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- Our Greater Manchester Policy and Mandate to teach on Peace and Prosperity- by ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz
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- The NET Bible- First Edition- In the beginning- by ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz
- The NET Bible- First Testament – In the beginning…. by ArchBishop Uwe AE.RosenkranzThe NET Bible® First Edition A New Approach to Translation, Thoroughly Documented With 60,932 Notes By The Translators and Editors Copyright © 1996 – 2005 All Rights Reserved version 5.1101 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. Internet: www.bible.org Toll Free in USA: 888-997-6884 For usage information, please read the NET Copyright statement for fair use statements The Names: The NET Bible, New English Translation Copyright © 1996 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. NET Bible Is A Registered Trademark The NET Bible Logo, Service Mark Copyright © 1997 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved Satellite imagery Copyright © Røhr Productions LTD. and Centre National d’Études Spatiales Photographs Copyright © Røhr Productions LTD. Electronic access to the NET Bible: The NET Bible is available for use on the internet at: www.netbible.com The NET Bible is not a shareware program or public domain document and may not be duplicated without permission, however: From our website at www.netbible.com, you may download the NET Bible and print it for others as long as you give it away and do not charge for it. In this case, free means free. It cannot be bundled with anything sold, nor can you charge for shipping, handling, or anything. It is provided for personal study or for use in preparation of sermons, Sunday school classes, or other noncommercial study. This release is also available to organizations like the Gideons, who may distribute millions of copies of the NET Bible text without royalty. This release does not apply to media other than paper. For free distribution of more than 1000 paper copies (or distribution in any other form, e.g. electronic), you must obtain written permission and comply with our guidelines for content control and include currently valid BSP copyright and organizational acknowledgments. For permission, inquire by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-997-6884. You may not download the information and reprint any of it for commercial publication, except that the NET Bible verses may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic, or audio) up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses or less without written permission, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible, do not comprise 25% or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted, and the verses are not being quoted in a commentary or other biblical reference work. This permission is contingent upon an appropriate copyright acknowledgment. An appropriate copyright acknowledgment is shown below: Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from The NET Bible® Copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. www.netbible.com All rights reserved The NET Bible® Preface to the First Edition The NET Bible The NET Bible is a completely new translation of the Bible with 60,932 translators’ notes! It was completed by more than 25 scholars—experts in the original biblical languages—who worked directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Turn the pages and see the breadth of the translators’ notes, documenting their decisions and choices as they worked. The translators’ notes make the original languages far more accessible, allowing you to look over the translator’s shoulder at the very process of translation. This level of documentation is a first for a Bible translation, making transparent the textual basis and the rationale for key renderings (including major interpretive options and alternative translations). This unparalleled level of detail helps connect people to the Bible in the original languages in a way never before possible without years of study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It unlocks the riches of the Bible’s truth from entirely new perspectives. Produced for ministry Our ministry, bible.org, was created to be a source of trustworthy Bible study resources for the world, so that everyone is guaranteed free access to these high quality materials. In the second year of bible.org’s ministry (1995) it became clear that a free online Bible would be needed on the bible.org website since copyrighted Bibles can’t be quoted in a huge collection of online studies. The NET Bible project was commissioned to create a faithful Bible translation that could be placed on the Internet, downloaded for free, and used around the world for ministry. The Bible is God’s gift to humanity—it should be free. (Go to www.bible.org and download your free copy.) Permission is available for the NET Bible to be printed royalty-free for organizations like the The Gideons International who print and distribute Bibles for charity. The NET Bible (with all the translators’ notes) has also been provided to Wycliffe Bible Translators to assist their field translators. The NET Bible Society is working with other groups and Bible Societies to provide the NET Bible translators’ notes to complement fresh translations in other languages. A Chinese translation team is currently at work on a new translation which incorporates the NET Bible translators’ notes in Chinese, making them available to an additional 1.5 billion people. Parallel projects involving other languages are also in progress. Now serving individuals in 170 different countries on an average day, bible.org is the largest Bible study resource on the Internet with over 40,000 pages of Bible study materials currently available online for free. Also included are topical forums (www.bible.org/forum) where visitors to the site can dialogue and learn from each other. All this is done to support local church ministries and to build an effective online community of believers. Our passion is to see every person become mature in Christ and competent to teach and train others. Accountability, transparency, and feedback The NET Bible is the first Bible ever to be beta-tested on the Internet. In this beta-testing process all working drafts of the NET Bible were posted on www.bible.org for public review and comment. The significance of this is that the NET Bible team, from day one, has been listening to its readers. The purpose of the public review and comment was not to achieve a consensus translation, but to be accountable, to be transparent, and to request that millions of people provide feedback on the faithfulness and clarity of the translation as well as on the translators’ notes. Countless valuable suggestions have been made by scholars, by junior high school students, by college professors, and by lay Christians who speak English as a second language. Because of the open approach of the NET Bible team, the resulting product has been enriched immeasurably. Each one of us comes to the Bible from a different perspective; scholars need to listen to the person in the pew as much as the layperson needs to listen to scholars. The translation reflects the latest scholarship, and the sources are cited in the translators’ notes and documented in the appendices. The NET Bible is a truly symbiotic effort between the insights of biblical scholars and the needs of lay Christians. The combined effect of the notes and the nine year public review process has reinforced the translation’s primary goal of faithfulness to the original languages. By creating a translation environment that is responsible both to the world’s scholars and to lay readers, the NET Bible was read, studied, and checked by more eyes than any Bible translation in history. The most important translation concept The most important translation of the Bible is not from the original languages to English, but from the printed page into your life. If you have never read through a complete book of the Bible, we suggest you begin by reading the Gospel of John. We encourage you to recognize that the Bible is not merely a book. It is God’s message to us all, and God continues to speak through it today. There is, after all, a reason far more Bibles have been produced than any book in history. Read it and see. Copyright Innovations—Toward a New Model We don’t like the copyright notice on the second page of the NET Bible, but we don’t yet know the best way to fix it. The reason for this dilemma is that we stand at the beginning of a new era made possible by the Internet. New approaches to ministry, publishing, distribution, and collaboration are made possible by the Internet. When the first Bibles and books began to be printed rather than copied by hand, new issues emerged (plagiarism, author’s rights, freedom of the press versus censorship, copyright laws, etc.). It is now time to recognize that the copyright and permissions conventions carried over from printed books must now be upgraded for the Internet age. The innovations will create new opportunities for ministry while also providing new opportunities for authors to support themselves. We believe that 1 Tim 5:17–18 (the author has the right to be paid) and Lev 23:22 (allow the poor and foreigner free access) can be simultaneously satisfied far better with a new Internet model. The Problem: It’s difficult to quote a modern Bible translation legally Bible.org’s ministry objective is to be used by God to mature Christians worldwide. To accomplish this we needed to quote a modern Bible translation in the production of thousands of trustworthy Bible Study resources that could be offered on the Internet for free. We predicted in 1995 that the number of Bible verses quoted in these studies would soon surpass available legal permission limits. We tried for a year, but could not obtain the necessary permissions. Lack of a legal ability to quote the Bible online makes online Bible studies impossible and threatened bible.org’s “Ministry First” model. Quite simply the only way we could secure permission to quote a modern Bible was to sponsor a new translation—the NET Bible. We now want to ensure that other ministries and authors don’t experience the same roadblocks. The NET Bible is not just for bible.org, but for everyone. You may ask (as we have): “Why not just make the NET Bible public domain? Wouldn’t that solve the problem?” It does solve the permission problem but stifles ministry another way. When a publisher prints a public domain KJV they pay no royalties to anyone, but they still make millions of dollars in revenue—and don’t have to spend any of that money on ministry or charity. We didn’t create the NET Bible to save royalties for such publishers. We think a better approach is to leverage copyright laws to ensure that anyone selling NET Bibles must support ministry. How we intend to solve the problem The first major step was taken 10 years ago when we posted the NET Bible on the Internet when no other major modern English Bible translations had done so. The other major Bible translations partially followed suit—all of them are now viewable on the Internet—but after 10 years, the NET Bible is still the only major modern translation that can be downloaded for free in its entirety and used seamlessly in presentations and documents. We think it is time to take a few more steps. NET Bible study software will now be offered free to allow those who can’t afford Bible study tools to search the Bible electronically. We also will remove an important barrier for teachers, pastors, authors, and students of the Bible who plan to write and distribute their studies. Bible copyright policies typically require special permission before Internet posting, writing commentaries, allowing mission organizations to translate works into other languages, or when quotations exceed some verse limit. The result is that an author is forced to delay writing until permission is granted, use an old public domain text, or proceed illegally in order to serve missions. Other authors have found that a valuable work is simply not publishable because they lack permission for the Bible translation quoted in it. We want all authors to know that the NET Bible is a safe choice. We intend to make quoting the NET Bible easy for both commercial publications and ministry by making the vast majority of requests covered by an automatic “yes.” This new copyright permission policy, when implemented, will result in many more works being created for charitable use and Internet distribution. A second major historical reason used to justify prior written approval of papers, books, and commentaries quoting Bibles is to ensure that nothing embarrassing is written using a copyrighted Bible. We’d rather risk embarrassment than hamper thousands of worthwhile projects. We’ll let the Internet community label the rare bad works and bad authors. We’d rather remove barriers so that the other 99.9% of Christian authors can be more productive. We solicit your ideas for an optimal solution for Bible quotations in the Internet age. Characteristics of a good solution • By making permissions easier, it becomes far easier to post, share, and publish works which quote the Bible. • It should be easy to say “yes” to all requests to quote and use the NET Bible (both charitable and commercial use). • The “yes” should be automatic for the vast majority of requests, so our organization gets out of the way of ministries, teachers, pastors, and authors. We don’t want them to delay before authoring, sharing, and implementing the Great Commission of Matt 28:19—and we don’t want their works which quote the Bible to be held hostage based on copyright permissions. • Incentives should be offered to authors who are willing to share their works for free, (even when they also sell books and software versions of the same title for income) while authors who only offer their works for sale should pay customary royalties. This encourages greater participation in the “ministry first” model. It is time for ministry to be more free—and for a Bible which puts ministry first. The best way to encourage ministry is to give people the tools they need and remove barriers which encumber their work. Let us know how we can better serve your needs. For the latest on “Ministry First” copyright innovations, visit www.bible.org/ministryfirst Introduction to the First Edition Welcome to the First Edition of the NET Bible with all 60,932 translators’ notes! We want to thank the millions of online NET Bible users and the students, teachers, and churches who have made the NET Bible a part of their daily Bible study, reading, and worship. Their countless observations have been a valuable addition to the NET Bible team’s methodical editing of the translation during its 10-year development. More people from more countries have used and reviewed the NET Bible during its production than any Bible translation in history—and you are still invited to join that process! The First Edition signifies the transition from development and beta testing to official release of the translation. The NET Bible text (notes excluded) has now been frozen for 5 years. The next set of upgrades and improvements is planned for release in 2010. During the initial 10-year translation effort, the final 8 years were primarily spent editing and improving the translation of the biblical text. Consequently, the translators’ notes have not been edited to the same degree as the biblical text itself. Improvements and enhancements to the NET Bible’s notes therefore will be made on a continual basis. What you have in your hands—or on your computer monitor, laptop, mobile phone or handheld6—represents a new approach to Bible translation and a fresh approach to ministry for the new millennium. The NET Bible was planned from the very beginning to be available for free on the Internet.7 The decision to produce for the first time large quantities of Bibles on Gutenberg’s improved press in 1454–1455 sparked a revolution and provided a dramatic increase in the availability of Bibles and biblical study