The Simte people live predominantly in the southern part of the Manipur state, and number around 10,000. Historically nomadic headhunters, the isolated Simte people lived in ignorance of the outside world. The gospel first arrived among the Simte around 1917, but long-standing animist traditions prevented the Simte from readily accepting the new faith, so the good news spread slowly. By God's grace, 98.6% of the hill people of Manipur profess Christianity today, with about 60 churches in the New Testament Baptist Churches Association. The Simte experience a 65% literacy rate.
Although the Simte received a New Testament translation in 1975 and a complete Bible in 1992, the translators of those manuscripts had used the English Bible as their source and had experienced difficulties understanding some of the English passages. The Simte clearly needed a Bible translated from the original Hebrew and Greek texts.
The NTBCA, the largest church association among the Simte people, requested the assistance of Bibles International with a new translation in 1994. After signing an agreement to translate the New Testament in 1995, several national translators began to work with consultants on this project and completed the New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs fifteen years later with a joyful dedication service at Garlow Memorial Chapel on November 19, 2010.
To provide some background for the published New Testament, the translation team developed and printed an Old Testament Storybook in 2004. Then, upon the completion of the New Testament, BI and the NTBCA signed an agreement to begin translating the Old Testament in 2011. In addition to ongoing Scripture translation, BI also produced the Simte Writers' Handbook in 2019.
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