27. Why should I try the EHV?

In by ProjectWartburg

With the recent publication of the EHV lectionaries for evaluation and use, and with the forthcoming appearance of the preview edition of the EHV New Testament and Psalms in 2017, an obvious question is, “Why should I try the EHV?”

The simplest and most important answer to that question is that for dedicated readers of the Bible the opportunity to be a participant in the evaluation of a new Bible translation is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Regardless of what you decide about a specific translation, the opportunity to take a closer look at the process of Bible translation and the exercise of evaluating some of the complex decisions that are involved in Bible translation will be its own reward.

As far as the EHV translation itself, here are a few reasons to give EHV a look.

A key word for the EHV in defining our goals is balance. The goal of our project is to produce a balanced translation, suitable for all-purpose use in the church.

We seek a balance between the old and the new. We respect and try to preserve traditional terms that are well established in the worship life of the church, but the EHV does introduce some new terms in those places where a traditional translation no longer communicates clearly. Such terms will be explained in the footnotes.

We seek a balance between the poles of so-called literal and dynamic equivalent theories of translation. A translator should not adhere too closely to any one theory of translation because literalistic, word-for-word translations sometimes convey the wrong meaning, or they do not communicate clearly in the receiving language. Overly free translations deprive the reader of some of the expressions, imagery, and style of the original.

Translators will strive for a balance between preserving the original meaning of the text and producing English which sounds natural, but the preservation of meaning takes priority.

We seek a balance between formality and informality. The Bible contains many types of literature and different levels of language, from the very simple to the very difficult. For this reason, the translator should not be too committed to producing one level of language but should try to reproduce the tone or “flavor” of the original.

We place a priority on producing a fuller representation of the biblical text that has been transmitted to us than many recent translations. The EHV includes readings which are supported by ancient manuscript evidence but which are omitted in many other recent translations, because they tend to focus on certain parts of the manuscript evidence rather than the whole range.

We place a priority on prophecy, so our translation and notes strive to give clear indications of Messianic prophecy.

The EHV is committed to using archaeology, geography, and history to provide a clearer understanding of the original meaning of the biblical text, and this will be reflected both in the translation and the footnotes.

We hope the Evangelical Heritage Version will prove to be very readable to a wide range of users, but the EHV is designed with learning and teaching in mind. We assume that our readers have the ability and the desire to learn new biblical words and to deepen their understanding of important biblical terms and concepts. Translators should not be condescending or patronizing toward their readers but should be dedicated to helping them grow. The Bible was written for ordinary people, but it is a literary work with many figures of speech and many rare words. The Bible is a book to be read, but it is also a book to be studied. Our footnotes are designed to assist in the process of learning and teaching. Our translation is in that sense a textbook. This concept will, of course, be much more fully implemented in our planned study Bible.

The EHV is a grass-roots translation, which makes extensive use of parish pastors and lay people in the editing and evaluation of the translation.

The EHV is a gift to the church. It is being produced at very low cost because of the abundance of volunteer labor. We have also promised that the EHV will not deny people who have obtained rights to use the EHV in derivative works like commentaries or study Bibles the right to continue to use the version of the EHV which they have adopted, even if new versions of the EHV appear someday.

Over the next year, as the EHV translation is being completed, this article will be expanded to at least booklet length by the addition of more reasons to use EHV and of many specific examples of those principles in practice. This “first edition” deliberately does not include any specific examples so that you can use it as a study guide for making your own discoveries.

In the meanwhile, the FAQs, our rubrics, and articles available in the library section of our website provide many examples of these principles in practice.