Bible For The Deaf: Implication For Sign Language Bible Translation

Ruth Oyeniyi

Issue: Vol.2  No.1 April 2020 Article 5 pp. 35-41
DOI :  |   Published online 27th April 2020.
© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (


The Deaf community in Nigeria is confronted with the challenge of non-translation of the Bible into Sign Language, leading to a greater percentage being biblically illiterate. Some churches use interpreters who are not knowledgeable in Nigerian Sign Language, and as a result, many deaf people do not benefit from the interpretation of sermons.  This article assessing data through bibliographic approach discovered that Sign Language is not a universal language due to its uniqueness as the Deaf communities in different countries develop their bespoke Sign Language which makes translating one Bible to serve the deaf globally an unrealistic venture. The Nigerian Deaf Community is estimated to be 1.9 million with a very low percentage that has come to know Jesus personally.  The greater percentage cannot read printed Bible due to illiteracy and lack of understanding of abstract concepts and its grammatical structure.  The Deaf will understand the Bible better when it is “read” (watched) in their language.  This paper recommends the translation of the Bible into Nigerian Sign Language by trained Deaf Bible translators who have sufficient hermeneutical skills that will help them in the translation of the Bible into Sign Language.

Keywords: The Deaf, Sign Language, Bible Translation, Nigerian Sign Language, Hermeneutics

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Ruth M. Oyeniyi, PhD is a Christian Educator in the Faculty of Education of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso. She heads the Community Education Department. She works as a Bible instructor to the Christian deaf community, in Ogbomoso, Oyo State of Nigeria. Email:

Oyeniyi, Ruth M. “Bible for the Deaf: Implication for sign Language Bible Translation.” Journal of Mother-Tongue Biblical Hermeneutics and Theology 2, no. 1 (2020): 35-41.

© 2020 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (