First Nations Version - An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament


There is a new translation of the New Testament (in English) out that reflects the cultural and language idioms of First Nations people. The Academy of Parish Clergy Book of the Year team has named the First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament (IVP, 2021) its Reference Book of the Year. This a most intriguing version of the New Testament. It reflects a dynamic equivalence way of translating the Bible.

Several of us from the Academy of Parish Clergy recently had the opportunity to speak with the lead translator and project manager of the translation, Terry M. Wildman. While we also named five other reference books we wanted to recommend to clergy (and others), once we did that we engaged in a most fruitful conversation with Terry as he shared how this translation came to be and how he envisions this as a gift to indigenous folks who have found the Bible and Christianity impacted by colonialist ideology and practices, but also a gift to the larger Christian world. Having used the version in my own reading, study, and preaching, I can say that there is a power to the words that speak to our hearts. 

In the introduction to this version we read: 

The FNV is a retelling of Creator's Story from the Scriptures, attempting to follow the tradition of the storytellers of our oral cultures. Many of our Naive tribes still resonate with the cultural and linguistic thought patterns found in their original tongues. This way of speaking, with its simple yet profound beauty and rich cultural idioms, still resonates in the hearts of Native people. 

So, I invite you to watch and listen to Terry Wildman share his vision for this new translation. He will read several passages from First Nations Version, which helps us better understand that a translation that reflects an oral culture (and the first-century regions in which the New Testament emerged encompassed oral cultures) is best heard aloud.



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