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The New Testament is undergoing a complete revision and the Old Testament translation is also in progress. The current Scriptures available here for viewing and/or download are:
One of the driving motivations of this revision of the New Testament is to avoid use of the the specific name Sibu when referring to the God of the Bible. The majority of the Cabécars maintain their traditional religion based on fear and appeasement of the demonic Sibu and other gods. Many are quite proud of the fact they retain their religion and have not succumbed to Christianity. The shamans maintain their myths, and the power of their gods is an ever present reality. Ongoing rituals surrounding birth and death continue to demonstrate their fear of Sibu. Only recently (2005) has a Christian funeral taken place without the accompanying sacrificial rituals.
The original missionary translators (Aziel and Marian Jones) did not realize how much bondage and confusion using the name Sibu was causing the people and the churches. Although they asked the question in a prayer letter very early in their translation work (1958) of whether or not this name was appropriate, they didn't realize the full consequences that the choice of this name would have in the coming years. They completed and published the New Testament in 1993 with this name still in use.
Then, about 1998, in connection with the ongoing mission work of the Jones's sons Timothy, Philip, and David, God made it clear both to individual Christians and to churches that use of this demonic name was a cause for stumbling and a hindrance to the growth of the Kingdom of God among the Cabécar. At that time, they renounced use of the name Sibu, and began using the generic name Säkéklä for the God of the Bible. The sons are currently revising the entire New Testament on this basis, and are proceeding to translate the Old Testament for the people as well.
Note that you may find reference online to Global Recordings Network Bible stories in Cabécar; these are, however, recordings from early translations, and contain the term Sibu. Hosanna (Faith Comes By Hearing) has withdrawn their recording of the 1993 version pending completion of the revised New Testament.
The recorded portions made available here online are from the new translation. The following books/portions are available:
In addition, printed interim editions of the New Testament plus Genesis, Exodus, and selected Psalms are available from Timothy Jones (River of God ministries), or you may contact us for information. Work is progressing towards a published version of these books in about a year. In the mean time, a published version of the Gospel of John is forthcoming in the immediate future (2008).
Among the Bribrí Indians (a closely related language group just to the southeast of the Cabécar), the same problem with the name used for God has been encountered. The Bribrí and Cabécar have the same religion, including a common high priest and single set of idols housed at San José Cabécar. Earlier portions of the Bribrí Scriptures (published from 1905 to 1994) used the name Sibu. But the final Bribrí New Testament translation completed by Wycliffe (2007) carefully avoids any use of that name. The Bribrí New Testament was dedicated in July 2007, and TV coverage of the event is posted online here. A Hosanna recording of this translation is available, including a free download of the complete New Testament recording.
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