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Bible translations into Ilocano

The Ilocano Bible, published in 1909, is the second Bible to be published in any Philippine language, after the Tagalog which was published in 1905.

As of the first decade of the 21st century, three bible translations in the Ilocano language of the Philippines exist:


After six years of laborious effort, the American Bible Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society published the Ilocano New Testament in 1904. Simply titled Ti Baro a Tulag Wenno Ti Baro a Testamento ni Apo Tayo a Jesucristo (The New Agreement or the New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ). Though much of the supervision was given as a task to the BFBS, the work was enthusiastically assisted by the different American Protestant Missionaries in the North. Among the well known translators was Isabelo de los Reyes, the founder of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, who as gaoled in Barcelona during that time.

Five years later, the BFBS finished the translation of the Old Testament and gave it the title Ti Daan a Tulag nga Isu ti Umuna a Paset ti Santa Biblia (The Old Testament which is the First Part of the Holy Bible) thus allowing the final publication of the complete Protestant Ilocano Bible in 1912.[1] Unlike the two separate versions, this Ilocano Bible was simple called Ti Biblia (Ilocano: The Bible).

However, when the Good News Translation or the Today's English Version was published in the United States in 1966, the Philippine Bible Society commissioned another group of translators translate the Bible following the same principles of dynamic equivalence. Thus, the publication of Ti Baro a Tulag ti Naimbag a Damag Biblia (the New Testament of the Good News Bible) came in 1973 and 10 years later the complete Ti Naimbag a Damag Biblia.

During these time also, the Roman Catholic Church, through the papal encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu, which has been dubbed as the "Magna Carta for Biblical Progress",[2] opened its doors for its members to study the Bible as aggressively as Protestants do. This meant that Pope Pius XII encouraged that the Roman Catholics study the original biblical languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek). Thus new translators of the Bible used the original languages as the textual base instead of Saint Jerome's Latin Vulgate.

The different Protestant churches welcomed the move as this has been their philosophy since William Tyndale translated his very first New Testament in English. The encyclical also encouraged a version of the Holy Scriptures to be jointly translated by Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars, thus giving rise to what they call the Common Bible. Today, the second title (given above) is the most used, as it was approved liturgically not only by the Roman Catholic Church but by many of the other churches as well.

Later in the 1990s, the Philippine Bible Society realised a need to revise the Naimbag a Damag Biblia because of further advancement in linguistic and archaeological knowledge. Hence the birth of Ti Baro a Naimbag a Damag Biblia (The New Good News Bible). Like the earlier version, it used the original languages as the textual base and was jointly translated by Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars.

First parts of the Ilocano Bible

Although the complete Bible was published only in 1909, some fragments of the Bible were translated as soon as the arrival of the Spaniards in the Islands. In 1620, the very first book in Ilocano was published by Rev. Fr. Francisco Lopez.[1] The book was entitled Doctirna Cristiana en la Lengua Española e Yloca which was aimed to be used for catechism. The Book contained a translation of the Lord's Prayer (entitled Amami) and the Ten Commandments (entitled Daguiti Sangapulo a Bilin).

During the time of the revolution, Don Isabelo de los Reyes, known as the Father of Philippine Socialism, made his translations of the Gospel of Luke while he was jailed in Montijuich Castle in Barcelona, Spain. But because Don Belong was not knowledgeable in the Biblical languages, the BFBS allowed him to use the available Spanish Bibles as a textual base. From this, he also translated the Gospel of John and the Book of Acts. His works were later published in 1989 and 1900 respectively.

Comparative chart

Translation John (Juan) 3:16
Ti Biblia Ta cata la unay ti panagayat ti Dios iti lubong; nğa intedna ti Anacna a Bugbugtong, tapno amin á mamati kencuana, saan á mapucaw, no di ket adda bigna nğa agnanayon.
Ti Baro a Tulag Gapu iti kasta unay a panagayat ti Dios iti lubong, intedna ti Bugbugtong nga Anakna tapno ti siasinoman a mamati kenkuana saan a matay no di ket agbiag nga agnanayon.
Ti Baro a Naimbag a Damag Biblia Gapu iti kasta unay a panagayat ti Dios iti lubong, intedna ti Bugbugtong nga Anakna tapno ti siasinoman a mamati kenkuana saan a matay no di ket agbiag nga agnanayon.

See also


  1. ^ a b The Open Word: A Publication of the Philippine Bible Society, Volume 25 Number 2, 1st Quarter 2009; page 26
  2. ^ William James O'Brian, Riding Time Like a River: The Catholic Moral Tradition Since Vatican II, Georgetown University Press, 1993, page 76

External links