The Greek phrase that is used numerous times in 1 John and that is translated into English as “in Him” is translated in Northern One (Wolwale) as “really stick to and really remain good friends with God.”
John Nystrom (in The PNG Experience) explains:
“In the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea, several people gathered to conduct the final checking on the books of 1, 2, and 3 John and Jude. They were challenged to find the best way to write the description of a believer’s intimate union with Christ. The writer of 1 John says we are ‘in Him.’ That’s easy to express in English, but not in languages that only use ‘in’ for things inside other things, but don’t use it in a metaphorical way. How would you express this concept without using the word ‘in’?
“Unsure how to translate this, the team asked Wolwale local language expert Philip Musi for advice. Philip explained while demonstrating by putting his hand firmly to a nearby post, ‘It’s like a lizard who has really stuck himself to a tree.’ Everyone in the room knew exactly what that looked like.
“Now the revised draft of 1 John 2:28a in the Northern One Wolwale language reads: Kongkom uporo kinini, pone samo pangkana ka samo paipe fori uporo plau God.
“A rough English back translation is: ‘My good children, you-all really stick to and really remain good friends with God.'”