Matu Bible Translation Project

Profile of the Matu

Location

  • A closed country

Language Family

  • A part of the large Sino-Tibetan family of languages. Matu is a part of the Khumi-Chin branch of this family of languages.

Speakers

  • 20,000 by their estimation

  • 41,000 estimated by Joshua Project

Religion

  • 80% of the Matu are considered Christian; however, only an estimated 40% are evangelical

Literacy

  • Bibles International has printed a primer and the first storybook. The second storybook is near completion.

  • BI has done several teacher training sessions for the primer and the storybook.

Existing Bible Translations:

  • Bibles International printed the New Testament in 1998

  • According to the Joshua Project, no other Scriptures are available

Project Progress:

  • The revision of the New Testament is moving along well. The Old Testament has not been started.

  • The plan is to print 5,000 New Testaments.

Matu

Overview

The Matu have been practicing the Christian faith since before World War II. The Gospel was first shared with them by Baptist and Presbyterian missionaries. Many of the people were animists and headhunters before the Gospel was shared with them. The Matu people have endured great persecution for their faith.

For many years, their only Christian literature was a hymnal. One man, Lawngthang, became very burdened for Scripture for the Matu people and began translating the New Testament on his own. He heard of Bibles International, and in spite of great difficulty, traveled to India, where a Bibles International workshop was being held. He made this trip various times throughout the process of completing the New Testament. His comment as he worked: “My people are in a hurry for the Bible.”

Bibles International adopted this language in 1993, and the New Testament translated by Lawngthang and his helpers was published in 1998. BI Consultants Henry Osborn and later Ross Hodsdon worked with him. A revision of the New Testament is underway, and the Old Testament project will begin after the New Testament revision is completed.

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