Language. Powerful stuff. If you can control the language, define the terms, manipulate the paradigm of a thing – you exercise great power. [par·a·digm – A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.]
As this illustration demonstrates, having an incorrect paradigm can change the picture of a thing quite a lot! Is it any wonder that those in the Hebrew Roots Movement have claimed the area of language as their primary pillar of “expertise” as they purpose to lure Christians away from the canon of Scripture to a more “enlightened” way of reading/interpreting Scripture and discerning doctrine? It’s a seductive way to change a Christian’s paradigm, and ends up in a set of beliefs and practices that is not supported by Scripture. It turns Christianity as inside out as the above illustration turns the concept of the solar system inside out. The picture is recognizable, but is totally false and unworkable when measured by reality.
I’m no linguist, but I’m no dim bulb, either, and it’s been amazing, disturbing, and somewhat amusing to discover how those in the HRM have determined to re-define terms and doctrines as well as pseudo re-translate the New Testament.
I’ve written this before but it’s worth repeating here – One of the things that is really important to be aware of regarding this and other heretical movements is that they engage in the re-definition of terms. Once that is accomplished, those re-defined terms become fields in which seeds of questionable doctrine can be cultivated. And it’s the perfect set up for the same thing cults do: Convince you that what you know isn’t true, or is “incomplete”, then come in with fresh revelation based on previously “hidden” information.
One way that the Hebrew Roots Movement does this is to first cast doubt on the canon of Scripture that we have had from the earliest days of the Church (Body of Christ) until today. To think! No one has gotten it right until the HRM came along! Take that premise to its logical conclusion: To say that no one has gotten it right in the time since Christ is to say that God did not preserve His Word for His Church and has left her to stumble about in history.
In both the Hebrew Roots and Sacred Name movements, there is a tremendous emphasis on understanding the scriptures through the lens of Hebrew thought and through the Hebrew language. Most adherents believe that the entire Bible was originally written in Hebrew, and that the New Testament was translated into Greek from its original Hebrew. As a result, in the HRM view, ALL New Testament writings were contaminated and corrupted with Hellenistic thought. And since, according to Law Keepers, our accepted canon of scripture (compiled by “corrupt church fathers”) and eventual English translations came from a contaminated and corrupted source, they can’t possibly be accurate! While some Law Keepers continue to use their current Bibles, they do so with suspicion, often relying on outside commentary or perspective from the HRM for clarification of their “flawed” texts.
Due to their suspicion of our current Bible, some in the HRM have worked to provide us with new “translations”, such as the “Restoration Scriptures”, “The Hebraic Roots Version”, the “Ancient Roots Translinear Bible”, and the “Complete Jewish Bible”.
Once the canon of Scripture is cast under a shadow of doubt and “new” scriptures are introduced, the door opens wide for great doctrinal deception by leadership and within the laity of the Hebrew Roots Movement. It’s interesting that in this area there is a similarity of the Hebrew Roots Movement with Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness methodology regarding Scripture, as both cults also have their own “versions” of the Bible, “correcting” perceived “errors” they see in the accepted canon.
It should be noted and understood that the “new” versions of Scripture being peddled by those in the Hebrew Roots Movement are typically works written by individuals. Reliable translations of the canon have been the work of groups of linguistic scholars, providing built-in oversight and accountability within those groups. However, if one does research on the authors’ names of these “new” HRM versions, their scholarship and/or methodology come into serious question.
Regarding the issue of the importance of understanding Scripture through the lens of Hebrew thought and the Hebrew language: I have been re-reading the book of Acts because of Law Keepers referring to it a lot in respect to “how the early Church worshipped”. Looking through the lens of the Sacred Name and Hebrew Roots streams of thought, Acts 2 really jumped out at me! I must repeat – those streams of thought say that to truly understand the scripture, one must come to an understanding of Hebrew language and of Hebrew thought.
It would be reasonable to conclude that if it were God’s intent that His Word was to be correctly communicated to the world in Hebrew, that the gathering at Pentecost would have been an ideal time and place to make that clear. Instead, God made provision, by His Holy Spirit, for every person, from every nation, to hear the Gospel in their own tongue. Interesting on even a deeper level, because Acts 2 says that “God fearing Jews from every nation under heaven had come to Jerusalem”. If there was ever a crowd gathered that probably knew Hebrew, it was this bunch! When the New Testament says “God fearing Jews” it means the ultra-faithful to Judaism, and they would KNOW their Hebrew. Yet God made sure that the Gospel was available IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGES!
