An Integrated Translation & Transliteration of the Hebraic Scriptures
BTC Translation & Transliteration Protocols
1. The glorious and kadosh (holy) name of יהוה
The kadosh name of ELOHIM is specifically respected and preserved in this BTC by using the original letters of the Hebrew alphabets יהוה (Yod-Heh-Waw-Heh). ELOHIM’s people should magnify and exalt this most kadosh Name, especially when reading or quoting directly from the Scriptures. On other occasions, such as oral/ written conversation or instruction, it is expedient to address HIM by the unique personal title ADONAI (my LORD). In the case of reference purposes, it suffices to use the four-letters YHWH. For those without any particular pronunciation preference, one common option (used by most academics) is YAHWEH (refer Appendix 2, Sect A for more information). Where the name appears as the short form יה (Yod-Heh)(whether standalone, prefix or suffix), it is accordingly transliterated as YAH.
For the Messianic Testimonies and Letters (MTL), BTC’s correlation to the kadosh Name is achieved by translating kurios as ADONAI, whenever context or quoted scripture is clearly pointing to YHWH. MTL reference to YHWH is provided for by the writers indirectly, through the titles ADONAI and ELOHIM. The former title (ADONAI) is absolutely personal and unique to YHWH alone. The reason MTL writers refrained from using the actual Name was due to the prevailing religious ruling which forbade the kadosh Name to be spoken or written (even when reading/ quoting directly from the Scriptures). Thus, the MTL writers were constrained to use the title ADONAI and/ or ELOHIM only, when referring to YHWH.
There should be no confusion between ELOHIM’s one unique name – יהוה, from HIS various titles/ designations – ADONAI, EL, ELOHIM, ABBA, etc. The tradition of substituting the name with titles or generic terms as Adonai, Elohim, Hashem, Kurios, LORD, GOD etc during scripture translation or scripture reading is inappropriate. During normal conversation, writing or testimonies, it is expedient and prudent to address YHWH by HIS titles ELOHIM or ADONAI (lest we take HIS personal Name in vain). The common teaching that HE has many Names or HIS Name has been forgotten is unscriptural. HE has declared: This is (יהוה) MY name forever and this is MY memorial to all generations (Ex 3:15).
2. Titles and pronouns of יהוה ELOHIM
All designations and pronouns (such as ELOHIM, HE, HIM, MASTER, ADONAI, etc) that refer directly to YHWH are consistently capitalized in full to ensure no ambiguity that YHWH is being referred to. It would be a substantial error where a pronoun or designation referring to YHWH is deliberately or ignorantly being misappropriated to someone else; even if that someone is the Mashiach. The unique title ADONAI (my LORD; full upper case) refers to and is applied to YHWH only, according to the Hebraic Scriptures. The Mashiach’s title is Adon (Lord; 1st letter upper case), never ADONAI. The equivalent title for all other human/ angelic lord is adon (lord; lower case).
It may be noted in Torah, Neviim and Ketuvim (TaNaKh), that the titles ADONAI and ELOHIM are often used instead of the name יהוה. This is prudent and appropriate in order not to use the kadosh Name unnecessarily, especially during normal conversation or correspondence.
3. ELOHIM’s name within the names of HIS people
The first syllable or short form of ELOHIM’s name YAH, wherever embedded in the names of HIS people as a suffix, are duly restored from the imprecise -iah and -jah. Thus, names as Jos-iah and Eli-jah are restored to YoshiyYAH and ELiYAH, with the suffix YAH duly capitalized as per protocol number 2. Similarly, whenever YAH is embedded in the names of HIS people as a prefix, they are restored from the imprecise/ deviated Yo-, Jo-, Ye-, Yeho-, Jeho-. Thus, names as Jeho-shaphat and Yeho-shua are restored to YAHshaphat and YAHshua. A complete listing of all BTC transliterated Hebraic names with their original Hebraic meaning is in Appendix 2.
4. The name of YAHshua the Mashiach
The name of Mashiach is restored to the kadosh Scriptures by transliterating from the Hebrew יהושע as YAHshua. This is the same name as various IsraELites (such as YAHshua the son of Nun, YAHshua the son of YAHzadak, etc) and commonly transliterated improperly, such as Yehoshua, Yeshua, Joshua, Jeshua, Jesus. The name YAHshua in the Hebrew letters means YAH saves or Salvation of YAH. It is a substantial omission/ error to regard the Mashiach’s name to mean Salvation, Savior or He Saves, as it amounts to a suppression or denial of the ABBA’s name YAH within the Mashiach’s name. Likewise, many other Hebrew names with the YAH prefix/ suffix have been suppressed by common translations, resulting in the distortion or loss of their original meaning. Other known transliterations of the Mashiach’s name are such as YAHushua and YAHshuah.
