Bible Stories in Chinese

17 Dec 2006

From time to time I search for random things using Baidu’s MP3 search. Sometimes I find interesting things, such as Buddhist songs. My most recent interesting find has been Bible stories in Chinese.

One of the Bible stories turned up in a search. I listened to it and rather enjoyed it, and noticed that the filename used a simple numerical progression. I fired up my download manager, and a little while later I had downloaded all 150 Old Testament Bible stories. Based on the filenames of the ones I had, it was easy to guess what the filenames of New Testament Bible stories would be. Pretty soon I had all 120 of those as well. Only later did it even occur to me to check out the site they all came from: www.jdty.com.

That website only lets you download them one by one, but it does have names for all of them, which the filenames don’t. The MP3 files there don’t have any ID3 tags at all. I copied the filenames into a simple index file, then used a program called MP3tag to edit the MP3s’ ID3 tags, giving each MP3 file a title, track number, etc. (That way when you play them on your media player or MP3 player you can see the names of the individual stories.)

Based on the message in the footer, jdtjy.com is not the owner of the copyright for the files. Still, I can’t see any anyone getting upset about me re-releasing these MP3 files in a bulk download, so here they are, until I’m told it’s not kosher:

Bible Stories:
Old Testament

(150 MP3 files, 224 MB)
Bible Stories:
New Testament

(120 MP3 files, 165 MB)

I think these Bible Stories are really useful listening practice for many Westerners with a Judeo-Christian background. A lot of us grew up hearing these Bible stories, but we may not have heard them recently. Still, when you listen to these MP3s, you have a context, and you can likely figure out which Bible story you’re listening to even if you have no clues besides “Old Testament” (which is how I started out listening to them). That context really helps you fill in any vocabulary or comprehension gaps. It also forces you to learn to recognize the Chinese names of familiar characters such as Jacob, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, etc.

Despite having that familiar context, what makes these Bible stories so interesting to me personally is what’s different. There’s melodramatic music in every episode, and the storytellers took some liberties with the way the stories were told. In doing so, they injected a healthy dose of Chinese culture. Just listen to the way Mary talks to baby Jesus, or the way the Israelites argue with Aaron over creating the golden calf. And then of course, there’s the fun of hearing the voice of God in Chinese, or Abraham sounding like an old Chinese man. To me, it’s just really entertaining.

Download away! If you just want to hear one or two before you download them in bulk, you can download one or two from the jdtjy.com site first. Oh, and if you’re looking for a Chinese Christmas Story, it’s #005 and #006 (in the New Testament, of course).

Note: These are big files. I figure I can handle the load because (1) probably not too many people are going to download them, and (2) Dreamhost gives me a ridiculous amount of bandwidth, of which I use up approximately 0% every month. If bandwidth does become a problem, I might have to figure out how to set up a torrent…

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. This website has a Chinese translation of the Holy Bible.Hope that helps and matches with the audio files above.

    I have to say that the translations are not easy to understand even for a native speaker. well, maybe I just didn’t have too much background before.

  2. Marco,

    Looking at Bible passages will certainly help of course, but these Bible stories are not just readings out of the Bible. They’re dramatized, and do not correspond to Bible readings very closely on the word level (only on the general plot level).

    I forgot to write in the entry: each one is about 8-10 minutes long.

  3. I met a Chinese Jehovahs Witness yesterday, he gave me the usual speech.

    Didnt know they had managed to make it to China!

    • Yes, JW’s and Mormons are alive and well in China. In a downtown mall which plays video “commercials” on a continuing loop, there is a LDS commercial there in Chinese.

      What we need to do if have more folks with the truth hitting the ground and not leaving the harvest fields for the cults who are willing to put feet to their “faith”.

      In a city of about 4.5 million where I live (small for China) there are probably less than two dozen Christians working here (we all know each other) all from different groups and denominations but probably about twice that many at least from the JW’s and Mormons. Sad that all the other evangelical denominations put together can’t field half the number of workers of what two cults can field.

