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His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I
On the Bible
We in Ethiopia have one of the oldest versions of the Bible, but however old
the version may be, in whatever language it may be written, the word
remains one and the same.  It transcends all boundaries of empires and all
conceptions of race.  It is eternal.

No doubt you all remember reading in the Acts of the Apostles of how Philip
baptised the Ethiopian official.  He is the first Ethiopian on record to have
followed Christ, and from that day onwards the Word of God has continued
to grow in the hearts of Ethiopians.  And I might say for myself that from
early childhood I was taught to appreciate the Bible and my love for it
increases with the passage of time.  All through my troubles I have found it a
cause of infinite comfort.  "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest" ~ Who can resist an invitation so full of
compassion?

Because of this personal experience in the goodness of the Bible, I was
resolved that all my countrymen should also share its great blessing, and
that by reading the Bible they should find Truth for themselves.  Therefore,
I caused a new translation to be made from our ancient language into the
language which the old and the young understood and spoke.

Today man sees all his hopes and aspirations crumbling before him.  He is
perplexed and knows not whither he is drifting.  But he must realise that the
Bible is his refuge, and the rallying point for all humanity.  In it man will
find the solution of his present difficulties and guidance for his future
action, and unless he accepts with clear conscience the Bible and its great
Message, he cannot hope for salvation.  For my part I glory in the Bible.   

                                 
    Haile Selassie I
The Revised Amharic Bible
Defender of the Faith
 
His Imperial Majesty Emperor formally accepting the title  

              
 "Defender of the Faith":

...Holy Fathers, We have welcomed the title you have given Us,
Defender of the Faith, with great honour.  May Almighty God grace
your name.  May God welcome your work.  We have received this
title given Us by you Holy Fathers, with religious reverence.  May your
prayers help Us in Our effort to fulfil the task entrusted to Us.
 
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I, 1918-1967; Published by:
The Imperial Ethiopian Ministry of Information, Publication and Foreign Languages
Press Department, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1967, p. 641 Speech: January 21, 1965.
The Revised Amharic Bible
Ethiopia, an island of Christianity, is recorded in history as having received
first the Old Testament, and then the New Testament ealier than most of
the countries of the world.  When, in Old Testament times, she received the
Law, and when, in New Testament times, she received the Gospel, she
ensured that the Scriptures were translated into the ancient language of
Ge'ez.  From those times to this, various books both spiritual and material
profit have periodically been compiled and written in Ge'ez.  We
remember with deep gratitude those fathers of old who, as time and
opportunity allowed, worked with much care and labour and have left us
books for the preservation of the Faith and for the increase learning and
knowledge.

In former ages, Ge'ez was the language of the country and so, even without
an interpreter, the people had no difficulty in examining and
understanding the books; but just as one age succeeds another, so Amharic,
which sprang from Ge'ez, gradually grew until it became the common
speech of the people, taking the place of Ge'ez.  At that time, Ge'ez was
understood by the learned people of the Church, but was not readily
understood by the ordinary people.  Arising from this, the scholars in their
preaching and work have for centuries been forced in their teaching to
interpret from Ge'ez into Amharic.  And these conditions prevailed until
Our own times.

Since the time when, by God's goodness, We were chosen to ascend the
Throne of Ethiopia and while We have been leading Our people to progress
in learning and knowledge, We have laboured in every way possible with
and eye to their growth in spiritual and material learning and knowledge.  
In order to reach this goal, and realizing that the first necessity was to have
the Scriptures translated into Amharic and printed in bulk, in 1918 when
We were still Heir to the Throne and Regent, We chose from amongst the
scholars some to translate the Scriptures and to produce the translation
alongside the Ge'ez.  After this, too at Our private expense We had a
printing machine brought from Europe, established a Printing Press, and
began to have books printed.  Some of the books which We caused to be
printed in Ge'ez and Amharic at that time, read in churches and homes,
have been found profitable to the establishment of faith and to spiritual
strengthening.  After that, noting that the mind of the people continued to
grow in understanding, We arranged for a word-for-word translation into
Amharic of the books of the Old and New Testaments.  Our scholars
completed the translation and presented it to Us in 1931, and We ordered
its printing.  While the book was still in the Press, however, enemy
aggression in 1935 halted the work.  Even so, when in exile in London, We
gave permission for this same Bible to be printed by photo-offset, and it
was duly issued.  By this Book, Our Ethiopian subjects in exile in many
countries held fast to their faith and presented their petitions to Almighty
God as they awaited the restoration of Ethiopia.

When, all honour and praise be to God, We had brought about the
liberation of Ethiopia and had entered Our Empire, realizing that there
ought to be a revision from the original Hebrew and Greek of the existing
translation of the Bible, We chose scholars qualified for the work of Biblical
training and on March 6th, 1947 set up a Bible Committee in Our Palace.  
The Committee worked with diligence for some five years, and on April
19th, 1952 presented the translation to Us.  We give heartfelt thanks to all
who helped Us in this work.  

All the ancient Scriptures were written for Our instruction, in order that
through the encouragement they give Us, we may maintain Our hope with
fortitude.  Because We desire that the light which comes from the
Scriptures may shine to all, this Bible by Our command and will has been
revised and printed in the Thirty-First year of Our reign.


                                  
Haile Selassie I
                                               July 23, 1961
 
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I, 1918-1967; Published by:
The Imperial Ethiopian Ministry of Information, Publication and Foreign Languages
Press Department, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1967, p. 616-618 Speech: July 23, 1961.