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International partnership formed to create First Nations Version New Testament

On July 1st OneBook of Canada, with the help of Wycliffe Associates of Orlando Florida have partnered together with Rain Ministries to translate the New Testament for Native/First Nations people across Turtle Island (North America).

This will be an English translation by Native Americans and for Native Americans. About 95% of our Native peoples no longer speak or read in their mother tongues. We will be gathering between 26 to 30 Native people from differing Tribal Nations in the US and Canada to be the translators. We are also requesting help from over 40 Native Churches and Ministries to help in the review process to make sure this translation is relevant and useful.

The FNV New Testament will take into consideration contextual word choices, idiomatic expressions, and modifications in paragraph and sentence structure that clarify and facilitate understanding of the scriptures. The goal is to keep thought patterns and illustrations that Jesus would have used, had he been on Turtle Island two millenniums ago. The translators will be continually concerned with maintaining the accuracy of the translation and its faithfulness to the intended meaning of the biblical writers as understood by First Nations people in their context.

“This is an exciting project”, says Wayne Johnson, CEO of OneBook. “The Board of OneBook unanimously gave their approval for the partnership with Rain Ministries, in our first North American Bible translation project. As with our projects in Africa and Asia, we aim to maintain church and local community ownership of the project and the final translated First Nations Version.”

"The leadership of the project will be overseen by Terry Wildman and an indigenous group of Bible scholars, pastors and lay people from across Turtle Island. They have been charged with providing leadership to the translation process in a contextual manner within the framework of biblical excellence."

About OneBook

This is the first Bible translation project for OneBook to take place in North America. OneBook partners with 12 locally-led organizations across Africa and Asia to accomplish an audacious goal: tell God’s story in 250 languages. In each language group, our partners create a written language hand-in-hand with a literacy program. At the same time, they translate the entire New Testament and engage the Church to use it. OneBook wants to see communities transformed.

Literacy provides people with the skills and confidence to determine their own future. The gospel—in the mother tongue—completely changes not only individuals, but also whole societies.

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