Bible translations into Armenian

Illustrated Armenian Bible from 1256

The Armenian Bible is due to Saint Mesrob's early 5th century translation. The first monument of Armenian literature is the version of the Holy Scriptures. Isaac, says Moses of Chorene, made a translation of the Bible from the Syriac text about 411. This work must have been considered imperfect, for soon afterwards John of Egheghiatz and Joseph of Baghin were sent to Edessa to translate the Scriptures. They journeyed as far as Constantinople, and brought back with them authentic copies of the Greek text. With the help of other copies obtained from Alexandria the Bible was translated again from the Greek according to the text of the Septuagint and Origen's Hexapla. This version, now in use in the Armenian Church, was completed about 434.

The first sentence in Armenian written down by St. Mesrop after he invented the letters is said to be the opening line of Solomon’s Book of Proverbs:

Ճանաչել զիմաստութիւն եւ զխրատ, իմանալ զբանս հանճարոյ:

Čanačʿel zimastutʿiwn ew zxrat, imanal zbans hančaroy.

"To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding."

Book of Proverbs, 1:2.

There are currently four commonly used version of the bible in Armenian. One in Western Armenian, mainly used by Armenians in the diaspora and three translations in Eastern Armenian, commonly used within Armenia, Iran, Russia, Georgia. These translations are "Ararat", published by Armenian Bible Society, "Etchmiadzin translation", published by Armenian Apostolic Church, and "The New World translation", published by Jehovah's Witnesses.


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