InterVarsity Press is pleased to announce that they will be following up the much-loved First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament (FNV) with the newly contracted First Nations Version: Psalms and Proverbs, to be released in 2024. The First Nations Version is a new translation, attempting to capture the simplicity, clarity, and beauty of Native storytellers in English, while remaining faithful to the original language of the Scriptures.
“The First Nations Version is a groundbreaking, fresh translation of the New Testament filled with vivid, evocative language and imagery,” said Al Hsu, senior editor for IVP. “We’re thrilled with how the FNV New Testament has been received and are excited to be developing the FNV Psalms and Proverbs as the sacred songs and words of the wisdomkeepers.”
As an example, the FNV translation of Psalm 1:1-3 says,
Creator’s blessing rests on the ones who do not walk the path of the bad-hearted. They do not stand with those who follow broken ways. They do not sit in a talking circle where others are spoken of with scorn and disrespect.
Instead, they take joy in Grandfather’s instructions. Throughout the day and night, they think deeply about his ways.
The ones who walk this path will be like trees planted by flowing waters. When the harvest moon comes, they will bear much fruit. Their leaves will not dry up, and all they put their hands to will go well for them.
The First Nations Version: Psalms and Proverbs will once again be authored by Terry M. Wildman with input from the First Nations Version Translation Council and Native reviewers. The First Nations Version is a collaborative effort that includes First Nations/Native Americans from over twenty-five tribes.
Wildman said, “You might call this a contextual translation in English, in the tradition of the storytellers of oral culture. While it is not tribally specific, it is intended to relate in a general way to all our First Nations people. The FNV is not only a gift to our First Nations people, but we also consider it an offering from First Nations people to the world. It is similar in concept to The Message by Eugene Peterson or The Living Bible by Kenneth N. Taylor. But it is different in the sense that it attempts to convey the rhythm and feel of an oral storyteller from our Turtle Island (North American) cultures.”
These projects were birthed out of a desire to provide an English Bible that connects, in a culturally sensitive way, the traditional heart languages of the over six million English-speaking First Nations people of North America. The First Nations Version Translation Council has been selected from a cross section of Native North Americans—elders, pastors, young adults, and men and women from differing tribes and diverse geographic locations. This council also represents a diversity of church and denominational traditions to minimize bias.
Megan Murdock Krischke serves as the director for Native InterVarsity, a ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She said, “The FNV has quickly become a go-to resource for Native InterVarsity across the nation. We are using it in our small group Bible studies, and it is influencing the words we choose when we invite students to the full life that Creator Sets Free (Jesus) offers. The word choices of the FNV not only resonate with Native students but are also offering a fresh hearing of Scripture for non-Natives. For example, when we talk about ‘sin,’ defenses and blinders go up immediately. But when the FNV talks about ‘bad hearts’ and ‘broken ways,’ people can see that in themselves and others. I would recommend the FNV to any Native person who wants to learn more about Jesus and any non-Native person who longs to be able to read Scripture with new eyes.”
The FNV is a retelling of the Creator’s Story—the Scriptures—following the tradition of the storytellers of these oral cultures. Many of the First Nations tribes still resonate with the cultural and linguistic thought patterns found in their original tongues. This way of speaking, with its simple yet profound beauty and rich cultural idioms, still resonates in the hearts of First Nations people.