Bible translations into Finnish

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The first Finnish translation of the New Testament was Mikael Agricola's Se Wsi Testamenti Somexi (The New Testament in Finnish), which was translated from Greek originals into Finnish in 1548. Agricola is today considered the father of literary Finnish.

The first translation of the whole Bible was the so-called Vanha kirkkoraamattu (Old Church Bible), titled Biblia, Se on: Coco Pyhä Ramattu Suomexi. This edition was translated between 1638 and 1641 by a committee led by Bishop Erik Rothovius and was published in 1642. It was revised in between 1683 and 1685 (Florinus).

As the Finnish written and spoken language evolved during the centuries and literacy became commonplace also amongst the laypeople, a need for a new edition arose. The so-called Biblia or Vuoden 1776 raamattu (1776 Bible) was published in 1776. This was the first edition meant not only for ecclestical but also for domestic use, and was the first to be written in Modern Finnish. It was revised in 1859. The 1776 Bible is the version used by two revival movements (the Laestadians and the "Beseechers") within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland even today. This is because it, unlike the newer translations, is based on the Textus Receptus, as is, for instance, the English King James Version.

Again a new translation was needed in the early 20th century, and a translation committee was set up in 1911. It had its work ready 1933. The full edition of the Bible was published in 1938. This edition is often referred to as the Vuoden 1938 kirkkoraamattu (1938 Church Bible). It was translated by the Finnish Lutheran Church and intended for Lutheran use. As the method of translation was "one source language word - one Finnish word", its text is very archaizing, and it uses dialectal terms obsolete even during the era. The 1938 edition consisted of Old Testament, deuterocanonicals and New Testament.

The latest official Finnish translation dates from 1992, the so-called Uusi kirkkoraamattu (New Church Bible). It is the first Finnish ecumenical edition; the translation committee consisted not only of the representatives of the Finnish Lutheran Church, but also of academics and representatives of the Finnish Orthodox Church and Finnish Catholic Church, and is intended for the use of all Christian denominations. The principle of the 1992 edition is contextual translation; instead of verbatim translation, translation in context has been attempted as accurately as possible. The initial edition consisted of only the New and Old Testaments: the translation of the Old Testament deuterocanonicals were finished only in 2004.

Uuden Maailman käännös (New World Translation) is an unofficial Finnish translation of the Bible, used by Jehovah's Witnesses. It has been translated from its English version rather than from the original Aramaic and Greek.


Translation John (Johannes) 3:16
1548 Sille Nein on Jumala Mailma racastanut ette he' andoi hene' ainoan Poicans Sempälle ette Jocaine' quin wsko hene' päle's ei pide huckuma' mutta ijancaikise' Eleme' szama'.
1776 Sillä niin on Jumala maailmaa rakastanut, että hän antoi ainoan Poikansa, että jokainen, joka uskoo hänen päällensä, ei pidä hukkuman, mutta ijankaikkisen elämän saaman.
1938 Sillä niin on Jumala maailmaa rakastanut, että hän antoi ainokaisen Poikansa, ettei yksikään, joka häneen uskoo, hukkuisi, vaan hänellä olisi iankaikkinen elämä.
1992 Jumala on rakastanut maailmaa niin paljon, että antoi ainoan Poikansa, jottei yksikään, joka häneen uskoo, joutuisi kadotukseen, vaan saisi iankaikkisen elämän.


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