Bible Society of India

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The Bible Society of India
Predecessor The British and Foreign Bible Society in India and Ceylon
Formation 1 November 1944[1]
Founder The British and Foreign Bible Society
Founded at Nagpur[1]
Type Bible Society
Legal status Trust
Purpose Literary
Headquarters Bangalore
Indian subcontinent
Services Contribution, Translation, Printing, Distribution
Official language
Secretary General
The Rev. M. Mani Chacko, CSI,[2] Ph.D. (London)
The Rev. P. N. S. Chandra Bose,[2] GMI,[3] B.D. (Serampore)
1st Vice President
The Right Rev. P. C. Singh,[2] CNI, B.D. (Serampore)
2nd Vice President
Smt. Starla Luke[2]
3rd Vice President
The Rev. Vanlalbela,[2] PCI, B.D. (Serampore)
Translations: The Rev. Jonadob Nathaniel, Th.D. (SEAGST)
Church Relations and Resource Mobilisation: Ms. E. Leelavathi Manasseh
Marketing: Mr. Paul Stephen
Media: Mr. Samuel Thambusamy, M. Th. (Edinburgh)
Production: Mr. Ashith
Finance: Mr. Joel Abraham
Main organ
India Bible Society Trust Association (IBSTA)[4]
Parent organization
United Bible Societies
Subsidiaries 17
Affiliations National Council of Churches in India
Budget (2014[5])
Slogan Applying God's word in the world
Remarks Sowing Circle (A publication of the BSI)
Formerly called
The Bible Society of India and Ceylon

The Bible Society of India is a Christian body that is authorized to translate, produce, distribute and market the Bible and is a member of the United Bible Societies.

The motto of the Society is to translate the word of God in languages, which people can understand, and produce the scriptures (normally in book form) at a price people could afford to buy. The Bible Society works together with many organizations in India to translate the Bible into various languages of India. The Bible is now available in 65 Indian languages, the New Testament in 70 additional languages,[6] and Scripture portions in 48 languages.[7]


On 21 February 1811, a meeting was held "at the college of Fort William for the propriety of instituting a Bible Society, as Auxiliary to the British and Foreign Bible Society established in London", entitled as "The Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society" with the same objectives as those in London." This Auxiliary Bible Society in Serampore, West Bengal first began attempt to coordinate supply Scriptures to existing Christians in Portuguese, Tamil, 'Cingalese,' Malayalam, and 'Canarese' languages. They gave 5,000 Cingalese New Testaments to a new Auxiliary Bible Society in Ceylon formed in August 1812.[8]

The headquarters of Bible Society of India moved from Nagpur to Bangalore in 1950, under the leadership of General Secretary Premanand Mahanty. The Central Office of the Bible Society of India is located in Bangalore city in the state of Karnataka in South India.[9]

The Translations[edit]

Succession of Translation Directors

Sources for translating and revising[edit]

The Society depends on original sources material of the scriptures available in Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic and Biblical Greek languages for which the sources include the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Novum Testamentum Graece.

Pool of Scholars trained in Biblical languages[edit]

Since the beginning, the Society worked together with the National Council of Churches in India and the Senate of Serampore College (University) and the first Translations Director, C. Arangaden helped found the Society for Biblical Studies in India (SBSI) which had been fully-ecumenical consisting of Biblical Scholars from the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Charismatic Church Societies.

Father Rene Van de Walle a member of the Society for Biblical Studies in India was associated with the revision of the Marathi Bible. Similarly, Father Lucien Legrand was associated with the inter-confessional translation in Tamil language. With this background, the Society systematically built up a pool of Biblical Scholars who specialised in Old Testament with Biblical Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew and also New Testament with Biblical Greek. The Scholars include Yisu Das Tiwari, B. E. Devaraj, C. Arangaden, Victor Premasagar, E. C. John, K. V. Mathew, M. P. John, John Philipose, Gnana Robinson, G. Babu Rao, Timotheas Hembrom, N. K. Achumi, Basil Rebera, S. John Theodore and others.

Inter-confessional translations[edit]

The Society translates and revises the scriptures from the original Biblical languages without prejudice to Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic or Charismatic. As such, the translations of the Society are held in regard by the Christians. Though the Catholics did not have scriptures in a language of their own, it was the outcome of the Second Vatican Council which paved way for the vernacular translations.