I reach the conclusion that God is not concerned with the language in which the Gospel is communicated, but rather that the Gospel IS communicated! As for the “Sacred Name”, for me, God is God. Jesus is Jesus. He knows Who I’m talking to/about. Those are words in our language that represent the essence of Who He is. And based on what God did in Acts 2, I’m pretty sure He’s ok with that.
So back to “Messin’ with the Word”. One important point to make at this stage is this: The Hebrew Roots Movement is kind of like chili. Stay with me. I say that because you can go to a number of friends and relatives and it’s likely you’ll be able to glean several different chili recipes from them. The recipes are all just a little different, but they’re all chili. The HRM is very much like that. Some believe in the deity of Christ, some don’t. Most are Sacred Name adherents, but a few aren’t. Some say only observance of the Sabbath and the Feasts is required, others say you have to be completely Torah compliant. Some believe that observing a simple seventh day Sabbath is correct, others insist that one must reckon and observe the correct Sabbath by the phases of the moon. The recipes are all a little bit different, but they’re all chili.
What does this have to do with “Messin’ with the Word”? Well, to convince Christians that they should be under the Law when the New Testament clearly states in many places that we are under a New Covenant and no longer under the Law, the HRM has to do some very impressive improvising, especially where the epistles are concerned. For it is in the epistles that the fledgling Church (Body of Christ), made up of Jews and Gentiles, was instructed how they, established by Jesus with the completed work of the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, were to function in their New Covenant relationship with God as one new man in Christ. For a really good, solid, scriptural teaching on the New Covenant, click HERE. It’s an audio teaching with complete Scripture notes. Very “listenable” and is a comprehensive teaching on the New Covenant.
Now if the New Testament is so clear on the completed work of Christ and the place of the Law and how we are all one new man (neither Jew nor Gentile) in God’s plan, and it does not fit into the goal of the HRM, (convincing Christians that they are to be Torah compliant, among other things) then what’s the HRM to do? Well, change the New Testament, of course!
Following are four examples of “new” versions (I won’t use the word translations because that would be inaccurate) propagated by the Hebrew Roots Movement. Please take some time and CLICK HERE to read a study of how the canon of Scripture we have today came to be. I do encourage you to read the whole study, but if you only have a few minutes to spare, at least read the sections titled, “Canonicity: Determining and Discovering the God-Inspired Books”, and “Texts and Manuscripts of the New Testament”. It really will give you a good, basic foundation on which to stand regarding how we got our Bible and will provide you with a contrast of how the Hebrew Roots Movement “versions” and their methodology stand up to the canon of Scripture accepted by orthodox Christianity.
1) The Restoration Scriptures – True Name Edition Study Bible By Rabbi Moshe Koniuchowski (aka Marshall Koniuchowski)
The “Restoration Scriptures – True Name Edition” is one example of a Hebrew Roots Movement “translation”. Here are some excerpts from their website where they explain the sources for their “translation”:
For the Renewed Covenant, we have used the greatly appreciated and widely accepted Textus Receptus, or Received Text in the Greek. After prayerful consideration and scholarship, we have heartily used other key sources such as the Aramaic Peshitta, Matthew Shem Tov, Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Septuagint, along with consulting many other legitimate sources. Most often those sources were Semitic, since we believe the Renewed Covenant was inspired in the Semitic languages of Aramaic and Hebrew.
So then the resulting Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Study Bible is a blendof the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus and their reliability, combined with valid Hebraic understandings gained from other reliable Semitic sources. [Bolding mine.]
Let me be clear about one thing up front: I am NOT an anti-Semite. I’m not an ethnic anti-anything! Let me explain the bolding above. Jewish (Semitic) texts do not support the Gospel or the NEW Covenant. Semitic texts (understandably) support Judaism! Notice the use of the term above “Renewed Covenant”. “Renewed Covenant” has the sense of renewing the Old Covenant, going back to the Law. Entering into the New Covenant is what the canon of scripture confirms. This is a key doctrine in the HRM (like all chili has beans . . . this would be a consistent ingredient in the Hebrew Roots Movement).
