Arabic

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Arabic (language code: ar; autonym: العربية) is spoken by 300-400 million people in various dialects. The spoken language can differ a lot between different regions whereas there is essentially only one written form of Arabic, the so-called "Modern Standard Arabic". For more information see Wikipedia:Arabic and Wikipedia:Varieties of Arabic

Introduction to Arabic Bible translations

Choosing a Bible translation in Arabic is not an easy task. The first reason are the many dialects and education: Even though "Modern Standard Arabic" is the written standard for the language, many people rarely read or write it but mainly communicate orally in their dialect. Translations using complex and rather "high" language can be very hard to understand for less educated people.
The second reason is that almost every religious group in the Arabic speaking world uses different vocabulary when talking about spiritual things. Expressions used by one group may not be understood or misunderstood by other groups. To give some guidance we'll provide an overview of translations that have been proven fruitful together with their characteristics and which people they're recommendable for.

Translations using traditional Christian vocabulary

The following Bible translations are recommendable for more secular and Christian-background Arabic speakers.

Kitab al-Muqadas: At-Tarjimah Al-Arabiyah Al-Mubasatah

This is the simplest Arabic translation of the Bible, and very easy to understand for most people. It is commonly abbreviated by the Arabic Letters (ت ع م) in the YouVersion BibleApp.

It is freely available in the following ways:

  • Reading online:
  • PDF files:
  • Smartphone apps and software:
    • YouVersion smartphone app: Text of the whole Bible, no recordings. Can be downloaded and is then available for offline use. Select "العربية" in the language selection and then select "ت ع م".
    • bible.is smartphone app: Text of the whole Bible, no recordings. Select "Arabic - العربية" in the language selection and then select "Easy to Read Version".

Kitab Al-Hayat

The Kitab al-Hayat ("book of life") is a good to understand Bible translation into an Arabic that is spoken today. It is commonly used in a lot of churches and similar to the "New International Version" in English. It uses traditional Christian vocabulary, but to an extend that it can be used in settings with people from other religious backgrounds as well as secular people.

It is freely available in the following ways:

  • Reading online:
  • PDF files:
  • Smartphone apps and software:
    • YouVersion smartphone app: Text of the whole Bible, no recordings. Can be downloaded and is then available for offline use. Select "العربية" in the language selection and then select "KEH".
    • bible.is smartphone app: Text of the whole Bible, recordings of the New Testament. Select "Arabic - العربية" in the language selection and then select "Holy Bible New Arabic Version (Kitab Al-Hayat)".
  • Audio Bible:

Translations omitting traditional Christian vocabulary

The following Bible translations don't use traditional Christian vocabulary but rather use expressions familiar to Muslim-background people. They use "Isa" instead of "Yasua", the name most Christians use for Jesus in Arabic.

Sharif Bible

We can recomand this translation for most situations and people. The official website www.sharifbible.com has the whole Bible for reading and listening but is only in Arabic. It is commonly abbreviated SAB (Sharif Arabic Bible).

It is freely available in the following ways:

  • Reading online:
  • Zip package (187 MB) for essential reading and listening: Contains PDF files and MP3 audio files of Genesis, Matthew and Acts
  • PDF files:
  • Smartphone apps and software:
    • YouVersion smartphone app: Text of the whole Bible, no recordings. Can be downloaded and is then available for offline use. Select "العربية" in the language selection and then select "SAB".
    • bible.is smartphone app: Text of the New Testament, recordings of the New Testament. Select "Arabic - العربية" in the language selection and then select "AS1 / Sharif Version Drama".Recordings in Sudanese Arabic ("AS2") and Iraqi Arabic ("AS3") also exist.
  • Audio Bible:
  • Printed copies:

True Meaning Translation (TMA)

This translation has grammatically complex language and uses very religious vocabulary. It is a very new translation and until now only the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament are available. It is recommendable for very religious people. The hard copy also makes a great gift for religious Arabic speaking friends. Its website is https://truemeaningarabic.org.

It is freely available in the following ways:

Other Arabic Bible translations

Van Dyck Translation (AVD)

The Van Dyck Translation is the oldest translation into the Arabic language that is still common. Like the KJV in English, it is well known and highly regarded. It uses very grammatically complex language and has many expressions which aren't commonly used anymore. It is hard to understand for most people.

Jesus Film

Available training resources in Arabic