      Anyway, enough griping, thanks so much to the site owners for pulling these stories together. We have found C2C and other storying approaches to be well received here by the Chinese, so having such a plethora of stories to be able to learn and script out and teach local workers will be a great tool. Thanks for your work!

      Blessings,

      David

  4. I picked up a Chinese-English bible from a christian guy I met in Beijing. It has English on the right columns and Chinese on the left, so it’s easy to take a look at the translation.

    John, you’re not seriously concerned about copyright law are you? I had to laugh when I read that. Didn’t you ever download the newest hollywood release off your university’s server? Anyway, religious material is generally free because the goal of the producers is not to make money.

  5. Matt,

    Seriously concerned, no.

    But there’s definitely a big difference between downloading copyrighted material and hosting it on your own webspace.

  6. Very nice find John! Thanks a lot.

    As a Chinese Christian living in an English-speaking country who has a 2 y.o. daughter, I would love to teach her (1) Chinese (2) Christian values. It’s cool that with these Chinese bible stories both aims are achieved, and I don’t even have to do it myself 🙂

  7. As of copyright, even jdtjy.com said that

    “本圣经故事广播剧为网上搜集,仅提供网络分享,版权归原制作单位所有。”

    at the bottom of the page, i.e. they searched and downloaded from the web themselves, and shared with us on their own website. Copyright still belongs to the creator of those MP3s, but there’s no way I can find out who the original creators were.

    You can assume that the original copyright holder has granted the re-distribution rights to jdtjy.com, but you might also want to send them an email to ask about it.

  8. Jehovah’s Witnesses get everywhere and never miss a trick when it comes to flogging those Watchtower tracts. Our local town has had a sudden influx of Chinese MBA students studying at the University. As a result, my wife’s “Beginner’s Chinese” evening course at the local College has been invaded by JWs hoping to gain basic tract-pushing competent in Mandarin…

  9. I think working with a english/chinese dual language bible can really be a good tool to kick one’s chinese up a notch – the langauge is more sophistcated than newspapers or tv, but not too obscure, with some classical referneces – you can tell when new words are names (both because biblical names tend to get Sinified in goofy ways etc and because you have the text on the other side)

    In the New Testament at least there is also a fairly limited range of nouns and verbs, so you aren’t endessly looking up obscure vocab and can focus on understanding more grammar.

    • There is actually a neat version of the HeHeBen (traditional Chinese Bible) paired with the KJV but which also has the Pinyin above the Chinese. I wish someone would take this concept and do something similar with the XinYiBen (Chinese New Translation)which uses much more contemporary Chinese than the HeHeBen, and pair it with one of the more modern English translations (ESV, NASB, etc) with the Pinyin. That would be awesome.

      You can get this bilingual with Pinyin Bible online via several sites in the states, but they charge up to $120USD for one. If you happen to be in Asia though, next time you are in Hong Kong you can get them there for about $280-$320HKD (about $45-$50USD) in most Christian bookstores there.

  10. @Steve
    I doubted if there is correct grammar in the Bible translation. At least to me, it’s the reason why it’s hard to understand even after I became a Christian.I have never read the Chinese column since I started appreciating the Bible.

    for your reference, the translation I refered to above is the one whose copyright is owned by Chinese Bible International Limited. It’s HQ is in HK and I believe they have brances in both America and Canada.

    A good way to learn Chinese is to get some kid books from city library and dig into it deeply.

  11. Good find John, its always hard for me to discuss religion with Chinese people and Christmas is really a kicker to explaine, did you notice the Chinese are realy embracing Christmas this year as far as decorations and santa go anyway?

  12. Slightly off topic, but whats a good Bittorrent site for downloading Chinese stuff? I did a quick Baidu but mostly BBS sites wanting you to sign up – I’d rather have a recommendation.

  13. @ash
    emule

  14. For Mandarin learners, the Chinese Bible is actually a good resource for improving your Mandarin. It is free and contains a large vocabulary. I have actually improved my Mandarin significantly just by listen to a Mandarin audio book and repeating the words.