materials in many languages, but over five centuries later many people throughout the world cannot access Bibles and biblical study resources because of their high cost and because some governments attempt to prevent their citizens from ever encountering the Bible. The primary goal of the NET Bible project was to leverage the Internet to meet these two critical needs. The Internet represents the single best opportunity for ministry in history because electronic distribution via the Internet allows relatively8 free delivery of unlimited numbers of Bibles and unlimited amounts of biblical study resources to anyone worldwide who could otherwise not afford them or access them—for zero incremental cost. Organizations willing to share materials on the Internet will accomplish the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19–20 more efficiently than those which follow older ministry models alone. The impact of a publishing ministry can increase by leaps and bounds because it is no longer limited by the number of copies of materials it can afford to print and give away. The NET Bible was created to be the first major modern English translation available free on the Internet for download and use in Bible studies and other teaching materials so that the opportunities provided by the Internet could be maximized. Authors, teachers, pastors, and translators are now ensured that their life’s work can be offered anywhere—even shared freely on the Internet—using verses quoted from the NET Bible9. They can now work to create high quality biblical study materials confident in knowing that permission has been granted for works of ministry that will be offered for free to others. We are pleased to be the first to do this, and we hope many others will join with us in this effort to put ministry first. Read more on our model of ministry — go to www.bible.org/ministryfirst Translators’ Notes—unprecedented transparency for serious Bible students The 60,932 translators’ notes included with the NET Bible are another result of our Internet focus. Bible readers are often not aware that every translation makes many interpretive decisions for them. One goal of the NET Bible project was to find a way to help the reader see the decisions and choices that went into the translation. The answer was to include notes produced by the translators while they worked through the issues and options confronting them as they did the work of translation—thus providing an unprecedented level of transparency for users. In fact, the nature of the Internet allows unlimited notes. These notes provide an extended dialogue between translator and reader about the alternatives for translation, options for interpretation, and finer nuances which are usually lost in translation. After the drafts and first rounds of editing were completed, we discovered that the thousands of notes we had accumulated could be made to fit on the printed page in addition to the electronic format. What you are now reading, on printed paper or on a digital screen is the First Edition of the NET Bible complete with all the translators’ notes. Never before in the history of the Bible has a translation been published which includes explanatory notes from the translators and editors as to why the preferred translation was chosen and what the other alternatives are. Students of the Bible, future Bible translators,10 and biblical scholars will all benefit from these unparalleled translators’ notes.11 One of the goals of the NET Bible with the complete set of translators’ notes is to allow the general public—as well as Bible students, pastors, missionaries, and Bible translators in the field—to be able to know what the translators of the NET Bible were thinking when a phrase or verse was rendered in a particular way. Many times the translator will have made informed decisions based on facts about grammatical, lexical, historical, and textual data not readily available to English-speaking students of the Bible. This information is now easily accessible through the translators’ notes. In short, the NET Bible that you now hold is different from all the Bible translations that have come before it. It represents a truly new departure in the way Bible translations are presented to the general public. With a translation as revolutionary as the NET Bible, you no doubt have some additional questions. The remainder of this Introduction addresses in question-and-answer format the most frequently asked questions, to help you understand what the NET Bible is about and how it differs from the many other Bible translations available to the English-speaking reader today. What is the NET Bible? The NET Bible is a completely new translation of the Bible, not a revision or an update of a previous English version. It was completed by more than 25 biblical scholars—experts in the original biblical languages—who worked directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Most of these scholars teach Old or New Testament exegesis in seminaries and graduate schools. Furthermore, the translator assigned to prepare the first draft of the translation and notes for each book of the Bible was chosen in every instance because of his or her extensive work in that particular book—not only involving teaching but writing and research as well, often extending over several decades. Many of the translators and editors have also participated in other translation projects. They have been assisted by doctoral students and advised by style consultants and Wycliffe field translators. Hence, the notes alone are the cumulative result of hundreds of thousands of hours of biblical and linguistic research applied to the particular problems of accurately translating and interpreting the text. The translators’ notes, most of which were created at the same time as the initial drafts of the translation itself, enable the reader of the NET Bible to “look over the shoulders” of the translators as they worked and gain insight into their decisions and choices to an extent never before possible in an English translation. Why do we need yet another translation of the Bible? With over 25 different English translations of the entire Bible and approximately forty of the New Testament, an obvious question is, why yet another one? As described above, the initial problem was that other modern translations have not been made available for free electronic distribution over the Internet. Electronic searchable versions of contemporary English translations tend to be very expensive. Anyone anywhere in the world with an Internet connection is able to use and print out the NET Bible without cost for personal study, preaching, teaching, and training others. In addition, anyone who wants to give away the Bible can print up to 1,000 copies of the NET Bible and distribute them for free without the need for written permission. Pastors without extensive libraries, missionaries and Bible translators in the field, and people in countries where access to Bible study materials are restricted or prohibited will all benefit from access to a contemporary English translation with extensive notes available on the Internet. (The notes accompanying the NET Bible can even help you understand other translations better.) Ultimately what you have in your hands or on your computer monitor with this copy of the NET Bible is God’s word, and we believe it should be available to everyone everywhere to read and study in a version that is accurate, readable, and affordable. It is not just the new electronic media that justifies this translation, however. A great deal of scholarly literature has been produced on biblical interpretation and translation in the last quarter century. While virtually all other translations produced in the last two decades of the twentieth century were revisions of earlier versions, the NET Bible translators felt that an entirely different kind of translation was needed. In particular, the extensive translators’ notes that display for the reader the decisions and choices behind the translation ultimately chosen are virtually unique among Bible