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Introduction to the REV

Introduction

The Revised English Version® (REV®) is a translation produced by Spirit & Truth. The 1st edition New Testament was published in hardcopy in 2014. The current version is an ongoing work representing a fresh translation of both the Old and New Testaments.

Textual Basis

The textual basis for the translation of the New Testament is Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Revised Edition (2012) published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society).

The textual basis for the translation of the Old Testament is Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition (2004) published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society).

When there are significant textual variants among the manuscripts and a different reading of the text is chosen than what appears in the base text, a footnote is included to indicate an alternate reading that the translators believe represents the original text.

The REV follows standard versification and chapter divisions as found in most modern English Bibles.

Purpose and Goals of the Translation

 The beginning of the translation project, the goal for translating the REV has been to produce a translation of the Bible that closely represents biblical truth and textual accuracy. When it comes to a religious text such as the Bible, the theological understanding of the translator always affects the way he or she translates the text. Thus, the degree to which the Bible is accurately translated is dependent upon the degree to which the translator accurately understands what the text of the Bible is saying.

The REV is the work of conservative and committed Christians who believe that Scripture is inspired by God, that God has endowed humans with free will, empowered His people with spiritual gifts through holy spirit, redeemed creation through the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son who is the perfect and sinless human Messiah, and will raise back to life all those who are in the grave, awaiting the return of the Lord.

Ultimately, the goal of the REV translation is to, as much as humanly possible, correctly represent the meaning and intention of the Divine Author. This objective is achieved to the extent that the meaning God intended in Scripture is brought out in the translation.

Translation Philosophy and Approach

The translation philosophy and approach used in the REV is an optimal equivalence method. The goal of optimal equivalence is to produce a translation that conveys the meaning of the original language without letting features of the original language obscure its intelligibility. And to this end, optimal equivalence transmits the meaning of the original language into the receptor language by following as close as possible the grammatical, literary, and syntactical features found in the original language but at the same time also prioritizing readability and comprehension of the translation by a modern English audience.

Thus, optimal equivalence utilizes aspects of both formal and functional equivalence translation philosophies by forging a balance between them and drawing upon their respective strengths and avoiding certain weaknesses. The optimal equivalence approach follows the structure and style of the original language to the extent that it can still communicate effectively and be comprehended by a modern audience. In places where the intelligibility of the translation is hindered by the form of the original language, a more nuanced and functional translation is employed for improved clarity and style that is still faithful to the original language but conveys the meaning more effectively to the modern reader.

By using the latest tools and research in biblical studies and languages, the REV translation team endeavors to produce an accurate translation to make God’s revelation understandable and enjoyable for the reader.

TRANSLATION FEATURES

Italics: Like a number of other English versions (e.g., ASV, KJV, NASB), significant additions to the text are placed in italics. An italicized word indicates it is not in the original text but is inserted because either the grammar does not expressly require it, or it is implied by the biblical context and culture and is not obvious to the modern reader. Adding words in italics to make the Bible more understandable alerts the reader to the part of the translation that is directly supplied by the translator outside the strict wording of the original text. Due to the many differences between the biblical languages and modern English, adding italics “perfectly” to every nuance of the text is impossible because it is a judgment call sometimes whether the grammar truly warrants an addition or if it is simply a product of a difference in the mechanics of the two languages.

Bold print: Like many Bible versions, Old Testament quotations in the New Testament are placed in a distinctive type so they can be easily recognized. In the REV New Testament, quotations from the Old Testament are in bold print and have an associated footnote indicating the Old Testament passage(s) where the quotation originates from.

Brackets: There are some phrases and verses in the Bible whose inclusion in the original text are seriously doubted by textual scholars. Such phrases or passages that are highly unlikely to be original are placed within brackets. Until the printing press was invented in the sixteenth century AD, every manuscript of the Bible was copied by hand from an older manuscript. As a result, changes were introduced into the biblical text, both intentionally and unintentionally. But thankfully because of the hard work of countless scholars through the years, and especially in the 1900’s with the discovery of more manuscripts and the advent of digital technology to scan the thousands of biblical texts, many scholars affirm the reliability of 99% of the readings found in the standard critical Greek text (Nestle-Aland 28th Edition) as well as the standard Hebrew text (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition).

