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The Alkitab Versi Borneo (AVB)

Alkitab Versi Borneo (AVB) began with a burden for a high quality translation of the Bible in proper Malay and an accurate rendering of the original texts.

AVB is historical significant as the first formal-equivalent translation of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia. Besides the tight control on its linguitic accuracy, painstaking attention to the beauty of the Malay language have helped contributed to a highly readable AVB in fluent Malay, and the most popular Bible for a new generation to enjoy God's Word. 


A Miracle in Our Hands

The project started with a burden, a burden big enough for a hundred volunteers.

It started with zero budget. When all is done, actually paying translators, consultants, readers and reviewers could take RM 1 million.

When ideas and vision aligned, locals and expatriates took off. Without an inkling of its eventual acceptance, the work persevered. In fact, ten years on into the tunnel, the translators did not see any light but they persisted.

The translators supported themselves through their own jobs. And there was not a single paid staff.

To bring the product out, more volunteered – funds for printing, importation, storage, distribution, launches. 

We are continously doing the reprints to meet the need for the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia.

To God be the glory!

The Administrator, Borneo Sabda

AVB Kuching Launch 24 April 2018

“I have been telling folks that while many translations speak to the mind, the AVB speaks to the heart.”

    - Rev Dr T Jeyakumar, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia

AVB introduced on St Mark's Feast Day 


The AVB is truly a ‘gift’ to our Bahasa Malaysia-speaking brethren.

In East Malaysia, it was so right for readers to feel an euphoric sense of ownership, of a Borneo Bible in highly readable yet fluent Malay. In West Malaysia, readers who love the language read it with tears of joy.

People are proud that eminently-qualified linguists helped to distinguish its quality, and that Biblical translators and consultants contributed relentlessly in its accuracy.

Like never before, heads of churches came forward to declare their support of AVB.
Many spiritual leaders did not hesitate to acclaim the AVB as historically significant, as our first formal translation Bahasa Malaysia Bible.

Moments of Clarity



Translation Philosophy

AVB followed a “literal translation” philosophy, but fully utilized the target language grammar, syntax, and idiom of modern literary Malay in Malaysia.

AVB largely adopted the formal equivalent principle of translation. However, functional equivalence was also employed if it was needed in the language to bring out the original meaning accurately for the Malay-speaking readers.

Where a literal translation obscured the meaning of the original, a functional/dynamic equivalent would do better in the accurate transference of the equivalent meaning, and in the process provided better clarity and ease of reading for the target audience.

The preferred Greek text underlying the New Testament portion of AVB was UBS Greek New Testament, 5th edition.  

As for the Old Testament portion, AVB was mostly checked against the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible as found in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

Pastoral Oversight

A Pastoral Oversight helped ensured the credibility and survivability of the project, over the decade-long process. The Pastoral Oversight included Pastor Phua Seng Tiong (Founding Senior Pastor of SSMC Petaling Jaya) and Pastor Dato' Dr Daniel Ho (Founding General Secretary of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia & Founding Senior Pastor of DUMC Petaling Jaya).

Datuk Kenny Ng (the former national chairman of The Evangelical Free Church of Malaysia) stood up as the legal counsel for AVB team since 2014. Datuk Kenny helped to steer the path that AVB should take during the critical years. Through his advice, the work of AVB was deemed to have national significance, and the objective was for the AVB to be made generously available to meet the needs of the community.

The stakeholders advised for the copyright of AVB to be guarded and held by a team headed by the Lead Editor. These rights are being guarded with a continuing mission to:

  • Embrace the interest and special relationship with the original project leaders, authors, translators, linguists and co-workers. 
  • Extend the collaboration with like-minded scripture production teams and distributors across the Malay Archipelago.
  • Undertake derivative works with a minimum of bureaucracy.

It is envisioned that the rights of AVB will eventually be entrusted to a national trust or foundation, with representatives from the larger Christian community.

