More than 8 million South Africans speak IsiXhosa. The earliest Bible translation into isiXhosa was mainly the work of missionaries like William Shaw and William Boyce of the Wesleyan Missionary Society (WMS).

They first translated the Gospel of Luke which appeared in 1833. A collaboration between missionaries of the Wesleyan, Glasgow and Berlin missionary societies led to the New Testament being published in 1846. The first complete Bible translated into isiXhosa was printed in sections on the missionary press at Mount Coke between 1857 to 1859. The first Bible published in one volume was a revision of the 1859 translation and appeared in 1864. The revision was the work of mainly Rev JW Appleyard. Many subsequent revisions followed of which the last major one was in 1975.

A complete new Bible translation in isiXhosa was published by the Bible society of South Africa in 1996.