Bíblia Livre: The first ever Portuguese Bible version available as SWORD module

I have lamented (loudly I hope) the lack of a single Portuguese Bible version on CrossWire Bible society. The SWORD modules provided by CrossWire are free of charge and work with a variety of programs and on all major operating systems. However, while major languages like Spanish, German and French have multiple versions available, Portuguese, the seventh largest language in the world, has not had a single version made available. This is not the fault of CrossWire. In fact they are to be commended for refusing to make available various unauthorized versions that are floating around the Internet.

As of October 29, the Bíblia Livre is the first New Testament and Psalms available in Portuguese. I trust that they will in good time finish the rest of the Bible. The source text is a public domain version of the Almeida from 1819. I highly commend Diego Santos and Mario Sérgio for their work in doing this.

My question for the Portuguese Bible Society, the Brazilian Bible Society and Biblica is this: “Why have so many quality translations been produced yet so few are freely available electronically?”

Translations like the NET and ESV have shown that giving away electronic versions for free actually increases sales and acceptance for a translation. It’s not just good for sales and publicity, it is morally the right thing to do. Bible Societies exist “to make the Bible available to people in a language they can understand, at a price they can afford and in the format they can use.” SWORD modules are one such format and they are ideal for those who don’t have financial means to afford a commercial piece of software.

I know of two other non-Bible Society Portuguese versions that are moving through the pipes en route to being released as SWORD modules. Praise the Lord for the initiative of those who are doing this.

Visit CrossWire Bible Society to download the Bíblia Livre.

Aos meus queridos irmãos em Cristo, Diego e Mario, que Deus vos abençoe ricamente pelo vosso sacrifício vivo através desta iniciativa!

7 thoughts on “Bíblia Livre: The first ever Portuguese Bible version available as SWORD module

  1. David Ker says:

    The Bíblia Livre is actually based on a version from 1819! Diego and Mario are updating the archaisms but it is definitely an older translation and based on older texts. Despite continuous revisions of the Almeida (the current version we recommend is Revista e Actualizada 1993), the most beloved version worldwide is probably Corrigida e Fiel which is based on Majority Text and hasn’t incorporated any new scholarship in more than a century.

    O Livro that you refer to is actually a translation of the Living Bible. It is available at a few online sources like Bible Gateway but isn’t promoted (or released) by Portuguese Bible Society.

    Speaking of Bible Gateway, the version that they publish called “Almeida” is listed as public domain but it isn’t. And it is a corrupt edition of an older Almeida.

    None of this would happen if Bible Societies in Portugal and Brazil would proactively make available accurate versions for their language groups they serve. Further irony is found in the fact that Portuguese Bible Society has come out with a version this year called “The Bible For Everyone,” available for purchase in Europe only.

    I’m not a native speaker of Portuguese but I do speak and write with the fluency of an educated Mozambican and when I read the Almeida I have a great deal of trouble understanding it. There are several versions that are superior in terms of scholarship and readability (Boa Nova, Linguagem de Hoje, Nova Versao Internacional) but they are all tightly held by their respective Societies.

    The best Portuguese version that is freely available is the World Bible Translation Center “Fácil de Ler” which was pointed out to me on this blog.


    Unfortunately it is only New Testament.

  2. Diego Santos says:

    Thanks David for your post. I agree with you that’s a shame those Bible societies forbid free bible software like SWORD to provide their translations.

    Iver, you are right. The 1819 text we’re working from is almost incomprehensible to an average reader. We are updating its spelling, vocabulary and word order, and sometimes we need to do an entirely new translation to improve readability.

    Portuguese Bible translations copyright holders allow use their texts in some websites on a per case basis, but the general rule is to answer “No” to every request from free and open source Bible software projects.

  3. nathanwells says:

    We have the same issue with the United Bible Societies in Cambodia – they will not release their text electronically for free – it is a shame (though I understand the model to a degree, it is outdated now).

  4. David Ker says:

    For major language translations I think it is best to pursue an open source alternative rather than the Bible Societies. They are doing important work and will continue to do so but for this niche (electronic texts) other avenues will need to be followed.

    Anything in Khmer in that direction?

  5. nathanwells says:

    Nothing for Khmer is in the works that I know of yet. I really desire to see a new translation that would be open source, but it is a more personal goal than something that is heavily felt by others 🙂

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