Living along the banks of the Orinoco River in Venezuela are the Piaroa people. They are a subsistence hunting and fishing people, renowned for their extraordinarily peaceful and egalitarian society. They first received the New Testament in the 1970s, but with the passing of time the language has become outdated and so a new translation of the New Testament is underway.
Like other Bible translations, the work is being undertaken by a team of local translators and, as sections of the translation become available, a group of Piaroa Christians reads them and suggests changes to the text.
One significant milestone which was reached in 2011 was a draft known as a ‘back’ translation. This is where the Scriptures are translated into a major language, such as Spanish, so that it can be checked by the Translation Consultant for linguistic or theological inconsistencies, before being translated into the mother tongue.
It’s expected that the New Testament will be finished this year, and the Old Testament will be completed by 2016.
In the meantime the Piaroa people are eagerly awaiting their new Bible. It seems only fitting that they, one of the most peaceful societies in the world, should have access to the Scriptures in their heart language.
“My uncle was a heroin addict. He had sunk very low. He met a pastor from a church, who shared God’s love and forgiveness with him. He became a devout Christian.”