Adapted from ACNS

Bible translators in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, working against the backdrop of civil unrest and religious persecution, have completed the first ever translation of the whole Bible into the Central Kurdish Sorani language.

For the last eight years, Church Mission Society mission partners Joel and Ruth Hammond (pseudonyms, for their safety) have worked alongside indigenous Kurds and other indigenous Christians in drafting text, checking names, terminology, and style. The team finally checked both the Old and New Testaments so they could be published together for the first time as the complete Bible.

The whole translation of Old and New Testaments took 28 years to complete, and will enable 6 million native speakers of the Sorani language to hear and read the Bible in their own language for the first time. As well as physical copies, the new translation is available digitally, both through a YouVersion app and a newly designed Kurdish app called Pertukekem (My Book).

The new translation, which has been a joint initiative between Church Mission Society, Biblica, and several other linguistics services, was launched at a special ceremony April 3 by Carl Moeller, CEO of Biblica.

Joel Hammond is now training in linguistics and undertaking language studies.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of this project,” he said. “Kurds have known healings, dreams, and visions from Christ, but having the whole Word of God available in written form will crystalize their faith and allow them to pass it on more effectively.”

Paul Thaxter, international director at CMS, recently traveled to the region and saw the completion of the translation project.

“Trying to live as a Christian while being denied the chance to read the Bible in your own language is unimaginable,” he said. “Now, through the application and commitment of people like Joel and Ruth and the team around them, millions of people will now have the ‘Gift of Life’ in their own hands.”

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