Wednesday, August 06, 2008

China to Provide ESV-Chinese Bibles at Olympics

From a Crossway press release:
China will provide 10,000 free Chinese-English bilingual Bibles to be distributed in the Olympic Village where the Olympic athletes and media are housed, as reported by the China Daily newspaper. The bilingual Bible text will include the CUV (Chinese Union Version) and the ESV (English Standard Version), appearing in two side-by-side columns per page. The CUV Bible is the most widely distributed Chinese Bible in the world, and the ESV Bible has recently become the fastest growing English language Bible in the world.

In addition to the 10,000 bilingual CUV-ESV Bibles, 30,000 New Testaments and 100,000 bilingual editions of the four Gospels will also be made available at the Olympic Games.

Because cultural and academic leaders in China are seeking to understand the influence of the Bible on the worldview and culture of the West, there is a growing interest in Chinese-English bilingual Bibles in mainland China. “We are especially grateful,” Crossway President Dr. Lane Dennis notes, “that the ESV was selected by Chinese Christian leaders for publication with Chinese CUV Bible, through our partnership with the British and Foreign Bible Society. Since both the CUV and the ESV are ‘essentially literal’ Bible translations, they are ideally suited for a side-by-side comparison of the two languages. What a wonderful thing it would be if thousands of people would learn English—and Chinese!—by reading the Bible in side-by-side bilingual editions.”

The CUV-ESV (Chinese-English) Bible was printed in May of this year at the new Amity Printing plant in Nanjing, China. A special CUV-ESV commemorative edition was produced and given to guests attending the opening ceremony of the new facility. Since the late 1980s, with the support of the United Bible Societies, Amity has produced 55 million Bibles, 43 million of which have been distributed through Churches in China and another 12 million were produced in English and other languages for Bible publishers and Bible Societies in many countries. The Christian population of China is estimated by some to be about 7 percent, or 90 million, of China’s 1.3 billion people. This represents a one hundred-fold growth in the number of Christians in China since the Communist came to power in 1948, when Protestant Christians in China numbered approximately 900,000. The new Amity Printing plant, covering more than 400,000 square feet, will significantly increase Bible printing capacity to 12 million copies per year, to help meet the rapidly growing need for Bibles.

“It is a great joy for all of us at Crossway Bibles to have a small part in providing God’s Word to the church in China through the publication of the CUV-ESV bilingual Bible,” says Dr. Dennis. “We pray that this is just the beginning—of building partnerships with the church in China for the publication of Bible resources that will help meet the needs of the Chinese people.”
A while back the LA Times ran a story about China's state-sanctioned Bible printing plant, Amity Printing Copy--which may be the biggest Bible printer in the world. While some of the sales are exported, most are domestic. In the LAT photo you can see a worker stacking ESV Bibles.