How Do You Read the Ethiopian Amharic Bible?


Quick Answer

Written in the official language of modern Ethiopia, the Amharic Bible can be purchased in physical form from many online retailers. It is free via download for Bible reading software on a PC at Bible.org, and for Android and iOS through their respective online app stores. There is also a side-by-side version of the Bible featuring both English and Amharic.

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Full Answer

The ties between the region that constitutes modern Ethiopia and Christianity stretch back to the writing of the Christian Gospels in the first century A.D. An early convert is discussed in the book of Acts, but widespread adoption of the religion isn't noted until the fourth century. In 330 A.D., King Ezana declared Christianity the official state religion.

It was sometime in this era that the Bible was first translated into one of the region's native languages, Ge'ez. This language became the official language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, but fell out of everyday use by the 14th century. Now, it is strictly used for liturgical purposes.

Since the majority of Ethiopians no longer speak or read Ge'ez, the Bible was first translated into Amharic in 1840. The version most readily available now was commissioned by noted Ethiopian King Haile Selassie in 1935 and completed in 1962. It is available in two versions: one that adheres to the 66 biblical books adopted by Protestants, and another that uses the 81biblical books typically used by Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

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