JIANGSU, China – “Thank God for the Chinese Study Bible! It is much more detailed and comprehensive than the existing one we have,” said Ji Yijun (right), 39, pastor of a church in Nanjing. He is one of the recipients of the Chinese Study Bible (New Testament) at the recent Jiangsu Pastors’ Training.
A partnership between China Christian Council/ TSPM, Crossway, British Bible Society and United Bible Societies, the Chinese Study Bible (CSB New Testament) was launched late last year. A total of 5,000 copies supported by UBS are being distributed free to key church leaders and pastors as well as all seminary teachers across the country’s 23 theological colleges.
With Christianity growing fast in China where the national average ratio of pastor to believers is 1:6700, a key priority of the Church in China is to continuously grow and equip church leaders and pastors. One of the ways is to make available contemporary and good quality Scripture resources like the CSB to pastors, preachers and believers alike.
“The CSB – translated and adapted from the English Standard Version Study Bible – is by far the most complete and comprehensive Study Bible (NT) available in China. It provides excellent, up-to-date scholarly perspective from top notch, reputable evangelical-conservative scholars,” shared Dr Simon Wong, UBS Translation Consultant of the CSB. “We had rewritten some notes which were deemed culturally sensitive and invited some seminary teachers to review it for Chinese readers, as well as work with the Crossway editors in the adaptation process.”
Like a treasury, the 2500-page CSB (when completed with the Old Testament) will boast more than three million characters (thrice the amount of the existing Study Bible), 20,000 study notes, 200 full-colour satellite images (maps), 200 plus charts, and 40 all-new illustrations. An introduction to each book of the Bible is provided – featuring the Author; Date of Writing; Themes; Content, Timeline; Literary Features; Key Themes; Purpose, Occasion and Background; Outline and so on. One other interesting feature is the History of Salvation Summary, which succinctly puts each of the books in the Bible within the larger context of God’s salvation plan.
As the current Study Bible used by the Church in China was published in the 90s, the arrival of CSB marked a new phase in the publication of Bible tools as well as in the history of the Church in China.
Elder Fu Xianwei (left), Chairman of National Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches (TSPM) emphasized that the partnership with UBS in the Chinese Study Bible project was a very meaningful ministry for the Church in China. In terms of the time and effort spent or the number of people involved in the revisions, it was unprecedented in the Bible publication history of China.
Elder Fu added, “It is important that Christians have deep grounding in the Word. People can read but may not be able to truly understand the Scriptures. So CSB is helpful in providing more clarity and understanding as well as in defence against the influence of cult groups. Pastors and preachers have found CSB (NT) very helpful and are asking when OT will be ready.”
Jock Foo, UBS China Partnership Programme Manager of CSB said, “We are truly thankful to the Lord for providing the Church of China with this invaluable Scripture resource which will bless thousands of Chinese pastors and preachers in their Bible preaching and teaching ministry to many more thousands of believers in China!”
Story: Cynthia Oh
Edited: Angela Teo
Photos: UBS CP
2016 © United Bible Societies China Partnership