Since Chinese Union Bible’s first publication in 1919, it has gained wide acceptance into the Chinese Church and become over the years the authorized, canonical version for Chinese Protestants. However, the Chinese language has undergone tremendous changes over the past decades. Certain words and expressions that formerly sounded smooth and natural have since become unnatural and unintelligible. In view of this, United Bible Societies held consultations in Hong Kong, Singapore and other regions as early as in 1983, to explain to Christian believers the need for a revision. As a result, church leaders have reached a consensus on such need.
1. The purpose of this revision is not revision per se. The characteristic style of the Union Version will be preserved as much as possible.
2. Changes would be as limited as possible, the lesser the change, the better.
3. The revision is striving to be faithful to the original text.
THE SOURCE TEXTS
Scholars from various countries, including mainland China, have been appointed to undertake this revision work. It is hoped that the new, revised version will speak to the needs of these potential readers. Conscious of the extreme importance of such a daunting task, the scholars involved in the project have been working diligently and prayerfully, imploring the Holy Spirit for guidance. They have been weighing carefully every word and every expression, including the punctuation, confronting constantly with the original text, and consulting other versions, all for the purpose of producing a revision that conveys more accurately the message of the Bible.
The revision of the New Testament is based on the Greek New Testament 4th Revised Edition published by the United Bible Societies in 1993. The revision of the Old Testament is based on the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia published in 1984. These two source texts represent the results of many years of textual research and criticism conducted by Biblical scholars and archaeologists, and are considered so far the most reliable. Moreover, scholarly writings published in recent decades are also consulted in order to allow a more accurate understanding and rendering of the original text.
Beside the issue of faithfulness and accuracy, there is also the concern about naturalness and fluency. Changes are being introduced wherever the old text presents problems such as archaisms, ambiguities, or structures not conforming to current usage.
After a dozen years of preparation and wide consultations, the first draft of the NT was completed by 2000. Moreover, a Trial Edition of the Four Gospels and Romans has been printed and distributed with the purpose of soliciting feedback. (Photo 2 caption: Trial Editions of RCUV: 4 Gospels and Romans)
In September 2000, United Bible Societies held a consultation in Hong Kong and resolved that Hong Kong Bible Society would assume full responsibility for the revision project. Rev. Chow Lien-Hwa and Dr. I-Jin Loh are invited to continue to serve as project editors. Two drafters and six reviewers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore have been appointed to work on the Old Testament. In April 2003, China Christian Council / Three Self Patriotic Movement have written a letter to us to express they are in support of the revision ministry. （Photo 3 caption: Apr 2001 Meeting）
Work on the New Testament is approaching completion and its publication is expected to be Nov. 2005. Revision of the Old Testament is moving ahead, with its draft soon to be sent to reviewers in mainland China.
In view of the enormous needs in terms of finance and human resources incurred by such a project, we would like to appeal to your supports through prayers as well as by giving feedback.
The Uniqueness of RCUV