We were recently contacted by Pedja from Serbia who had received a new Bible in the Serbian language (New Serbian Translation). Delighted with his new Bible, which he described as ‘perfect’, Pedja was keen to know more about the translation process, and we were keen to know more about how he received the Bible and what it means to him.
Despite being a predominantly Christian country, up until recently Serbian Christians only had access to old Bible texts. When Biblica was finalising a new Serbian translation back in 2017, it was said by Jim Courter (Global Bible Translation Consultant with Biblica) that “The Serbian people will soon have a Bible translation that has been carefully done from the original language texts by experts in those languages. The language and style are those in use in contemporary literature, but still in a form that reflects the dignity of the Word of God. Such a translation has not been available to the Serbian people until now.”
To answer Pedja’s more technical questions, Jim Courter recently added The Serbian translation was done by Greek and Hebrew scholars who used the original language texts as their base text. The translation philosophy and style is based on the NIV principles, and the translators occasionally looked at the NIV when a literal translation of Hebrew or Greek would be difficult for Serbian-speaking readers to understand.
In trying to get a Bible, Pedja had been doing some research online and watched a YouTube video of the CEO of Ikonos, one of our partners and a publisher of Christian literature in Serbia, who was talking about Biblica and a new translation of the Bible in modern Serbian.
Explaining why he was so pleased to hear about this translation Pedja said “I only had a Serbian Bible which was translated from the King James into Serbian 150 years ago, and it was really hard to read. Some of the passages are close to impossible to understand as the Serbian language has changed so much in recent years. At times I would have to work so hard to read it that I would forget what I had just read in the previous section!”.
Pedja was desperate to get his own copy of the New Serbian Translation, but from what he could find out, all copies in his local area had been distributed. He was disappointed, but then came a gift from a surprising source. Pedja said “I received the Bible as a gift from a Serbian Orthodox Priest! The Priest is a friend of the CEO of Ikonos and he had some Bibles to distribute for free. My happiness was simply unmeasurable!”.
Pedja was baptized as an infant – he says 99% of babies in Serbia are baptized – and he has grown up with his faith. Due to his job it is difficult for him to attend worship every Sunday, but he attends when he can.
With regards to his new NST Bible, Pedja wants to learn as much as he can, so that God’s word will guide his life as he understands it more. He also wants to pass his knowledge on to others so that they will know it is not just enough to say “I am a Christian” as many do in Serbia, but he wants people to really understand the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the impact this should have on their lives.
When talking to Pedja, it was obvious that he loves his God, but also his country. He speaks of the bloody history of the country, and how he sees that God has protected it over the years. He also shared how the Serbs are passionately protesting to protect the church from state ownership.
It was an education to talk to Pedja, but it was also such an encouragement to talk to someone who loves God’s Word and wants to share it with others. We will be praying for you Pedja!