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Introduction to the MCSB®

   The Bible is God’s inspired word, inerrant in the original manuscripts. It is the only means of knowing God’s plan of salvation and His will for our lives. It is the only hope and answer for a rebellious, searching world. Bible translation, both a science and an art, is a bridge that brings God’s word from the ancient world to the world today. Depending on God to accomplish this task, MCPB presents the Matupi Chin Standard Bible®, a new Matu translation of God’s word.

The Goals of This Translation

•     to provide Matu-speaking people across the world with an accurate, readable Bible in contemporary Matu

•     to equip serious Bible students with an accurate translation for personal study, private devotions, and memorization

•     to give those who love God’s word a text that is easy to read, visually attractive on the page, and appealing when heard

•     to affirm the authority of the Scriptures as God’s inerrant word and to champion its absolutes against social or cultural agendas that would compromise its accuracy

The name, Matupi Chin Standard Bible®, embodies these goals: Under the supervision of Asia Bible Society the Myanmar Bible Translation Projects and MCPB presents a new Bible translation, for the Christian and Matu-speaking communities, which will set the standard in Bible translations for years to come.

Why Another Matu Translation of the Bible?

   Many people ask: “Why another Matu translation of the Bible?” There are several answers to this question:     

1.     Each generation needs a fresh translation of the Bible in its own language.

The Bible is the world’s most important book, confronting each individual and each generation with issues that affect life, both now and forever. Since each new generation must be introduced to God’s word in its own language, there will always be a need for new translations such as the Matupi Chin Standard Bible® [MCSB®].     

2.     Matu, one of dialect, is rapidly changing, and Bible translations must keep in step with those changes.

  The MCSB® seeks to serve a large cross-section of those people with a translation they can easily use and understand.

  The MCSB® seeks to reflect recent changes in Matu by using modern punctuation, formatting, and vocabulary, while avoiding slang, regionalisms, or changes made specifically for the sake of political or social agendas.     

3.     Rapid advances in biblical research provide new data for Bible translators.

This has been called the “information age,” a term that accurately describes the field of biblical research. Never before in history has there been as much information about the Bible as there is today—from archaeological discoveries to analysis of ancient manuscripts to years of study and statistical research on individual Bible books. Translations made as recently as 10 or 20 years ago do not reflect many of these advances in biblical research. The translators of the MCSB® have sought to use as much of this new data as possible.     

4.     Advances in computer technology have opened a new door for Bible translation.

The MCSB® has used computer technology and telecommunications in its creation perhaps more than any Bible translation in history. Electronic mail was used daily and sometimes hourly for communication and transmission of manuscripts. The most advanced Bible software available has been used to create and review the translation at each step in its production. A developmental copy of the MCSB® itself was used within this software program to facilitate cross-checking during the translation process—something never done before with a Bible translation.

Translation Philosophy

   Bible translations generally follow one of three approaches to translating the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words into Matu:

1.     Formal Equivalence: Often called “word for word” translation, formal equivalence seeks to represent each word of the original text with a corresponding word in the translation so that the reader can see word for word what the original human author wrote. The merit of this approach is that the Holy Spirit did inspire the very words of Scripture in the original manuscripts. A formal equivalence translation is good to the extent that its words accurately convey the meaning of the original words. However, a literal rendering can result in awkward Matu or in a misunderstanding of the author’s intent.

2.     Dynamic Equivalence: Often called “thought for thought” translation, dynamic equivalence seeks to translate the meaning of biblical words so the text makes the same impact on modern readers that the ancient text made on its original readers. Strengths of this approach include readability and understandability, especially in places where the original is difficult to render word for word. However, some serious questions can be asked about dynamic equivalence: How can a modern translator be certain of the original author’s intent? Since meaning is always conveyed by words, why not ensure accuracy by using words that are as close as possible in meaning to the original instead of words that just capture the idea? How can a modern person ever know the impact of the original text on its readers?

3.     Optimal Equivalence: This approach seeks to combine the best features of both formal and dynamic equivalence. In the many places throughout Scripture where a word for word rendering is clearly understandable, a literal translation is used. In places where a literal rendering might be unclear, then a more dynamic translation is given. The MCSB® has chosen to use the balance and beauty of optimal equivalence for a fresh translation of God’s word that is both faithful to the words God inspired and “user friendly” to modern readers.

History of the Matupi Chin Standard Bible®

   After several years of preliminary development, Matu Ca Pomsang Bu , the newly group for Matu Literature Uplifted Program. Smaller teams of editors, stylists, and proofreaders then corrected and polished the translation. Outside consultants contributed valuable suggestions from their areas of expertise. An executive team then reviewed the final manuscripts.

Textual Base of the MCSB®

   The textual base for the New Testament [NT] is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament [OT] is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition.

   Significant differences among Hebrew [Hb] and Aramaic [Aram] manuscripts of the OT or among Greek [Gk] manuscripts of the NT are indicated in footnotes. In a few NT cases large square brackets indicate texts that are omitted in some ancient manuscripts. The MCSB® uses the traditional verse divisions found in most Bibles.

Translation Features

   In keeping with a long line of Bible publications, the Matupi Chin Standard Bible® has retained a number of features found in traditional Bibles:

1.     Traditional theological vocabulary (such as Khangnah, duengcimnah, tlannah etc) has been retained in the MCSB®, since such terms have no translation equivalent that adequately communicates their exact meaning.

2.     Traditional spellings of names and places found in most Bibles have been used to make the MCSB® compatible with most Bible study tools.

3.     To help readers easily locate the spoken words of the Lord Jesus Christ, some editions of the MCSB® will print the words of Christ in red letters.

4.     Most nouns and pronouns that refer to any person of the Trinity are capitalized.

5.     Descriptive headings, printed above each section of Scripture, help readers quickly identify the contents of that section.

6.     Small lower corner brackets: ⌊ ⌋ indicate words supplied for clarity by the translators (but see discussion below, under Agreement of Elements in Sentences, about supplied words that are not bracketed)


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