Choctaw Bible AppPhoto by Christian Toews

The Choctaw Holisso Holitpa (Bible) is now available on the YouVersion Bible App.

The Choctaw Bible now available in digital format

By Christian Toews
March 5, 2024

Two of the Choctaw Nation’s core tenets are Faith and Culture. These two guiding principles come together in the Choctaw Bible.

Although the physical Bible has been widely used for generations, it has been impossible to find in digital format. This changed when YouVersion recently published the Choctaw Bible on their Bible App and

Bradley Belyeu works for Life.Church, the parent company of YouVersion Bible App and

Belyeu became passionate about this project after researching his family heritage and discovering that his great-grandmother was Choctaw, according to her birth certificate.

Having traced his family heritage on his father’s side to the Wampanoag tribe, the discovery of his Choctaw heritage only spurred his desire to learn about his Native American roots.

According to Belyeu his family loves camping and decided to camp near Tvshka Homma. While in the area, they visited the museum at the Choctaw Nation capitol grounds. They came across a bible in the museum, which sparked his interest in helping make the Choctaw Bible more widely available.

His 11 years at Life.Church’s YouVersion has given Belyeu a vast network of connections in his work to help more people have access to the Bible.

“I’m really passionate about getting God’s word into people’s heart language,” he said.

He began researching the oldest versions of the Choctaw bible and contacted the American Bible Society. He was surprised to find the earliest known translations of the Choctaw Bible in the British and Foreign Bible Society’s (BFBS) library.

A representative from the BFBS happily helped Belyeu research these early texts. This had been a project that the BFBS already planned, so Belyeu’s passion helped to speed along the process.

Choctaw Bible In Bookstore
Photo by Christian Toews

The Choctaw Holisso Holitpa (Bible) can be purchased in the Hvshi Gift Store at the Choctaw Cultural Center in Calera, Oklahoma.

According to YouVersion’s research, The Choctaw Bible translation began in about 1830. Books of the Bible (Holisso Holitopa) were translated into Choctaw by Cyrus Byington (1793-1868) and Alfred Wright (1788-1853), both of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). These translators worked with native speakers, Captain Joseph Dukes (1811-1861), who had acted as an interpreter to Cyrus Kingsbury (1786-1870), the pioneer-missionary to the Choctaws and W. H. McKinney (c. 1850-1900).

The Choctaw 1848 New Testament, the 1867 Pentateuch, the 1842 edition of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and the 1886 Psalms were brought together for the first time as Chahta Holisso Holitopa 1886.

As the BFBS team began to digitize these early texts, they wanted to make sure they were completely accurate. This is where Dora Wickson, a language specialist at the Choctaw Nation, helped.

According to Belyeu, Wickson was very helpful in clarifying some language questions that the BFBS team had while digitizing.

Wickson said that all the translations were accurate overall, and they asked her about some small word placements.

Growing up, Wickson said that her grandfather and her father read the Choctaw Bible to her.

According to Wickson, it’s essential to preserve the Choctaw Bible because phrases and words used in the Bible are not commonly used, which maintains and expands current Choctaw speakers’ vocabulary. Wickson is proud and happy to see the Choctaw Bible more widely available digitally.

Belyeu said YouVersion’s Bible App was the first app in the world to have The Bible in 100 languages in a single app. He noted that the Choctaw Bible makes the 1,300th language that has been added.

“We celebrate every new language that is added,” he said. “We are very passionate about connecting God’s word to people’s hearts.”

You can download the YouVersion Bible App on Apple and Android devices.

You can also read the Choctaw Bible using the app or by visiting