Regarding one of the “other key sources” that the “Restoration Scriptures – True Name Edition Study Bible” uses in its “translation”, the Matthew Shem Tov, here is an excerpt of an article regarding the Matthew Shem Tov from Wikipedia:
The Shem Tov Matthew is marked by its Jewish thought, and is interspaced with the comments of Shem Tov himself. As a consequence several scholars feel it is difficult to determine which parts are Shem Tov’s commentary, and which parts are the actual text of the manuscript he was copying. Many scholars view the text as a medieval translation from the Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew, as well as being the likely source of all later Hebrew versions of Matthew prior to the 20th century. [Bolding mine.]
That would be why reliable translations of the Bible don’t use Matthew Shem Tov as one of their sources! Notice also the “blending and combining” that the Restoration Scriptures “translation” “gains” from “other reliable Semitic sources”. Ummm, could we have a list of those, please? Could you let us know how you determined that those “sources” were, well, inspired?
More from the “Restoration Scriptures” website, trying to explain how they justify the ” . . . times when we have added a word, or a phrase in order to capture the consistency and eternal commitment of YHWH’s message to Yisrael.” :
Some may rightly ask about the prohibition and dire warnings against adding, or subtracting words from the Scriptures. To that we wholeheartedly agree and would never think of rewording, altering, or changing the original manuscripts also known as the autographs. In order to violate these prohibitions as found in such places as Proverbs 30:6, Deuteronomy 12:32, and Revelation 22:18-19, one would by definition have to have access to the autographs (originals) and proceed to tamper with them. This we have not done, for the fear of YHWH and His awesome word is both the beginning and fullness of all wisdom. Simply put, we have paraphrased and reversed some word orders to properly fit the original Semitic languages into understandable English. Nevertheless we have managed to remain true to the text, without major changes. [Bolding mine.]
So let me get this straight: As long as you’re not messin’ with the original autographs (which don’t exist anymore, though many, many reliable copies do exist), you’re okay? You can tweak this and adjust that in the scriptures to line up with a belief system or set of doctrines that you think is correct?? Seriously? Do not the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses do the same thing? Are their “translations” considered to be accurate? Seriously?
More from “Restoration Scriptures” website:
Unlike many crafty translators and their translations that do not admit to an underlying agenda in their publications, The Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Study Bible has an overriding and clear agenda in publishing this project. We admit that! It is our most sincere desire and heartfelt prayer, that this translation will help end the exile of our people, by bringing believers from all backgrounds into their Hebraic heritage. We desire that The Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Study Bible will lead to a repentance and return to YHWH for many, so as to experience life in His sight as a practicing Torah-keeping born-again Yisraelite. [Bolding mine.]
Wow. There are many more problems with “The Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Study Bible”, but the above examples are “deal breakers” for me when it comes to choosing a reliable translation of God’s Word.
The Hebraic Roots Version Scriptures by James Scott Trimm
In the post “About Law Keepers – An Overview” , in point number 6, I allude to some in the leadership of the Hebrew Roots Movement as having connections to The Way International, a “christian” cult. The basic qualifiers for TWI being a cult is that though they believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and the Son of God, they do not believe that Jesus Christ is God Himself, and they hold to a non-trinitarian belief system. Beyond those two basic breaks from Biblical Christianity, TWI has engaged in just some weird stuff. You can read two articles outlining the basic beliefs and history of The Way International HERE and HERE.
All that said to say this: The Hebraic Roots Version Scriptures, is “translated” by James Scott Trimm, a man with more roots in The Way International than in serious language study and the scholarship required to tackle a major task such as translating the Bible! Not only that, it appears that “Dr.” Trimm has “lifted” portions of his “translation” from a version produced by The Way International entitled, “The Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament”.
James Trimm in 2003 has released a Hebraic-Roots Version (HRV) New Testament. Many folks sent many dollars in advance and waited for this NT, thinking that it would be an original translation from Aramaic and Hebrew manuscripts, as James claimed in promotion. If fact, it turns out that the great bulk of it is simply a plagiarism(8), from an version produced by the Way International (13) with the title, The Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament, which we will call the AEINT. The Matthew (14) chapter of the HRV is from a previous work by James Trimm, also a plagiarism, from other sources.
The Way has been described as a secretive, cultish group, but really that is not the relevant issue here. Note that since this AEINT was designed for in house use, rather than public distribution, it has not been not available at all, not even verse quotes, for perusal in any manner on the Internet, and it is even difficult to find out any information from sources like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Obtaining this version is difficult. Mostly the AEINT was known to members of the Way International, and in addition some men who specialize in the rather small world of Peshitta translation. Ergo, the ideal version to use surreptitiously as a base text, while publicly declaring an “original translation”. [Bolding mine.]
