Tok Pisin

Tok Pisin (Pidgin) New Testament Translation Project


Profile of the Tok Pisin



  • Spoken throughout Papua New Guinea
  • Used in Parliament and commerce


  • Creole, English based, Pacific


  • 151,000


  • Christianity (20% evangelical)

Existing Bible Translations:

  • A Bible was printed in 1989 but it has been deemed insufficient and unusable

 Project Progress:

  • New project. Training has taken place and translation work has begun.
  • Completed Philippians. Printed several copies and used in a church service. The church members responded enthusiastically!

Tok Pison


Papua New Guinea (PNG) is an independent nation located in the southwestern section of the Pacific Ocean. The western half of the New Guinea Island is shared with Indonesia. The Island of New Guinea has a high mountainous interior covered with dense forests, while the swampy coastal areas have been kept naturally with the majority of the people isolated from the rest of the world.

The country of PNG includes about six hundred islands, the largest of which, New Guinea, is usually referred to as “the mainland.” New Guinea is the second largest island in the world after Greenland. Other large islands included in PNG are New Britain, New Ireland, and Bougainville.

Papua New Guinea was under the protectorate of England and then Australia before becoming an independent nation in 1975. It still remains closely aligned to Australia and part of the British Commonwealth of nations.

There are over 835 indigenous languages spoken in Papua New Guinea; however, most of them have few speakers because of their historic isolation and geographic remoteness. The country has three official languages: English, New Guinea Pidgin (also known as Tok Pisin or Melanesian Pidgin), and Hiri Motu.

English is the language used by the government and the educational system of PNG. Unfortunately, it is not yet universally well understood. However, Tok Pisin is growing in popularity within the country. Most of the Christian Churches, both Catholic and Protestant, use Tok Pisin in their church services. Though there is a complete Bible in the PNG Pidgin language, many evangelicals and fundamentalists feel this translation is too paraphrased and that there is a need for a more conservative translation. There is also a Pidgin New Testament in circulation that is based on the English King James Version, but the general feeling is that it lacks naturalness.

A group of national Baptist pastors came together in 2011 and formed a national association, the PNGBBTA (i.e. Papua New Guinea Baptist Bible Translation Association). One of the goals of this association is to develop an “improved translation version of the Tok Pisin Bible.” BI adopted the Tok Pisin New Testament project October 2012.

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