The Norwegian Bible Society
The Bible is the most sold and read book in the world, and the most important book in our culture. The Bible Society therefore intends to present The Word of God to people "in a language they understand and at a price they can pay". Most Christian churches in Norway are represented in the governing bodies of the Bible Society.
The Norwegian Bible Society was established in 1816 and is the oldest inter-church organisation in Norway. The starting point was the establishment of The British and Foreign Bible Society in England in 1804 and the separation of Norway from Denmark in 1814. The Bible Society movement gathered speed in the beginning of the 19th. century, starting with England as the "mother Bible Society". Several national Bible Societies followed in Europe and the US. The common aim was to make the Bible available to the public.
In Norway this also meant printing the Bible inside the country. There are three main events in the beginning of the 19th. centry that formed Norwegian history up to our times: the establishment of a university in Oslo in 1811, the separation from Denmark and a new constitution in 1814 og a Norwegian Bible Society in 1816. No other book has had a similar influence on our people than the Bible. The task of the Bible Society is to maintain this influence from the Holy Bible on our people and to help individuals find salvation and new life in Christ.
Shortage of bibles
When the Bible Society was established, there was a great shortage of bibles in Norway. In some parts of the country only every fourth household had a bible. In other regions there was one bible per 30 people. Many schools and teachers had no bible at all. From the very beginning, the intention of the Bible Society was to publish the full Bible in the Norwegian language. However, the first Norwegian translation came in 1904. A new translation was published in 1930. After 20 years of work another Norwegian translation was published in 1978. There are two main Norwegian languages, and the first New Norwegian language translation of the New Testament was published in 1899 and the full Bible in 1921. In 1938 we had another full Bible translation into New Norwegian, and in 1978 the new translation into New Norwegian was published together with the Norwegian translation.
The translation of 2005/2011
In 2000 work started on revising the 1978 translations. Five years later the New Testament was published and the full Bible in both languages will be finished in 2011. In addition to the principle of using a modern and easily understood language, the translators now emphasize a much closer connection to the original texts in Hebrew and Greek.