The Jamaican New Testament
After many years and many attempts, the Jamaican New Testament (JNT) is finally a reality!
Wycliffe Bible Translators Caribbean (WBTC) became a major advocate for the translation of Scripture for the Jamaican Creole, now a recognized language, from as far back as 2001. This became so as each time presentations were made in churches on the needs of the Bible-less peoples of the earth, the first comment or question in response would often be: “What about our language? We have something here too. Aren’t you going to do something about it?” So, naturally we joined in the conversation with the Bible Society of the West Indies (BSWI) regarding doing a complete translation – writing it down.
Some of our own international Wycliffe and SIL associates were keenly interested in seeing this done and in a meeting with a number of them in 2007 we were encouraged to forge a partnership with BSWI to help to facilitate a commencement. Meetings were held with representatives of the United Bible Society of the Americas and as a result of this and other meetings in the background, The Seed Company, a sister organization of Wycliffe Bible Translators International set up to fund translation projects, agreed to being the major funding agent for our translation.
This was a major breakthrough for Wycliffe Caribbean, the BSWI and the Jamaican Language Unit (JLU) of the UWI. From this, we had an understanding of a three part local partnership
The JNT is a culmination of some twenty (20) years of work by dedicated and trained translators, Bible scholars and linguists. To date, the JNT is the largest and the most standardised body of work in the Jamaican language. This translation, published by the Bible Society of the West Indies, was published in 2012.
The printed text is a beautifully bound New Testament with black vinyl cover and silver-gild Bible leaf. Additionally, it comes in a durable and attractive box case. The text is published in diglot form, with Jamaican text set alongside the King James Version for reference; it includes a guide on how to read Jamaican, maps relevant to the New Testament, a list of important dates in Jamaica’s history, Jamaica’s National Anthem and National Pledge and descriptions an pictures of two of Jamaica’s important national emblems.
The print and audio CD versions are available at the bookstore of The Bible Society of The West Indies in Hagley Park Plaza in Kingston, Jamaica.
It is also available online:
· The BSWI’s Amazon store: The written text is available in Kindle and print formats.
Print JNTs ordered from the Amazon store come in a slipcase.
“We believe that the Bible is recognized as the final arbiter of a language and is one of the greatest motivation for literacy.”
-John Roomes, CEO, Wycliffe Caribbean.
“We’ve now produced a major body of literature in the language, whatever people may think about it one way or the other. And that is part of the process of convincing people that this thing is a serious language with a standard writing system.”
-Patois expert Hubert Devonish, coordinator of the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of West Indies.
“There is a widespread conviction that Scripture is best understood in a person’s spoken tongue. Many Jamaicans will be inspired to hear and read the translation. It’s extremely powerful for people to hear Scripture in their own language, the language they speak and think in. It goes straight to their hearts and people say they are able to visualize it in a way they’ve never experienced before.”
-Reverend Courtney Stewart, general secretary of the regional Bible society
“I was reading 1 Timothy 2 today, and got a revelation about Jesus, that I never saw before… I feel like I would run around the building and also promote that every-one get a copy”. (Email)
The Jamaican New Testament is being used in churches: in youth groups, in carol services and for Christmas celebrations.
If you would like to find out more, please visit the Bible Society of the West Indies.