[4]  The Bible and its Translations

   

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New testament was originally written in Greek. The Hebrew Text of the old Testament that is used as the basis of most English translations today is the BHS, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensia. The 3 main Greek Texts used as the basis of most English translations today are the United Bible Societies 3rd corrected Edition/Nestle Aland 26th Edition (Alexandrine Manuscript), The Hodges and Farstad Majority text, and the Wescott & Hort Greek Text (Vatican B manuscript). These Hebrew and Greek Texts are considered to be the closest to the original Hebrew and Greek texts which we no longer possess. 

We do possess many complete Hebrew and Greek texts of the bible. The BHS is based mainly on the Codex Leningrad B19A which is in the Leningrad State Public Library, dated at 1008 CE (AD). The Greek texts are based on the Vatican 1209 (B) manuscript in the Vatican City, Rome, dating from the 4th Century CE (AD), the Sinaitic manuscript, in the British Museum, dating from the 4th Century CE and the Alexandrine Manuscript, in the British Museum, dating from the 5th century CE, among others.

FJA Hort (Wescott & Hort) a Cambridge Greek Scholar said:

The great bulk of the words of the New Testament stand out above all discriminative processes of criticism, because they are free from variation, and need only be transcribed…the words in our opinion still subject to doubt, can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole testament.

So the differences between the various Greek manuscripts are minor, certainly in the literal meaning of the bible. The dead sea scrolls, discovered last century contain the whole book of Isaiah dated to before Christ. This version of the book of Isaiah in the scrolls is almost identical to the BHS version in the Codex Leningrad which dates around 1200 years later. Since there is no obvious reason to suppose that the scribes responsible for the Codex Leningrad did a more accurate job on Isaiah than they did on any other book, we can be confident that the BHS is a good representation of the original Hebrew text.

With the recent discovery of the True Bible Code, not the Old Testament only ELS 'code' of Eli Rips and Michael Drosnin, but the symbolic code of the whole bible, and with a better understanding of the literal meaning of the bible, it may be possible to improve our determination of  which Codices are the more accurate. To the extent we have done this so far we have found that the Vatican B Manuscript is the best Greek manuscript (it is also the oldest).

So for the reasons above, or alternatively from one's faith that if God can create the universe and mankind, then he can ensure that a book is properly copied for a few thousand years. We assume that the BHS and the UBS 3rd edition text and the Hodges and Farstad Majority text and the Wescott & Hort text are all good enough for our purposes of understanding the bible and decoding it. For if God can preserve a seed, a blood line, from Eve to Mary to Jesus, uncorrupted for over 4,000 years, then he can certainly preserve a book, uncorrupted from the time of Jesus until today, a period of under 2,000 years.

Bibles

The most accurate non-interlinear English translations that we have seen are the New World Translation, published by the Watchtower and J. P. Green's Literal Version (Downloadable from this site). Neither is perfect, but they are both very good efforts in all the circumstances. The former being the work of many men and the latter the work of more or less one man! The NWT is available online at www.watchtower.org/bible. The most common bibles in use today are the King James Version or the New King James Version in the UK, and the Revised Standard Version or the New Revised Standard Version in the US. The King James is largely based on the Tyndale Bible, which was first printed in 1535 whilst the author, William Tyndale, was in prison for his effrontery. The very first English translation of the holy scriptures was completed by John Wycliffe in 1382. William Tyndale based much of his work on the translation of Wycliffe, and was killed by the state as a result of laws past at the insistence of the Catholic Church for his efforts. At Tyndale's death he cried:

Lord, open the King of England's eyes!

3 years later, he did, and he instructed the catholic church commissioned his fellow workers to produce the first state sanctioned translation, the Geneva Bible. For a fuller account of this - see [History of the English Bible]. So the Catholic church did to Tyndale through the English state, what the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders, did to Jesus through the Roman state of that time. And for the same reason - they wanted to play God themselves before their flocks. 

