Teaching the Gospel in Bislama

Near the end of the 20th century,  I (Ron Graham) spent the best part of a year as a missionary in Vanuatu, preaching and holding classes in various places on Efate, Ambrym, and Tanna islands.  While living at Eton Village, I learned Bislama, the national language of Vanuatu, so that my teaching could be understood by folk who did not know much English.

Bislama is a language with a Melanesian grammar, a vocabulary based on Australian English, and pronunciation influenced by village languages.  It is written using much the same alphabet as English, but the spelling is phonetic.  The Bible has been completely translated into Bislama.

For many years now, I have had a Bislama website online which you may care to look at.  The link is provided below.


Here’s an excerpt:

I gat wan God we bifo bifo i mekem graon, mo olgeta samting we i stap long graon ya.  Mo tu hem i mekem solwota mo dipsi, mo olgeta samting we i stap long solwota ya.  Mo tu hem i mekem skae, mo olgeta samting we i stap long skae ya (Jenesis 1:1-31, 2:1-2).

Yumi no mas mekem wosip long narafala god.  Nao God ya, we i mekem olgeta samting, hem i mekem man mo woman.  Ol man long wol ya, oli mas mekem wosip long hem from.  Yumi no mas mekem wosip long wan narafala god, from narafala god ya i no mekem eni samting, i no laef, i no gat bigbigfala paoa olsem God we hem i mekem olgeta samting  (Ol Wok 17:22-33).  Longtaem bifo, Setan i traem Jisas se, Yu bodaon long mi, yu mekem wosip long mi. Be Jisas i talem olsem, Baebol i talem se man i mas wosip long Hae God nomo, we i God blong yu  (Matiu 4:8-10).

Mo tu yumi mas mekem wosip long Pikinini blong God  Hae God i gat wan Pikinini we hem i stret Pikinini long God, mo God i nogat narafala we i sem mak olsem Pikinini ya. Hem nao hem i wan nomo  (Jon 3:16).  Pikinini ya i bin givhan blong mekem olgeta samting.  Hem i stap wetem God fastaem.  Hem i sem mak olsem God we i Papa blong hem.  God i bin usum Pikinini ya, blong mekem olgeta samting  (Jon 1:1-5  Kolosi  1:15-20).   Hemia nao, longtaem bifo disfala Pikinini i bon long wol ya, i kam olsem man, be tu oltaem hem i stap olsem God  (Jon 1:14  Filipae 2:5-13).  Yumi mas mekem wosip long hem from.


4 thoughts on “Teaching the Gospel in Bislama

  1. I have preached in poor Bislama – when I was finished, a fluent speaker reiterated and clarified what I had said.

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