You’ve heard of the Authorized (King James Version), the New International Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version and a host of others, but have you ever heard of the Van Dyck Bible?
Didn’t think so.
Produced by Presbyterians, it’s one of the most important Bible translations of the modern era. Millions of Christians use it.
Probably the reason you’ve never heard of the Van Dyck Bible is that it’s in Arabic.
2015 is the 150th anniversary of this translation, coordinated by Cornelius Van Dyck, M.D., a Dutch Reformed missionary to Egypt whose work was supported by the Presbyterian Church through the American Board of Foreign Missions. Before that time, Arabic translations of the scriptures were scarce and of poor quality.
Presbyterian mission work in Egypt and other countries of the Middle East continues to this day. Although a few countries, like Iran, have expelled Christian missionaries, most contain significant Christian minorities, including Protestant churches with historic ties to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt, our mission partner, is the largest Protestant church in the Middle East, with over 750,000 members. Over 66 new church developments are in progress under that church’s auspices. In recent years, the Egyptian government has given land to the EPCE to build 14 new church buildings, and has simplified the building-permit process. This is unprecedented in Egypt since the Arab Islamic conquest of that land in the seventh century.
In these times of turmoil in the Middle East, please pray for the Arabic Christian community that continues to witness to the faith, despite great difficulties and sometimes peril.