Chechnya (MNN) — Chechnya has been at war for much of the last century.
It's a region familiar with the machinery of conflict, dating all the way back to the 15th century with an attempted invasion of the Ottoman Turks. The landlocked country is nestled in the Northern Caucasus and boasts fertile farmland as well as efficient transportation routes to neighboring countries, making it a prize to the nation that conquers it.
It was struggle inflamed by intense nationalism and ethnic hatred, and one that cycled again and again, quelling hopes of a new generation that would know peace. To that end, Bible translators began work on the message of peace, completing the first Scripture portions in 1986, and finishing others as recently as 2007.
Once those were completed, a New Testament was produced in 2007, and that lay the groundwork for the rest of the Bible being translated into Chechen. After a generation of faithful work, Wycliffe Associates reports that the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) released a translation of the whole Bible in the Chechen language two months ago.
The Bible was presented at the Second Peacemaking conference, organized by the Public Chamber of the Chechen Republic, two Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, and local government.
An international team worked on this translation for over 15 years. The Institute's Web site states: "The print run of the Bible in the Chechen language is 2000 copies. Given the total number of native speakers (about 1.5 million), this is not a large number, but we hope that it will be enough to satisfy the needs of libraries, churches, and interested readers."
Since Chechen is spoken throughout parts of Georgia, Germany, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, and Uzbekistan, the message of the hope and peace of Christ can begin the process of true reconciliation to millions.
According to the IBT, Russian Orthodox Church Archbishop Zosima said it's impossible to overestimate the work of the translation team and the impact it will have in the years to come. "It is designed for those who wish to get acquainted with the Bible in their native language in order to better understand another religion, another culture. It is no secret that many problems arise from ignorance. The more we know about each other, the better we understand each other. "
Praise God for this major milestone. Pray that copies of the Scriptures will find their way into the hearts of many Chechen speakers.