Much of the methodology behind the RBT was inspired by Robert Young’s own methodology:
“A strictly literal rendering may not be so pleasant to the ear as one where the apparent sense is chiefly aimed at, yet it is not euphony but truth that ought to be sought, and where in such a version as the one commonly in use in this country [KJV], there are scarcely two consecutive verses where there is not some departure from the original such as those indicated, and where these variations may be counted by tens of thousands, as admitted on all hands, it is difficult to see how verbal inspiration can be of the least practical use to those who depend upon that version alone.”
Robert Young, 1897
In the RBT translation, the four foundational aspects of language (alphabet, vocabulary, sentence structure, and meaning) are presented to the reader in a more unadulterated and authentic manner than ever before in the history of Bible translation. Traditionally, translators have faced limitations in their ability to explore and unveil the technical facets of this ancient language. This limitation stemmed from the absence of modern computer tools that can now efficiently analyze the text in ways previously unimaginable.
Over the past decade, the advent of modern computer programs has revolutionized the study of Hebrew texts. These programs enable the analysis of Hebrew text as parsed data, opening up new and extraordinarily powerful avenues of exploration. The entire body of text can now be examined from multiple dimensions with a simple click, yielding results within seconds. This represents an unparalleled advancement in the field of ancient Hebrew research.
Tokens of Meaning
A concerted effort has been made to consistently translate Hebrew words in a way that keeps them distinct from one another, thus preserving the unique Hebrew tokens of meaning. A token represents a constructed sequence of letters that conveys a specific meaning (also known as “a word”). For example, miqneh (#4735), behemah (#929), and beir (#1165) are often inconsistently translated with similar terms (livestock, cattle, herd, beast, wild beast, etc.). Such translation practices assume that token words are chosen without careful consideration or serve little literary purpose in their own right. Take the Hebrew token word nephesh, for instance, which means “breath” but is translated in various ways in the NASB, most notably as “soul.”
any (1), anyone (2), anyone* (1), appetite (7), being (1), beings (3), body (1), breath (1), corpse (2), creature (6), creatures (3), dead (1), dead person (2), deadly (1), death (1), defenseless* (1), desire (12), desire* (2), discontented* (1), endure* (1), feelings (1), fierce* (2), greedy* (1), heart (5), heart’s (2), herself (12), Himself (4), himself (19), human (1), human being (1), hunger (1), life (146), life* (1), lifeblood* (2), lives (34), living creature (1), longing* (1), man (4), man’s (1), men* (2), mind (2), Myself (3), myself (2), number (1), ones (1), others (1), ourselves (3), own (1), passion* (1), people (2), people* (1), perfume* (1), person (68), person* (1), persons (19), slave (1), some (1), soul (238), soul’s (1), souls (12), strength (1), themselves (6), thirst (1), throat (2), will (1), wish (1), wishes (1), yourself (11), yourselves (13).
This results in roughly eighty English expressions being employed to represent a single Hebrew term. Translators often presume that “breath” can encompass a multitude of meanings and have generally favored broader, more figurative definitions over retaining the original Hebrew token itself, such as “nephesh.” However, can we confidently assume that ancient people had such a loose approach to their limited vocabulary? How can we be certain? If one were to converse with an ancient Israelite using the word “nephesh,” would the response be, “Could you clarify what you mean by ‘nephesh’?”
The goal of the RBT translation is to minimize the inclusion of fill words. It’s worth noting that the Hebrew Scriptures comprise approximately 420,000 words, while the King James translation of the Hebrew Scriptures contains around 622,000 words. This constitutes an addition of over 200,000 words. Modern translations often introduce even more additional words.
Words in italics are supplied words to help readability and flow of the sentence. These are used as sparingly as possible so as not to force the reading of the passage in any particular way.
A Book of Dark Sayings
Rather than distancing or concealing the gender and the cryptic intricacies within the language, this translation immerses the reader in the enigmatic thought patterns of the ancients as thoroughly as possible.
Feel free to interpret the text in your own way. The primary aim here is to eliminate bias, preconception, agenda, speculation, and interpretation from the translation process, preserving the etymological or lexicographical meanings as they are known. This allows readers a chance to decipher hard texts for themselves. Let the reader understand (Matt. 24:15). Ancient Hebrew fundamentally challenges modern theoretical notions of linguistics and authorship. For example, what is the purpose of writing a letter in reverse?
