By AT News Team, April 2, 2015:   Adventist Bible scholars have completed a 23-year project to translate the Bible into contemporary Russian and make it more accessible to today’s Russian culture. Bibles were scarce during the Soviet era and are easy to obtain in Russia these days, yet for more than a century the only complete Russian Bible was an 1875 translation that contains archaic language no longer in use.

Pastor Mikhail P. Kulakov, a scholar and former president of the Adventist denomination in the region, spent he last two decades of his life spearheading the Bible translation project. His son, Dr. Mikhail M. Kulakov, took over the project when his father died in 2010. In March, 23 years after it began, the completed Bible arrived at the printers.

Kulakov is a member of the religion faculty at Washington Adventist University and editor-in-chief of the project and director of the Bible Translation Institute at the university in Takoma Park, Maryland. He told the Columbia Union Visitor that he looks forward to distributing the Bible in Russia and everywhere that the Russian language is used, giving its readers a new sense of God’s closeness in the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, and Isaiah.

“I loved the translation which we had access to,” he said, referring to the 1875 version. “But I did not realize that there is greater richness and depth of meaning in those passages.”

The Bible Translation Institute coordinated the project, working with Russian Orthodox scholars in refining the text. Portions of the new Bible were posted on Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, and Russian Orthodox Web sites as they became available. A version of the new translation with just the New Testament and Psalms was published several years ago and can be purchased at Adventist Book Centers, on Amazon, and at russianbible.org. The new version is the second to be released in contemporary Russian. The first was published by the Russian Bible Society in 2011.

This report is adapted from a story published by the Columbia Union Visitor and written by V. Michelle Bernard.