Buku Lopatulika ndilo Mau a Mulungu is the first Bible to be translated among all Malawian languages. The translation work of this Bible took over 20 years, from about 1900 to 1922. The translation work was done at a place called Kaso, Mvera in Dowa District. This work was done by missionaries from Dutch Reformed Church Mission and Church of Scotland Mission, with the help of some Malawians.
Small revisions were done in 1936 and in 1966 to include cross references and section headings. Since then, no major revision was carried out.
Some of the Chichewa words and terms used when the translation was first done, are very old and difficult to be understood by most Chichewa readers and speakers today. For this reason, it was imperative that a revision be made to make Buku Lopatulika more understood by its users.
The revision work was enormous and took about two years to be completed. The revision included the following:
- Adopting the current orthography rules, eg. Pfuko=fuko; bvuto=vuto; ciyambi=chiyambi
- Consistency in writing and translation of words and key-terms has been improved. Eg. Sanctuary, linen
- Archaic words have been replaced with current words, eg makumbi=makonde, likole=chipinda; cholowera, chitole, maguta=makoma
- Ambiguous translations have been improved, eg. James 2:1
English (RSV): My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ
Buku Lopatulika: Abale anga, musakhale nacho chikhulupiriro cha Ambuye wathu Yesu Kristu
Revised Buku Lopatulika: Abale anga, pakuti muli nacho chikhulupiriro cha Ambuye wathu Yesu Khristu
- Textual problems have been explained, eg Mat. 17:21; Mrk 7:16
- Large paragraphs/sections have been split into shorter sections eg. Mat. 18:15 & 18:21
- Words that have changed meaning have been replaced, eg. Mat.4:5
Buku Lopatulika – namuika Iye pamwamba pa chimbudzi cha Kachisi
Revised Buku Lopatulika – namuika Iye pamwamba penipeni pa Kachisi
- Wordlist (glossary) to explain difficult terms has been added
- Table of weights has been added to understand measurements
- Parallel references have been added to refer to other passages with the same story
- Book Introductions have been added to each book to explain the theme and outline of the book