Institutional Support

The Methodist Church of Malaysia and several large churches provided a majority of the donations needed for the printing and storage of the AVB in the initial phases. Significant donations for the printing also come from church leaders in Brunei, Indonesia and Hong Kong. Sponsored distribution are a continuing and significant support in kind -- Church-based distributors raised their own funds for the printing of the bibles for distribution to rural constituencies.

AVB has also been supported and promoted by different organizations like LAB Network, Lembaga Yayasan SABDA, Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship Malaysia, Scripture Union, as well as international bible promotion agencies like Pengamat Kitab Mulia, Faith Comes By Hearing, Open Doors, OneHope, Digital Bible Society, Life Covenant Church.

The translation owed its gratitude to the Joint Council of SIB Sabah, BEM/SIB Sarawak and SIB Peninsular Malaysia who in 2016 became the first denomination to recognize AVB as a Bahasa Melayu Bible translation for reference and use by their members.

Correct Use of Bahasa Malaysia

The official language of Malaysia (Bahasa Malaysia) and the official language of Indonesia (Bahasa Indonesia) have developed independently of each other over six decades.  The two varieties of Malay languages have grown divergent from each other, in form, expression, terminology and grammatical structure.

A direct but unhappy result of this divergent development was, indigenous students in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak who were influenced by the Indonesian version of the Bible have suffered serious impediments when sitting for public national-level Bahasa Malaysia language examinations in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The correct usage of Bahasa Malaysia is governed by the Malaysia Language & Literary Board (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Malaysia).

AVB used bona-fide and approved Bahasa Malaysia in its translation. AVB’s team included highly qualified language promoters and practitioners as translators, and linguistic checkers whose full-time employment was in actual administration of the correct use of Bahasa Malaysia in national schools and public examinations.

Over the last 30 years, AVB translators have in their professional capacity coined and promoted new words in BM for use by the Christian community.

In the translation of AVB, translators coined and successfully promoted the following new words:

Penyelamat (Saviour, instead of 'Juruselamat'), Penyelamatan (Salvation, instead of 'Keselamatan'), Perbenaran (righteousness, instead of 'Kebenaran'), Saumaah (synagogue), Jururasa santapan (cupbearer), Roh Durjana (evil spirit), Manusia Leluasa (man of lawlessness), Azab (plaque), Batu Pejal (Solid Rock), Tabii Manusia (the Flesh, instead of the literal 'Daging').  

AVB inherited and adopted many contextualized terminologies that are entirely different from the traditional Malay translations. Yet these terminologies were easily understood, even coming across as pleasantly refreshing to many BM-speaking Christian who have started using AVB. For example, the Malay-speaking churches have been using terms like ‘hujat’ and 'perumpamaan' for blasphemy and parable for many decades, suddenly find AVB use of ‘kufur’ and 'ibarat' like a breath of fresh air.

AVB emphasized style and linguistic semantics, including:

  • Linguistic norms in official communication and academic writings as widely accepted by native speakers trained in BM. 
  • Proper grammar and refined language unique to BM. 


  • AVB Apps: Borneo Bible; YouVersion; Bible.Is; Gideon Bible App 
  • Scripture Study & Interlinear Bible:   or
  • AVB Audio Bible in Bible.Is by Faith Comes By Hearing (NT  and OT)
  • AVB in Gospel Films: Bible.Is
  • AVB Video:  Injil:
  • Bible Comics/Komik Alkitab - Gospel of Mark:


 1)  AVB Online: See our website:   &

 2) APPS:  AVB Bible App available in:

    (a) GOOGLE PLAY STORE, Android App: Search using "AVB" or "Borneo Bible"  

    (b) APPLE APP STORE, iOS App:  Bible.Is  or YouVersion

     (c)  BIBLE.IS   - Text, Audio and Video editions; Search language "Malay - Alitab Versi Borneo" 

     (d)  YouVersion  - Text & Bible Reading Plans



Help connect the Malay-speaking people to the Word of Life in Alkitab Versi Borneo. 
For more information, please contact:

 The Administrator
 Borneo Sabda
 Hong Kong


All glory be to our God!