5. Titles and pronouns of YAHshua the Mashiach
All titles and pronouns (such as Adon, He, Him) that refer to Mashiach YAHshua have the first letter capitalized, at all times. This protocol ensures no confusion when pronouns or designations referring to YHWH and YAHshua respectively (or other persons as well), are in close proximity. It is important to note that the title Adon (Lord)/ Adoni (my Lord) is applicable to the Mashiach and never ADONAI (my LORD). As in the Hebraic Scriptures, ADONAI is that unique emphatic form of adoni which is applied to YHWH alone. Hence, there is no ambiguity or confusion (as to who is being referred to) when the titles adon, Adon or ADONAI appear on their own or in close proximity to one another, especially in the Messianic Testimonies and Letters (MTL). Confusion between the identity of Adon YAHshua and ADONAI YHWH has been the regrettable outcome of all translations (and teachings) which fail to differentiate the respective names, pronouns and titles of Adon YAHshua the Mashiach and ADONAI יהוה.
6. Other crucial Hebraic names
Other crucial Hebraic words, names and titles are transliterated to preserve their original Hebraic context, pronunciation and associated meaning. Such transliterations are based on the Hebraic root word and not from subsequent Greek, Latin, German or other transliterations or translations. Names should always be transliterated and never translated. A name’s pronunciation and not its meaning should be carried from the source to the destination language. This will preserve the name’s root word and original meaning. There should be no confusion between a name and the meaning of a name. As an example, the Hebraic name Kefa [meaning rock] should have its pronunciation Kefa to be transliterated into the destination language, rather than having its meaning rock being translated into the destination language. Thus, transferring the meaning of Kefa [meaning rock] into a Greek name like Petros (Peter) [meaning rock] would be as inappropriate as to translate that person’s name Kefa into English as Rock (unless, as a casual informal epithet/ nickname only).
For proper accountability and traceability purposes, nicknames/ epithets should never replace properly given names. Otherwise, traceability and hence the true identity of a person may be lost. Hence, the proper name Shaul, meaning Counseled/ Asked, the disciple of YAHshua is always Shaul. Though he was subsequently referred to as Paulos/ Paul (under unknown circumstances), it would not be appropriate for translators to replace his proper Hebraic name Shaul with Paul. Similarly, we do not regard DaniEL’s name as having been changed permanently to Belteshazzar, just because it was imposed upon him by the Babylonian king. Otherwise, a confusion of the person’s original true name and identity results.
Substitution of a name with a word with neither meaning nor phonetic connection to the Hebraic source name/ word is improper, especially - יהוה being substituted with LORD/ Lord/ Kurios/ Adonai/ Hashem/ GOD. By so doing, such translators have effectively deleted/ negated/ suppressed (more than 6800 times) ELOHIM’s name from the Scriptures.
7. Other crucial Hebraic words
Substitution of a source word with a specially created destination word with neither meaning nor phonetic equivalence to the source word is improper. An example is the Hebrew qahal, the specific source word referring to ELOHIM’s moadim (appointed times/ assemblies), and its Greek translation ecclesia. Both have been substituted (hence bypassed) in common versions with a specifically created Anglo word church, which has no direct meaning, context nor phonetic equivalence to the original source word. BTC restores qahal accordingly (TaNaKh & MTL), where the context refers to the moadim assemblies of ELOHIM’s Covenant people.
The word synagogue (Gk sunagoge – a generic word for any assembly/ gathering) has been misappropriated in common versions by selective (biased) transliteration, being applied to perceived YAHudim’s assemblies only. BTC translates ‘sunagoge’ as ‘assembly/ congregation’ consistently, as appropriate.
Translating a crucial word from a third-party translation or transliteration is not expedient. An example is the Anglo christ, which is a transliteration from the Greek christos, which is already a translation of the Hebraic source word mashiach (anointed one). Another example is the Anglo angel being transliterated from the Greek translation angelos, instead of transliterating from the Hebraic source word malak (messenger). BTC adopts the transliterated original Hebraic source word malak/ malachim (pl), where shamayim (heavenly) messengers are referred to.
The original Hebraic word for grace chen/ channan, which has been commonly deviated as mercy/ kindness/ favor, has been duly restored as grace in BTC. Grace has been the basis of ELOHIM’s relationship with HIS covenant people from time immemorial.
The original Hebraic word chesed meaning Covenant-faithfulness (Greek, eleos) has been commonly deviated as lovingkindness/ mercy. It is now restored as Covenant-faithfulness. Refer to chesed under List of Significant Hebraic Words (App 1).
