A Faithful Version
The true foundation of all Bible translations is that the meaning of the text should be conveyed in as clear and accurate a manner as possible in one’s own language. But above all, a translation must be honest to the original Hebrew and Greek texts.
What greater responsibility could there be than to translate the Word of God in a precise, authentic and faithful manner—neither adding to nor taking away from the words of God! (Rev. 22:18-19). Faithfulness in translating requires fidelity to God and the love of the truth in order to correctly communicate the meaning of the words and phrases of the language being translated.
About This New Translation
The basis for this new translation is the inspired Word of God, originally written and canonized by God’s chosen servants in the Hebrew and Greek languages. God the Father and Jesus Christ have jealously guarded the Word of God so it would never be lost or destroyed. Jesus promised He would uphold His words: “The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall never pass away” (Matt. 24:35).
In spite of the attempts of men whose goal is to modify or corrupt the Word of God, the promise of God stands sure. Down through the centuries, God has guided faithful men to reproduce accurate copies of the original God-breathed Hebrew and Greek texts. God has seen to it that authentic copies of the canonized Hebrew texts were maintained by Levitical priests and scribes (Rom. 3:2). With consistency, from the time of Ezra in the 5th century BC, faithful priests and Levites have accurately copied the Hebrew Old Testament. Likewise, from the days of the apostles, faithful scribes have made authentic copies of the Greek New Testament. Today, the Holy Scriptures are faithfully preserved as the Old Testament Masoretic Hebrew Text and the New Testament Received (Greek) Text (Textus Receptus).
The Old Testament portion of this new translation is based on the Ben Asher Masoretic Hebrew Text. Fred Coulter collaborated directly with Old Testament Hebrew Consultant, E. Michael Heiss, to develop this faithful version. Together they have copiously combed through each and every word and phrase, producing a version that is faithful to the original Masoretic texts, while retaining much of the grace of the King James Version.
The New Testament version is from Coulter’s own 2004 translation—The New Testament In Its Original Order—translated directly from the Stephens Greek Text of 1550. In translating, Coulter has striven to accurately and clearly convey the meaning of the Greek text as defined by the rules of Greek grammar and syntax—guided by an absolute conviction that each word in the New Testament is authentic and essential for a full understanding of the whole of Scripture. In addition, Coulter consulted with experts in Koiné Greek when a term or phrase in the Greek was ambiguous or open to question. This combination of diligent effort and faith in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has led to a translation that accurately and faithfully sets forth the true meaning of the text of the New Testament.
Criteria for Excellence in Translation
In his book, The Word of God in English, Leland Ryken explains that being truthful and faithful to the original texts is the key to excellence in an English translation. “The only legitimate appeal to readability comes within the confines of a translation’s having been truthful to the language of the original. Faithfulness to what the Bible actually says is like a qualifying exam. If a translation does not give us that, it has failed the test, and we can be excused from inquiring into its readability. Within the confines of accuracy to the original text, a translation should strive to achieve maximum readability by avoiding obsolete words and demonstrably archaic language…” (p. 92, bold emphasis added).
He adds, “We need a Bible based on certainty. What is certain is what the biblical writers did actually say and write” (Ibid., p. 98, bold emphasis added).
Ryken notes that the best Bible translations follow these criteria: accuracy and fidelity to the original texts; effective use of diction; preservation of multiple meanings; conveyance of the full exe-getical potential of the original text; respect for the principles of poetry and rhythm; and maintenance of the dignity and beauty of the original texts (Ibid., pp. 289-293).
In summary, faithfulness in translation involves the following key areas:
1) Accurately conveying the meaning of the words of the original text;
2) Phrasing that accurately expresses the thoughts of the original writers;
3) An understanding of Hebrew and Greek idioms—which cannot be translated literally, but must be translated according to their cultural and historical usage;
4) Punctuation that is honest to the original meaning; and,
5) The careful insertion of words (in italics) to clarify the meaning.
In every respect, this translation has been an endeavor to uphold the true teachings of the Word of God—and to present the Holy Scriptures in their original, God-inspired order. While no translation is flawless, this translation far surpasses the standards of many recent English translations and has indeed fulfilled the requirements for a faithful translation.
Philip Neal 2007, 2009
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