The best way to stop religious leaders playing God is to fully inform the congregation directly of his purposes. It is to teach them to understand the bible for themselves without having to ask their priest for guidance. This is one of the purposes of this website, which we hope will be worthy of the great efforts and sacrifices made just to have the book in our language at all. There is quite obviously no point in reading a bible in a foreign tongue, and yet, even when it is read in one's mother tongue it is still written in a foreign language, a symbolic language, a coded symbolic language, the language of the true bible code. The reason that the KJV and the RSV are so popular is that the state religions such as the Church of England etc, have adopted these translations. But they are by no means the best translations available.

The ultimate solution to the problem of English translations is to get a Hebrew and a Greek Interlinear Bible. These give you the original language text, with a very literal word for word translation under each original Hebrew or Greek word, on the line below. Hence they are called Interlinear Bibles. We recommend a visit to amazon.com (unfortunately) and a title search for "Greek Interlinear" and "Hebrew Interlinear", they have a good range of Interlinear bibles and they claim to ship within 24 hours! The best ones in our opinion are:

The New International Version Hebrew English Old Testament   -  Kohlenberger
The New Greek English Interlinear New Testament  -  Brown and Comfort

Others worth getting are:

The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, published by the Watchtower.
The NIV interlinear Greek English New Testament, by Marshall, published by Zondervan.
The Greek New Testament According to the majority text, Zane C. Hodges & Arthur L. Farstad, published by Nelson.

Having obtained these, if you wish to see even further then you will need a Hebrew and a Greek Bible Lexicon. These books give the precise grammatical make up of each Hebrew or Greek word in the bible, and all of their possible meanings. There are useful and not so useful Lexicons. In our opinion the best two are:

The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon  -  Ben Davidson
The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament  -  William Mounce

In this way you can get at the original meaning of the bible without becoming an ancient languages scholar.

We quote from a mixture of the NWT, the DV (below), Green's Literal Translation (GLT) and various interlinear bibles in this site/book.

The Decoders Version

The reader, it is hoped, will soon grasp that the bible is written in a symbolic code. This extra meaning necessitates a new translation. Hitherto, the less linguistically strict translations, such as the KJV and the RSV and the NIV (New International Version) have attempted to bring out the full literal meaning of the bible with a kind of explanatory translation style, which puts things in a modern idiom and in a context for a modern reader. This can and usually does destroy the symbolic meaning.

What is therefore needed is a translation which preserves both the literal meaning and the symbolic meaning.

Interlinear bibles more or less do this, but are not written in such a way that the reader would wish to commit important scriptures to memory. For example:

7 Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at her (John 8 -  KJV - ish)
7 The one sinless of you first upon her let him throw stone (John 8 - Greek Interlinear - Kingdom Interlinear Bible)

Obviously the Interlinear format of John 8:7 is not something one can easily remember. Incidentally, if as some believe, these words were not spoken by Jesus, then the writer for his part would like to know who did say them so that he can follow him. 

So we need a code preserving translation, a code transparent translation, which is also comfortable for modern man to read. Such a translation will need the following features:

[1]  It must preserve singulars and plurals in the original language as singulars and plurals in the translation

[2]  It must use the same unique English word for every incidence of the same unique Greek word if possible

[3]  It must translate prepositions conjunctions and articles uniquely and faithfully

[4]  Any explanatory words, which do not appear in the original language must be marked as such

We are currently working on such a translation, the Decoders Version. In the DV, all numbers, whether cardinal (greater than one) or ordinal (greater than second) are represented numerically. So that the feeding of the five thousand, for example, is now the feeding of the 5,000. The thirty second year of Artxerxes is now the 32nd year of Artaxerxes. The bible, being possibly the only history book with almost no relevant dates in it (in the literal meaning), has these dates encoded in terms of numbers of shekels, sheep, camels etc. So these numbers are important and they are more easily recognised in numerical form.

