Bible translators in the Kurdistan area of Northern Iraq have finally completed years of work and successfully finished the first ever Sorani Kurdish version of the Bible.
Church Mission Society (CMS) worked closely with some local Kurds and other nationalities to complete the project in partnership with Biblica, formerly known as The International Bible Society. The research work entailed text drafts, writing styles, name checks and a complete review of the Old and New Testaments to ensure that the translation is as accurate as possible.
The translation itself took 28 years to finish.
With the publishing of the first Bible version in the Sorani language, CMS hoped to engage an estimated six million speakers of the language and have them read the Bible in their native language for the first time. The Kurds are one of the minority groups found in the northern region of Iraq.
CMS' Paul Thaxter told Premier News Hour the new translation couldn't have come at a better time.
"Having the Bible anchors your faith and enables people to engage it in a way that you just can't simply do with not having the written word and not having the stories told to you orally," he said.
Thaxter revealed that despite the persecution of Christians in the area and the civil unrest in Iraq that served as the translators' backdrop, the team persevered in their commitment to finish the project.
"Our people there have been able to do that and through many different situations. Whether there's peace or no peace, they've been able to be committed to local people in the local language, so it does take a long time actually to do that," he noted.
Biblica's CEO Dr. Carl Moeller said the project is a "historic occasion" for the Kurds.
"Imagine not having the Bible in your language! Most of us can't. But for the Kurds, that has been a reality. Until now," he told the people during the Bible's launch.
"The translation is the result of many, many years of prayers, a great deal of sacrifice by our translation team, and is a wonderful reminder of God's great faithfulness," said Dr. Moeller. "He is doing awesome things in Kurdistan. Our prayer is that this Bible will be a blessing to the Kurdish Church, helps Kurdish believers grow in their faith, and be used by God to draw many Kurds into relationship with Jesus Christ."
Aside from the printed version, the new Sorani Kurdish Bible will also be available digitally through the YouVersion and the new Kurdish app, "Pertukekem."