On Sunday, June 3, in the bustling Nunavut capital of Iqaluit, an event will take place that the Inuit people have been eagerly awaiting for thirty-three years. They will finally receive the entire Bible in their own language!
‘When will we have the complete Bible?’
“Every time I visit the Arctic the people ask me, ‘When will we have the complete Bible?’ Now their question can finally be answered,” says Hart Wiens, Director of Scripture Translations, Canadian Bible Society (CBS).The Inuktitut language is the only indigenous language given recognition and status as an official language of a Canadian territory.
This June, Inuit living in the eastern Arctic and northern Quebec will finally have the opportunity to read the entire Bible in their own language.
After 33 years, a team of clergy from the Anglican diocese of the Arctic has finished the monumental task of translating the Bible into Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit.
The Canadian Bible Society (CBS), which is publishing the Inuktitut Bible, has already sent the final manuscript to its translation offices in Kitchener, ON. A consecration ceremony is being planned on June 3, coinciding with the dedication service for the new St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit
Throughout Jewish history, devout and skilled artisans, called scribes, have carefully and precisely copied the Word of God. In ancient times unblemished animal skins and ritually purified writing utensils were painstakingly prepared and used. The scribes, who were chosen for their unwavering moral fibre, not only bathed and prayed before each writing session, they also spoke or sang the words aloud so they would thoughtfully consider each character they etched.
At the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) we humbly consider ourselves modern day scribes. No, we don’t preserve the Scriptures on lambs’ hides but all of us – from translators to administrators to support staff – take our responsibility to make Scriptures available in heart languages around the world very, very seriously. We consider each Bible our team produces to be the holy, sacred and perfect Word of God. And, because each verse was Spirit breathed, we take special care to reproduce the original meaning of the human writers as precisely as possible.
The Bible Society’s annual Bikes for Bibles (B4B) season is about to launch as cyclists in three provinces – Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario – stretch, hydrate and finalize sponsorships to prepare for 17 scenic rides between May and October. This unique and much anticipated event brings cycling enthusiasts from across the nation together for the purpose of raising money to provide Bibles for those who eagerly await a copy in their heart language.
This year the B4B goal is to raise $100,000 to help end the waiting for those who don’t have a single book of the Bible in their own tongue. Translating the Bible is a tremendous challenge that takes up to 12 years to complete and requires the generous support of our many faithful donors. But the results are extraordinary. A recent report from the United Bible Society states, “People who, after years of reading Scripture in their second language, with all the doubts, questions and incomplete understanding it brings, now hear God speaking in their own mother tongue. (Their) delight, joy, astonishment and other feelings are rolled up together in the cry, heard so often at the launch of a new translation, ‘God speaks my language!’”
South Sudan, which split from Sudan to become the world’s newest country last July, now has its own Bible Society. The Bible Society in South Sudan was officially registered on January 24 and is already working hard to serve the Scripture needs of a country facing enormous challenges.
This month, for instance, together with American Bible Society it led a workshop to equip church leaders and others for trauma counselling – a much-needed ministry in a country wracked by two decades of civil war.
Violent conflict is far from being a thing of the past in South Sudan: there is unrest on its borders and violent clashes between ethnic groups are escalating, leaving thousands dead and many more homeless.
Haiti regularly experiences devastating cyclones which flood many houses – and now flood the tents of those displaced by the earthquake. So what could be more appropriate than a waterproof New Testament?
Before the cyclone season returns in June, the Bible Society has undertaken to distribute all 5,000 copies of this New Testament in Haitian Creole to church leaders in the areas which are most frequently flooded.
The church leaders have welcomed the New Testament most enthusiastically.
Did you know that over 99% of Canada’s population is able to access the internet and use a cell phone? And, in a recent survey conducted by Sympatico.ca, well over half of Canadian cell phone users regularly access the Internet on their mobile devices.
To ensure that God’s life-giving Word is available to the widest possible audience through the latest cutting-edge tools, a new Bible app is now free for mobile users through a partnership between CBS and Faith Comes By Hearing. By working with ministries like FCBH – an organization that provides audio Bibles in 590 heart languages – CBS is able to cost-effectively multiply its outreach in various and unique ways.
If you thought one of the world's oldest books has been losing relevance - you may need to think again. And now adding to the many versions of the Bible is a new non-religious one. Lorna speaks with A.C. Grayling, author of "The Good Book: A Humanist Bible" and Rikki Ratliff pays a visit to the Rare Book Room at the Canadian Bible Society with Dr. Mark Steinacher, professor of Christian History.
The digital team at the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) raised a collective cheer when they heard the news that the Bible page on Facebook had outdone many leading sites from the world of sports, entertainment, and politics.
This came on the heels of news stories that the Bible has cracked the top 10 highest-grossing book applications for the iPad for the first time2 and, according to Google Blog Search, there are about 277,000 blog posts for Bible reading, 409,000 for Bible verses, and 1,650,000 for Bible study.3
The stark contrast is not lost on the CBS team. Its impressive that in a world of instantaneous, electronic communication and 140 character observations and anecdotes, young people are being impacted by two thousand year old Bible portions like Pauls letter to the Philippians; a text written in a Roman prison and hand delivered by Epaphroditus, who travelled much of the distance to Philippi on foot.
Beyond the launch of a special 400th anniversary edition of the King James Version and presentations explaining the development of the landmark Bible, the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) is seizing the opportunity to underline the spirit behind the King James Version, which is still at the heart of its mandate.
It may have been called the Authorized Version, but it wasnt immediately widely accepted explains Joel Coppieters who directs the Scripture Resources department at CBS. When it appeared in 1611, the controversial new Bible brought the Word of God to the common people, in a language they could understand. A lot of the religious elite thought it just wasnt right to have God speaking in street English!
The mandate CBS shares with sister societies in over 140 countries around the world insists that God must speak the language of the street and of the heart, that the Bible must be made easily available and accessible to every man, woman and child.