translations, in all languages, in the history of translation. The resulting translation itself is intended to capture the best of several worlds: readable and accurate and elegant all at the same time. What is the cornerstone and guiding principle of our ministry? Bible.org is guided by the principle of “Ministry First.” Our translation team desires to follow the Bible’s teaching with regard to the distribution of God’s word versus the sales of printed Bibles for massive profits. The NET Bible team has reflected on the model described in Leviticus 23:22 and asked how Bible publishers ensure that they “not completely harvest the corner of their field…for the poor and the foreigner.” Our ‘crop’ is a Bible translation. Even though some for-profit Bible publishers have allowed Bible societies to print and give away millions of Bibles, the amount of funds available to all Bible societies and publishers in all of history does not come close to being able to actually give a free printed Bible to all of the two billion people who have some ability to read English. This is why we feel so strongly that the NET Bible must not only be available for viewing on the Internet, but also for free downloading and use by everyone, worldwide, for free, forever. It is a cornerstone and guiding principle of our ministry. This approach helps us come closer to fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19–20 by allowing all people of all nations on earth to learn what God has revealed in his word for them to understand and obey. Learning and following the Bible’s instructions must apply to Bible translators and publishers as well as Bible students. This is why we offer the NET Bible for free to the world—because we desire to offer Bibles and Bible study resources for free to those who cannot afford to pay for them. Now you know why the NET Bible is available for download and use in Bible studies free to all people, everywhere. These are exciting times, and while we are honored to have been the first modern English translation to do this, we are pleased to see that many other modern English translations are now posted on the Internet for free use as well. As a pioneer in this space, the NET Bible goes beyond just offering free online use and actually offers people around the world the ability to obtain a free download of the entire NET Bible in a popular word processing format as well as a searchable electronic NET Bible for free so that you can easily study for yourself and then write study materials quoting the NET Bible for use by others. We call this a “Ministry First” model, where ministry always takes priority. Read more on our model of ministry — go to www.bible.org/ministryfirst The NET Bible Society is working with other groups and Bible Societies to provide the NET Bible translators’ notes to complement fresh translations in other languages. A Chinese translation team is currently at work on a new translation which incorporates the NET Bible translators’ notes in Chinese, making them available to an additional 1.5 billion people. These notes are even more essential in Chinese (and other languages) because they incorporate citations and applications of critical biblical reference materials that are unlikely to be translated into Chinese (and other languages) in the foreseeable future. These tools are not simply to make the translation better, but also to provide a window into the original languages using resources otherwise unavailable. Refer to the List of Cited Works in the appendices and the translators’ notes for examples. Parallel projects involving other languages are also in progress. What is the NET Bible’s place in the history of English Bible translation? The history of the Bible’s translation into English is a long and complicated one, and can only be summarized briefly here. Parts of the Bible appear to have been translated into Old English by Alfred the Great (died a.d. 901), including the Ten Commandments, parts of Exodus 21–23 and Acts 15, and a number of Psalms. Later in the tenth century Abbot Aelfric and perhaps others translated significant parts of the Old Testament into English, as well as the Gospels and some other New Testament books. Want to help create a NET Bible in your native language? For information go to www.bible.org/translation By around 1300 parts of the Psalms and the New Testament were being translated into Middle English. These were precursors of the famous versions associated with John Wycliffe (died a.d. 1384). The tradition that Wycliffe himself translated the Bible into English is founded on a statement by his follower Jan Hus. Whether he actually did the translation himself or it was carried out by his followers, he doubtless exerted a great influence over it. These translations were based on the Latin Vulgate, originally the work of Jerome, which was finished at the beginning of the fifth century a.d. and which became the standard Bible of the Western church throughout the Middle Ages. Several other events in Europe had a significant impact on the history of the English Bible at this point. First was the general revival of learning in Europe known as the Renaissance, which brought about renewed interest in Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible. Second was the construction of an improved printing press with metal moveable type some time prior to 1450 by Johannes Gutenberg (the first volume book printed on this improved press was the Gutenberg Bible printed ca. 145512). This innovation launched an explosion in the availability of Bibles, which spread to England when the first printing press for English Bibles was established in 1476. The third event occurred when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg in 1517, setting in motion the Protestant Reformation.13 These events combined to give considerable momentum to the translation of the Bible into everyday language. Luther’s New Testament, translated from the Greek into German, appeared in 1522, while William Tyndale’s, translated from the Greek into English, followed in 1525. Tyndale was arrested in Antwerp in 1535 and executed for translating the Bible into the vernacular, and his translation was vilified by the authorities. Yet almost every English translation for the next hundred years borrowed heavily from Tyndale’s work, including in particular the King James Version of 1611. Before this landmark in the history of English Bibles, however, there were other translations, like Coverdale’s in 1535 and the version called Matthew’s Bible in 1537. Both these Bibles received the royal license in 1537. The year 1539 saw the appearance of the so-called “Great Bible,” actually a revision of Matthew’s Bible by Coverdale, which by royal decree of Henry VIII was placed in every church in England. The reign of Elizabeth I saw the production of two more English Bibles, the Geneva Bible (published in 1560 in Geneva, with a dedication to Elizabeth) and the Bishops’ Bible (1568, with a second edition in 1572). The former was the Bible used by Shakespeare, and was thoroughly Calvinistic in its translation and notes. It was so far superior in translation to the Great Bible that it became very popular, although the Anglican authorities were not pleased with its Calvinistic leanings. The Bishops’ Bible was prepared as a response, and as a result English-speaking Protestantism was left at the end of the sixteenth century with two competing Bibles. The problem was not resolved until the Hampton Court Conference of 1604, when King James authorized a new translation of the Bible and specifically prohibited the use of marginal notes commenting on doctrine (notes commenting on the sense of words were permitted, and the original King James Version contained thousands of these). Gradually this translation established itself as the English Bible par excellence, and the last edition of the Geneva Bible appeared in 1644. Until 1885, when the Revised Version was published in England, the King James Version (known in England as the Authorized Version) reigned supreme. An American version of the revision, known as the American