An excerpt from SeekGod.ca also regarding the scholarship (or lack thereof) of James Trimm:
Over many years James stated he was in the process of translating his own version of the New Testament called the, “Semitic New Testament”. It is supposedly based on the “original” Aramaic manuscripts of the New Testament. He then also “translated” from the “original” Hebrew manuscripts, defying all scholarly knowledge of the Greek Textus Receptus manuscripts. These issues will be also addressed. For now, the focus will be on his academic claims.
We see emails as far back as 1996, where James was pushing his books and theology as Doctor James Scott Trimm.Please note. Throughout this series, I have not corrected any spelling mistakes when quoting from James Trimm’s correspondences or website, or various articles. They are seen as originally posted. [Bolding mine.]
You can read more of the article above and also other articles regarding James Trimm and other HRM leadership HERE. Another excerpt from this site related to the above paragraph:
Since James Trimm had no college education prior to working with Phillip Arnn, which was from 1993-1995, and he received his “doctorate” July 6, 1995, with his “doctorate interview” May 12, 1995, when do you suppose he had time to get his Baccalaureate, and Masters degrees or their equivalent? And that prior to completing the seventy two credit hours of graduate work by May, 1995?
We have not just one man who had direct physical interaction with James Trimm, who knew him personally, who worked alongside of him, but two, who state clearly that James did not have a college, university or other education that would have led to a doctorate or degree of any kind. And that is aside from the fact of the source of James’ “doctorate” in the first place.
James Trimm stated in an email, “St. John Chrysostom Theological Seminary is NOT a “diploma mill”. Its degree programs are among the most demanding I have ever seen…”
It would be most interesting to know what degree programs James Trimm had actually seen and evaluated. Other than the GED course which can be studied for, or not. While James has been busy changing the Word of God to his version of ‘truth’, claiming credentials he did not have, claiming knowledge that allowed him to change the very Word of God, and getting money from people who believed him, we are reminded:
Proverbs 30: 5 -6 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Revelation 22:18 -20 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the bookof this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the bookof life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. [Bolding mine.]
There really is a lot of info on this site. . . go to to the section on James Trimm for articles regarding his education, religious background, and various character issues. One can also gain a lot of insight by doing a simple Google search using the name James Scott Trimm. There are a few sites supporting his scholarship, but they are far outweighed with those that do not, and those that do not support his scholarship have better documentation for their claims.
Not getting into too much detail about the translation itself, the above concerns alone deny the Hebraic Roots Version Scriptures translation serious consideration for use. Suffice it to say that the Hebraic Roots Version Scriptures has a modus operandi much the same as the previous other versions reviewed here: To promote Hebrew Roots Movement’s false teaching and false doctrine and attempt to give them a valid basis in “scripture” with which to deceive the undiscerning reader.
Ancient Roots Translinear Bible by A. Frances Werner
This is the “new kid on the block” as far as “Hebrew Roots” versions go, and so far only has the Old Testament available. The New Testament is coming, though, so this review comes as more of a “heads up” in anticipation of what promises to be an “interesting” version of the Word.
From ARTB’s website:
The ARTB restores hundreds of specialty ancient words missing from other versions. Each English word matches a unique Hebrew root and the Strong’s number 99+% of the time. The text format even captures the double word use unique to biblical Hebrew.
Put away the reference books and enjoy the outpouring of insights! Follow the travels of the Israelites on the ancient trade routes. Track bible prophecy with updated geography to see the connection to events today in the Middle East.
“From the Author” on the ARTB website:
That’s the stack of bibles I own. [Photo of a stack of different translations and paraphrases accompanies her words.] Plus a few more. Some I love for reading, some for study. You probably have a similar pile. So why do you need another bible?
The Ancient Roots Translinear Bible (ARTB) ushers in a new era of bible study. It’s a new method specifically designed for bible lovers like you who don’t know Hebrew or Greek to approach the word of God as if they really could read it in the ancient languages.
How is this possible? Back up for a moment and think about the great breakthroughs in bible study. In 1890, James Strong invented the Strong’s numbering system and concordance for the King James Version. For the first time, bible lovers who didn’t know Hebrew or Greek could look beyond the English words on the page and “see” the original words. The Strong’s numbering system was particularly helpful for bible lovers who could not read or pronounce the ancient languages to be able to share their insights by referring to the number instead of the word. . . . it gave bible lovers who didn’t know Hebrew or Greek a shortcut to find the related words in the ancient language without having to look at a concordance.
