his job as being the “digital handyman”: he develops software at the company, builds and manages the website, and customizes the company’s database for contact with partner organizations.
Talking Bibles provides audio Bibles to groups of people in the hope that those groups will be the seeds of a church plant. Even though Smith’s work from his office in Escondido, California, is behind the scenes, he’s encouraged when he learns of baptisms and the formation of churches due to Talking Bibles’ ministry. “We hear stories of people being freed from abusive lifestyles and spiritual attack. When I hear the stories of changed lives, I know that it’s important,” Smith says.
These audio Bibles are played on a unique player that is the size of a pocket Bible. The organization focuses on illiterate communities where a written version of the Bible in that community’s language exists. They create an audio version and send units to communities around the world; recently, Talking Bibles has focused on fishing villages in South India.
Bible translation and distribution has been an interest for Smith going back to his childhood years in South Carolina, where he heard about JAARS (formerly Jungle Aviation and Radio Service), an organization working to provide Scripture to every people group on earth in their native language. Even when he came to Providence, his goal was to eventually work at an organization that did similar work. Part of what equipped Smith for his current job is the range of ideas he was exposed to at Providence. “At Providence I learned how important it is to enculturate the gospel,” Smith says. “Providence also taught me to identify the most important things about the gospel.”
Smith’s work reminds him of the power of God’s word. “When I was at Providence, Dr. Swanson, professor of Biblical and theological studies, really emphasized sola scriptura,” Smith said. “God works effectively through his Word. It’s because of that idea that we feel confident in sending Bibles.”
For more information about Talking Bibles, browse to www.talkingbibles.org