About the TLV
Tree of Life Version
WHY THE TLV?
- The developers and translators of the Tree of Life Bible version believe that current English-speaking Bible readers need a rendering that speaks with a more decidedly Jewish-friendly voice – a Bible with a voice like the Bible authors themselves.
- Translations of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Bible manuscripts have all-too-often been rendered by churchmen with little-to-no intellectual interest in the Jewish experience, no emotional connection to the Jewish people, and no real support for the Jewish homeland, Israel.
- The result of the disregard be it intentional or accidental, is that biblical books that were written to Jews, for Jews and about Jews lose a critical element—their actual Jewish essence.
- Translations lost sight of the Jewish roots of Jesus’ story.
- The first Christians were Jews, and the Christian religion has its roots in the religion of God’s chosen and called out people. Jesus’s death and resurrection was not the beginning of a new religion but the fulfillment of the covenant God made with His people.
The Tree of Life Bible version has three overarching goals:
- To bless Jewish people who know Jesus
- To bless Jesus' people who have concern for the Jews
- To bless all people with a Jewish look at a Jewish book
The TLV translation team is composed of scholars from five international Messianic Jewish organizations. This diverse theological team is made up of scholars who follow various expressions of Messianic Judaism.
During the translation process they worked together, book by book through a multi-layer review process, allowing discussion, prayerful consideration and ultimately unanimous consensus under Messiah’s headship.
Taking a consensus building approach, the vetting team looked carefully at the original Bible languages to render a translation that is accurate, readable, reverential, and true to the worldview that brings together Jewish and Gentile people in Yeshua. The Tree of Life Version strives to maintain the cultural flavor of the original Jewish context so that all who enter this story might deepen their understanding and be enriched.
Most Bible translations sacrifice the deep connection between the Jewish roots of scripture and the grafted-in Gentile branches, using imprecise English terms rather than Hebrew terms that encompass a fuller meaning. The Tree of Life Version (TLV) highlights the rich Hebrew roots of the Christian faith by restoring:
- the Jewish order of the books of the Old Testament
- the Jewish name of the Messiah, Yeshua
- reverence for the four-letter unspoken name of God
- Hebrew transliterated terms, such as shalom, shofar, and shabbat
- a few key names, such as Miriam for Mary
Fourteen key principles guiding the TLV translation process:
- Restoring the Jewish Name of Messiah: Yeshua
- Restoring the reverence for four letter unspoken name of God. The tetra-grammaton, YHWH, will be translated through the TLV as ADONAI in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament when the Old Testament is being referenced.
- Restoring the clarity of the difference between the creator and the creation. This includes capitalizing all pronouns that refer to the deity of both Father and Son.
- Restoring the sacrificial death of Messiah Yeshua to the Torah from which the Good News unfolds. The TLV is committed to renewing the story of hope in the Promised Jewish Messiah by making His message more accessible for all people. Messiah Yeshua’s sacrificial death was not the start of a new religion, but the fulfillment of the covenant that has traveled through time from the seed promised to Eve all the way to the seed sown in Miriam’s womb.
- Using, with the use of italics, on a very limited basis, lesser known Hebrew terms to help the reader better understand some of the lost intent of the original manuscripts. In order to resist paraphrasing, the translators restore the fuller meaning of certain words - in context - by providing Hebrew terms defined in our glossary. Approximately 50 Hebrew transliterated words are used throughout the New Covenant text and they can easily be added to our growing biblical vocabulary.
- Restoring a few key names in the biblical text to a more Hebraic expression to add clarity and reconnect Messiah to His Jewish family. In the original Greek text of the New Testament, names were changed to Greek. The TLV changes them back so that their names bear witness to their Jewish Heritage.
- Clearing up confusing language when referring to people not born Jewish in the text.
- Clearing up confusion between misunderstandings about intent when referring to the terms - synagogue and church.
- Clearing up the confusion about the terminology concerning the “Jews” of the New Covenant.
- Clearing up confusion about the terminology of “law”. The ‘Torah’ will be only used for the laws of the five books of Moses. Since the New Covenant writings preceded the canonization of scripture, the TLV translators avoid using the word ‘Tanakh’ within the biblical text.
- Restoring the earlier work of translators by providing new terms for words whose meaning has become altered by changes in language over the centuries.
- Restoring the Jewish culture of Yeshua’s day through art and documented biblical holiday observance. The TLV includes detailed black and white drawings to bring the reader back into the Jewish culture of the day.
- Restoring the Jewish Order to the Books of the Old Testament. The order of the books in the TLV Old Testament is in keeping with traditional Jewish texts.
- Focusing upon the principle of gender equality, not gender neutrality. The goal of the TLV translation team is to increase understanding without straying from an accurate interpretation of the actual biblical language.