Update on the Society’s Bulgarian Bible Revision project
07 March 2019
The Society's current revision of the Bulgarian Bible is based on the First Bulgarian Protestant Bible, widely known as the ‘Constantinople’ or ‘Slaveikov’ Bible, which was first published in 1871 in Constantinople, modern day Istanbul. This Bible translation was made from the Greek Received Text of the New Testament and the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Old Testament. However, it was not long before revisions were being made to the 1871 Bible, with various words, phrases and verses being omitted in keeping with the ever-changing Critical Greek Text.
Today, there are close to ten modern Bible versions in Bulgarian which would be considered Protestant and yet not one of them contains the entire text of the New Testament as found in the Greek Received Text. In these editions many changes have also been made to the Old Testament text, resulting from the modern scholarly trend to favour readings from the Septuagint and other sources over and above that of the Divinely-preserved Hebrew Masoretic Text.
There are only two currently available Bulgarian Bible versions based on the Greek Received Text: the Jubilee Edition of the 1871 Constantinople Bible and the Bulgarian Synodal Bible. However, both editions have serious problems. The Jubilee Edition of the 1871 Constantinople Bible contains many Russian words, the words that should be in italics are either removed or placed in normal type, some verses which are not in the Critical Greek Text are placed in brackets and there are typographical mistakes. The Synodal version, used primarily by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, contains the Apocrypha; the Old Testament includes readings from the Septuagint, and there are doctrinal notes favouring the teachings of the Orthodox Church.
Sadly, for the foregoing reasons, there is not a single currently available edition of the Bulgarian Bible which is trustworthy and faithful to the Greek Received and Hebrew Masoretic Texts. Since our Bulgarian Reviser was first introduced to the work of the Trinitarian Bible Society, he has had a great burden to have a Bible in his own language which contains the whole of God-given Scripture. Realising the sad condition of his own native Bulgarian Bible, he got in touch with the Society and after due process he began to undertake a revision of the 1871 Bulgarian Bible.
Work to revise the Bulgarian Gospel according to John began in 2014. An online edition of the revised Gospel was soon made available and, God willing, a print edition is about to be published. The Gospel according to Matthew has also been revised and is waiting proofreading; in due time it will be checked by the Society. Our reviser is currently partway through the revision of Mark.
In a recent report on his work, our Bulgarian reviser noted the immense blessing which English-speaking Christians have been given by the translators of the Authorised (King James) Version of the Bible—a blessing which has been taken for granted and lost its importance for many in the English-speaking West. How much do you and I value God’s Word in our own tongue? Please pray that the many peoples who do not have the blessing of an available faithful Bible in their own tongue may soon receive the priceless blessing of a faithful edition of God’s Word.