I love the Scriptures. I love God’s Word. Every chapter, paragraph, sentence, phrase, word and letter of the Book is life to me. If I could, I would spend each waking moment completely immersed in it. Truly, the Scriptures are perfection.
So, because I love the Word and hold it in such high esteem, I handle it with great care. I don’t take anything about it for granted—I want to clearly hear and obey. I disdain obstacles to understanding, and desire to remove any hindrances that would keep me from the purest possible knowledge of what the Book says and what the Book means.
This is why, well over a dozen years ago, I began working with Young’s Literal Translation of the Scriptures. I had reached the conclusion that other English versions took a lot of liberties—albeit well-intentioned ones—in an attempt to render the ancient manuscripts more easily understandable for the contemporary English reader. But as a teacher and expounder of the Word, I eventually found this approach too enabling. I realized that by their very nature, most Bible translations inherently invite the reader to understand the Word within his own frame of reference, rather than fixing the meaning of the words and ideas according to the intent of the original, ancient authors. Such translations lead the reader to become an interpreter of the interpreters (the Bible translators), being twice or more removed from the original, ancient texts, encouraged to impose our own independent ideas, imaginings and meanings upon them.
Since I rejected this wrong-headed approach to Scripture, I began working with Young’s translation, finding that it brought me as close to the original texts as an English translation could. Young’s exactitude and willingness to preserve even the awkwardness that naturally accompanies translation made it possible to, in a sense, peer through the English words on the page, and see the original Hebrew and Greek texts emerge from behind them. With English being my primary and most proficient language, this was an exhilarating experience for me. As I began to update Young’s text by bringing his nineteenth-century English into a more modern vernacular, and by re-rendering it as necessary according to the original Greek and Hebrew, I found a useful, uncolored translation which left me feeling absolutely confident in what it said.
Yet, as I reworked Young’s on a piecemeal, as-needed basis—for example, to quote in a devotional I was writing, or an article, or a book—I longed to have a completed, revised version already available to me. Additionally, as my eldest son Isaac began to approach his teenage years (this was almost eight years ago now), I wanted to provide him and my other children with a trustworthy copy of the Scriptures that was both true to the original texts, but would also unveil their innately Jewish perspective. This was when I began working little by little during my free time to bring the Messianic Jewish Literal Translation (MJLT) of the New Covenant Scriptures to life. And while I missed my original goal of Isaac’s thirteenth birthday, this fresh, vibrant translation of the New Covenant Scriptures is now finally done!
Though the first draft of the MJLT New Covenant Scriptures was finished in 2014, I have been working on it almost exclusively since then, not only to ensure this version’s accuracy, but also to focus on its readability, making it the most accessible literal translation possible. And as if that weren’t enough, the MJLT NCS also uniquely challenges centuries of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the New Testament through the reordering of its books, first according to each author’s intended audience (Jewish, or both Jewish and Gentile together), and second according to chronology—the order in which the books were written. Through this inspiring, rejuvenating approach, the MJLT NCS recovers the Scriptures’ context and theology as they were originally revealed.
I hope you are as excited as I am about the MJLT NCS—a truly one-of-a-kind Bible translation—and that you will call us or visit mjlt.org to order your copy today.
For the glory of God and Yeshua, the Messiah!