Prayer Updates
Africa Europe
Maninka Bible Translation (86650)

On behalf of our SIM team in Guinea and the Maninka Church, THANK YOU!

You can't build a foundation for a vibrant church without the Word of God. After nearly 90 years of Christian witness, there are only about 30 Maninka believers and one pastor. The Maninka people of upper Guinea are Muslim and largely resistant to the Gospel.

However, work is underway on a new Bible translation which will help the Maninka better understand God's love for them. The old translation of the New Testament was extremely difficult for people to understand—to the point that many people claimed it wasn't their language.

Translation Progress

Translator Jerry Page checks a
manuscript with one of his

Until 2006, the Gospel of Luke was the only book available in the new translation, but now Genesis, Ruth, Jonah, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians have been printed in the Maninka Roman script.

Translation project manager Jerry Page states that "we have approximately 23% of the Bible ready or almost ready to submit to our translation consultant." Once the consultant from our partner ministry United Bible Societies checks the material and gives his approval, these materials will be printed. Work is currently underway on five or six more books to submit to the consultant by early 2008.

Making the Translation Understandable

Giving the Maninka the Word of God in a way that they can understand requires more than publishing in the Maninka Roman script. The Maninka are oral people—75% are non-literate, and most people who are literate do not read Roman script.

two Maninka men listen to a cassette tape
Maninka people are listening to
a dramatic reading of the book
of Genesis, produced by the
Maninka Audio Media Outreach

To reach the oral culture, the Maninka Audio Media Outreach project team uses the translation to produce Bible recordings with local voices. In the villages, groups gather around a tape player listening to the stories of Genesis told dramatically in the style of the Maninka story-tellers.

To reach most of the literate Maninka, translators must convert the Roman script to the local N'Ko alphabet. This is tedious work as N'Ko reads left to right like Hebrew or Arabic, and each vowel requires special markings to indicate the proper tone.

Getting the Word Out

God is speaking to the Maninka even where there has never been a missionary presence. Page tells a story of a missionary friend traveling in unreached upper Guinea. "The taxi made an unexpected rest stop in a little village. My friend got out of the taxi to stretch his legs, and noticed a group of men gathered under a shade tree. It looked like they were reading something, so [he] walked over to see... He was surprised to find that this group of men was reading a copy of our translation of Luke!"

Guinea is facing a time of political instability and fear. The Word of God offers peace and hope for the future. Through the ministry of Bible translation, the Maninka people will hear these words in their heart language.


  • for wisdom for the project staff to translate well;
  • for the Word of God to speak to those working on the project who do not yet know Christ;
  • and for God to help us distributed the published scriptures.


You can help the Maninka to know the "Word made flesh" (John 1:14) through your financial partnership. While any amount will advance the translation, USD $60 will pay the salary of the translation assistant for one month, and USD $250 will pay for the publication of approximately 500 copies of a small book such as Jonah.



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