Standard Version, was published in 1901. The twentieth century saw the publication of a number of Bibles and New Testaments, among them James Moffatt’s (NT 1913; OT 1924) and E. J. Goodspeed’s (NT 1923), which combined with the Old Testament by A. Gordon, T. Meek, J. M. Powis Smith, and L. Waterman (1935) was published the same year as The Bible: An American Translation. One of the most important English translations of the twentieth century was the Revised Standard Version (NT 1946; complete Bible, 1952). This was a thoroughgoing revision of the KJV and ASV which many consider to be the first of the “modern” translations. The publication of the RSV was only the beginning of a flood of translations and paraphrases, including (among others) J. B. Phillips’ The New Testament in Modern English (1958), the Amplified Bible (1965), the Jerusalem Bible (1966), the New American Bible (1970), the New English Bible (1970), the New American Standard Bible (1971), The Living Bible (1971), and the New International Version (1973). Over thirty years have passed since the release of the NIV New Testament.14 This major English translation is taken as a benchmark because (unlike many others) it was not a revision or update of an existing translation or a successor to a previous translation.15 During these thirty years neither biblical scholarship nor the English language itself has stood still.16 The NET Bible is the first completely new translation of the Bible to be produced in the age of the Internet with full computer networking support involving collaborative file sharing, data storage and retrieval, and the creation of task-specific databases. Biblical scholars exchanged not only e-mail but entire documents over computer networks and the Internet for constant editorial revision and correction. Electronic versions of standard lexical and grammatical reference works enabled translators and editors to work much more rapidly than if they were dependent on paper copies of these materials. Materials were posted on the Internet at www.bible.org from the very beginning, with seven complete books along with their accompanying translators’ notes available online in 1996, less than one full year after the beginning of the project. This allowed literally millions of people to “beta test” the translation and notes, making countless valuable suggestions to the translators and editors. The result was not a consensus translation (since all the comments and suggestions were carefully reviewed by the translators and editors), but a translation produced with an unparalleled level of transparency. This in turn created a high level of accountability, not to a particular group or denomination, but to the Church worldwide. The NET Bible truly is the first English translation for the next millennium, representing a step potentially more significant than the use of Gutenberg’s improved printing press for mass producing Bibles in 1455. The original authors of the Bible made the books and letters they had written available to everyone for free. That is what we are now doing electronically, and we believe that use of the Internet to distribute Bibles and Bible study resources globally represents the most efficient publishing and ministry model available in history. To a server on the Internet, distributing 6 billion copies—one for every person on earth!—costs almost nothing, unlike all previous methods of distributing Bibles. The Internet represents the single best opportunity for ministry in the history of the world. The mission of bible.org is to leverage the power of the Internet to provide people and ministries worldwide with universal access to the NET Bible and other trustworthy Bible study resources at an affordable cost—free! How did the NET Bible project begin? The project began on a rainy night in November 1995 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. There a group of Old and New Testament scholars met over dinner at a fine Italian restaurant with the sponsor of the project. Later that same night in a hotel lobby they were joined by a larger group of scholars—to discuss at greather length a new translation of the Bible. The topic of conversation was the possibility of an English translation for electronic distribution over the Internet. A revision and update of some existing English translation was initially discussed, but in subsequent discussions the biblical scholars themselves insisted that a completely new translation was both possible and indeed preferable. The initial planning group was interdenominational and evangelical, although not made up of official representatives from church groups or denominations. A deliberate decision was made early on to devote special attention to the avoidance of doctrinal peculiarities or sectarian bias in the new translation. What is unique and distinctive about the NET Bible? Working with the format of electronic media, it soon became apparent to those of us involved in the translation project that we could do some things that had not been possible before, given the limitations of traditional print media. • First, the NET Bible includes extensive notes with the translation, notes created by the original translators as they worked through the issues and options concerning the translation of the original language texts of the Bible. These notes operate on more than one level—a technical level for pastors, teachers, and students of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek who are interested in the grammatical, syntactical, and text-critical details of the translation, and a more popular level comparable to current study Bibles offering explanatory details of interest to lay Bible students. In electronic format the length of these notes, a considerable problem with conventional printed Bibles, is no longer a major limitation. • Second, within the more technical notes the translation team has taken the opportunity to explain and give the rationale for the translation of a particular phrase or verse. • Third, the translators and editors used the notes to show major interpretive options and/or textual options for difficult or disputed passages, so that the English reader knows at a glance what the alternatives are. • Fourth, the translators and editors used the notes to give a translation that was formally equivalent,17 while placing a somewhat more functionally equivalent18 translation in the text itself to promote better readability and understandability.19 The longstanding tension between these two different approaches to Bible translation has thus been fundamentally solved. • Finally, the use of electronic media gives the translators and editors of the NET Bible the possibility of continually updating and improving the translation and notes. The translation itself will be updated in five-year increments, while the notes will undergo a continual process of expansion and refinement. In short, the notes allow a running commentary on the translators’ decisions to a degree never seen before in any translation of the Bible. The NET Bible with the complete set of translators’ notes is not just a very readable modern translation, but a copy of the Bible with its own commentary attached containing an average of two notes for each verse. Those who have years of expertise in the study of the original biblical languages can now communicate that information directly to the English-speaking Bible reader in a convenient, compact fashion that does not require the Bible student to read through a shelf of commentaries or spend years learning the original biblical languages. In addition to format and content, the broad framework of the project is unique among translations. The NET Bible is not funded by any particular denomination, church, or special interest group. This has directly impacted the content: Translators and editors were left free to follow where the text leads and translate as they thought best. There has never been pressure to make sure the text reads a certain way or conforms to a particular doctrinal statement. The NET Bible is responsible and accountable to the universal