My overarching goal in producing the Blessed Hope Translation has been to make the blessed hope of the gospel, as well as the basis of that hope and the call to holy living with which that hope is inextricably connected, clear for readers. We pray that God would use this translation to help you continue fixing your eyes on the hope of the gospel.
There are many excellent English translations in the world today. So why this translation? My primary reasons for producing the Blessed Hope Translation (BHT) can be summarized as follows:
I knew that doing this project would force me to grapple with the Biblical text at a deep level, and my prayer was that God would use such a project to satisfy the thirst for His Word that I believe He himself had graciously placed in me. God has been kind to answer this prayer. He has not disappointed.
When I stand before Jesus on the Day of His glorious appearing, I want to hear Him say, “Well done, faithful servant. You trembled at My holy Word. You built on the one true foundation with gold and silver and precious stones. You gave My Word the time and careful attention that it deserves, and you handled it rightly.”
At one point in my earlier years as a follower of Jesus, I noticed that what one denomination or church tradition championed as the “most faithful translation,” another accused of being “inaccurate.” Eventually, my desire to give a fair hearing to different theological perspectives and translation philosophies became so strong that I decided to embark on this project in an attempt to be a good “Berean.”
I and many of my friends and colleagues in ministry do a lot of teaching on the subject of “Biblical Worldview.” In the years leading up to the beginning of this project, there seemed to be a growing “itch” in our ministry context for a translation that addressed worldview-related distortions of the Biblical hope. My desire in this project was to “scratch” this itch, although in a way that would not devalue, but rather honor and appreciate, other English translations.
One kind of knowledge with which God has enriched the Body of Christ over the last 10-20 years, and for which I myself am deeply thankful to the Lord, is that of new levels of clarity into New Testament Greek, resulting from the hard work and labors of a number of excellent linguists and scholars.
I desired to produce a translation that is available to people free of charge, in the hope that it might somehow help the gospel go forth without hindrance or obstacle. Freely we have received, freely we give (Mt 10:6). The electronic version of the BHT is completely free online or via the BHT app, and a printed version is available at the cost of printing, shipping, and publisher’s fee only.
I believe with all my heart that it was at the direction of God, and at the prompting of a sincere faith, that I set out on this journey that I now know could only have been accomplished by His power. God’s many acts of miraculous provision over the years, along with His constant faithfulness to give strength in times of weakness and doubt, were much needed confirmations along the way that I had not lost my mind in embarking on this difficult project.
Looking back in hindsight, I can now see that in addition to the reasons already listed, God also had several other unforeseen purposes for this project in His own mind when He called me to it. Among other things, He used this project to train me in humility, to grant me increased freedom from the fear of man, and to give me strength through my wife’s battle with cancer.
It is my conviction that each translation philosophy has its own strengths and weaknesses, and is, therefore, worthy of being utilized at different times in the translation process. On the one hand, I share many of the values and concerns that cause many Bible scholars to favor more “formal” translations, many if not most of which have the seminary or another formal academic context as their womb. On the other hand, I also share many of the values and concerns of those who have labored faithfully in ministries that specialize in Bible translation and usually promote more “meaning-based” approaches to translation. Like a number of other English translations, therefore, I have attempted an integrative approach in the Blessed Hope Translation (BHT). Throughout the BHT, I have done my best to be transparent with readers, giving them an open window into thousands of translation decisions. The electronic version of the translation, along with all translator’s notes, is completely free online or via the BHT app. If people want a printed copy, they can either download a print-ready PDF and print it on their own, or order a copy at cost only (the printed version does not include translator’s notes). The BHT is licensed under Creative Commons, so please feel free to copy and distribute it in any medium or format you like (noncommercially, please).
At what point has a translator actually “crossed the line” and fallen into the arms of one linguistic and cultural milieu in betrayal of another to whom he or she also desires to be faithful? Indeed, the question, “What makes for a ‘good’ or a ‘legitimate’ or an ‘accurate’ or a ‘justified’ or a ‘faithful’ or a ‘trustworthy’ or an ‘acceptable’ or an ‘authorized’ Bible translation?” is a difficult one, the dispute over whose answer, at various junctures of history, has even cost some godly people—such as William Tyndale in the sixteenth century—their lives. It is this challenging question to which we now turn our attention.