Tedim Chin New Testament Translation Project

Profile of the Tedim Chin

Location

  • A closed country

Language Family

  • A Chin language (part of the Sino-Tibetan family).

Speakers

  • 344,000 (Ethnologue)

  • 226,000 (Joshua Project)

Religion

  • 70% of the Tedim Chin are considered Christian

  • An estimated 44% are evangelical

Literacy

  • The Tedim Chin people were illiterate people before the missionaries came to the Chin Hills

  • The Tedim Chin language is written using a modified Roman alphabet, and now most people can read and write

  • The literacy rate of the church is higher than that of the country because the church opens night classes for the unlearned people in the church

Existing Bible Translations

  • UBS published a complete Bible (based on the critical text) in 1983

  • NIV New Testament published in 1994

  • BI first edition of New Testament in 2000 (found to need a major revision)

Project Progress

  • The final checking process is in progress

  • The plan is to print 10,000 New Testaments

Tedim

Overview

Early missionaries successfully evangelized the area the Tedim live in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, the Baptists in this area soon became liberal, as did their training institutions. Along with their liberal and sometimes non-evangelical practices, there came a series of unreliable translations that further confused or misled the Tedim Chin people. Today most of the Tedim Baptist churches and theological seminaries in this area are interdenominational.

Baptist Mid-Missions missionary Jim Garlow reached out to the Tedim Chin people, evangelizing and then training them by bringing them over to some of India’s reliable training institutions. BMM missionary and BI founder Paul Versluis followed Garlow’s practice but recognized the need for reliable Scriptures in the Tedim language in order to better train the Tedim people in doctrine. Bibles International adopted the Tedim Chin language project in 1987 and produced its first New Testament in 2000. However, this edition has been found to need a major revision, which is being done while a separate team of translators work on the Old Testament. Bibles International missionary Ross Hodsdon is now the main consultant on this New Testament project, working closely with nationals, and the project is nearing completion.

The Tedim people live in a hilly region, and communication is rather poor. There are some roads that can be accessed by a Jeep, but in most places they use horses to carry loads. The economic standard is very low, and people earn their living primarily by cultivation, mainly growing maize.

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