First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament

First Nations Version

An Indigenous Bible Translation of the New Testament

by Terry M. Wildman
Consulting Editor First Nations Version Translation Council

First Nations Version
  • Length: 512 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: August 31, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 1350
  • ISBN: 9780830813506

*affiliate partner

Publishers Weekly starred review, Academy of Parish Clergy Reference Book of the Year

A New Testament in English by Native North Americans for Native North Americans and All English-Speaking Peoples

Many First Nations tribes communicate with the cultural and linguistic thought patterns found in their original tongues. The First Nations Version (FNV) recounts the Creator's Story—the Christian Scriptures—following the tradition of Native storytellers' oral cultures. This way of speaking, with its simple yet profound beauty and rich cultural idioms, still resonates in the hearts of First Nations people.

The FNV is a dynamic equivalence translation of the New Testament that captures the simplicity, clarity, and beauty of Native storytellers in English, while remaining faithful to the original language of the Bible. The culmination of a rigorous five-year translation process, this new Bible translation is a collaboration between organizations like OneBook and Wycliffe Associates, Indigenous North Americans from over twenty-five different tribes, and a translation council that consisted of twelve Native North American elders, pastors, young adults, and men and women from different tribes and diverse geographic locations. All readers will experience the Scriptures in a fresh and new way.

Read these sample passages to get a taste of what you'll find inside:

  • "The Great Spirit loves this world of human beings so deeply he gave us his Son—the only Son who fully represents him. All who trust in him and his way will not come to a bad end, but will have the life of the world to come that never fades—full of beauty and harmony. Creator did not send his Son to decide against the people of this world, but to set them free from the worthless ways of the world." John 3:16-17
  • "Love is patient and kind. Love is never jealous. It does not brag or boast. It is not puffed up or big-headed. Love does not act in shameful ways, nor does it care only about itself. It is not hot-headed, nor does it keep track of wrongs done to it. Love is not happy with lies and injustice, but truth makes its heart glad. Love keeps walking even when carrying a heavy load. Love keeps trusting, never loses hope, and stands firm in hard times. The road of love has no end." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"This new rendering of the New Testament is a most welcome accomplishment. All of our translations of the Bible are inescapably done through a cultural lens, and now we have the New Testament through the cultural lens of First Americans. It is of course a reach of empire to assume that our English translations of the Bible, as familiar as they are, are everywhere normative among us. Now we have a correction and an alternative that honors and takes seriously a cultural lens other than white European. This version draws us much closer to the wonder of an earthly spirituality that is present in the text as it is present in the life of the world."

Walter Brueggemann, William Marcellus McPheeters professor emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary

"Reading the First Nations Version of the New Testament is like listening to a wise elder pass down ancient teachings. Its oral cadences give the Scriptures new room to breathe. While contemporary translations focus on updating language in a modern mode, the FNV recaptures the sense of tradition that binds faithful readers to our past and to the story that tells us who we are. It is a good gift to everyone who walks the Jesus Way."

L. Daniel Hawk, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Ashland Theological Seminary

"From the beginning, the story of Jesus has been a translated story. Jesus spoke in Aramaic, but Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote their Gospels in Greek. The story of Jesus is intended to be translated to every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. That translation is intended, not just permitted, serves to show how we must resist any cultural domination of the gospel. Terry Wildman has done a masterful job of rendering the New Testament into the storytelling motif characteristic of Native Americans. It should tell us something important when we realize how beautifully the story of Jesus can be adapted to the style and vocabulary of indigenous people. I deeply appreciate Terry Wildman's retelling of the story of Jesus for First Nations people. I believe the Great Spirit is pleased."

Brian Zahnd, pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, and author of Beauty Will Save the World

"I've often wondered what it might look like if Jesus incarnated within another culture. Jesus, a first-century Jewish teacher in a corner of Rome's empire, lived, died, and rose as a human being within a specific time and place. What I love about the First Nations Version is how it translates this gospel story into a language of another context: First Nations! So get swept away into the story of the Great Spirit as he invites us to the blessing way of the good road. Read this beautiful retelling of the Scriptures that is not only beneficial for First Nations communities but for all who desire to allow the Great Spirit to transform their imaginations!"

