A Portuguese Bible Translation with Dutch Reformed Roots

Part of my Sunday-before-worship reading was in the January-March 2019 Quarterly Record of the Trinitarian Bible Society (cf. link below). One of the fascinating articles was on the history and development of the TBS’s Portuguese Bible. Did you know that this unique Bible has Dutch Reformed roots – and that through a sixteen-year- old convert to the Reformed faith?

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that; I had no idea either. But that is, in fact, the truth of the matter!

Here’s the story and the update on where this Bible is at today.


Portuguese is the official language of several countries, including Portugal and Brazil. It is also spoken in many other parts of the world, including former Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia. It is the sixth most widely-spoken native language, having over 250 million speakers.

Christianity in Brazil

Christianity, albeit in a corrupted form, came to Brazil in the 1500s when the country was claimed for Portugal by Roman Catholic sailors. In the following century Dutch explorers and missionaries brought with them the teachings of Protestant Reformer John Calvin. During the mid-1800s Portuguese rule allowed freedom of religion in Brazil. It is estimated that today about 65% of Brazilians are Roman Catholics, with only about 4% traditional Protestants.

Portuguese Bible

The translation of the Portuguese Bible was begun by sixteen-year-old João Ferreira de Almeida in 1644. A Roman Catholic turned Dutch Reformed Christian, he no doubt understood the need that people be able to read the Scriptures for themselves. Almeida had emigrated to the Dutch East Indies at fourteen and in time ministered there in the Portuguese-speaking Dutch church. He finished the New Testament in 1681 and most of the Old Testament during the last ten years of his life, and was rewarded by the Dutch authorities for his zeal in the Bible’s translation. The Old Testament was brought to completion by another minister of the Dutch church, Jacobus op den Akker, and finally published in 1753.

TBS Portuguese Bible

The first revision of the Portuguese Bible by the Trinitarian Bible Society began in 1837 under the leadership of the Rev. Thomas Boys of Trinity College, Cambridge. The work was completed in 1844 and the Bible printed in London in 1847. In 1968 the Trinitarian Bible Society of Brazil was founded in São Paulo, with the purpose of reverting the changes incorporated into the Almeida Bible during the intervening years and restoring the more pure original Almeida, as well as of updating the language into more modern Portuguese.
This work was completed in early 1994 and published as the Almeida Corrigida Fiel (ACF: Almeida Corrected and Faithful) edition. Since then further minor revisions have been made to ensure that the text conforms completely to the best Biblical language texts as well as to the latest international standards of Portuguese syntax and orthography.


For centuries Almeida’s translation has been the favourite of the vast majority of Portuguese Bible readers. Arguably so it remains; by God’s grace the Trinitarian Bible Society ACF edition has received widespread acceptance in Brazil across denominational boundaries.
Thus over recent decades millions of TBS ACF Bibles and New Testaments have been distributed in Brazil and further afield, many under license by the Gideons International. The wide circulation of this translation of the Scriptures contributes to the fulfilment of our aim:
to distribute the Word of God among all nations.

Source: Magazine – Trinitarian Bible Society