  15. […] You also might be interested in some Bible stories, which Sinosplice has made available for download in two easy zip files. […]

  16. Where can I find a transcript of these audio stories in Chinese? It’d be great for learning Chinese if there was text to go along with it.

  17. Jamie Johnston Says: May 1, 2007 at 2:40 am

    Perhaps you would consider adding this link to your website. This webpage has Bible studies in BOTH English and Mandarin. Here is a sample in Mandarin.
    From http://www.makemeablessing.com

    如何学习《圣经》
    包括比喻和故事….
    耶稣讲完比喻之后,门徒进前来,问耶稣说,对众人讲话,为什么用比喻呢?耶稣
    回答说,“因为天国的奥秘,只叫你们知道,不叫他们知道。凡有的,还要加给
    他,叫他有余。凡没有的,连他所有的,也要夺去。所以我用比喻对他们讲:
    “在他们身上,正应了以赛亚的预言说,你们听是要听见,却不明白。看是要看
    见,却不晓得。: 因为这百姓油蒙了心,耳朵发沉,眼睛闭着。恐怕眼睛看见,耳
    朵听见,心里明白,回转过来,我就医治他们。但你们的眼睛是有福的,因为看见
    了。你们的耳朵也是有福的,因为听见了。 我实在告诉你们,从前有许多先知和
    义人,要看你们所看的,却没有看见。要听你们所听的,却没有听见。 ”
    有时候,我就像那些既聋又瞎的人们。我能看懂《圣经》的故事,我也能看懂那些
    词句,但是我却不能理解这些故事的内在含义。但是耶稣在马太福音13:37-43 详
    尽解释了一个人如何理解耶稣所说的。
    耶稣在比喻中会选择一些重点词句,并且告诉门徒们这些重点词句在阐述他的思想
    的时候承担着关键的含义。那撒好种的,就是人子。田地,就是世界。好种,就是
    天国之子。稗子,就是那恶者之子。撒稗子的仇敌,就是魔鬼。收割的时候,就是
    世界的末了。收割的人,就是天使。
    每一个关键词都别有含义。表面上故事有一个合理的视角――就像别的任何故事。
    但是当你开始挖掘这些关键词更深意思的时候,故事就会有一个崭新的视角:
    耶稣用比喻向众人讲述所有这些事情:没有一件事情不是用比喻讲的。了解了这一
    点,如果我在学习了这些比喻的同时,再结合阅读耶稣在《圣经》所创造的所有神
    迹,并和 他人进行交流,是不是就能学得更多? 我决定尝试。 阅读完每一个故事
    之后,我选择一些关键词句,并且在《圣经》中寻找这些词句的意义。耶稣想向我
    们表达什么更深的意思?我尝试用下面的方法学习圣经:
    1. 在《圣经》中选择一个章节。《圣经》中到处都是故事。
    2. 祈祷. 祈祷圣灵能够向我显示这些章节中上帝的想法。
    3. 选择关键词句-这些关键词句是如何出现在《圣经》的其他章节中的?
    4. 如何将这些从故事中学来的感受运用到生活中去?
    下面的就是我在《圣经》故事中选择关键词句并尝试领悟深层次感受的尝试。

    • FYI, not sure if this link has changed owners or what, but only seems to have music there now, I coudln’t find any Bible Studies nor anything in Mandarin.

  18. frank.tsui Says: July 27, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Bible is the very useful book for people Whoever chinese guys or people from other countries. But I would like read bible in English rather than that in Chinese.

  19. I don’t suppose you’ve ever found a transcript for the Bible story mp3s?

  20. […] Bible Stories in Chinese (the Christmas mp3s are 001 to 007 in the New Testament) […]

  21. Thanks so much – super cool! It’s like the ancestor of ChinesePod.

  22. Hey, are these bible stories from the christian or catholic bible?
    Thanks

  23. ghoff78 Says: May 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    John,
    Thanks so much for posting these; they have been a true blessing to me this year!

    I’ve used these stories to practice/maintain my Chinese this past year (I listen to a segment, then try to summarize it in my own words or repeat the conversation); it’s also great to hear God’s word as I practice.

    Thanks again!
    Geoff

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