Cornelius Van Alen Van Dyck, was an American medical missionary to Syria and Lebanon and the translator of the Bible into Arabic. Cornelius attained his medical degree from the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia with the help of generous friends. During the Second Great Awakening that revived the American church in the early 18th century, he committed himself to God’s ministry.
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions recruited him to serve in the Middle-East missions as a medical missionary.
After an arduous journey, Cornelius arrived in Lebanon in 1840, a very hostile place for the Christians. Apart from medical missionary work, he also taught in protestant schools.
Cornelius Van Alen Van Dyck ministry in Syria and Lebanon
But when he saw that the children failed to understand the English books, he knew they needed to be taught in Arabic. Hence, he took up an in-depth study of Arabic in Bierut and soon started speaking fluently. He spent most of his time teaching formal education to the children first and then gradually reached out to their families with the Gospel.
The available Arabic Bible version then was faulty translation and required a complete overhaul. Hence he learned Greek and Hebrew first and then carefully translated the scriptures into Arabic. After a committed work of almost 20 years, the Arab Christians could finally read the authentic version of the Bible.
He also wrote several Arabic textbooks on chemistry, internal medicine, physical diagnosis, and astronomy. Cornelius was also instrumental in founding the Syrian Protestant College, later the American University of Beirut. Dangers were not new for Cornelius during his itinerary ministry. He bravely rode into the war zones to treat the wounded Christians and Muslims alike.
Once, the Muslims, because of his fluent Arabic and local dress, mistook Cornelius for the native Christian and almost killed them. But, God saved him from such situations miraculously several times. Amid all tribulations and distress, Cornelius remained faithful to his calling until the very end.
Beloved, do you realize that your educational qualifications are instruments of the Gospel?Take away from the article
“Lord, help me to put use my educational qualification for the advancement of the Gospel. Amen!”Word of Prayer
Cornelius Van Alen Van Dyck
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