And how about J.P. Green’s revolutionary Interlinear bible in 1976 which put the English side-by-side with the text? For the first time, the bible lover in the pew could view things that were previously only available to scholars.
. . . But I found that as I was doing bible study, I would have multiple reference books, multiple versions of the bible and checking out details on the computer. Often I would lose the sense of the text just trying to figure out all the information I was given from other sources. I wanted to be able to read the text, pure and simple, and bask in the “real” word of God. I was ready for a new approach. Are you?
The Translinear method was born from a detailed scientific analysis of several bible versions. . . . The light went on for me when I realized that the reason we needed things like cross-references and Interlinear bibles because none of the bibles that had been published to date were close enough to the original language. They have extra words, are missing many unique words, and were not utilizing English consistently with the original language. So all the classic bible study tools were needed to find out what the ancient text really said.
But what would happen if all the all the ancient words matched the English language 100% of the time? You wouldn’t need a cross reference column. You wouldn’t need to compare them in an Interlinear bible. You wouldn’t need to double check the original word in a concordance.
Or think about the number of footnotes in a typical study bible. Have you ever noticed that many footnotes tell you the “real” meaning of the word? In ARTB, the “real” word is in the text! So the number of footnotes is dramatically reduced. A bible study with a version that matched the Strong’s numbers would mean that all those reference books could be put on a shelf, and you’d be free to soak in the word of God.
The trademark lawyers recommended patent lawyers: Maybe I was onto a new method to be “magic glasses” for bible lovers who don’t know Hebrew. So the word translinear was born to convey that this is not a normal translation. It’s far more exact, a “cleaned up data base” and the methodology applies well beyond this project.
Put on the “magic glasses” and see the Old Testament exactly the way it was written. Transport yourself to the Ancient Roots of the original language with the most exact methodology ever published for completeness and consistency. Join me and enjoy the outpouring of insights. [Bolding mine.]
Maybe it’s just me, but this is what I see above: The emphasis is on convincing the reader to not study, to put away all their reference materials, because this new and improved version with a scientific analysis is available so you can be free to soak in the Word of God as you put on the magic glasses of the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible! The following is from the ATRB blog, regarding the upcoming New Testament version:
|Yeshua or Jesus|
|I received a question from a reader: First I want to thank you for the swift processing and sending of the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible (ARTB). What a breath of fresh air. Secondly, I was wondering what Hebrew name for Jesus will be used in the New Testament when it comes out? I’ve been doing research. It’s amazing how many different spellings and renderings of Jesus name there are in the Hebrew. I read one article where the person said Yahushua is the real name of Jesus. Others say Yahshua or Yahoshua, Yeshua. I didn’t know if you were a sacred name person or what. As you can see, I ask a lot of questions but I do so to learn. I love to learn. The final decision for the name of Jesus has not been made. We will likely do a survey of the readers in the near future. At this point, the spelling of the Hebrew alternative would be Yeshua. There are two main groups who are studying the ARTB. Those who are coming from a Hebrew/Aramaic perspective who would like to see all names and places in Hebrew/Aramaic, and those who are only familiar with a Greek New Testament who would be lost if Bartholomew was listed as “Bar-Tolmai, a disciple of Yeshua”. Glad you are enjoying ARTB!|
I’m a little concerned about a “translineator” who is likely to “do a survey of the readers” to determine what name Jesus will have in her upcoming New Testament version! Another observation from the author’s ARTB website concerning her upcoming NT version (you can read more HERE):
A second reader sent the following inquiry:
“I have purchased the ARTB – Old Testament and, as a biblical scholar, am truly pleased. What is the status of the ARTB – New Testament; will it be taken from the Greek or the Aramaic? Are there any plans to work on some of the other books that were not included in our present cannon – i.e., Books of Enoch, Wisdom of Solomon, etc.?”
I started the Greek New Testament several years ago. But I put a “pause” on the Greek and am now tackling the Aramaic for a couple of reasons:
1) My personal curiosity got the better of me! I wanted to see what the complete Hebrew/Aramaic vocabulary would look like when placed in the New Testament. Would it be interesting? A significant aid to understanding?
2) I am very aware that the Aramaic Peshitta is likely derived from the Greek. So, it is a legitimate question whether its the right thing to do it from the Aramaic. I want to review the end product of the translinear Aramaic New Testament before I make that conclusion.
