North Korea (MNN) — The Voice of the Martyrs Korea ran into issues with the South Korean government last year while trying to launch Bibles into North Korea via balloon. Eric Foley says South Korea banned the practice of sending anti-North Korean leaflets across the border. Read more about the controversy here.
However, the Bibles they use were actually created by the North Korean government in the 70s and 80s. Foley says they wanted to create “the best translation of the Bible that has ever been done in the Korean dialect. And people might think, well, if the North Korean government translates it, wouldn’t it contain, I don’t know, secret messages like, ‘Praise to Kim II-Sung?’ But North Korea is far too smart for that. They really assembled a group of biblical linguists, including descendants of the original missionaries to North Korea.”
The North Korean Bible diverges from the South Korean dialect by about 40%, Foley says. This Bible remains a valuable resource for North Korean Christians today. “So to call it anti-North Korean would be very strange because it was originally created by the North Korean government. And according to the North Korean constitution, North Koreans are guaranteed the right to read it or have any kind of religious freedom. So the question remains: what law are we violating?”
Ask God to give VOM Korea wisdom as they navigate these laws to serve North Korean Christians.