Preface for the English Easy-to-Read Version

This version of the Bible has been prepared especially for people who want an English translation that accurately expresses the full meaning of the original text in a style that is clear and easy to understand. It is especially helpful for those who have limited experience with English, including children and people who are just learning English. It is designed to help such people overcome or avoid the most common difficulties to reading with understanding.

The writers of Scripture, especially those who produced the New Testament writings, showed by the language style they used that they were interested in good communication. The translators of this English version considered this an important example to follow. So they worked to express the meaning of the Biblical text in a form that would be simple and natural. They used language that, instead of working as a barrier to understanding, would provide a key to unlock the truths of the Scriptures for a large segment of the English-speaking world.

The translation is based directly on the original languages of Scripture. In the case of the Old Testament, the translators followed the Hebrew Masoretic Text as it is found in the latest printed edition of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1984), while referring occasionally to some earlier readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In some cases, they also followed the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, where it has readings that are actually earlier than any known Hebrew manuscript. For the New Testament, the source text was that which is found in both the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (fourth revised edition, 1993) and the Nestle-AlandNovum Testamentum Graece (twenty-seventh edition, 1993). The occasional variation from these printed editions was guided by reference to the findings of more recent scholarship.

Several special features are used to aid understanding. Brief explanations or synonyms (italicized within parentheses) sometimes follow difficult or ambiguous words in the text. If a word or phrase needs fuller explanation, it is specially marked in one of two ways: (1) If its usage is unique or unusual, it is marked by a letter of the alphabet (a) linking it to a footnote that provides an explanation or important information. Included in such footnotes are references to Scripture quotations and information about alternate readings when significant differences occur in the ancient manuscripts. (2) If it is a word that occurs frequently with the same meaning, its first occurrence in a section is marked with an asterisk (*) indicating that an explanation can be found in a Word List at the end of the Bible.

As in all translations, words that are implied by the context are often supplied in the text to make the meaning clear. For example, the phrase that in Greek is simply “David of Jesse” is always translated into English as “David the son of Jesse.” If such explanatory words or phrases are extensive or unusual, they may be marked by half brackets. For example, in the translation, “The Lord gave this command to Moses {for the people},” the phrase in half brackets is added to avoid any misunderstanding that the Lord’s command was intended only for Moses and not for all the people.

In the Old Testament two different words are translated “Lord.” When “Lord” is printed with small capital letters (Lord), it represents the Hebrew YHWH, which in some versions has been transliterated into English as “Jehovah” or “Yahweh.” In a few cases, where YHWH is obviously used as the name of God or in place names, it is translated “Yahweh.” When the word “Lord” contains lower case letters, it usually represents the Hebrew word adonai. When adonai occurs together with YHWH, it is translated “Lord” and YHWH is translated God, as in “the Lord God.” In cases where the speaker does not recognize that the one being addressed is God, adonai may be translated “Sir.” The same is true in the New Testament for the Greek word kurios, which may be translated either “Lord” or “Sir,” depending on the context.

Finally, in the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, the section headings are often followed by cross references. These identify where the same or similar material is found in one or more of the other Gospels.