Are you an Igbo speaker curious to learn more about the Christian faith?
Perhaps you learned the Bible in English but now want to read the holiest of texts in your native Igbo language?
If the answer to these questions is yes, you’ve come to the right place. This is the ultimate resource to find out more about the Igbo Bible.
Our team has put together 5 MUST-KNOW facts about the Igbo language bible (tip: if you’re looking to download the Igbo bible or read it online, scroll down to fact #4 below).
You would have thought that a Nigerian translated the Igbo Bible, right? Wrong…
Perhaps this may surprise you bit it was the British clergyman and academic, TJ Dennis, who translated the Bible into the Igbo over a hundred years ago.
TJ Dennis was part of the Anglican Church’s mission to Nigeria in the early 1900s. With the help of locals, TJ Dennis translated the Bible into the Igbo language and the “Union Igbo Bible” was first published in 1913.
The only other Igbo language version of the Bible was produced in 1988 and is called the “Living Bible Version”. This is an excellent option for Igbo speakers who criticise TJ Dennis’ version of the Bible and we explain more about this criticism in our fact #2…
TJ Dennis’s Union Igbo Bible has received much criticism from within Nigerian society.
Perhaps the loudest critic of this version is Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe. Achebe is one of Nigeria’s best known writers, having written the internationally acclaimed novel, Things Fall Apart.
So, what is Achebe’s problem with TJ Dennis’ version of the Igbo Bible?
According to Achebe, TJ Dennis was:
“a stranger who entered their country as superior to Igbo, and told them that he himself was the blacksmith of language who came to mold for them a new language better than what they spoke, that their fathers spoke, and their ancestors had spoken from time immemorial.”
Achebe claims that TJ Dennis’ version did not read well because he used multiple dialects of the Igbo language for his translation of the Bible.
What Achebe says is true. TJ Dennis did indeed choose to pick and choose words from different dialects in an attempt to standardize the Igbo language through his translation of the Bible.
The good news is that most churches and newspaper outlets around Southeastern Nigeria give away for free or sell the Igbo Bible.
If you are an Igbo speaker living outside of Nigeria, you’re best option is to order a copy via Amazon. Be warned though – it wont be cheap with Igbo language bibles costing up to USD100.
For all you savvy technophiles out there in Nigeria, today we could understand you not wanting a hard copy of the Igbo Bible.
Perhaps that’s why our users have been asking: where can we download the Igbo Bible for free?
The fantastic news is that Android users can download an Igbo language bible for free through the Igbo Bible app offered by Bongani Sithole on the Google App Store.
At the time of writing, I’m afraid there’s no equivalent app offered for users of the iPhone. Surely, it’s only a matter of time before some enterprising Igbo-speaker offers such an app to us iPhone users.
If you’re anything like me, you probably love listening to podcasts and audio guides on the go!
That’s why we wanted to tell you about the podcast Faith Comes By Healing which provides a complete audio version of the New Testament in the Igbo Language. You can download this podcast at the iTunes store here.
Another truly superb option for iPhone users is the Igbo Audio Bible app which allows users to listen to parts of the New Testament in the Igbo Language via their Android phones.
The Igbo Audio Bible app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times! Not bad, hey?
The app even includes a real time broadcast of 9jaStar Radio, a UK based radio station which broadcasts gospel music around the clock. If you’re interested in listening to the Igbo Audio Bible, the app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Have you tried to download an app or podcast to listen to the Igbo bible? If so, what was your experience like? Please comment below and let us know what you think.