Some 4 million people in South Africa speak Sesotho as their home language and the majority of Sesotho speakers live in the Free State and Gauteng. It is also spoken in Lesotho.

Eugène Casalis and Samuel Rolland, two missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, started translating the Bible into Sesotho as early as 1836 and the first Scriptures, the Gospels according to Mark and John, were published in 1839.

The translation of the complete Bible was finished at 1878 and printed in parts on the missionary presses at Morija and Masitisi in Lesotho. The first Bible to be published in one volume was printed in England in 1881, however, due to the Basotho wars the Bibles only reached the Basotho in 1883. The most recent translation of the Sesotho Bible was published by the Bible Society of South Africa in 1989.