The Hebraic word imrah (oral instructions/ Torah) commonly translated as word and its Greek translation rhema, which are differentiated from davar and logos respectively, have been duly restored by transliteration as imrah.
The Anglo words law, lawless and lawlessness as well as their Greek equivalents nomos, anomos, are inadequate when the context refers to the Torah. Such translations have been mis-interpreted as referring to a generic law or any law. Torah refers to that specific Torah which ELOHIM gave to HIS Covenant people (Pentateuch). BTC uses Torah, Torah-less and Torah-lessness to ensure no ambiguity whatsoever, whenever context refers to the Torah (of Mosheh).
The word Torah-lessness (anomia) has been restored in the following critical verses where they had been commonly mis-translated as iniquity or sin - Mt 7:23, 13:41, 23:28, 24:12; Rm 6:19; 2Cor 6:14; 2Th 2:3, 2:7; Tit 2:14; 1Jn 3:4; Heb 1:9. These verses show YAHshua and Shaul’s clear teaching against Torah-lessness.
The Hebraic word moed (plural – moadim. Gk - kairos) is commonly translated as time (s)/ season (s). Its Hebraic meaning refers to ELOHIM’s appointed or prophetic times/ festivals. Restoration of this word as moed/ moadim in BTC has now made the necessary distinction between ELOHIM’s appointed/ prophetic times from other common times.
The Hebraic word eretz, whenever the context refers to the Land of Canaan which ELOHIM promised to Abraham, is translated and capitalized as Land. This ensures clarity between the promised Land and any other land.
Note: All significant transliterated names and words in the main text are in italics and listed accordingly with their original Hebraic meaning in the Appendices.
8. Integrated literal and contextual equivalence
Human language is constantly evolving (for better or for worse). No fallible human language is capable of expressing anything infallibly - the original Hebraic language of Scripture included. No two languages share exactly the same grammar structure or linguistic protocols. There is no such a process as a word for word translation. All translations are effectively a combination of literal and equivalence (whether admitted or not). All human language writings involving what is perceived, envisioned, witnessed, heard or inspired are subject to constraints of the human language used, apart from other human limitations. All subsequent copies or translations from such original writings are additionally subject to the constraints of source-to-destination language and cultural non-equivalence or mismatch, apart from any doctrinal bias or religious traditions.
An objective Scripture translation process should always adopt a literal-contextual approach as basic. Occasionally where sentences or phrases become apparently ambiguous or not meaningful from a literal protocol, then the necessity of supplementing with contextual-equivalence is essential. Translations that dogmatically stick to a literal or comprehensive translation protocol will result in readers having to encounter the occasional incongruent sentences or apparently contradictory statements. This BTC has adopted a literal-contextual approach, coupled with its unique Integrated Translation and Transliteration (ITT) protocol.
9. Hebraic context of Scripture
Given that the pertinent conversations and events in the Messianic Testimonies and Letters were (in spirit and in truth) Hebraic in context, it is therefore apparent that the writing of these Greek language accounts had necessarily been associated with an interpretation-translation process (from their original Hebraic context and terminology), whether by the writers themselves or with scribal-translator assistance. Thus, the normal limitations associated with any language interpretation-translation process would need to be taken into consideration by readers of these Greek accounts, even though they were original works. The effects and constraints of any interpretation-translation process are the same, regardless of whether the interpretation-translation process was an internal bilingual-writer process or external scribal assistance process.
Although the Messianic Testimonies and Letters were recorded in Greek, the fact is that Greek was the Hellenistic gentile language of the Roman Empire in those days. The Greek language and its historical Greco-Hellenistic culture was not intended to be a permanent replacement-culture or substitute-language or revised-context to the Hebraic Scriptures. Thus, the common practice of using purely Greek (or any other gentile language) in crucial Scripture root word study or exposition is neither expedient nor appropriate. As an illustration - any intent to understand the true concept and meaning of the original Hebraic title Elohim cannot be properly achieved by pursuing the historical, linguistic or cultural origins of the Anglo God, Greco Theos, African Mungu, Chinese Shen or any other divinity titles of any other gentile language or culture – it will only be at expense of the original Hebraic root word. Each of the above four gentile divinity titles would have their own root meaning, context and application which are not necessarily congruent with the Hebraic Elohim. The actual conversation, interaction and thought processes amongst the YAHudim, especially amongst YAHshua and His disciples were always in the Hebraic context. Likewise, there is no other gentile language today that can be adequately used on its own for such crucial Scripture root word study purposes – the English language included.
This BTC Integrated Translation & Transliteration (ITT) aims to restore and preserve critical Hebraic Scripture terminologies and their original meaning and context.