Sierra Leone | Krio Completed Bible (2013)

Sierra Leone | Krio Completed Bible (2013)

Krio Bible Dedicated in Sierra Leone

The complete Holy Bible is now available in the Krio language of Sierra Leone!

The Bible Society in Sierra Leone formally introduced the first Holy Bible to the large crowd gathered at the National Stadium in Freetown on May 28, 2013.


Mrs. Ruby Pearce, the now retired Executive Secretary of the Bible Society for the past 15 years, shepherded the project through to completion. She spoke passionately about the many ups and downs experienced through the years.

“It is by God’s grace and faithfulness the book is now complete and available in Sierra Leone,” she exclaimed, holding high the Bible which now speaks in the common language of the nation.

The Krio Bible effort began in 1975 with linguistic research spearheaded by Lutheran Bible Translators missionaries and national educators and church leaders in Sierra Leone. The New Testament was published in 1986 and went through numerous printings. A new translation team was formed in 1986 with the work centered at The Institute for Sierra Leonean Languages (TISLL), a partner of LBT in Sierra Leone.

Work continued through the years despite interruptions, including the devastating civil war in the 1990s. At that time it was agreed that the Bible Society should take the lead in the Krio translation work. Mrs. Pearce took her responsibility seriously, working with the Krio community and Christian churches to keep the project moving forward, all the way to completion.


In Krio, pulnado is a traditional ceremony for naming a newborn baby. Up until the ninth day, the family keeps the baby in the house. At the pulnado, the baby is given his or her name and then literally carried out of the house by one of the family elders, being introduced to the community, for all to see and get to know. Pulnado was the term used to introduce the Krio Bible to the community and the people of Sierra Leone.


Following the pulnado of the Bible, LBT Executive Director Marshall Gillam, Rev. James Maada Coker, the new Executive Secretary of the Bible Society, and I made a short trip to Makeni. The travel coincided with the annual conference of a national church body. Rev. Coker was able to leave a good supply of Bibles with Rev. Kempson Fornah who sold them to pastors, teachers and other leaders during the days of the conference. We witnessed the eager hands wanting to buy, hold and hear the message that speaks directly to peoples’ hearts.

Did you bring the new Krio Bible? I need to have one. I want to buy one.” That is how Ruth Ada Kamara of Women of Hope International greeted us. Rev. Coker responded “Yes, we have Krio Bibles for sale!” And Ruth was able to buy her very own Krio Bible. She explained: “We use Krio in our church. It is our common language. We sing praises to God in Krio. We pray in Krio. Now we can hear God speaking to us in Krio!”

Other Completed LBT Translations:

1975 Research & planning begins for Bible translation in Krio. Partners invite LBT to serve in Sierra Leone as exegetes and technical advisors.

1999 The Bible Society in Sierra Leone fully assumes management & supervision of Krio Bible translation work. LBT is a donor partner and provides a consultant in partnership with UBS.

1978 Translation begins with Luke’s gospel. United Bible Societies (UBS) train translators and check translations. LBT provides an exegete and gives overall supervision. All materials are either typed on a typewriter or handwritten. Computer keyboarding is done in Dallas, Texas.

2004 Translators construct and edit the Krio manuscript directly on their laptop computers using Bible translation software.

1995 Progress slows during the war years. LBT advisors continue their roles on a “visit and consult basis.”

2011 The Krio First Bible manuscript is completed and submitted for manuscript examination and typesetting.

1986 The Krio New Testament is completed and dedicated in Freetown. A new team is formed and translation of the Old Testament begins. Keyboarding and editing of the text is done in Sierra Leone. Each report by the Translation Consultant includes a section on “Computer Problems!”

2013 The Krio Bible is introduced and launched by the Bible Society in Sierra Leone!


LBT is seeking Lutherans to serve overseas through the ministry of Bible translation and Scripture Engagement. If you feel that God may be leading you towards missions, LBT may have a place for you.