It may surprise you to learn that it is not Eastern European Mission’s general practice to rely on English versions (KJV, ASV, RSV, NASV, NKJV, NIV, etc.) for Eastern European language translations. Using the English language-based versions simply would not translate correctly. As such, we have determined that the translations must reflect scholarly study of the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts, and then they must be translated as carefully as possible into the languages of the people living in the various nations of Eastern Europe.
EEM does not have its own team of Biblical translators, but instead relies on teams of scholars who can be trusted not to compromise the integrity and accuracy of the Biblical text. Let’s use the Russian language as an example to explain the process of the current translations used.
The most widely accepted version of the Bible used in Russia dates back to the mid-19th century when a synod of scholars produced a version that came to be known as the Russian Synodal Bible.
This Bible translation is still reliable; however, during the subsequent decades, changes to the common Russian language made the text of the “Synodal” a bit more difficult to read and understand, thereby creating a need for a more contemporary language version. Competent major Bible societies in Russia have addressed this issue and produced trustworthy and reliable translations in the contemporary Russian language. It involved a process of putting together scholarly teams to study the original Hebrew and Greek languages and create new, superior translations in the current language of the people. This process allows for both versions to exist and be used in conjunctive study, much like someone would do with the King James version of our English Bible.
EEM approaches other Eastern Europe languages in a similar fashion, cooperating and obtaining scholarly and competent texts for the specific language and providing those when available. We are constantly monitoring this process for reliable and trustworthy texts to utilize in our mission.
As you may know, EEM also has the opportunity to provide Bibles to many children in addition to the scores of adults. Our Children’s Bible is targeted to kindergarten through 4th grade children and tells the Biblical story in contemporary paraphrase written by Dr. Mike Armour, former EEM President and skilled author. It is similar to the Zondervan’s My First Bible we formerly used by permission, and in many ways surpasses it.
For older children, 5th grade and up, we provide our Teen Bible. It does not include every book and verse from Genesis to Revelation, but contains carefully selected texts providing the young readers a very solid overview of the Biblical story. In the Teen Bible, all passages selected are taken from the same translation process used in our adult-level Bibles. Both Bibles contain colorful artwork, helping bring the stories to life for the young readers.
Bible translation is a very complicated and intricate process, and one that we do not take lightly. Our mission is to provide God’s Word in an accurate and understandable way to the people in Eastern Europe. It is why we say, “The Bible. We Want Everyone To Get It.”