Capitalized pronouns: Generally, the REV does not contain capitalized pronouns but rather seeks to leave pronouns lower case. There are occasions, however, where “He” or “Him” is capitalized when referring to God in order to make the reference more clear. The problem with universally capitalizing pronouns that refer to God is that sometimes the text is unclear whether the referent is actually God. Sometimes verses will include references to God and the Lord Jesus and not specify which pronoun is meant to refer to which antecedent. And so, in those cases, capitalizing the pronouns that are not easily determinable would introduce an interpretative bias into the translation that did not exist in the original text.

Chapter and verse numbers: Like other English versions, the REV has predominantly stayed with the traditional chapter and verse divisions.

Section headings: Each book of the Bible contains various subheadings (“section headings”) that are offered as helpful indicators of main ideas in the text. They point out major themes but do not account for every detail in the section.

Gender-specific language: The culture of the Bible was predominantly male-focused. Hence, the general tenor of the biblical text is male. But, in spite of the overall male-oriented tenor of the original languages, many Hebrew and Greek masculine nouns and pronouns have been translated in the REV in a way that includes both men and women when appropriate as that conveys the intention of the writer in viewing the text as relevant for both men and women. However, at other times the REV follows the practice of other modern versions in not modifying the text just to avoid any reference to gender specificity. But using masculine nouns or pronouns in the REV is in no wise intended to reflect an insensitivity to women’s rights and issues in the modern world. But part of understanding the Bible is understanding the culture in which it was written, and at times gender-specific pronouns are appropriate and necessary in order to maintain the meaning of a passage.

Biblical measurements: Concerning weights, volumes, time, and money, most ancient metrics are no longer used in the modern world. The REV preserves the terminology of ancient metrics rather than converting them to modern recognized values. To help the reader, a footnote is placed in the text to indicate the approximate value of the metric in modern terms. Moreover, additional information is often included in the commentary.

Biblical terminology: The Bible has a rich vocabulary that gives the reader a window into the biblical culture. When the original vocabulary can convey its intended meaning to modern readers, the vocabulary was left intact even though it might produce a learning curve for the reader, requiring them to learn some new terms. The REV attempts to convey the meaning that biblical term carried in their historical context and culture. Original geographical terms and the names of people and places are largely retained.

Name of God: In the Hebrew text of the Old Testament the personal name of God is YHWH (Yahweh), and it occurs more than 6,000 times. In the centuries before Christ, it was a Jewish custom not to say the name of “Yahweh” because it was thought that the name “Yahweh” was too sacred a word to say out loud. So when scribes and priests read the biblical scrolls out loud, although they saw the Hebrew word YHWH (Yahweh), they said, Adonai, instead (a word that means “Lord”). However, while the intention to show respect to God by not saying His name is a noble one, it is not a biblical one. “Yahweh” is the only proper name of God (all other “names” are actually titles, e.g., Elohim, El Shaddai, etc.). Many modern scholars understand the reluctance of some to pronounce the personal name of God, but it has become widely accepted in Christian circles to say the name of God in an effort to foster a deeper understanding of who God is and a closer relationship with Him by knowing and speaking His name.

Holy spirit: God is holy and God is spirit, and one of His many titles in Scripture is “the Holy Spirit.” God gives to people the gift of His nature, which is called “holy spirit.” When the text is referring to God, “Holy Spirit” (uppercase) is used, but when referring to God’s gift, “holy spirit” (lowercase) is used. The distinction between the two referents is based solely on context and not grammar.

Idioms and figurative language: The REV attempts to reproduce idioms and figurative language from the original texts as much as can be allowed without obscuring the ability of a reader to understand what the expression means. However, when expressions are difficult or heavily nuanced by culture or language particularities, a more idiomatic translation is employed to convey the sense of the expression for the benefit of modern readers.

Companion commentary and appendices: Although the REV does have some footnotes and cross-references, explanations for a specific verse or passage that requires more explanation to be clear to the average reader are placed in the commentary. The commentary includes notes on textual and translation decisions, biblical background and culture, theological explanations, and practical lessons in Christian living.

Footnotes and Abbreviations: Footnotes are used in the text to supply the reader with helpful information: 1) When the translation is idiomatic and it would be helpful for the reader to know the literal reading of the text, the literal is given. 2) Similarly, when certain terms or biblical vocabulary are used, the meaning or significance of it is provided. 3) When a verse quotes another passage from scripture, the applicable scriptures are listed.

Some common abbreviations that are used in the footnotes are:

Lit = literally

MSS = manuscripts

GNT = Greek New Testament text (Nestle-Aland, 28th Revised Edition. Edited by Barbara and Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012)

LXX = Septuagint text (Septuaginta. Edited by Alfred Rahlfs. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006)

MT = Hebrew Masoretic text (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2004)


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