Foreword

INDEX:
*Who We are Trying to Reach
*Our Own Style
*Our Goal
*We've Restored the Poetry
*Missing Verses
*Major Word Changes
*The Divine Name
*Other Words We've Changed
*A Different Reason for Reading the Bible
*The Links
*Different Source for the OT Text
*Our Qualifications
*Avoiding Preformed Conclusions
*The Curse on Bible Translators
*All Translating Brings Changes


Who We are Trying to Reach

We understand that there are two different types of Bible readers, those who have already reached their conclusions and are searching for scriptures to prove their case and cause, and those who just want to know what the Bible actually says. This Bible is being translated for the sake of those who believe that they still have something to learnÉ as do we. We aren't trying to start some new religion or promote someone's established doctrines, we're just searching for the truth and trying to find out what Bible writers actually wrote. Yes, we are doing this because WE WANT TO KNOW!

Our Own Style

Let us start by apologizing to grammarians who may object to this Bible's violation of old rules for written English. English is a living language where the rules of speech are constantly changing. Yet, some prefer to try to define proper English by ancient rules and standards. This isn't the way English works; just look at its history.

As an editor of the Oxford Collegiate Dictionary once explained it to us: Proper English is always the language as it is currently spoken, written, and pronounced by the majority of the people. So this translation of the Bible has been written in the commonly spoken vernacular of our time, which doesn't follow the written rules of fifty or one hundred years ago. That isn't a radical departure, since the disciples, scribes, and prophets who wrote the Bible did so using the common language of their day.

You will find the style we are using unique, for it can't be found in standard English stylebooks. Rather, we have designed it to better reflect the style of the Bible, which is a collection of songs, poetry, narrations, historical accounts, and prophecies. So you will find frequent use of contractions and the occasional dangling preposition, just as is spoken in everyday American English.

Please recognize that there are no rules to English writing style, as many believe; there are just guidelines, which change each year and every day. So we are breaking no rules of English grammar by using our own unique style.

As the result, you may find what you consider to be too many punctuation marks. These have been added to facilitate the correct reading. However, quotation marks (") are not used. Rather, we have substituted sub-quotation marks ('), because they are cleaner. Then where there is a quotation within a quotation, we put in italics; and where there is a quotation within a quotation within a quotation, we revert to standard font. Yes it is different, but we hope that you'll find it easier to read. We know that this is unusual, but one of the problems with translating the Bible is that there are often quotes within quotes, and even quotes within quotes within quotes, resulting in large amounts of distracting and confusing strings of quotation marks and sub quotes.

This doesn't mean that this Bible takes flagrant liberties with such things as the meanings of the original words. It doesn't. If you don't like some of the words chosen herein; after a thorough examination, you may find this translation provides a more accurate understanding of many of the original meanings.

Our Goal

Understand that our goal is to produce a Bible that is easy and pleasing to read, while conveying a very accurate meaning. For this reason, you will often find redundant words and expressions either minimized or deleted to reduce unnecessary clutter. Also, where words or phrases would be unclear to most readers, we try to choose other words or phrases to better clarify the meaning in contemporary American English. And to show where words have been added, we put them in brackets [ ]. This is necessary to convey accurate thoughts while maintaining honesty in translating. So words in brackets [ ] should be read as part of a sentence, because they have been added or changed to clarify the meaning. However, you may not choose to pronounce the word {Look!}, which is a common but often distracting Hebrew exclamation that we usually put in brackets { }.

You will notice that the paragraph and sentence structures have also been modernized to comply with today's editing rules, or modified to make reading easier. This isn't a violation of license, because the Christian Bible writers wrote with no punctuation marks, spaces, or paragraph breaks. So, punctuation, word spacing, sentence breaks, paragraph breaks, paragraph numbers, and verse numbers were all approximated and added laterÉ and there appear to have been many errors when this was done. These errors include putting paragraph and chapter breaks in the middle of sentences or thoughts (see 1 Timothy 3:1 as an example). Also, some of the ancient sentences can go on for paragraphs, making them difficult to read; so we have tried to break them into smaller sentences.

We've Restored the Poetry

Another unique feature of this Bible is that in portions which were originally written in a poetic style (such as the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, etc.), we have tried to maintain the original richness of the texts by translating them poetically wherever possible. This has required some minor rearrangement, as well as additions and deletions of extraneous words to fit the poetry; but you will find that we have faithfully maintained the meanings of the texts.

We realize that most readers will dislike this poetic style (as it was originally spoken by God and Jesus), because many prefer to use the Bible so as to prove some doctrine or point, not because it reads beautifully. However, that isn't the reason why the Bible was provided for us; it was written in the language of God and Jesus to be read, enjoyed, and remembered, not to be argued.

