Bible Translation in Papua New Guinea

“We want to get the word of God into the languages of the people as accurately as possible,” Joel Peter, General Secretary, Bible Society PNG

Bible translation is an urgent need within PNG, with a population of 8.9 million and over 800 known languages, 300 of which have no Scripture at all.

Amid the struggles in recent years to maintain a stable presence in their country, Bible Society PNG has demonstrated their commitment to Bible translation.

Joel Peter, who, prior to taking on the responsibility of General Secretary was the Translations Manager, is excited to announce the recent appointment of a new Translations Manager, David Loea. Joel goes on to say, “Recently we have been working with the new Translations Manager to give a roadmap for translation programs under Bible Society and so…there has been huge progress been made by three or four projects which are near completion.”

One of these projects is the revision of the popular Tok Pisin Bible, first published in 1989. The project has been well managed, despite the impact of COVID-19. When finished, the modern contemporary revision will support Tok Pisin speakers to know their Bibles more intimately, and support their witness beyond their own people group. As the translation advances, more people are using the revised text to preach and teach in their congregations.

In 2022, a focus will be on internal and external reviews of the revised Bible text. Manuscripts have been piling up for revision, because the reviewing committee have been hindered by funding, COVID-19 and the death of some team members. This year, there will be regional committee reviews and reviews by translation consultants.

  • 24 books of the New Testament have been revised and checked by individual revisers.
  • Two New Testament books were 100% revised and reviewed.
  • 10 Old Testament books have been revised.
  • Pastors are using the revised text to preach during Sunday Services and devotions.
  • From April – June capacity building and resourcing of teams will take place.

In 2022, Bible Society Papua New Guinea forms a vital part of the new Oceania Alliance – a partnership between Bible Societies in Australia, South Pacific and Papua New Guinea to increase our shared resources and impact across the region.

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