Free Grace?

(April 2013) The Kapingamarangi New Testament that was published in 2000 used the term tumaalia for “grace”. This was the common term that had been used in their preaching ever since they accepted Christianity early in the 20th century.
The word tumaalia comes from the verb dumaalia. According to the Kapingamarangi dictionary, dumaalia means “to forgive” and “to be generous”. We could, therefore, say that tumaalia focused on God’s generous forgiveness towards man. However, there was still a deep feeling among Kapingans that somehow we had to earn God’s generous grace by working for Him.
After the publication of the New Testament the Kapingamarangi people began to appreciate the much richer meaning of the Biblical term ”grace”. They began to understand more fully that we are not saved by working for God, but because of “grace”. A recent revision of their New Testament reflects this new understanding. In places where the focus is on the meaning of “grace”, the committee members have added the modifier dehuia “free” to make tumaalia dehuia, i.e. “free grace”. This clearly excludes the idea of earning God’s grace. In salutations such as “Grace be with you”, the term tumaalia is still used on its own.