Missing Verses

You will also find certain verses just missing in this Bible. The reason for this is that many verses have been added to the Bible over the centuries. How do we know? They don't appear in ancient Bible texts. So where there is legitimate question, suspect verses haven't been included in this translationÉ sorry if they were your favorites.

Major Word Changes

Although we are sure that all translators have recognized the need to clarify the meanings of some old Bible words, but haven't done so because they were afraid that their versions would be rejected by people who prefer familiarity to a proper understanding; we are less worried about that here. For that reason, many familiar Bible words (such as world, spirit, soul, grace, Devil, Satan, angel, cross, and many others) are translated into other words that better convey their original meanings in our language. In fact, where words are too closely associated with religious dogma, every attempt has been made to select synonyms in order to provide readers a fresh look at what was really said.

The Divine Name

We have also included the English rendering of the Divine Name, using the common English pronunciation, 'Jehovah,' wherever the Jewish substitution, 'the Lord,' was made when referring to the Divine Father. The reason for this change is to help readers to understand which Lord (the Father or the Son) is implied by the verses. We realize that many may object to this on religious grounds. However, Jesus and his apostles, as Jews under Law, worshiped that God; so it is reasonable to expect that they spoke His Name. It has been proven beyond any doubt that the original manuscripts included God's Name, and the generic term 'the Lord' was substituted in later years. So we are just putting back what was originally there.

On the other hand, we have not inserted the Name in hundreds of places where it may be found in other Bibles that commonly use the Name, because it can also be proven that many such references were not to The God, but to the Lord Jesus and to the angels that delivered God's messages. And wherever there is any doubt from the context or later quotations as to who is being referenced, we have deferred to the title, 'Lord.' For more information, see the subheading, 'Uses in Hebrew Text Untrustworthy,' in the linked document, 'Jehovah.'

The Divine Name was probably pronounced Ya-h'wĕh in Hebrew; so, 'Jehovah' is surely not how it was originally pronounced. But remember that the names of Jesus (Yĕh-sous) and his disciples such as Peter, James, and John (Petro, Ya-ka-bu, and Yo-han-oi) are also commonly mispronounced in English, as are almost all other Bible names. So we have followed the traditional rule of using the common English pronunciations here (we're sure that God knows who we are talking about).

Other Words We've Changed

Another word (which is usually thought of as a name) that we have changed, and which many will likely object to, is the title, Christ. This wasn't part of Jesus' name; rather, it refers to what he was. So you will find the Greek word Christos (pronounced krees-toss – which means anointed) translated into its closest actual English meaning, 'the Anointed One,' herein. For more information, see the Note, 'Anointed.'

The same is true of the terms Devil and Satan. These aren't proper names, they are just titles that were used to describe the Evil One. And the Greek word aggelos, which is commonly rendered as 'angel' in other translations, just means 'messenger,' so it is usually translated as 'messenger' herein. Whether it was a human messenger or a spirit sent from God should be decided by the reader, not by some translator (see Acts 12:15 for an example).

A Different Reason for Reading the Bible

All Bible translators have their detractors. In fact, many in past centuries have even been killed for their efforts, so we expect criticism and opposition. However, all of that and the years of effort that we have put into this work will be worth the price if we can promote more Bible readingÉ and that is the primary goal of this translation (not just for the quotation of verses). So if you are planning to see how some of your favorite verses read herein (to see if you agree with and like the wording), you may be disappointed. Verses haven't been translated on a standalone basis for quotations (as in other Bible translations), but to properly convey the thoughts of complete sentences and paragraphs, so you can understand the full context.

Our Hope

Our hope is that this translation will help all who read it to pass beyond the barriers of tradition, dogma, and doctrine, by providing some flavor of the true meanings of words and thoughts as they were originally spoken by Jesus or written by his disciples, or the patriarchs, or the Prophets. We also hope that the ease of reading in our common language can make sitting down and studying the Word of God something that you will make more time to do. Honestly, reading (and thinking about) even the longest of Bible books usually just takes a small amount of time. We know, because we are doing it daily. Yes, we are constantly examining and editing the texts to make sure that they are accurately translated, and will continue to do so.

The Links

We also urge you to try out the Bible links (click on the underlined blue words) to gain a better understanding of their true meanings, and of why we translated them as we have. And if you, as the result of your personal Bible research, find any of the information in these links to be wrong or misleading, we invite you to send us an e-mail explaining in detail why you feel we have reached a wrong conclusion (see the email link below). Please believe that we are just trying to help people better understand the Bible, and we have nobody's religious doctrines or dogmas to promote; so we are continuing to update and make changes daily, based on our own research and on reader inputÉ nothing is written in stone here!

