Bible Society of India (Aizawl Auxiliary) and Aizawl Theological College stand up for the Mizo Bible

IMG-20160722-WA0033The Bible Society of India, Aizawl Auxiliary and the Aizawl Theological College jointly organised a seminar on July 21, 2016 at the Synod Conference Centre, Aizawl. According Elder Thangnghilhlova––Secretary of  BSI Aizawl Secretary and who chaired the forenoon session of the seminar––this was organised as part of ongoing responses to the Preface of Mizo-English Parallel Bible. One must recall that the translator of theMizo-English Parallel Bible, in his Preface, fiercely attacks the Mizo Bible as erroneous in many respects as it has Revised Version (RV) as the main source for translation. The Secretary informed the participants that a Church’s Leaders’ Consultation had also been conducted in defense of the Mizo Bible Version on September 28, 2015.

In the present seminar, as many as 180 people representing BSI Aizawl Auxiliary, myriad theological colleges in Mizoram, Local Churches of the Presbyterian, and officials from other denominations attended the seminar.

IMG-20160722-WA0030Rev. Lalfakzuala, who serves the Aizawl Theological College as Assistant Professor in the Department of Old Testament Studies, was the resource person. In this paper, entitled, “Is Our Bible Erroneous?” the resource person set forth many arguments to defend the Mizo Bible – both Old Version (OV) and Common language (CL) against the flawed claims and attracts made by the translator of the Mizo-English Parallel Bible.  The presenter claimed that the Revised Version (1885) is the most reliable text among the English translations as it is the handiwork of highly qualified Oxford duo, viz. Brook Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort who had worked together over twenty-eight years for construction of the Greek texts.  Quoting Rev. Dr. Zairema, the Chief Translator of the Old Version of Mizo Bible, the resource person stated that the translators were also not prohibited from using the King James Version as well in their translation works.

Rev. Lalfakzuala added that the Mizo Bible (OV) has a better edge than individual translations as it is a joint effort of the Missionaries and prominent Pastors among the Mizo. Labeling the Bible which our Missionaries brought with them as ‘liberal Bible’ proves wrong since the making of the Revised Version (1885) happened when missionary movement was at height in the Great Britain. And in the case of the Welsh Missionaries, according to the paper, the missionaries set out in an age when the Great Revival broke out in Wales.The presenter made it very clear that our missionaries were far from committing a wrong choice for the text to be translated.

Concerning another Mizo Bible Version, known as Common Language, the presenter assured that this version should not be discarded on account of its source, for The Good News Bible (Today’s English Bible) is in use even by the Evangelical Church of England.

The presenter recommended that the Mizo Versions – Old Version (1959) and Common Language are most trust worthy, in fact, he proposed worthy to be called ‘KJV of the Mizo.’

IMG-20160722-WA0029The afternoon session––which was set aside for discussion––was led by Rev. Dr. C. Lalhlira, the Principal of Aizawl Theological College. In this session, the participants with valuable knowledge deliberated upon matters relating to the history of manuscripts and their transmissions as well as the history of the Mizo Bible translation. The Principle thanked the presenter, all the participants and the organising committee for their participation and valuable contributions.

Atmosphere of the seminar clearly indicated that the Mizo Christians really love their Bible and would continue to cherish the spirit of unity it has bought for them, dignity it has given them, and sense of cooperation it has generated among them.  Certainly, they participants were all blessed by the beautiful words of J.H. Lorrain, one of the pioneer translators of the Mizo Bible, which the paper quotes: “Our noble translation of the Bible into Mizo becomes a great legacy to remain here on earth and in heaven.”