Old Testament and New Testament Scholars of the Catholic Churches worked together with the Society to either translate or revise vernacular translations and were also instrumental in inter-confessional translations.[10] The Rev. Father D. S. Amalorpavadass was a strong proponent[10] for the inter-confessional translations making the Bible Society to come out with one such version in Tamil language. In other languages of India too, the Catholic Fathers were very much in favour[11] of an inter-confessional translation.

In the recent times, the Society works together with the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India led by Fr. Govindu Rayanna,[12] a New Testament Scholar[13] and a member of the Society for Biblical Studies in India.

The Translation Directors[edit]

The Directors who led the translation at the Society were notable in the Senate of Serampore College (University) having taught at either the constituent College of the University or its affiliated institutions. It was during the period of C. Arangaden that the translations department was built up together with the General Secretary, the rural Pastor, A. E. Inbanathan had much understanding of the Church and Christianity in India and worked together with the Senate of Serampore College (University). It was during their tenure that thoroughbred Scholars were appointed throughout India leading to quality translations.

Auxiliaries of the Bible Society of India[14]
No. Founding
Name of the Auxiliary Location State Secretary[15]
I. 1983 Aizawl Auxiliary Aizawl Mizoram Elder C. Thangnghilhlova, M. A., (NEHU),[16]
II. 1845 Allahabad Auxiliary Allahabad Uttar Pradesh The Rev. J. Sundara Raj, ECI,[17] M. Th. (Serampore)[18]
III. 1951 Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary Guntur Andhra Pradesh The Rev. B. S. Raja Sekhar, STBC, M. Th. (Serampore)
IV. 1813 Bombay Auxiliary Mumbai Maharashtra The Rev. A. Vishwas Sasane, MCI,[19] B. D. (Serampore)[19]
V. 1811 Calcutta Auxiliary Kolkata West Bengal Sri Sajal Kumar Sarkar
VI. 1986 Dimapur Auxiliary Dimapur Nagaland The Rev. Z. K. Rochill
VII. 1969 Gujarat Auxiliary Ahmedabad Gujarat The Rev. David H. Desai,[20] CNI, B. D. (Serampore)
VIII. 1986 Jabalpur Auxiliary Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh The Rev. Joel Patrick, CNI,[21] M. Th. (Serampore)
IX. 1945 Karnataka Auxiliary Bangalore Karnataka Mr. Vasant W. Renick
X. 1956 Kerala Auxiliary Kottayam Kerala The Rev. Mathew Skariah,[22] MMTSC, M. Th. (Serampore)
XI. 1953 North West India Auxiliary New Delhi New Delhi The Rev. Shirley Lall, CNI, M. Th. (Serampore)[23]
XII. 1983 Odisha Auxiliary Cuttack Odisha The Rev. Ashish Kumar Patro, CNI, B. D. (Serampore)[24]
XIII. 1966 Ranchi Auxiliary Ranchi Jharkhand Smt. Soma Bhatkar
XIV. 1956 Shillong Auxiliary Shillong Meghalaya The Rev. Phidolis Dkhar
XV. 1820 Tamil Nadu Auxiliary Chennai Tamil Nadu The Rev. P. Moses Devadason, CSI, B. D. (Serampore)[24]
XVI. 2016 Telangana Auxiliary Secunderabad Telangana The Rev. P. K. Praveen Prabhu Sudheer, CSI, Ph.D. (Madras)

Management of the Society[edit]

The Society has been led by able administrators hailing from the Clergy. During 1980 when a gap arose, the Society had to appoint Laymen for a temporary period but with the appointment of The Rev. M. Mani Chacko, an Old Testament Scholar and a member of the Society for Biblical Studies in India (SBSI), the Society is again led by the Clergy.

Trust Association[edit]

The India Bible Society Trust Association (IBSTA) is the main management body which runs the administration of the Bible Society of India and has been led by Theologians including Victor Premasagar, Navamani Elia Peter and other Clergy.

General Secretaries[edit]

Though General Secretaries were in short tenures, it was the rural Pastor, The Rev. A. E. Inbanathan who held the longest tenure and built up the society in all spheres in Translation, Promotion, Distribution and Resource Mobilisation.

