China #3: Two milestones for the Bible in China

by Juan Sarmiento

On Tuesday The Outreach Foundation group visited the facilities of Amity Printing Press in the city of Nanjing. We were very warmly received by Chief Executive Officer Mr. Luke Liu and a few others of its very professional team of approximately 400 members.

A joint venture between the Amity Foundation (a Chinese Christian Non-Governmental Organization) and the United Bible Societies, it was established in 1985 with the priority to serve the Christian Church in China. We learned that more about two very important dates worth mentioning.

The Centennial of the most popular Bible in Mandarin:

Building on 700 years of translation work of portions of the Bible, the Chinese Union Version (CUV) of the entire Bible was one hundred years ago. Its translation of the New Testament required 16 years and the Old Testament another 13 years of work by a group of missionaries from different denominational affiliations. The entire Bible was completed in 1919 as the Chinese Union Version in the same form as used today. Although it lacked adequate consultation with Chinese experts, for 100 years it has been a sure companion and guide to Chinese Christians through the end of the missionary era, the difficult years of severe repression and the remarkable growth of the Chinese church.

200 Million Bibles Printed:

In the last 40 years, the Bible went from being very difficult to find to being distributed in around 40,000 distribution centers in the country. Amity Printing Company is working hard in preparation to celebrate the printing of its 200 millionth Bible. It took Amity 25 years to produce the first 100 million Bibles. In comparison, the second 100 million will take Amity only 7 years. Out of the 200 million Bibles, more than 85 million have been distributed within China. Amity has also become an exporter of Bibles to over 110 countries in 100 different languages, especially to Africa where the demands are high.   

We were glad to hear about how Amity Printing Press has helped establish a printing press in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the intention of building the capacity of Christians to print the Bibles in their own languages.