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Bibela ea Boitsépho 1890 (Sechuana Tlhaping - Moffatt Bible)


The Sechuana language also called Sechwana, Setswana and Tswana is spoken in South Africa and Botswana. It has many dialects.

Robert Moffatt

Robert Moffatt was born near Edinburgh in 1795. He was a famous pioneer of mission-work in South Africa. He was accepted by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1816, and sent out first to Namaqualand. He was stationed at Kuruman in 1825, and then he devoted his life to the Bechuana, and translated the Bible into their language, finally returning to Britain in 1870. He died in 1883.

Bible Translation

Moffatt translated the whole of the Bible and The Pilgrim’s Progress into the Tlhaping dialect of Sechuana. In 1826 he produced A Bechuana spelling Book and A Bechuana Catechism

The first portion to be translated was the Gospel of Luke which was published for the Bechuana Mission at Lattakoo. Moffatt set up the type himself and it was printed by the Government Printing Office in Cape Town in 1830. This included a Glossary.

In 1833 Moffatt produced some Bible extracts, which was later reprinted in a shorter form. This was printed by him on the hand-press which he had carried back to Kuruman on his return from Cape Town in 1831. He was assisted in the printing by Rogers Edwards of the London Missionary Society.

In 1840 he produced the first full New Testament in the seTlhaping dialect of seTswana. In 1841 this was reprinted with the Psalms. It was printed under his supervision during a visit to England. The first consignment was taken out to Africa by David Livingstone on his first visit to Africa as a missionary of the London Missionary Society.

Old Testament books followed with Proverbs in 1847, Genesis in 1851, the Penteteuch in 1853, and the Old Testament was completed in 1857. These were all edited and revised and in 1872 it was printed as one volume. In 1885 it was corrected and printed under the supervision of Roger Price and later of John Brown. In 1890 the Bible was edited by John Mackenzie to make consistent spellings and other slight corrections. This was printed in 1890 and was the final edition of the Moffatt Bible. This was then replaced in usage by Wookey’s Bible in standard Sechuana in 1908.

Digital Edition

The 1890 edition of the Moffat Bible was digitised by the British and Foreign Bible Society with the help of MissionAssist in 2019. 

British & Foreign Bible Society


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