Congregants at the Jehovah’s Witnesses event hugging one another.
Story by Dili Utomi.
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nigeria participated in a hybrid event across the country on Sunday. The event is part of the visit of representatives of the Governing Body of the organisation to Nigeria. The event was broadcast live to Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses located around the country.
A key highlight of the event was the release of the New Testament of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in Urhobo and Pidgin English by Mr. Jeffrey Winder, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Some reasons for translating the Bible into Urhobo and Pidgin English can be attributed to the fact that Pidgin English is spoken by over 75 million persons in Nigeria. Users are in West Africa, Europe and the US. These speakers deserve to understand God’s Word without the hinderance of language. The idea is to produce a Pidgin translation that could speak to the heart of English Pidgin speakers in different countries of West and Central Africa.
Again, there are about 5 million users of the Urhobo language. The language has some dialects and has changed over time. This translation in Urhobo is done in accordance with the dynamism of the language and can easily be understood by various dialectal groups within the Urhobo community.
The congregation watch on at the event.
In a world so full of problems, the message of the Bible brings the comfort and hope so desperately needed. Our goal is not financial profit; we are motivated by love for people, because we want to help as many people as possible to have access to this message in their language.
Translators are Jehovah’s Witnesses volunteers who have chosen to remain anonymous.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been publishing an increasing number of videos in Urhobo and Pidgin English with the content of Bible-based books, magazines, movies and songs with advice that helps people deal with everyday challenges. There is content available for all audiences: children, young people, parents, families.
The most widely distributed magazine in the world – The Watchtower – is also available in Urhobo and Pidgin.
The publications are all part of a voluntary work to help people around the world to understand the Bible. Expenses for the works are covered by donations.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been active in Nigeria since 1921. They now number over 400,000. Their educational work is carried out in over 240 lands and is voluntary
All publications produced by the Witnesses, including the Bible, are distributed free of charge. The Witnesses respect each person’s right to decide whether to listen or not to their message.
There are no national or social barriers among Jehovah’s Witnesses – they are from hundreds of countries, speak hundreds of languages and address one another simply as Brothers and Sisters
There is no clergy-laity distinction among them.
The manuscripts used in the translations include from Hebrew (Old Testament) Text: The New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (1953-1960, in English) was based on Rudolf Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica. Since then, updated editions of the Hebrew text, such as the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Biblia Hebraica Quinta, have included recent research based on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient manuscripts. These scholarly works reproduce the Leningrad Codex and include notes with comparative texts from other sources, such as the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek Septuagint, the Aramaic Targum, the Latin Vulgate, and the Syriac Peshitta. The editions of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and Biblia Hebraica Quinta were consulted.
Again, the Greek (New Testament) text: In the late 19th century, scholars B. F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort compared existing manuscripts and fragments of the Bible in preparing a standard Greek text that they believed faithfully reflected the original writings. The standard text of these scholars was used as the basis for this translation, in addition to other ancient papyri, probably dating from the second and third centuries CE. Furthermore, standard texts such as those by Nestle and Aland and the United Bible Societies reflect recent scholarly research. Some of the findings from these surveys were included in the 2013 revision of the New World Translation of the Bible.
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