Mission Without Borders
"Reaching people for Christ: helping thousands of children, families and communities out of poverty into a sustainable future"

Breaking the language barrier: translating the Bible in Bosnia



Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of the least evangelized countries in the Balkans, so the culture of reading the Bible is very under developed. Even though the nation has produced writers, even a Nobel Prize winner, Ivo Andric, people in general just do not read books.

The country is made up of three nations with three separate languages and so there is no single translation for the Bible. Like in every area of the country this means that the Gospel's message is divided, often incoherent to many and therefore provides and finds little direction among the people.

In reponse to this issue, Mission Without Borders Bosnian team took part in the Bible Jubilee project between 2010-2013. During this time we shared Bibles in Serbian and Croatian, but there was a lack of Bibles in the language of Bosnian Muslims and Bosniaks in general.
In some extreme cases, people did not want to take the Bible as they were in the language of their past war enemies, but, fortunately, these people were few and far between. Since the war, each nation has started to work actively to strengthen their national and religious identity, and so things such as languages have become increasingly important.
I recently had a meeting with a Muslim scholar, politician and imam, who instead of using the Bosnian Bible, used the Persian translation. As a result, I realised more and more how important it is to translate the Bible in to a language that every Bosnian Muslim and Bosniak can understand. This is a huge challenge for the thelogians and evangelists who are seeking solutions and it is going to take a lot of time.

Bible Society of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently driving this venture, but they are cautious in their engagement. However, we do know that they are currently working on translating the Gospel of Luke and we hope to have a copy by the end of the year.
It was my joy to be part of this new beginning, which I hope will end with the whole Bible being translated for Bosniaks. I am really proud of how Mission Without Borders, in partnership with the Jubilee project, has revived this initiative. MWB's tagline is 'Reaching People for Christ'- by supporting this project we are parterning with a crucial initiative in this respect, which could have a significant impact for the Bosniak Muslims in this country.