body of Christ, the church worldwide. Through publication on the Internet and free distribution of the text, the editors and translators have submitted the NET Bible to their brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. The questions, comments, and feedback received from them are examined very carefully, and the translation and notes have been constantly reevaluated in response. This dynamic process has yielded a Bible that is honest to the original text of the Bible, yet valuable and acceptable to Bible readers everywhere. How do you know something isn’t “lost in translation”? How can you know for sure something wasn’t “lost in translation” in your Bible? As Acts 17:11 indicates, the Bereans “eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.” Without firsthand competence in translating Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek or access to the minds of the translators and their decision-making processes, you can’t “see if these things were so” in order to know how accurate any translation is. The NET Bible assists readers in discerning biblical truth by offering 60,932 notes to explain and document the translators’ reasoning and the decisions they made throughout the lengthy process of translating and editing the NET Bible. The translators’ notes are intended to allow Bible students without extensive training in the original languages to be more confident in the English translation they use and to provide a new level of access and transparency into the text of the Bible. What is the significance of the NET Bible’s name? The name that was chosen reflects our goals to provide the Bible to the Internet audience in electronic form in addition to the more traditional printed media. Users of the Internet can easily relate to the name “NET Bible,” while the Internet itself provides the vehicle for access and distribution to the world. How large was the NET Bible Translation Committee? A major consideration during the initial planning stage was the size of the translation committee. More than one person should do the work of translation, to avoid the unintentional idiosyncrasies that inevitably result from a single individual working in isolation from a community of colleagues. At the same time, it was obvious to all of us that a smaller group of about 25 scholars who shared a number of basic assumptions and followed generally similar approaches to the biblical text in terms of interpretive method and general philosophy of translation would be able to work quickly and efficiently. This proved accurate and valuable and the time from the commencement of the project to the posting of the first complete New Testament on the Internet was a remarkable 32 months. The list of translators is included on page 26*. How was the NET Bible actually made? The procedure followed in the making of the NET Bible was to assign each book of the Old or New Testament to an individual scholar who was extremely familiar with the interpretation of that particular book and in most cases had years of experience in research, teaching, and writing about the book. These scholars produced an initial draft translation of the books assigned to them along with the initial set of translators’ notes (including some text-critical notes and study notes as well). This work was then submitted to the New Testament or Old Testament Editorial Committee for extensive editing and/or revision. In some cases revisions in form and content suggested by the respective committee were carried out by the original translator, while in other cases an editor reworked the draft translation as needed. The work was then resubmitted to the appropriate editorial committee for final approval. An English style consultant, working independently of the editorial committees, then reviewed the translation for smoothness, clarity, and elegance of contemporary English style. Changes suggested by the style consultant were checked against the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek before final incorporation into the translation. Generally between three and five different individuals edited and revised each book of the Bible. In this way the NET Bible First Edition was checked and revised repeatedly at many different levels for accuracy, clarity, and English style. Finally it was proofread a number of times and field-tested in various settings. Countless hours of research, translation, revision, and interaction thus went into the production of the NET Bible. The New Testament was released as a first beta version in three separate printings in March, April, and June of 1998. It was then revised and released again in October of 1998, again as a first beta edition. During this time, the Old Testament was edited and released as a first beta version, along with still another revision of the New Testament. This First Beta Edition of the entire NET Bible (Old and New Testaments together) was completed and E-mailed to the printer just after 2 a.m. on September 11, 2001 (coincidentally a day many will long remember). The Second Beta Edition was released to the printer on September 2, 2003. After an additional two years of use, extensive comments from users, and ongoing improvements from the NET Bible editorial staff, the First Edition of the NET Bible was released to the printer on August 30, 2005. Who decided what kind of translation the NET Bible was going to be? No denomination, church, agency, or publisher determined the nature of the NET Bible translation beforehand. It was a translation conceived and designed by biblical scholars themselves who were primarily specialists in the biblical languages and in the exegesis (interpretation) of the biblical text. At the beginning of the project the Executive Steering Committee, composed of members of both the Old and New Testament Editorial Committees plus the Project Director, held extensive discussions before approving the “Guidelines for Translators” (now known as the “NET Bible Principles of Translation” and included in the printed edition as the first item in the Appendices) which set forth the basic character of the NET Bible translation and notes. Faithfulness to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek in which the biblical documents were originally written was the primary concern. This frequently extended even to the connectives (“for,” “then,” “so,” “now”) used to introduce clauses, sentences, and paragraphs in the original languages. These conjunctions are often omitted in contemporary English translations since current English style does not use them extensively to indicate transitions and argument flow. However, the Executive Steering Committee felt that in many cases it was important to preserve these connections so that the modern reader would understand the argument flow. (In some cases where this would result in awkward English style, these conjunctions have been indicated in the translators’ notes that accompany the text—another example of how the NET Bible text and translators’ notes work together to convey meaning.) How would you characterize the NET Bible as a translation? The ultimate objective of the NET Bible is to be accurate, readable, and elegant. Yet these three principles are all too often in conflict with one another. Even a universal taxonomy will not work, because some passages pose special problems (such as liturgical use, familiarity, connections with the Old Testament, theological richness, and the like) that would override any rigid taxonomy. As an illustration20 of the complexity of competing principles, consider the Lord’s declaration in Mark 1:17: “I will make you fishers of men.” This wording, found in the KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, REB, and ultimately going back to Tyndale, is familiar to churchgoers. But in contemporary English it communicates a meaning that deviates slightly from the point: Jesus did not want his apostles to evangelize only adult males, but all people (the Greek is ἁλιε’ς ἀνθρρωώπων, halies anthrōpōn). But there is a second problem with this verse: “fishers of men” is archaic. The NRSV opts for “I