Key Principlesfor the Tree of Life Version
1. Restoring the Jewish Name of Messiah:
Messiah Yeshua, rather than Jesus Christ. Yeshua is what the Messiah’s mother, Mary (Miriam), called him. Likewise, Messiah should be easily understood as His title, not His last name. When using the term Jesus Christ, this title can be easily mistaken as His surname, especially to those unfamiliar with the teachings of the New Covenant.
2. Restoring the reverence for the four letter unspoken name of יהוה God:
The tetra-grammaton, YHWH, will be translated as
3. Restoring the clarity of the difference between the creator and the creation:
We will capitalize all pronouns that refer to the deity, of both Father and Son. This allows for all readers to discern easily who is speaking to whom and honors God’s divinity always.
4. Restoring the sacrificial death of Messiah Yeshua to the Torah from which the Good News unfolds:
This Bible 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. The same power that raised Messiah from the dead abides in all who believe, for Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) alike.
5. Restoring more universal Hebrew terminology previously overlooked in most translations:
We include these terms in the glossary for the sake of our common Messianic culture and to help newer learners. They should already be very comfortable for most believers today.
Examples: shalom, halleluyah, amen, matzah, shofar
6. Adding, with the use of italicizing, 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, we restore the fuller meaning of certain words - in context- by providing Hebrew terms defined in our glossary. There are only about 50 Hebrew transliterated words throughout the entire New Covenant text and they can easily be added to our growing biblical vocabulary.
Examples: Ben-Elohim, Torah, mikveh, tsitsit, abba, echad, shabbat
7. 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. We are just changing them back so that their names bear witness to their Jewish Heritage. This list is VERY limited. They include Miriam for Mary, Jacob for James and Judah for Jude. All these names we felt strongly about because they were Yeshua’s family members. Many believers study for years and don’t know that Jacob and Judah, Yeshua’s own brothers, wrote two of the books of the New Testament.
8. Clear up confusing language when referring to people not born Jewish in the text:
We will be using “Gentile” for non-Jewish peoples of unknown faith distinction. This text will use “pagan” for any person following a faith choice that is not considered 1st century Judaism. We may use “nations” when speaking of people groups not included within the believing “descendants of Israel,” whether born Jewish or “grafted in.”
9. Clear up confusion between misunderstandings about intent when referring to the terms - synagogue and church:
We will be using several different terms for “gatherings” of believers in Messiah. The terms we use in this Bible will directly affect how readers self-actualize the personal message of salvation in Messiah Yeshua. Since these terms have often promoted division between Jews and Christians for centuries, we must take special care to define them properly for today.
10. Clear up the confusion about the terminology concerning the “Jews” of the New Covenant:
Just like there is a distinction between Jewish people (descendants of Israel) and Judeans (all people living in Judea), there are distinct groups of Jewish people in the New Testament that need to be understood. There were antagonistic Jewish people that disagreed with Yeshua, there were Jewish people that loved and followed Yeshua and there were Jewish people who were undecided about Yeshua. And there were Jewish religious leaders in all three of those categories. Since Judaism during Yeshua’s life was pluralistic, knowing who the participants are- in any debate- is essential to understanding.
11. Clear 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, we will avoid using the word ‘Tanakh’ within the biblical text.
While the same word in the Septuagint for ‘law’ is used repeatedly, the New Covenant writers are often referring to different realms of laws in both Jewish and Roman culture. Additionally, sometimes when debating Jewish laws, they are debating Jewish traditions that were commonly followed as “oral laws.” When these different debates about the different types of laws of Yeshua’s day are only translated as “law” they can end up sounding contradictory. Therefore, we will be especially careful to use terminology that can differentiate between natural laws, Roman laws, rabbinical traditions and Jewish customs without adding explanatory words to the text.
12. Restoring the earlier work of translators by providing new terms for words whose meaning has become altered by changes in language over the centuries:
13. Restoring the Jewish culture of Yeshua’s day through art and documented Biblical holiday observance:
We included detailed black and white drawings to bring the reader back into the Jewish culture of the day. The lack of color in these drawings provide the barrier needed to still leave much to the imagination of the viewer. These images are just a starting point to begin the process of the visual discovery of Messiah’s Jewish heritage.
14. Restoring the Jewish order to the books of the Old Testament:
The order of the books of the Bible, in the Old Testament only, will be in keeping with traditional Jewish texts. To clearly see the need for this, compare the last chapter in Malachai (the Christian order) with the last chapter of 2nd Chronicles (the Jewish order). No wonder the Jewish Scriptures do not end with Malachai. Restoring the Jewish order is a better segue to the grace of Messiah’s love. All those seeking God need to be filled with hope on the next page – The Good News!
15. Focusing upon the principle of gender equality, not gender neutrality:
We acknowledge that when a word like “man” or “brothers” is used, it sounds like that the writer is only talking about men and excluding women, but that is not the case! Messiah actually teaches that women and men should be treated as equal before God. It was after Messiah’s resurrection when women began being formally addressed in the crowds, too. Carefully consider each salutation in this translation. Our goal is to increase understanding without straying from an accurate interpretation of the actual biblical language.
16. Keeping unity within our Theological Review team as they work together on the entire text:
This diverse theological team is made up of scholars who follow various expressions of Messianic Judaism. They work together, book by book through a multi-layer review process, allowing discussion, prayerful consideration and ultimately unanimous consensus under Messiah’s headship.