The Assemblies of God of Nepal, Life Publishers, and Assemblies of God World Missions celebrated the release of the Nepali translation of the Fire Bible at a launch event held on Sunday, July 16, at the AG’s Nepal Theological College in Kathmandu. For the very first time, pastors and ministry leaders in Nepal have a study Bible in their language.
“Nepal is a country where many, or most, are pursuing spirituality through traditional religions and rituals,” says an AG ministry team member. “It’s part of the entrenched culture here. There are very few who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The Assemblies of God of Nepal includes about 1,200 churches, many serving small congregations in remote villages. Many other villages have yet to see a church established.
“Flying up towards Mount Everest, you can see these small, remote villages that would be difficult to get to,” the AG team member says.
The Fire Bible launch was celebrated by over 100 Nepali church leaders and guests from Life Publishers, AGWM, the Nepal Bible Society, and the West Florida District Council of the Assemblies of God, USA. At the time of the launch event, 7,000 Nepali Full Life Study Bibles (as the Fire Bible is known in numerous translations) were printed. Two hundred Bibles were distributed to guests and attendees. The Bibles will be distributed in Nepal by Life Publishers through an agreement with the Nepal Bible Society, which supplied their translation of the biblical text for the project.
The celebration marked the culmination of three years of fundraising, translation, editing and printing work, most of which was funded by the churches of the West Florida District Council. Translation work on the Nepali Fire Bible began in August 2014 at Life Publishers’ Bangkok Translation Center in Thailand. The translation of the study notes, articles and indices was completed in only 18 months — the fastest translation in the history of Life Publishers’ Fire Bible projects (which now number 45 translations).
“We are delighted to have this amazing resource to put into the hands of pastors, leaders, and Bible school students,” noted another AG ministry team member in attendance. “The Nepali church is growing at a phenomenal rate, which makes leadership development and training a top priority. With the completion of the Nepali Fire Bible, pastors, leaders, and believers across Nepal now have access to a Pentecostal study Bible for the first time in their church’s history. This is a landmark event for the kingdom of God in Nepal.”
Isaac Smythia, a Life Publishers representative, personally gave a copy of the Fire Bible to a Nepali pastor he has known through the years.
“Pastor Pradip* walks up the mountains for seven hours and crosses a river to take the Word of God to the people in his village,” Smythia says. “I promised myself I would personally present the Nepali Fire Bible to Brother Pradip. I asked him to take it up the mountain and across the river and share it with his friends in his village.”
The Fire Bible is equipping pastors and church leaders in regions where other Christian materials are hard or impossible to come by. Recent Urdu and Farsi translations have been warmly received. Where possible, other materials are developed to supplement the Fire Bible. In 2016, a team from Life Publishers created a 14-book pastor’s toolkit in the major language of a restricted-access Asian nation.
“We gave the toolkits away to local pastors and made them available to a regional Bible Society and other evangelical groups,” says Jim Dearman, Life Publishers representative.
Production and distribution of new Fire Bible translations continues. A Lisu language edition is scheduled for release in Myanmar in November.