China Catholic Church – United Bible Societies Joint Seminar on Bible Translation and Chinese Culture (Online), 22nd June 2021


An inaugural joint seminar organised by the Catholic Church in China and the United Bible Societies China Partnership was held on 22 June 2021. The online Seminar was a mutual exchange on the theme of Bible translation and Chinese culture with the goal to contribute towards the work of Chinese Bible translation by the Catholic Church in China.

Leaders of the China Catholic Church at the Seminar (4th L) Bishop Shen Bin (Vice President, CCPA & CCBC) and (3rd R) Bishop Guo Jincai (Vice-President, CCBC)

The participants of the Seminar included leaders of the China Catholic Church (*CCPA/CCBC) and United Bible Societies (UBS) China Partnership, and members of the China Catholic Bible translation team and UBS translation advisors.

In his opening address, Bishop Guo Jincai, Vice-President and Secretary-General, CCBC, mentioned the importance of Scriptures and inculturation in the Bible. He quoted from St. Jerome, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” He also added that although the Bible is read in many different languages, the Scriptures connects and unites all Christians.

Photo L to R: Kua Wee Seng (Director, UBS China Partnership) and Bishop John Chew (Honorary Consultant, UBS China Partnership) during the opening addresses

Bishop John Chew, Honorary Consultant, UBS China Partnership, shared in his opening speech that the translation of the Bible is not a mere word-for-word translation nor simply a corresponding grammatical translation, but it is a process of greater significance – that of translating a school of thought, culture and civilisation into another.

In his opening speech, Kua Wee Seng, Director, UBS China Partnership, thanked God for granting UBS the privilege of serving the Bible ministry of the China Catholic Church over the past three decades, beginning with partnership in Bible paper support and free Bible distribution, and then in other Bible ministry program, and now in Bible Seminar and Bible translation. He affirmed UBS’s commitment to support CCPA/CCBC in its Bible translation work with consideration to the Chinese culture and contexts.

Three members of the China Catholic Bible translation team and three Bible scholars from UBS each presented different aspects of Chinese Bible translation in the context of inculturation. They examined topics like the history of translation of the Chinese Bible, as well as various translation issues relating to the Chinese Bible versions, including the Studium Biblicum Version, the Chinese Union Version and other versions.

Participants of the joint seminar on Bible translation and Chinese culture

In the closing speech, Ignatius Lee, Acting General-Secretary of Hong Kong Bible Society, reiterated UBS’s commitment to serve the China Catholic Church in translating a Chinese Bible version which the Chinese believers will appreciate and understand.

Bishop Shen Bin, Vice-President, CCPA and CCBC, concluded the Seminar by calling for more interaction between the China Catholic Church and UBS in promoting the translation and contextualization of Scriptures. UBS welcomes this and looks forward to more mutual exchanges and support between the China Catholic Church and UBS in the Chinese Bible translation.

* The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CCBC) are the two umbrella national organizations of the China Catholic Church.

Story: Elaine Ho
2021 © United Bible Societies China Partnership