Founded on the conviction that the words of the Bible are the very words of God, we have a passion for sharing God’s Word with the world. The Chinese Standard Bible© is a product of our dedication to accuracy and clarity. It faithfully expresses the power and depth of meaning of God’s Word. The Word of God deserves nothing less. This unique combination of readability and fidelity has produced a translation suited for every Chinese-speaking Christian. From scholarly study to personal reading, group worship to family devotions, the Chinese Standard Bible© is a Bible for all of life.
Completed: New Testament, 13 books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Esther, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Daniel, Jonah, Zechariah and Malachi)
Target year for completion of the entire Old Testament: 2024
Because there are many Chinese translations to choose from, many people wonder why we would bother to develop a new translation such as the Chinese Standard Bible©.
1. CHINESE—THE WORLD’S MOST USED LANGUAGE—IS CHANGING RAPIDLY, AND BIBLE TRANSLATION MUST KEEP PACE WITH THOSE CHANGES.
As the language used by a nation with the largest population in the world, Chinese is becoming a global language. More than 1.5 billion people around the world speak or read Chinese as a primary or secondary language. And because of this worldwide usage, Chinese is also a rapidly changing language. However, in recent years, illiteracy in China has continually risen. The Chinese Standard Bible© puts a deeper understanding of God’s Word within reach of the multitude of Chinese speakers, carefully considering both visual attractiveness and listener-friendliness when read aloud. Linguistic and semantic advances have been incorporated into the translation, and it reflects changes in Chinese style through contemporary punctuation, formatting, grammar and vocabulary. At the same time, the Chinese Standard Bible© retains meaningful theological terms while avoiding slang, regionalisms, or changes made simply for the sake of “political correctness” or other social agendas.
2. ADVANCES IN BIBLICAL RESEARCH PROVIDE NEW DATA FOR BIBLE TRANSLATORS.
Biblical scholars today have more and better information about ancient biblical texts than scholars did years ago. Ours has been called the “information age” and that is emphatically true in the field of biblical research. Innumerable archaeological discoveries support the reliability of biblical source documents. Analysis of ancient manuscripts has revealed new insights into the transmission of biblical material. And intensive study of individual Bible books—including sophisticated statistical research—has uncovered heretofore unknown facets of Bible knowledge. While translations made as recently as 10 or 20 years ago do not reflect these advances in research, translators of the Chinese Standard Bible© have integrated vast amounts of this information into the translation.
3. ADVANCES IN COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY HAVE OPENED A NEW DOOR FOR BIBLE TRANSLATION.
The Chinese Standard Bible© scholars have likely used computers and telecommunications more than any other Bible translators in history. Daily—and sometimes hourly—electronic mail facilitated the timely exchange of ideas and transmission of manuscripts. A platform was specially set up for collaboration of group efforts, and a customized set of software tools was developed to create, revise and manage the translation at each stage. The revisions were aligned to the original language to facilitate cross-checking and consistency during the translation process—something never before done with a Bible translation.
First and foremost, the Chinese Standard Bible© is special because the Bible itself is like no other book. The words of the Bible are the very Words of God. As Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). Second, the Chinese Standard Bible© is an accurate and authentic translation. The Bible says every word was “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). For this reason, the Chinese Standard Bible© seeks to translate the original languages with the greatest possible accuracy and precision. Third, the Chinese Standard Bible© carries forward the great historic stream of Bible versions in Chinese—with literary excellence, beauty, readability, and depth of meaning, in a fresh and compelling way. The Chinese Standard Bible© is the Bible to read and treasure through all your life—a great choice for young and old, for daily reading and personal study, for church and family, for teaching and preaching and for memorizing the words of life.
The Chinese Standard Bible© uses the OPTIMAL EQUIVALENCE translation philosophy. This means that it seeks to be as literal as possible while also communicating the meaning of the text as clearly as possible for Chinese readers. For more information about optimal equivalence and the translation philosophy for this project, click here.
The Chinese Standard Bible© distinguishes itself from other translations by its application of computer technology in the process of Bible translation. The dynamic linking between the source languages and the target language enables to check the faithfulness, readability and consistency of the translation, and to produce translation memory for empowering machine assisted translation, checking and proofing capabilities. The translators and reviewers are provided with a software platform which contains rich Bible resources to assist in their thinking process so that decisions can be made faster and better without compromising quality.
The Chinese Standard Bible© translation team, which is international and represents many denominations, shares a commitment to historic evangelical orthodoxy, and to the authority and sufficiency of the inerrant Scriptures.
The textual base for the New Testament is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition. At times, however, the translators have followed an alternative manuscript tradition, disagreeing with the editors of these texts about the original reading.
For 200 years the Bible has been the sure foundation of the church in China. Thank God that it remains so today. For the past 120 years the Chinese Union Version has brought life and light, comfort and encouragement, unity and hope to countless millions. In recent years, a number of new versions have appeared providing a more contemporary way of expressing biblical truth, clarity of understanding and helpful insights. Dedicated Chinese scholars following sound principles of Bible translation and using the most up-to-date technology available have prepared the Chinese Standard Bible©. It offers pastors, teachers and people who want to dig deeply in the Word the very best study resource available today. Though it will not take the place of the Chinese Union Version, used alongside it, the Chinese Standard Bible© provides a valuable and dependable tool. I am glad to recommend the Chinese Standard Bible© to all serious students of the Bible.
In the ninety years since the publication of the Chinese Union Version (CUV), Mainland China has experienced great changes in language and culture. The Chinese Standard Bible©, which is based on an in-depth study of the original Greek texts, conforms to the official language standards of Mainland China and makes good use of computer technology in its translation process. As a result, the translation is easy to understand and yet faithful to the original. It achieved a good balance of fidelity, readability, and elegance even for those verses that are hard to translate into Chinese. We pray that God will bless and use this translation to enable more Chinese people to understand and believe in the precious gospel in the Bible.
Due to the constant change of culture and language, every age should have a Bible translation that meets the need of this age. Since the Chinese language is one of the most used languages in the world, it is in particular need of the production of current and up-to-date Bible translations. We thank God for leading the Global Bible Initiative to spend years of effort in producing the Chinese Standard Bible©, which is up-to-date, easy to read and faithful to the original. This translation will be a blessing and spiritual contribution to the Chinese believers and churches throughout the world. May God bless it, promote it, and put it to full use.
The translation project of Chinese Standard Bible© taps into the best pool of Chinese Bible scholars and resources and draws on their diverse cultural backgrounds. It has a good support system to check all aspects of the translation (having factored in various considerations, including appropriate use of technology, the need for proofreading, and the appropriate level of language to use in the translation and the educational level needed to understand it in light of the target audience). Moreover, the whole project is well managed. The Chinese Standard Bible© is an invaluable resource.
Contact us at Permissions@GBI.llc for information regarding licensing or permission to use the Chinese Standard Bible© text. The text is made available through the Digital Bible Library. (Any Paratext user who has a translation, translation support or publication role in an approved organization which agrees to abide by FOBAI principles, have permission to access the text by default.)