The head of the United Bible Societies has praised the newly released Revised Chinese Union Version Bible, which took 27 years to complete, as a uniting point for Chinese Christians around the world.
Speaking at the dedication service for the revised Chinese Bible on Sept. 27 at St John's Anglican Cathedral in Hong Kong, the global chairperson of the United Bible Societies, Nora Lucero, praised the original version, first published in 1919.
She said it was a tool in "uniting and harmonising the diversified language usage of Chinese people from various regions" and noted that the revised version would continue this mission.
Lucero said that the revision had made the biblical texts "in a manner and format that the modern Chinese will understand and appreciate". It is said that the revised version also benefits from the latest biblical research and archaeological findings.
She said that the revision was carried out by more than 30 Bible scholars with the utmost caution to make the text acceptable to Chinese readers from different denominations throughout the world.
"The revised version has the potential to be the one and only version used by Chinese-reading Christians all over the world," noted Lucero.
She said that Chinese Christians "have paid a high price to own and read a copy of the Chinese Union Version Bible throughout history". Lucero added in an interview that the high price was paid not only in financial terms but also through the suffering of Chinese Christians in recent history.
Delegates attending the dedication service included leaders from the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and the Roman Catholic churches, as well as officials from the church in China and the State Administration for Religious Affairs in China.
The Hong Kong Bible Society, which was responsible for the revision project, revealed that the church in China will publish a parallel edition of both the revised version and the original version of the New Testament in simplified Chinese by the end of 2010.
Some estimates say there are around 100 million copies of the Chinese Bible in the world, including monographs, New Testaments and Old Testaments, and more than 50 million copies in China alone. Four million copies of the Chinese Bible, including monographs, New Testaments and Old Testaments, are published each year.
The Chinese Union Version Bible was created in 1919 jointly by the British and Foreign Bible Society, the American Bible Society and the National Bible Society of Scotland, and involved the assistance of many different associations and Chinese Christians. It is now the most widely used version of the Chinese Bible and is said to have served as a de facto "standard version".
The United Bible Societies is the collective name for 145 individual Bible Societies working in more than 200 countries and territories. It is based in Britain.