The Translation of the Bible in China

Marco Polo

Marco Polo

The Bible is translated in more than 2300 languages and millions of copies are sold Worldwide. The most populated country in the World – China is not an exception.

The Bible came to China a long time ago. In the 13th century the Chinese Emperor already had a copy of the Holy Bible – at least Marco Polo claimed so. However, most likely the translations were in Syrian or Persian languages.

Chinese translation of the Bible

The Catholic monks were the first to bring Christianity in China in the 13th Century. The protestants in 17th Century tried to translate the Bible in Chinese, but the work was not an easy task at all!

Robert Morrison translates the Bible

Robert Morrison

Robert Morrison

After 25 years of work Robert Morrison translated the whole Bible into the Chinese language and baptized ten Chinese believers. Morrison pioneered the translation of the Bible into Chinese and planned for the distribution of the Scriptures as broadly as possible, unlike the previous Roman Catholic translation work that had never been published.

He served for 27 years in China with one furlough home to England. The only missionary efforts in China were restricted to Guangzhou (Canton) and Macau at this time. They concentrated on literature distribution among members of the merchant class, gained a few converts, and laid the foundations for more educational and medical work that would significantly impact the culture and history of the most populous nation on earth. However, when Morrison was asked shortly after his arrival in China if he expected to have any spiritual impact on the Chinese, he answered, “No sir, but I expect God will!”

In 1819, Morrison had finished the translation of the whole Bible, despite the threat of a death penalty by the Chinese Emperor for printing Chinese books. From 1819 to 1836 more than 2000 Bibles were printed. Thus, Robert Morrison is the first translator of the Bible and his translation is used nowadays.

Joseph Schereschewsky

Joseph Schereschewsky

Joseph Schereschewsky

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky (known in Chinese as Chinese: 施约瑟, Joseph Shi) was an Anglican Bishop of Shanghai, China, from 1877-1884. By 1861, Schereschewsky had begun his translations, the first being that of the Psalms into the Shanghai dialect. Schereschewsky translated the Book of Common Prayer into Chinese with English missionary John Shaw Burdon. He served as Bishop of Shanghai until he was so poor he could not continue. He used a wheelchair at the end of his life.

Bible Printing in China Nowadays

XinHua reports that the only company which holds the rights of printing the Holy Bible, by 2011 has printed more than 80 million copies! Every month it is printing more than 1.000.000 copies which is 25% of the whole number of Bibles printed Worldwide!

If you want to read the Chinese Bible online, please Click HERE.


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