Kurt Willems, pastor and author of Echoing Hope: How the Humanity of Jesus Redeems our Pain

"The First Nations Version (FNV) has quickly become a go-to resource for Native InterVarsity across the nation. We are using it in our small group Bible studies, and it is influencing the words we choose when we invite students to the full life that Creator Sets Free (Jesus) offers. The word choices of the FNV not only resonate with Native students but are also offering a fresh hearing of Scripture for non-Natives. For example, when we talk about sin, defenses and blinders go up immediately. But when the FNV talks about 'bad hearts' and 'broken ways,' people can see that in themselves and others. I would recommend the FNV to any Native person who wants to learn more about Jesus and any non-Native person who longs to be able to read Scripture with new eyes."

Megan Murdock Krischke, national director, Native InterVarsity

"The FNV is written for a particular time, place, and people—the indigenous people of North America. The First Nations Version is a Bible for us. With estimates that a mere 5 percent of indigenous people of North America have a relationship with Creator Sets Free (Jesus), it's time for us to have a Bible translation of our own that speaks to our culture, our values, and our hearts through Creator's Word."

Casey Church, pastor of Good Medicine Way in Albuquerque, New Mexico

"The First Nations Version is far and away the most creative Bible translation I've ever read. It's an exciting alternative to the boring, stodgy renderings that have dominated the English market for centuries. All readers can open the FNV and experience old passages in new perspectives. Talk about it with your kids. Study it in churches and classrooms. Use it in worship. The Bible becomes alive!"

Matthew Schlimm, professor of Old Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

"While Wildman recasts the New Testament in a distinctly Indigenous image, he remains faithful to evangelical interpretations of Christian scripture, typified in the many italicized explanations that appear throughout and are meant to add 'reasonably implied' clarifications and cultural notes, such as explication on ancient festivals like the Pentecost. This remarkable retelling offers plenty of rewards and will especially pique those open to a novel interpretation of the religious text."

Publishers Weekly starred review, August 2021


Introduction to the First Nations Version

Gift from Creator Tells the Good Story (Matthew)
War Club Tells the Good Story (Mark)
Shining Light Tells the Good Story (Luke)
He Shows Goodwill Tells the Good Story (John)
The Good Story Continues (Acts)
Small Man to the Sacred Family in Village of Iron (Romans)
First Letter of Small Man to the Sacred Family in Village of Pleasure (1 Corinthians)
Second Letter of Small Man to the Sacred Family in Village of Pleasure (2 Corinthians)
Small Man to the Sacred Families in Land of Pale Skins (Galatians)
Small Man to the Sacred Family in Village of Desire (Ephesians)
Small Man to the Sacred Family in Village of Horses (Philippians)
Small Man to the Sacred Family in Village of Giants (Colossians)
First Letter of Small Man to the Sacred Family in Village of False Victory (1 Thessalonians)
Second Letter of Small Man to the Sacred Family in Village of False Victory (2 Thessalonians)
First Letter from Small Man to He Gives Honor (1 Timothy)
Second Letter from Small Man to He Gives Honor (2 Timothy)
Small Man to Big Man (Titus)
Small Man to He Shows Kindness (Philemon)
To the People of the Tribes of Wrestles with Creator (Hebrews)
He Leads the Way to the Scattered Tribes (James)
First Letter from Stands on the Rock (1 Peter)
Second Letter from Stands on the Rock (2 Peter)
First Letter from He Shows Goodwill (1 John)
Second Letter from He Shows Goodwill (2 John)
Third Letter from He Shows Goodwill (3 John)
Strong of Heart (Jude)
Book of the Great Revealing (Revelation)

Glossary of Biblical Terms


You May Also Like

Terry M. Wildman

Terry M. Wildman (Ojibwe and Yaqui) is the lead translator, general editor, and project manager of the First Nations Version. He serves as the director of spiritual growth and leadership development for Native InterVarsity. He is also the founder of Rain Ministries and has previously served as a pastor and worship leader. Terry lives with his wife, Darlene, in Arizona.