Years Succession of General Secretaries[25] Earned Academic Credentials
1944-1947 The Rev. J. S. M. Hooper, Methodist,[26] B. A. (Oxford), M. A. (Oxford)
1947-1949 The Rev. George Sinker, C of E
1949-1958 Mr. P. MahantyLaity
1958-1959 Ms. Marjorie HarrisonLaity[27]
1959-1960 The Rev. W. Park Rankin
1960-1981 The Rev. A. E. Inbanathan, CSI B. D. (Serampore), M. A. (Union), Ph.D. (Hartford)
1981 Major General O. M. ManiLaity
1981-1982 Mr. T. Albert Manoraj, IPSLaity[28]
1982-1985 Mr. T. John Ramakrishnan, IASLaity[29]
1985-2011 Mr. B. K. PramanikLaity[30]
2011- The Rev. M. Mani Chacko, CSI B. D. (Serampore), M. Th. (Serampore), Ph.D. (London)


  1. ^ a b Neville Barker Cryer, Bibles Across the World, Mowbrays, 1979, p.109. [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e BSI, Office Bearers
  3. ^ The Rev. P. N. S. Chandra Bose is the General Secretary of the Gospel Mission of India. The Hindu, 6.2.2013. [2]
  4. ^ Tax Management, India
  5. ^ a b The Sowing Circle, Volume 31, Number 1, January–April 2015
  6. ^ "Translation". Bible Society of india. Retrieved 12 Oct 2015. 
  7. ^ Nirmal, Chiranjivi (2011). Imaging the Word: A Twenty-First Century Perspective. Bangalore: The Bible Society of India. p. 70. ISBN 81-221-2908-0. 
  8. ^ Nirmal, Chiranjivi (2011). Imaging the Word: A Twenty-First Century Perspective. Bangalore: The Bible Society of India. p. 12,13. ISBN 81-221-2908-0. 
  9. ^ Nirmal, Chiranjivi (2011). Imaging the Word: A Twenty-First Century Perspective. Bangalore: The Bible Society of India. p. 23. ISBN 81-221-2908-0. 
  10. ^ a b Basil Rebera, The Bible Society of India and Inter-Confessional Translations, in D. S. Amalorpavadass (Edited), Report of the II All-India Biblical Meeting, NBCLC, Bangalore, 1975, p.348. [3]
  11. ^ C. Arangaden, Fiddler in the Zoo, iUniverse, Bloomington, 2011, p.89.[4]
  12. ^ The Sowing Circle, Volume 28, Number 1, January-April 2012, p.20
  13. ^ Rayanna Govindu, The Table Fellowship of Jesus (Luke 5.27-32), Pontifical Urban University, Rome, 2003.[5]
  14. ^ The Bible Society of India, list of Auxiliaries, October 2015
  15. ^ The Sowing Circle, Volume 32, Number 1, January-April 2016, p.9
  16. ^ Linked In'
  17. ^ Evangelical Church of India, Board of Governors
  18. ^ Stone Ridge Fellowship
  19. ^ a b Linked In
  20. ^ Church of North India. [6]
  21. ^ Zoominfo
  22. ^ Senate of Serampore College (University), Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Committee of the Academic Council held on July 17, 2012, p.26. [7]
  23. ^ Serampore Examination Registration. [8]
  24. ^ a b The Sowing Circle, Volume 29, Number 2, May-August 2013, pp.32-33
  25. ^ G. D. V. Prasad, Chiranjivi J. Nirmal, Imaging the Word: A Twenty-First Century Perspective, The Bible Society of India 1811-2011, Bible Society of India, Bangalore, 2000, (revised edition 2011), p.115. [9]
  26. ^ Kenneth Cracknell, Susan J. White, An Introduction to World Methodism, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005, p.150.[10]
  27. ^ Annual Report of the American Bible Society, Volume 149, American Bible Society, 1964, p.144. [11]
  28. ^ The Civil List of Indian Police Service, 1968, p.232
  29. ^ Interact 2012 of the Indiranagar Methodist Church, Bangalore
  30. ^ Mr. B. K. Pramanik has been conferred a honorary doctorate by an unrecognised institution which has no standing before the University Grants Commission. Hence, the prefix has been retained as Mr. See Some Distinguished Alumni and Honorary Degree Recipients of IICM.[12]