Readers of the Bible in English have an embarrassment of new versions at hand.
Suiting a variety of tastes and persuasions, you could enjoy
the freshness of The Message, the literal clarity of the English
Standard Version, or the urbane fluency of the Common English Bible.
And there are many others to choose from.
But in Wales, the home of the mass produced Bible, things are radically different.
For Welsh speakers, only two published versions are available.
first was translated by Bishop William Morgan in 1588 and the New Welsh
Bible was printed in 1988 (with further revisions in 2004). Both are
literal translations, aimed at people with a very good grasp of Welsh
Imagine a world with only the King James Version and Revised Standard
Version available; those are the published choices available for Welsh
speakers interested in reading the Bible.
But there's a new kid on the block. Back in 1999, the former national
director of Evangelical Alliance Wales, formed a new organisation to
communicate the Christian message of Welsh speakers. Hope for Wales
(Gobaith i Gymru), was set up to address the dire lack of resources in
the Welsh language and to promote the hope to be found in Jesus Christ.
After more than a decade of translating the scriptures from their
original languages and into contemporary Welsh, Arfon's work has been
published online at www.beibl.net
It flows as easily as The Message and is as readable as the Good News
or NET Bibles, except that beibl.net is a literal translation. It's
perfect for people who are learning the language or whose grasp of
grammar is less than perfect. In other words, people like me; and there
hundreds of thousands of us in Wales.
As if this isn't enough, Hope for Wales has a few more dynamic plans
in its pipeline. New tablet friendly apps and touchscreen technology are
being developed to make the Bible even more accessible, especially for
children and young people. And there's talk of a good old fashioned
printed version of beibl.net. This could be available as soon as 2015.
Vision however comes at a cost. Hope for Wales' resources (which also
include materials for schools and worship resources) require funding
and most of its grant funding has come to an end with the completion of
the beibl.net online translation.
This means that it is facing a substantial shortfall this year and is
asking for people who share its vision to consider giving regularly.
And it's a modest request; the charity is looking to establish a network
of a hundred individuals and/or churches that would commit £2 per week
for 3 years to support their ministry.
This matters to all Bible readers everywhere. The Bible Society (or
British and Foreign Bible Society as originally known) was founded on
March 7, 1804. It was setup up by a group of Christians eager to address
the lack of Welsh language Bibles for people eager to read the
scriptures in their own language.
Its establishment came hot on the
barefoot heels of Mary Jones, a young girl who walked without shoes
across a mountain range to Bala in search of her own copy of the Welsh
Mass Bible production started in Wales and has since become a global
Like those early 19th century pioneers, Hope for Wales wants
to make the scriptures available to everyone who speaks Welsh at any
And hopefully they can keep their shoes on.