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Translators of the New Testament in Ho, with Jakob Spieth in the middle (ca. 1910)

How the Bible was translated

At an early stage, the missionaries intended to present the Bible to the Africans in their native language. To believe, to have a dialogue with God, this can only occur in the mother tongue. Therefore, with the help of many Africans, the Bible was translated into Ewe. On purpose, one abstained, however, from teaching Africans a European language. One of the apprehensions was that knowledge of a global language would enable Africans to communicate with other African tribes and might thereby strengthen independence movements.

The Bible translation was more difficult than expected. For instance, when the Christmas story was to be translated, it was found that the Ewe language had no word for „stable”. But, on the other hand, the missionaries had their horses in stables. So, for translating the word „stable” into Ewe, the expression „place where the horses are kept” was selected! The first complete translation of the Bible in Ewe was published in 1911, after eight years of strenuous work.

The “One-World-Bible” in four languages is a mutual project of the German, Ghanaian and Togolese churches.


Since 2006 there is the „One-World-Bible” in the German, English, French and Ewe languages. Biblical stories were illustrated by children from Ghana and Germany. The Bible contributes to mutual understanding, gives insight into the differing life situations in Ghana and Germany and accentuates the world-wide community of Christians.