Vision Founded on the conviction that the words of the Bible are the very words of God, we have a passion for sharing God’s Word with the world. The Myanmar Standard Bible is a product of our dedication to accuracy and clarity. It faithfully expresses the power and depth of meaning of God’s Word. The Word of God deserves nothing less. This unique combination of readability and fidelity has produced a translation suited for every Myanmar Christian. From scholarly study to personal reading, group worship to family devotions, the Myanmar Standard Bible is a Bible for all of life.
History of Bible Translation in Myanmar Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a nation of about 50 million people with more than a hundred ethnic minorities living along its borders. Among different people groups that exist in this nation, Burmese remains the majority - accounting for 70% of the nation’s population; most of whom are Buddhist by religion.
The Word of God was first preached to this nation by Adoniram Judson; an American missionary who came to Burma in 1813. He translated the Bible into Burmese, and the translation of the entire Bible was completed and published in 1835. Despite Judson’s long and painful struggle with the translation of the Burmese Bible and the preaching of God’s Word, only a handful of Burmese accepted Christ. However, the gospel spread dramatically among the ethnic minorities and many Christians are found among them today.
Judson’s version of the Bible, known as Judson Burmese Bible (JBB), has been the only Bible available in Myanmar for many years. There have been some unrecorded minor revisions and fixes to the text such as corrections on spelling. However, there haven’t been any major changes in the text since it was first published. Today, some of the words found in the text are obsolete making it difficult to understand. Further, due to the evolution of the language itself, some words used in the text when applied in today’s context convey a totally different meaning than originally intended. For instance, the word “eunuch” used in JBB means “gay” in today’s language, and the word “physician” means “drug addict.”
Why Another Translation? The Burmese language used in the JBB has become obsolete and difficult to understand for modern readers, but many Christians are reluctant to make changes. The JBB translation is regarded as the only Bible (like King James Version in English) and therefore anyone who tried to make changes was considered heretical. Adding to this, many Christians have a wrong notion that the Bible is supposed to be difficult to understand, and that it needs to be read and explained by those who have attended Bible School. The second reason is that people do not have any viable alternative option. That forces people to stick with the difficult to understand JBB translation, which reinforces this wrong notion. Christians need a Bible that they can read and understand on their own without needing any explanation.
Goals for This Translation
To provide Myanmar-speaking people across the world with an accurate, readable Bible in contemporary Myanmar
To give those who love God’s Word a text that has numerous reader helps, is visually attractive on the page and is easily understood when heard
To equip serious Bible students with an accurate translation for personal study, private devotions and memorization
To affirm the authority of Scripture as God’s Word and to champion its absolute truth against social or cultural agendas that would compromise its accuracy
Translation Philosophy The Myanmar Standard Bible uses the OPTIMAL EQUIVALENCE translation philosophy. This means that it seeks to be as literal as possible while also communicating the meaning of the text as clearly as possible for Myanmar readers. For more information about optimal equivalence and the translation philosophy for this project, click here.
Current Status (November 2018) Completed: New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus Target date for completion of the entire Old Testament: 2022
Completed portions of the MSB can be read on YouVersion