3) The very important lesson I learned doing the Old Testament is that the final output looks very different if you start from the New Testament first, and push back to the Old Testament (which the majority of translations have done). If you go from NT to OT, you CANNOT do a translinear version because the vocabulary in the New Testament is so much smaller than the Old Testament. You get caught with the wrong words and you end up with the problem of needing to reuse English words.
Thus, it means if I want to do a translinear Greek NT, I must go back and do the entire Septuagint/Wisdom Books/New Testament at one crack. That’s a multi-year project, which I do plan on doing—because I’m also interested in the Wisdom books. But I decided to finish the Aramaic NT first for all the reasons above. My sense is that it truly will be an eye-opener and will resolve the gap between words in the New Testament (like baptism, apostles, church/synagogue, preach, evangelism) that don’t occur at all in the Old Testament. It’s on track to be published by year end.
Does the above seem like a flawed system to you? It should not matter in which order you translate Old and New Testaments unless you have an agenda of some sort. Translation is translation. Note that the author is very careful to never use the word translation in reference to her own work.
Here’s an excerpt of a review of the ARTB from Dr. Claude Mariottini, professor of Old Testament studies at Northern Baptist Seminary (you can see his complete review HERE) :
As most biblical scholars and translators know, translating the Bible from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into English or any other language is not easy. How does a translator clearly communicate the meaning of Hebrew words to English speaking people? Because the task is difficult, the result is that today we have many different translations of the Bible.
Now the problem has been solved. Let us welcome a new translation of the Bible: the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible. The aim of the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible is to solve the problem that different translations of the Bible create for the average reader. The following press release explains the aim of the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible:
The “Ancient Roots Translinear Bible (ARTB)” is a completely new concept designed and patented by a scientist and bible-lover who asked the basic question: Why do we have to interrupt our reading of the bible to look up the original meaning of the Hebrew text in a separate book or footnote? Why don’t English bible translations match the ancient text?
. . . A. Frances Werner designed the Ancient Roots Translinear Bible (ARTB) to be 100% consistent with the ancient texts to simplify bible study. “The word “translinear” has been created to let you know that it is completely consistent between Hebrew and English. Thus, every unique English word matches every unique Hebrew word. Even thought the concept seems incredibly obvious and simple, it hasn’t been done in 1500 years of English bible translations. That’s why the ARTB is patented. Now you can save some time and money. You don’t need to stop and reach for expensive reference books to be assured you finding the accurate word of God.”
How did this translator produce a Bible that solved the problems translators have struggled for centuries to solve? How was this done? It was easy! The translator, A. Frances Werner, used Strong’s Concordance to make sure that every Hebrew word was translated in the same way in English . . .
. . . Any one who has translated from Hebrew to English will agree that the approach taken by Ancient Roots Translinear Bible is very simplistic. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible was first published in 1890. Strong’s Concordance is an index of the Bible based on the translation of the King James Version. The index is designed to help students find a phrase or a word and compare how the same word was used in another section of the Bible.
Since Strong’s Concordance identifies the original words in Hebrew and Greek, Strong’s Numbers are sometimes misinterpreted by those without adequate training to change the Bible from its accurate meaning simply by taking the words out of cultural context. The use of Strong’s numbers does not consider figures of speech, metaphors, idioms, common phrases, cultural references, references to historical events, or alternate meanings used by those of the time period to express their thoughts in their own language at the time. As such, professionals and amateurs alike must consult a number of contextual tools to reconstruct these cultural backgrounds.
It seems to me that this new Bible will be consistent in translating the same Hebrew words into English, but it will be a Bible which will fail to communicate the beauty of the biblical message and the intricacies of the Hebrew language to its readers.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
I have a hunch this new “version” of the Bible will be one of the “new things” with “new truths” that the Hebrew Roots Movement will be promoting. Dear reader, please use discernment and ask common-sense questions of these “new and improved” versions of God’s Word!
Complete Jewish Bible by David Stern
A basic synopsis (From Jewish New Testament Publications): “Jewish New Testament”, David Stern. Freshly rendered from the original Greek into enjoyable modern English by Stern, a Messianic Jew, the Jewish New Testament challenges Jews to understand that Yeshua (Jesus)is a friend to every Jewish heart and the New Testament a Jewish book filled with truths to be accepted and acted upon. At the same time, while reaffirming the equality of Gentiles and Jews in the Messianic Community, it challenges Chritians to acknowledge the Jewishness of their faith and their oneness with the Jewish people.