will make you fish for people.” This resolves the two problems of the older translations, but introduces two others. First, it sounds as if Jesus will force (“make”) the disciples to “fish for people”; second, the conversion of the objective genitive (“of men”) to an object of the preposition (“for people”) results in a subtle shift from a focus on a new occupation to a mere activity. The NLT and TEV get past the first problem but not the second (“I will show you how to fish for people”; “I will teach you to catch people”). So, how best to solve the dilemma? The full meaning of Jesus’ declaration includes both nonexclusive evangelism and implications of an occupational shift. It is too cumbersome to express this as “I will make you fishermen of people,” though the archaism is removed. Nor is it correct to translate this as “I will make you fishers of mankind” because that would imply a mission to Gentiles which the disciples could not have conceived of at that time in redemptive history. This text illustrates the clash of the translational objectives of accuracy, readability, and elegance. We believe that the great value of the NET Bible is its extensive translators’ notes that wrestle with such issues, for the notes become a way for us to “have our cake and eat it too.” But on this passage—for now—we have settled on the translation, “I will turn you into fishers of people.” We have retained an archaism both because of its familiarity and because the alternative “fishermen” was too inelegant. The object complement construction was rendered “turn you into fishers” instead of “make you fishers” both because of its clarity and the hint of the disciples’ conversion as a prerequisite to their new occupation. We chose not to go with the more natural but less accurate rendering of “I will teach you to catch people.” In this passage, accuracy was more important than readability or elegance. But a decision was not easy; we are still open to suggestions. Is a literal translation the best translation? Although one of the general principles of this translation is to indicate in the notes a more literal rendering, not every departure from such is noted. For one thing, Greek (or Hebrew) and English are sufficiently different that to document every departure would be an exercise in futility. No translation is completely literal, nor should that be a desirable goal. A completely word-for-word literal translation would be unreadable. John 4:15, for example, would be rendered: “Says to him the woman, ‘Sir, give to me this the water that not I thirst nor I come here to draw.” Matthew 1:18 would say, “Of the but Jesus Christ the birth thus was. Being betrothed the mother of him, Mary, to Joseph, before of to come together them she was found in belly having from Spirit Holy.” Such examples are not isolated, but are the norm. Claims for a literal translation must necessarily have a lot of fine print. Literal is also not necessarily faithful. The word order differences between English and Greek, the use of the article, case, infinitives, participles, voice, mood, and other grammatical features are often so different that gibberish is the result if an absolutely literal translation is attempted (as in the two examples cited above). Not only this, but the idioms of one language have to be converted into the receptor language. Thus, in Matthew 1:18, no English translation (not even the King James Version) would dare speak of Mary’s pregnancy as “she was having [it] in the belly.” Yet this is the literal Greek expression for pregnancy. But it is not English. Thus the real question in translation is not whether it is literal, but whether it is faithful. And fidelity requires converting the lexical, grammatical, idiomatic, and figurative elements (to mention but a few) of the original language into the corresponding package in the receptor language. At times this can be accomplished by maintaining an approximately literal force. At other times, a loose rendering is required if the sentence is to have any meaning in English at all. Of course, this can be overdone. There are two dangers to avoid in translation. First, a translation should not be so literal that it is not good English. The meaning of the original needs to be as faithfully rendered into good English as possible. Second, a translation should not be so loose that it becomes merely an interpretation or allows sectarian interests to overwhelm the resultant text. All translation is interpretation; it cannot be otherwise. But the issue is how much interpretation and how idiosyncratic an interpretation is. Part of the problem is this: the more literal a translation is, the less readable it generally is; the more readable it is, the less faithful it is to the original meaning (at least in many cases). Some modern translations are quite readable but are not very faithful to the biblical author’s meaning. A major goal of good translation is of course readability—but not at the expense of the intended meaning. The philosophy of the NET Bible translators was to be interpretive when such an interpretation represents the best thinking of recent scholarship. Thus, for example, in Romans 6:4, the expression “newness of life” is taken to mean “new life” by grammarians and exegetes alike and is thus translated this way. But when an interpretive translation is unnecessary or might suggest sectarian bias, and when a more literal rendering results in good English, we have followed the latter course. A major category of nonliteral translation involves certain conjunctions. For example, the Greek word καιί (kai), meaning generally “and, even, also, yet, but, indeed,” is often left untranslated at the beginning of a sentence. When such is the case, there is usually no note given. However, if the possibility exists that an interpretive issue is involved, a note is given. An additional consideration of the translation team was faithfulness (as far as possible without violation of current English style) to the style of the individual biblical authors. Even within the New Testament, written over a short span of time in comparison with the Old Testament, the authors exhibit their own unique literary styles. Paul’s style differs from Peter’s, and both differ from John’s. The translators and editors attempted to give the modern reader an impression of these stylistic differences where it was possible to do so without sacrificing accuracy, clarity, or readability. Is the NET Bible suitable for use as more than a study Bible? Beyond the primary objective of faithfulness to the original, a second major objective for the NET Bible was the clarity of the translation for the modern reader. This concern for clarity extended to the literary quality and readability of the NET Bible, and individual translators were encouraged to have their translations read aloud so that such factors as assonance and rhythm could be considered. Thus, although originally conceived as a study Bible, the NET Bible is designed to be useful for reading aloud, memorizing, teaching, and preaching, as well as private reading and study. The NET Bible is now being released as audio files in mp3 format. To find out for yourself how striking it sounds when read aloud, go to www.bible.org for a sample. Hear the NET Bible, visit www.bible.org/audio What do you mean when you say the NET Bible was beta-tested? Since the NET Bible is the first English translation done entirely in digital electronic form, an idea was borrowed from software developers—a beta test. How did we beta-test the Bible? Just like software is beta-tested—we let people try it and tell us where it could be improved. Every working draft of the NET Bible has been posted on the Internet at www.bible.org from the very beginning of the project. More people have previewed, used and reviewed the working drafts of the NET Bible than any other Bible translation in history.21 These prepublication reviewers of the NET Bible have logged millions of review sessions and sent the translation committee countless comments. The committee always takes each of these comments from our readers seriously