History

The Bible work in Zambia can be traced back to the coming of the first missionary societies towards the end of the 18th Century. When the missionaries set-up mission stations, they also established translation programmes for the purpose of providing some portions of Scriptures to local people in their languages. The earliest New Testament was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1901 and the complete Zambian language Bible was published by the Bible Society of Scotland in 1905.

The work of the Bible Society was started in 1939 when the following countries called today Zambia (Northern Rhodesia), Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia), Malawi (Nyasaland) and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) were separated from the Central South Agency. The four countries joined together to form an independent agency with Madagascar, Mauritius, DR Congo (Belgian-Congo) and Tanzania (Tanganyika).

Mr. T. Percival Bevan was the first Secretary (1939-1955) for Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He was followed by Rev. Maynard W. Booth as the second Secretary and Consultant (1955-1965) for Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

In 1964 the National Advisory Council with the help of the Council of Churches in Zambia (then Christian Council of Zambia) was set up which culminated in the establishment of the Bible Society of Zambia (BSZ) in 1966 with the aim of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20; Mk.16:15-16) of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Bible Society of Zambia became an associate member of the United Bible Societies in October 1974 after the ratification of its Constitution and thereafter a full member of the 146 members of the worldwide United Bible Societies’ Fellowship working in 200 countries and territories.

The Bible Society of Zambia is a non-profit and non-denominational organization with the core business of translating, publishing and distributing Holy Scriptures at prices people can afford.
1.    The Role and Mandate
“To spread the Word of God by translating, publishing, distributing Scriptures and encouraging people to engage with Scriptures for the transformation of their lives”

2.    The Vision
“To see Zambia transformed by the Bible.”

3.    The Mission Statement
“We exist to provide Bibles in all languages in appropriate and relevant formats to help people engage with the Bible at affordable prices.”

4.    The Guiding Principles
The following are the principles of the Society:
        i.    Belief and firm commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the living Word of God;
        ii.    Servanthood of all Christian Churches whom we seek to provide with appropriate Scriptures for evangelism and discipleship;
        iii.    Working with others in consultation and mutual support for the Bible cause;
        iv.    Transparency and accountability in all business transactions;
        v.    Seeking to deliver exceptional quality services to promote a culture of efficiency and effectiveness in the work of spreading the Gospel;
        vi.    Respect and dignity to staff and all members of the society; and
        vii.    Strong belief in the power of prayer as the prerequisite for the success of the work.   

5.    Local Translations
The Bible Society of Zambia has so far undertaken the translation of whole Bibles in 15 of Zambian 72 languages with only another 2 translations of the New Testaments. These are:

ITEM
NAME OF THE BIBLE
TYPE OF BIBLE
 YEAR OF PUBLICATION
 1. BEMBA COMPLETE BIBLE 
 1956
 2. LAMBA
 COMPLETE BIBLE
 1959
 3. TONGA 
 COMPLETE 1963
 4. LUCHAZI
 COMPLETE
 1963
 5. CHEWA/NYANJA 
 COMPLETE 1966
 6. LOZI COMPLETE BIBLE 1968
 7. LUVALE COMPLETE BIBLE 1970
 8. KAONDE
 COMPLETE BIBLE
 1970
 9. TUMBUKA COMPLETE
 1981
 10. CHINAMWANGA COMPLETE BIBLE 1981
 11. CHOKWE    COMPLETE BIBLE 1996
 12. LALA
 NEW TESTAMENT 1998
 13. LENJE
 COMPLETE BIBLE 
 2003
 14. LUNDA-NDEMBU 
 COMPLETE BIBLE 2004
 15. MBUNDA
 COMPLETE BIBLE 2004
 16. NKOYA
 NEW TESTAMENT 2008
 17. MAMBWE-LUNGU
 COMPLETE
 2013

6.    Translation Projects
The Bible Society of Zambia is currently undertaking the following projects:
-    Nkoya Bible Translation Project
-    Nsenga Bible Translation Project
-    Ila Bible Translation Project
-    Tonga Study Bible Project
-    Nyanja Bible Translation project
-    Kaonde Bible Revision project
-    Tumbuka Bible Revision Project
-    Bemba Bible Revision Project

7.    Membership
The Bible Society of Zambia membership is drawn from the following categories:
-    Individuals
-    Pupils and Students
-    Denominations and Church Ministries
-    Local Churches
-    Christian Organizations
-    Corporate World

8.    Financial Support
            •    The Bible Society of Zambia’s financial support comes from individual Christians, Christian organizations and well wishers.

9.     Golden Jubilee
            •    The Bible Society of Zambia celebrates 50 years of spreading the Gospel in Zambia in July 2016.



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