Different Source for the OT Text

By the way, in the portion of this Bible that we have dubbed The Ancient Scriptures of Israel (Old Testament), you will notice that many names of people and places are spelled quite differently than you may be accustomed to. This is because we are using the Greek Septuagint (not Masoretic) text as its source. We believe that the Greek spelling more accurately reflects the names and their actual pronunciations, because the Greek alphabet (unlike ancient Hebrew) has vowels. And you will notice that we have spelled the most commonly-recognized names the way that they are found in Bibles based on the Hebrew text, so that readers who are familiar with the common English spelling will know who and which place is being spoken of. Yet, you will also find that we have added capital letters in the middle of many names (such as, AbraHam, JeruSalem, and IsraEl) to indicate the proper meanings and to help with correct pronunciation.

Why are we using the Greek Septuagint? For an answer, see the link, Why The Greek Septuagint?.

Our Qualifications

We have received numerous letters from readers demanding more information about the qualifications and religious affiliations of those who have worked on and contributed to the creation of The 2001 Translation - An American English Bible. An honest answer is that there have been numerous contributors (more than 60) since we started this project in the late 1990s, and we have never asked their qualifications or religious backgrounds. Rather, we have allowed their work to speak on their behalf.

But for those who put more trust in claims of education and degrees; let us point out that we see many people who have the highest qualifications saying stupid and ignorant things about the Bible in the media (such as the many TV 'Bible' programs). Also, despite the prestigious backgrounds of many other Bible translators, we still find hundreds of obvious mistakes and even forgeries in their work. So, please send us any results of your PERSONAL Bible research that proves our translating or our suggested conclusions to be wrong, and we promise to give your information serious consideration (without requiring information about your religious background or education).

Avoiding Pre-formed Conclusions

We realize that most people have already reached their own conclusions about the teachings and promises of the Bible, and we have tried not to allow such pre-formed doctrines to influence our translating. For, being a good bible translator requires that you start out with an open mind, so you don't translate the Bible to say what you believe it means, as almost all Bible translators have done in the past. And although we who have worked on this massive project thought that we truly started out with an open mind; after translating and editing the entire Bible, we find ourselves even less dogmatic and less sure than we were in the beginning, because the Bible raises more questions than it answersÉ so, we urge you to keep an open mind too.

The Curse on Bible Translators

Many times we've read commentaries and received letters from readers that warn of the Bible's curse on its translatorsÉ some even implying that we have already been cursed for our zealous efforts in trying to render an accurate rendering of God's Word. For we were told at Revelation 22:19: 'And if anyone removes any of the words of this scroll of prophecy; God will take away his share from the trees of life and from the things that are written in this scroll concerning the Holy City.'

So, are we violating this rule when we translate the Bible, and are we bringing this curse upon ourselves?

The fact is: the Bible has been translated continuously since the Third Century BCE, starting with the translating of the Hebrew scrolls into the Greek Septuagint. And it is clear that this first Bible translation is the one that was commonly used by Jesus and his Disciples. Then, although Jesus and his Apostles likely spoke in Aramaic, their words were very soon translated into the language of their day, Common (Koine) Greek, for the people of the nations to read. In fact, the Bible is the most translated book in the world, so that everyone in the world can read itÉ and no two translations read exactly the same! Why, only those who are ignorant of how the Bible came to be in their language would conclude that some ancient Bible translation was the only true Word of God.

So the question we wish to ask is: Would you have ever read the Bible (or even known about it) if it had never been translated into your language?

All Translating Brings Changes

Understand that translating between languages always creates changes, because the true meanings of foreign words and the nuances of expressions are frequently distorted in translation. So, even when translating is done with all diligence and purity of heart (and sometimes it isn't), words are frequently added, changed, or lost. But would you suggest that we burn all Bibles except those that can be proven to be faithful renditions of the actual words in the original language? We think notÉ because there are no such Bibles!

We might also ask: Who is more culpable before God; the millions of Christians who do little research but tell others what the Bible 'really means,' or those who spend countless hours researching the texts, the words, and the meanings, and then try to assemble them to be read as they were originally written?

What we find is that there is a certain hypocrisy among those who suggest we are tempting the Bible's curse by translating it. For what they often really mean is that they are satisfied with some Bible because their beliefs are based on its mistranslations. And when someone (through intensive research and a study of ancient manuscripts) can prove their beliefs to be wrong, they in effect say: 'You are cursed for changing the words of my favorite Bible translation.' For such ones, this probably isn't going to be their preferred Bible. However, it will be for those who really want to understand the meanings of the words as they were written (check the links).

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