Here’s a sampling of some of the not-so-glowing reviews of David Stern’s work (you can see all the reviews, both pro and con HERE):
Horrible translation of the Greek, December 10, 2002 While Dr. Stern’s grasp of the Hebrew is erudite and developed, his translation of the Greek text is horrible at best, and at worst, arguably heretical. I am a NT scholar and his translation of the B’Rit Hadashah is irresponsible. To have one man translate scripture as opposed to a committee is always an exercise in folly and this is a perfect example of reckless scholarship.
Shameful, Mar 17 2004 As an Orthodox Rabbi let me say that this is a shameful hoax – Judaism and the new testament are mutually exclusive. This is a trick on behalf of missionaries to lure Jews into their ranks. Be forewarned.
DO NOT BE BRAINWASHED !!, Mar 12 2004 Obviously, there are many who have been brainwashed into thinking that “messianic Jews” are just that – THEY ARE NOT JEWS – they accept Jesus as their messiah and Jews DO NOT. PLEASE reconsider supporting these fringe movements – don’t buy these books; don’t accept flyers from Jews for Jesus on the streets; don’t give up your birthright – your Judaism. The Jewish bible stops with the ‘Old’ Testament. Please use your common sense.
Why the Yiddish?, December 27, 2002 I don’t want to repeat what has been said before, so I will just make one point. There are a number of Yiddish words scattered throughout the [Complete Jewish Bible] New Testament. Of course Jews no more spoke Yiddish in Christ’s time than they spoke English. I asked Dr Stern why he had done this; he replied that it was to add to the Jewish flavor of the New Testament. That sums up the book – deliberate sloppy scholarship to convey a false flavor of Jewishness.
Inconsistent & Biased Translation, January 27, 2005 For those of you who have a love for the unadulterated Word of God, the grace of God, and the blood of Jesus Christ, please note the following concerns as it relates to this particular book. In Romans chapters 5 & 7, the author is meticulously consistent in translating the Greek word for law (nomos) into Torah. However, in Romans chapter 6, he totally departs from this consistencyand translates the same Greek word for law (nomos) into the word “legalism.” This is clearly an inconsistent translation and a personal and private interjection and interpretation (II Peter 1:20). For it clearly reflects a theological bias which can lead to spiritual deception and bondage as it relates to being under the law/Torah. Why?Because, if he maintains the same consistency in translating the word law (nomos) found in Romans chapter 6 as he has done in Romans chapters 5 & 7, the verse by Paul in chapter 6 would then read, “…for ye are not under the Torah, but under grace”(Romans 6:14). Paul was talking about the same law (nomos) in chapter 6 as he was in chapters 5 & 7. This consistency should be reflected in the translation as well. Note very carefully that the author’s personal interpretation and translation of this very powerful Pauline verse MASKS a Scriptural reference that has clearly declared our freedom and liberty from being under the law/the Torah. Thus, this Bible translation gives us a, “we are still under the law/the Torah…Sabbath keeping, etc.” type presentation. Paul declares that it is this type of presentation that can lead to spiritual bondage (Galatians 3:1,2 & 5:1-4).
Those of you who know the Word of God, understand that we are now under a better covenant – grace. Paul, like myself, was not anti-law, or anti-Jewish, he was simply pro-grace. Although he was indeed a Jew, he counted everything associated with his Jewishness, including his theology and heritage, as “dung” relative to winning Christ (Philippians 3:4-8). This also included the righteousness of the law/Torah. The Word of God declares that God’s plan of salvation for today is not about Jewishness, but Holiness. God is a spirit who declares, “Be ye holy (not Jewish), for I am holy.”
. . . Finally, he talks about his “fans.”Interesting. These are just a few of the major concerns that need to be addressed as it relates to this book. Finally, can any NEW BIBLE TRANSLATION that drastically alters the words and meanings of the Psalmist and the apostle Paul with “personal and private interpretations and interjections” in its NEW TRANSLATION of the Word of God truly reflect the Word of God?Education, money, and “fan requests”, cannot be the qualifier and basis for writing a new Bible translation. For no translation should be independent of the Spiritual anointing that is needed in order to receive divine truth and revelation of the Word of God. Remember, “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” [Bolding mine.]