and many have led to substantial improvement in the translation and notes. Now the complete NET Bible is available in both electronic and printed form. You have the opportunity to learn from a truly detailed, totally new Bible translation, plus you have our invitation to help us continue to improve the NET Bible through its planned ongoing development. This is unique in history. What other changes have our readers suggested? Many readers of the First Beta Edition asked for a NET Bible that weighed less and was easier to carry. With the Second Beta Edition and now the First Edition this has been accomplished. The font size remains standard study Bible size, the font size for poetry sections has been increased, and the font style of the footnotes has been upgraded to support better readability. The First Edition also employs new footnote numbers that are much easier to read than in previous printings. Countless readers contacted us with suggestions about the translation and notes, and these have helped us improve the NET Bible in thousands of places. The NET Bible was the first translation to be published in electronic form on the Internet before being published in traditional print media. The Old and New Testament Translation Committees have invited and received public comment on the NET Bible from laypersons, clergy, and biblical scholars. That process will continue even after this release of the First Edition. Editorial focus will now be shifted primarily toward the notes. We invite feedback from everyone to help us make the NET Bible even better (go to our online comments database at www.bible.org/comments). What improvements were made during the beta process? Many readers of the First Beta Edition asked for maps. In conjunction with RØHR Productions of Nicosia, Cyprus, we included maps of the Holy Land based on satellite imagery. We also introduced new “map” notes to locate places mentioned in the NET Bible text. An exciting combination of technologies was used to produce these incredible images and they represent a very interesting story in and of themselves. Another major change introduced with the Second Beta Edition of the NET Bible was a significant update to the text-critical notes for the New Testament. After the printing of the First Beta Edition, it was suggested to the NET Bible team by the German Bible Society (Deutsche Bibelgesellchaft) in Stuttgart, Germany, that the information in the New Testament tc notes should be standardized to the Nestle-Aland 27th edition text which they publish in conjunction with the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster, Germany. (Prior to this point, the textual evidence in the tc notes had been drawn from NA27, UBS4, and other sources.) Over the course of a year, part of which was spent in residence at the Institut in Münster, the Senior New Testament Editor revised all existing tc notes in the NET Bible New Testament and added scores more. In the Second Beta Edition all these tc notes were conformed to the Nestle-Aland 27th edition Greek New Testament (Novum Testamentum Graece), 8th revised printing including papyri 99–116. The changes to the notes are most noticeable with nomenclature for manuscript witnesses: All tc notes in the New Testament now use the same nomenclature as that used by NA27, including the siglum . The reader should consult NA27 for discussion on this nomenclature. In addition, a double dagger (‡) is used in tc notes to indicate the several hundred places where the Greek text underlying the NET Bible differs from NA27; at a glance the reader can now see when the text translated by the NET Bible New Testament differs from that of NA27. This conformity to NA27 increases the quality of the notes tremendously, as it aligns them with the standard critical text of the Greek New Testament used by scholars, pastors, and students all over the world. As a result NET Bible readers will be able to use NA27 more effectively, and readers who use NA27 will see more readily how the process of textual criticism is carried out. In 2004, a joint venture between the German Bible Society and bible.org produced the New English Translation—Novum Testamentum Graece New Testament which combines the full NA27 text with apparatus and appendices along with the NET Bible text and a special edition of the translators’ notes and text-critical notes optimized to assist students of the original Greek. Additional information on this publication is available from www.bible.org/diglot. Another significant change to the translators’ notes (tn) in the Second Beta Edition was the updating of all citations of BAGD to BDAG, thus keeping the NET Bible current with the most up-to-date reference materials.22 All of these changes have resulted in a better translation and an increase to 60,932 translators’ notes! All of the biblical text was edited extensively for faithfulness to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, as well as for English wording and style. In the final edit between the Second Beta Edition and the First Edition, approximately 1,500 new translators’ notes were added. There were also cases in the Second Beta Editon where the same note applied multiple times within a short section of a book. To decrease redundancy, approximately 600 duplicate notes were consolidated and deleted. From the First Beta Edition to the First Edition over 3,500 new notes of various kinds were added. These include translators’ notes (tn), study notes (sn), text-critical notes (tc), and map notes (map). The “map notes” [map] indicate where the particular location can be found in the map sections included in the NET Bible, “The Old Testament,” “The Journeys of Paul,” and “The Holy Land from the Heavens.” (For the First Edition a new section of Old Testament maps have been included for the first time.) Preceding the maps is an index which contains every site marked on the maps (although the maps do not include every biblical site). The map coordinates in the notes and index first indicate the larger map and then the individual grid location; if a site is shown on more than one map, multiple sets of coordinates will be listed. For example, one of the coordinates for the city of Jerusalem is Map5-B1; this should be read as “The Holy Land from the Heavens”—map 5 – grid B1. Another coordinate for Jerusalem is JP1-F4; this should be read as “The Journeys of Paul”—map 1 – grid F4. Can I still submit suggestions for improvements now that the First Edition has been released? Absolutely. The goal of this translation is to be accurate, readable, and elegant. While we think we’ve done a good job achieving that, we know we have not yet achieved perfection. If you come across a phrase or verse you feel needs further improvement, you can let us know through our online comments database at www.bible.org/comments. The comments database will remain online and input will be used for the first planned revision of the translated biblical text in 2010 and for the ongoing development of the notes. You can submit a comment on any aspect of the translation and notes, from the clarity and elegance of the English to specific points of Greek or Hebrew grammar, to interpretive issues discussed in the notes. We welcome any and all comments which would help us improve the NET Bible. To illustrate that we aren’t solely interested in just one type of comment, below is a sampling of the types of comments we welcome. These are by no means exhaustive and you need not reference which category applies to you. These are merely examples to encourage you to participate in the ongoing development process. I’m not an expert in Hebrew or Greek, but I don’t understand the English meaning of this verse. It uses awkward grammar or words that aren’t in normal English usage. (Translation reflecting normal English usage was the primary goal of the original King James Bible.) I’m a scholar in the Bible’s original languages, and (a) I really think you could better translate this verse this way…; (b) here’s what your translation incorrectly implies in English
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