NOVEMBER 1, 2019
October 25, 2019, was a landmark date for the 6,500 Maya-speaking brothers and sisters. It was the date of the release of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in Maya. Brother Esteban Bunn of the Central America Branch Committee released the Bible translation during a regional convention in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. The program was held in the Mérida Assembly Hall and tied in to an arena in the same city, the Poliforum Zamná. The release will be a major boon to the ministry, as approximately 762,000 people speak Maya in Mexico and the United States.
Previously, only the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was available in Maya. That publication was released on December 14, 2012. Since that time, almost 29,000 copies have been printed.
One translator explains: “In general, the Maya-speaking people place a high value on the Bible and respect it as an authority. But many don’t have the opportunity to develop a high degree of literacy in the language. So, we focused on using vocabulary that is clear and understandable in the everyday language of the people.”
A special challenge for the Maya translation team was accounting for the many regional variations of the language. With this in mind, the front cover of the new translation has a simplified title, Biblia ich maya, meaning “Bible in Maya.” Also, of the more than 6,000 footnotes in the Bible, one category of footnotes conveys alternative renderings of the main text so that all Maya readers can accurately understand certain passages.
Undoubtedly, this new edition is spiritual “food at the proper time” and will be a great aid for the Maya-speaking brothers and sisters in their personal study and ministry.—Matthew 24:45.