NEW YEAR, NEW BIBLE: MINISTRY LEADER SAYS THE BEST WAY TO PREPARE FOR REUNIFICATION IS TO READ THE NK CHOSUN BIBLE
Voice of the Martyrs President Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, is encouraging Korean Christians to prepare for re-unification by reading through the entire NK Chosun Bible in the next year.
“The NK Chosun Bible is a tremendous translation of the Bible, and Korean Christians find it is often easier to understand than the traditional Korean Bible," Dr. Foley says. "So, making a commitment to read the NK Chosun Bible can be a great source of personal spiritual growth this year. But it is also one of the greatest ways we can show love to our North Korean brothers and sisters: by learning how to speak about God in a way they can understand. If we feel touched when a foreigner tries to speak Korean, imagine how touched our North Korean brothers and sisters are when we speak to them about God in their own dialect.”
Although there is a complex and political aspect of reunification, Dr. Foley argues that reunification is for Christians not primarily a political issue. According to Dr. Foley, reunification is the responsibility of each and every Korean Christian.
“For Christians, reunification is not first a political or military event in which we open our country’s borders or economy or culture to North Koreans,” Dr. Foley says. “Reunification is first a personal spiritual transformation in which we open our hearts to North Koreans, including the ones who are already here. Reading the NK Chosun Bible is one very effective way to begin that process.”
So far, more than 31,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea and around 1,000 more arrive each year. Dr. Foley believes that these North Koreans have been sent into South Korea as an answer to the church’s prayer for reunification.
The translation that the NK Chosun Bible uses is the Pyongyang version of the Common Translation. It was actually commissioned by the North Korean government in an effort to compete with the South Korean government, yet biblical linguists agree that the translation contains no political bias and is an extraordinarily accurate translation which is easy to understand. Although North Korea printed 10,000 New Testaments in 1983 and 10,000 Old Testaments in 1984, almost none of these were distributed except to North Korea’s fake showpiece churches in Pyongyang.
Voice of the Martyrs Korea was able to smuggle a copy of this translation out of North Korea and reproduce it. The VOM Korea publication, called the NK Full Study Bible, also includes study notes written by Wycliffe about sections of the Bible which may be difficult, especially to North Koreans or new Christians. VOM Korea utilized a translation team of prominent Korean professors (including Kang Gyu-Sung of Korean Bible University, Kang So-Ra of Hansei University, Kang Jung-ju of Yeyak Graduate University, Choi Soon-jin of Torch Trinity Graduate University, and Heo Joo of Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission) to review the original transcript, add study notes, and ensure accuracy and theological integrity.
“We don’t have to wait for a political breakthrough to reunify Korea,” Dr. Foley says. “We can begin reunification at the start of this lunar new year by reading the NK Chosun Bible. This can open up our hearts to North Koreans and begin to prepare us to speak and understand the gospel in their dialect. We may even receive insights into the Bible that we’ve never had before. I know I certainly do each time I read it. It has become my preferred Bible for teaching, preaching, and personal study.”
VOM Korea’s NK Chosun Full Study Bible is available exclusively through VOM Korea for a suggested donation of 25,000KRW. A large print version is also available for a suggested donation of 30,000KRW. Interested individuals can call VOM Korea at 02-2065-0703.