In the meantime we have written Bible Linguistics which must be seen to be believed! The concept was as follows...

We wanted to see all the decent translations on one page in a simple interlinear format for word by word comparison.
We wanted to see all the decent Greek and Hebrew texts on one page in a simple interlinear format for the same reasons.
We wanted to see all the stems and parsings of the Greek and Hebrew texts on one page.
We wanted to look up all the best lexicons at the same time and have all the relevant entries displayed on one page.
We wanted the one page for all the 4 objectives above to be the same page.
We wanted to see at a glance, in an instant, all of the best information that mankind had about a bible verse. 

At the start of this project our view was that the best Hebrew Lexicon was that of Benjamin Davidson (Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon), and the best Greek Lexicon of the New Testament was that of Bill Mounce (Analytical Greek Lexicon of the New Testament) and the best general Greek Lexicon was that of Liddell and Scott, and the best bible research software was that of BibleWorks4. The best Hebrew Interlinear was that of Kohlenberger, the NIV Interlinear Hebrew English Old Testament and the best Greek Interlinear Bible was the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Watchtower Society. Indeed these were the tools that we used prior to 2012February14.

At the end of it we would add Gesenius' Lexicon and Thayers to the list above. But we reject entirely the lexicon of Brown Driver Biggs which is a naricistic exercise in pointless and gratuitous over-abbreviation which we spent days unabbreviating to reveal a book which translates Abimelek, which plainly means [Father of King or Father-King - Gesenius] as [noun proper masculine ( Melek = Malik , Molech is father ) - BDB]. This is rubbish. Melek is not the false God Molech. Furthermore BDB abbreviates God's name to either a yod y or a J. This is an totally unacceptable insult to our creator. One letter for him and a million letters for the rest of their lexicon? BDB is supposed to be based upon Gesenius but the spirit of the two books could not be more different in our opinion. Ben Davidson's lexicon is based on that of Gesenius. We wholly recommend Gesenius and Ben Davidson but counsel against BDB. 

There is so much valuable information in these out of copyright lexicons from the 1800 and 1900s. But they were massively abbreviated in those days in order to save paper. Today of course it is time we are short of, not virtual computer screen paper! So we have unabbreviated Gesenius and Thayer and Strong's substantially. The electronic copies of many lexicons today are spaced out for easy reading rather than cheap paper printing! One has to be careful because the abbreviation tables for each lexicon have many errors in them and one abbreviation such as gen. can mean several things when unabbreviated (genitive, generally) or conj. (conjunctively, conjunction, conjugation) or part. (particle, participle) etc. 

Strong's Lexicon although on occasion hardly any better than a couple of bible translations so thin being its entries, is still of value because Strong was an innovative chap in his day. He makes some interesting connections between words and has good things to add to the mix. Strong's numbers are great for looking things up in books, but the new way is to click a link. So his great invention is now almost obsolete if your bible research software is designed correctly.

In general with most churches and most Lexicons and most bible translations, the holy spirit has worked with the people involved and so they all have a unique perspective to offer which together gives you the widest possible picture. But Satan is not asleep. There is always corruption and discernment needs to be used to avoid it.  

It is also worth getting the electronic version of the NWT, because one can search for every incidence of the word: 'helper' for example, or of the phrase 'founding of the world' or of the word 'mystery'. Please do these searches in this translation! You will find out some very interesting things. For advice on how to get Watchtower publications without being ensnared by them - see [Help].

Downloadable and Online Bibles and Books

www.njcnews.org/bible/bible.html (King James Version)
www.theology.edu/software/rsv95.zip (Revised Standard Version).
www.ccel.org (Loads of early Christian Literature, Bible Dictionaries and reference material)

We have compiled a short list of recommended books in the [books] section of this site, from which you can also order this website as a book. We have also put up Josephus, Easton's Bible Dictionary, Green's Literal Translation etc on our [download] page from which you can download this entire site for offline browsing and printing out sections for closer examination.