The observation above of the Amazon reviews for the “Complete Jewish Bible” does shed light on another of the Hebrew Roots Movement’s problems, which is this: The HRM, as one of their stated “benefits”, is that they can be “missionaries” to Jews in a way that Christians cannot, because they do not “reject” the Law, and embrace Hebrew culture and practices. In reality, however, Jews are deeply offended by the overtures made to them by those in the HRM. A number of the reviews at Amazon do shed light on this fact.
NOTE: There are many glowing reviews of David Stern’s work on the Amazon listing, that when read carefully, reveal that they are reviews from those in the HRM, who identify themselves as Messianic believers or some similar term. Also note that some reviews critical of the CJB from a Jewish background equate Jews for Jesus with the Hebrew Roots Movement, which is definitely not the case. Jews for Jesus fully supports the New Covenant as clearly stated in the New Testament Scriptures.
Here’s an excerpt from a post at “Messianic Jewish Musings” (you can read the entire post HERE):
The Complete Jewish Bible is perhaps the greatest unifying factor in our movement. The Complete Jewish Bible is the least controversial and perhaps the most useful tool produced yet by the Messianic Jewish movement. . . . for now, I want to quote a portion of Dr. Stern’s introduction and raise a few points for discussion:
“Why is this Bible different from all other Bibles? Because it is the only English version of the Bible fully Jewish in style and presentationand includes both the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) and B’rit Hadashah(New Covenant, “New Testament”). Even its title, The Complete Jewish Bible, challenges both Jews and Christians to see that the whole Bible is Jewish, the B’rit Hadashah as well as the Tanakh. Jews are challenged by the implication that without it the Tanakhis and incomplete Bible. Christians are challenged with the fact that they are joined to the Jewish people through faith in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus) — so that because Christianity can only be rightly understood from a Jewish perspective, anti-Semitism is condemned absolutely and forever. In short, The Complete Jewish Bible restores the Jewish unity of the Bible.”
In my opinion, that is one of the finest statements on the Bible and the relationship between Jews and Christians that I have read . . . anywhere. [Bolding mine.]
I’d like to point out one really big truth that God makes very clear about those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and His completed work at the Cross: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29) The restoration is of people, as God created them, of neither this ethnicity nor that social status, but the opportunity of redemption for all mankind, as He intended originally when He made the Promise to Adam and Eve after the Fall.
Yes, over time and deep into history God chose a specific people as a vehicle for His restoration and redemption of mankind back to Him, but that had more to do with the faithfulness of Abraham than it did with Hebrew (Jewish) ethnicity! Again, I am not anti-ethnic anybody . . . I’m just making an observation here. I have great respect and love for the people that God did choose, and He does have a special plan for His chosen people, but when we are in Christ, we are all the same in Him, and that new man is neither Jew nor Greek.
The agenda to sway Christians toward Torah observance disqualifies, in my opinion, the Complete Jewish Bible from consideration for use. It is useful to those in the Hebrew Roots Movement, however, because as the poster at Messianic Jewish Musings above stated, “The Complete Jewish Bible is the least controversial and perhaps the most useful tool produced yet by the Messianic Jewish movement.”
May God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider these things.
Edited to add: Derek from Messianic Jewish Musings, in his comment below, brings up a good point about lumping groups together. Messianic Jews are not Hebrew Roots Movement folks. I should have specified that fact in the post above. Let me be clear, however, that the Complete Jewish Bible IS a staple in many “Messianic Christian” (Hebrew Roots Movement) fellowships. My apologies to Derek for any perceived misrepresentation of Messianic Jewish Musings.
Other articles of interest:
- Tzit Tzit For the Believer In Christ?
- 12 Undeniable Truths That Drive Law ‘Keepers’ Crazy
- Old Testament Believers and New Testament Christians – From the Articles Page – Addresses the issue of how OT saints were ‘saved’ vs. how NT saints are saved, i.e. what salvation meant and how it was obtained before and after the actual work of Christ on the timeline. It clarifies several points that we see Law keepers bring up in debate over and over again as they misapply the phrase from Scripture, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” and couple that with the claim that the Church (ekklesia, Body of Christ) also existed in the Old Testament. It did not, and this article clarifies the difference between OT believers and NT Christians. Excellent study. Highly recommended.
For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page. General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.
Filed under: "Law Keepers", Belief Sytems, Discernment, Grace and Law, Hebrew Roots Movement, Legalism, Religion, Sacred Name Movement, Torah, Uncategorized | Tagged: "Law Keepers", Belief Systems, Christianity, Discernment, Grace and Law, Hebrew Roots Movement, Legalism, Religion, Sacred Name Movement, Torah |