North Korean Full Study Bible
조선어 스터디 성경
VOMK prints and distributes the North Korean dialect “Chosun” Bible. It is a translation with a fascinating history. More importantly, it is often regarded as the most accurate translation of the Bible into any Korean dialect. This Bible comes equipped with easy-to-understand notes about difficult-to-understand words (such as “salvation,” “revelation,” and “sin“) to instruct North Koreans who, due to their circumstances, are unable to receive instruction for their Bible reading. We then distribute these Bibles to North Koreans and North Korean ministries all over the world.
자주 묻는 질문
What is the NK Full Study Bible?
This North Korean Study Bible uses the text of the Chosun Bible, the Bible in the North Korean dialect that is most highly regarded by Bible linguists, the United Bible Societies, and by North Korean defectors themselves as indicated in a survey conducted by CGN TV.
The Full Study Bible is also filled with study notes and vocabulary banks that help the North Koreans to better understand the narrative that the Bible is telling. These notes were created by Wycliffe Mission Assist and provide everything from the background of the scripture to the explanation of the meaning of individual words such as hallelujah, amen, repent, etc.
Where Does VOM Korea's North Korean Bible Translation Come From?
The North Korean and South Korean languages are over 40% divergent, making it difficult for a North Korean defector to read a South Korean Bible. This is one of the reasons why VOM Korea produced a North Korean Full Bible and a brand new North Korean/South Korean Parallel Bible.
VOM Korea’s goal wasn’t to produce something on its own, nor did it want to do a paraphrase or adaptation of an existing work. Instead, the goal was to use the most linguistically and theologically well-regarded translation of the Bible in the North Korean dialect.
Surprisingly, this was a work commissioned by the North Korean government through their Chosun Christian Association. The Chosun Christian Association runs the NK state church and also helps to create the outside appearance of freedom of religion in NK. They produced the Common Translation (Pyongyang Version), which was based on the Common Translation Bible published by the Korean Bible Society in 1977. The Korean Bible Society focused on making a translation for the un-churched and refrained from using “church” language which would have been found in the Protestant and Catholic Churches at the time. The North Koreans printed 10,000 New Testaments in 1983 and 10,000 Old Testaments in 1984.
The 2nd edition of the North Korean Bible was published in 1990 with both the Old and New Testaments contained in one volume. This was printed by the Pyongyang General Printing Factory with the help of the United Bible Society in China. Instead of making a separate Bible translation, they decided to make small corrections and changes to the existing translation. One of the goals of this 2ndedition seemed to be a focus on preserving the original common translation.
When VOM Korea produced the two North Korean Bibles, the only change that was made was to replace the North Korean “Hanulnim” (God of the heavens) with the Protestant “Hananim” (one true God).
How Do I Get an NK Full Study Bible?
Voice of the Martyrs helps North Koreans experience this true freedom by providing free Bibles and discipleship training to North Koreans wherever they are found, and by supporting churches, NGOs, and missionaries that serve North Koreans. Voice of the Martyrs is inviting North Korean defectors to its office in Mapo to each receive one free copy of Voice of the Martyrs’ new leather North Korea Study Bible at an Open House Event on Saturday, December 10th from 10AM until 4PM. Refreshments will be served and tours given. North Korean defectors should call Voice of the Martyrs at 02-2065-0703 for more information.
Rev. Foley says churches, NGOs, and missionaries that reach North Koreans are eligible to receive multiple free copies of the new leather North Korea Study Bible for their ministry work by contacting Voice of the Martyrs ahead of time and completing a brief application. “We work with missionaries, NGOs, and churches from all the member denominations of the Church Council of Korea,” says Rev. Foley. “We supply churches with Bibles for all of the North Korean members of their congregations. Our goal is to support churches, NGOs, and missionaries to help North Koreans read the Bible in their own dialect so that they may understand it fully and experience the freedom that it brings.” Ministry representatives should call Voice of the Martyrs at 02-2065-0703 to receive the application by email.
Koreans who are not from North Korea but who are interested in receiving a copy of the Study Bible for their own personal use may receive one for a suggested donation of 25,000 KRW.
Why is There a Need for an NK Full Study Bible?
The North Korean and South Korean languages are over 40% divergent, making it difficult for a North Korean defector to read a South Korean Bible. This is one of the reasons why VOM Korea produced a North Korean Full study bible.
Over the past few years, as North Korean defectors have journeyed to South Korea and other neighboring countries, many groups and organizations have responded to the great need to produce North Korean Bibles and Bible study aids.
These Bibles and study aids are often done by one person, or by a few people in their organization, rather than the work of scholars in a multi-denominational translation committee. This gives them less credibility and verification and more theological bias. Due to this shortcoming, these translations are not used by certain groups and are not widely accepted.
We didn’t want to produce something on our own, nor did we want to do a paraphrase or adaptation of an existing work. Instead, the goal was to use the most linguistically and theologically well-regarded translation of the Bible in the North Korean dialect.
The study notes are not theological in nature, but rather simple definitions for words that someone with no background in the Christian faith might have trouble understanding. They were produced by Wycliffe Mission Assist and translated by an independent team of translators and proofread by five different theology professors. This was an overwhelming need as expressed by countless North Koreans.
Who Were the Professors that Edited and Proofread the Study Notes?
Kang Gyu-sung(Korean Bible University)
Kang So-ra(Hansei University)
Kang Jung-ju(Yeyak Graduate University)
Choi Soon-jin(Torch Trinity Graduate University)
Heo Joo (Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission)