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FEBRUARY 25, 2022

Book of Matthew Released in French Sign Language

Book of Matthew Released in French Sign Language

On February 19, 2022, Brother Didier Koehler, a member of the France Branch Committee, released The Bible—The Gospel According to Matthew in French Sign Language (LSF). The book is now available for download on and the JW Library Sign Language app. This is the first book of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures that Jehovah’s Witnesses have released in LSF.

An estimated audience of 1,500 viewed the virtual program of the Bible release. In his talk, Brother Koehler explained: “Since LSF is a visual language, the signer conveys the message. His face, his eyes, and his body show the feelings and the attitudes of the characters. We can see every detail! And the written words in the pages of the Bible come to life!”

Jehovah’s Witnesses have organized the preaching work in LSF since the late 1960’s. In the early 1970’s, the first LSF congregation was established in the Parisian suburb of Vincennes, France. Then in the early 2000’s, the Governing Body gave the France Branch Committee approval to establish an LSF remote translation office. In 2019, just prior to the pandemic, the translation team was relocated to Bethel in Louviers, France. Today, there are 11 sign-language congregations and 39 groups throughout the France branch territory.

One of the first meetings of the French Sign Language congregation in Vincennes, France, in the early 1970’s. A majority of the congregation sit in a semicircle rather than rows. This allows the audience to see one another’s comments

The Bible translation work in LSF began with the Gospel account of Matthew. The Gospel of John will be released next. These two accounts of Jesus’ life are well-known, and their narrative style is easier to translate than other Bible books. Prior to the release of Matthew, publishers only had access to select Bible verses in LSF.

A deaf sister who is part of the translation team said: “When I was a child, I would look at the pictures in the book The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived over and over. When I watched the book of Matthew in LSF, all these pictures came back to my mind. For the first time in my life, I fully understood the message.”

Another member of the translation team expressed: “I dreamed of a Bible in LSF for my deaf parents. But I could never have imagined that I would be part of the translation team itself. It’s a wonderful gift!”

The French Sign Language translation team recording in their studio at Bethel in Louviers, France

The release of this Bible book in LSF causes us to rejoice. It is further evidence that Jehovah is inviting all people to “take life’s water free.”—Revelation 22:17.