“The primary set of inverted nuns is found surrounding the text of Numbers 10:35–36.” Are they a textual-critical mark? An editorial annotation? Are they brackets denoting a separate “lost” book and thus signifying that there are actually seven books of the Torah as the Talmud states? The dispute over the meaning is an interesting one. Cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_nun
In essence, this translation doesn’t rely on individuals “figuring it out” through contextual reasoning. Instead, akin to Jesus eluding the crowd, it skillfully avoids attempts by modern scribes to manipulate the text to serve an agenda. Instead, it seeks to present the text in its raw, unfiltered form, revealing the narratives to be far more enigmatic than previously believed. Many translations over the past two millennia have been marred by presuppositions and traditions. Reading these concretely translated words allows readers to place themselves in the author’s shoes and determine the author’s intended message, eliminating authoritarian bias that has pervaded most translations.
The Greek New Testament has also been subject to agendas, traditions, and religious interpretations. Key words like “sin,” “spiritual,” “anoint,” “persecute,” “evil,” and “pray” are specific to religio-cultural language and not found in Classical Greek or Hebrew. For instance, “worship” comes from a word that could be properly translated as “to kiss.” This translation adheres closely to the plain biblical definitions, using classical Greek definitions rather than “contextualized” or “extended” definitions.
Ishamael vs. Isaac
Take another look at Galatians 4:28-29 in the unfiltered literal translation, and you’ll notice that the distinctions between Isaac and Ishmael might not be as clear as previously believed:
“and you brothers, according to Isaac [whose name means He Laughs], are children of a promise. But just as at that time the one who was generated [of male, not referring to female #G1080] according to flesh was pursuing [#G1377] the one according to the spirit, in this manner also now.” Galatians 4:28-29 literal
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its voice, but you know not where it comes from or where it goes forth, thus is the whole of those begotten from the Spirit.” John 3:8 literal
Genesis 21:12-13 poignantly describes the promises to both Isaac and Ishmael, and it seems that Ishmael receives a bigger deal than Isaac:
“…for in He-Laughs [Isaac] a seed is being called-out to-you. And also, אֶת-the son of the Slavewoman to a nation I am placing [Ishmael] him, for your seed is him [Ishmael].” Genesis 21:12-13 literal
Notice how the text points to Ishmael as being the seed of Abraham, while Isaac is a seed called out to Abraham. Could the body of Christ [Anointed-one], the seed of Abraham, have been allegorized in Ishmael?
“And to Abraham were spoken the promises and to his seed. It does not say ‘And to the seeds, as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your seed’ which is Christ.” Galatians 3:16 literal
No commentator or scholar has ever understood how Ishmael “persecuted” Isaac because there is no mention of such an event in the Genesis narrative. In fact, the mystery becomes even stranger when we read Genesis 21:9 (the textual basis of the assumption of Ishmael “persecuting” Isaac) in the literal:
“And Noblewoman [Sarah] is seeing אֶת-the builder [son] of Hagar of Dual-Siege, whom she has borne to Father-of-Multitude [Abraham], is he-who-laughs [Isaac].”
The author is referring to Ishmael in the participle “he who laughs,” which happens to be the definition of the name Isaac. What is happening here? Could it be that Paul sees Ishmael, born according to the flesh, as the body of Christ and seed of Abraham, and sees Isaac, as the resurrected Christ, the seed called-out? Keep in mind Christ himself also goes through two births, one of the virgin Mary, and the second in the baptism of John when the Holy Spirit settles on him.
Unveiling a distinctive aspect of the Word of God, enigmas take center stage in the Hebrew texts. Samson, for instance, presented a riddle: “From the Eating-one has come out food, and from a powerful-one has come out a sweet-one.” The answer to this riddle was honey and a lion. Or was it? Could this riddle be a part of a larger enigma?
“And the men of the City are saying to him in the Seventh Hot-one in-before the Sun is going in, ‘what is sweet from honey, and what is strong from a lion?’ And Samson is saying to them if you have not plowed in my heifer, you have not found my enigma.” Judges 14:18 literal*
*(The Hebrew preposition “from” sometimes serves as a comparative function, i.e., sweeter than and stronger than.)
It seemed they had solved the riddle. Or had they? Samson’s answer itself is cryptic and suggests they might not have truly understood it. The entire narrative appears to be an enigma within an enigma. Reviewing the story in its literal form, the enigma was unveiled on the seventh hot-one. Unless they plowed in his heifer, they had not truly unraveled it.
The Hebrew term here is “chidah” (#2420), which translates to riddle, enigma, or dark saying. Its Greek counterpart is “ainigma” (#G135), as found in 1 Corinthians 13:12 if translated accurately. Translators have consistently altered this word into adjectives like “darkly” or “obscurely” when it’s a simple noun.
“For now we are looking through a mirror, in an enigma. However, then face towards face. For now I am recognizing from out of a portion; however then I will recognize as also I have been recognized.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 literal
If we consider “now” and “then” as pivotal words, this little enigma could be revealing two points in time that intersect somehow. Paul appears to anticipate seeing himself from another point in time, face to face, when we remove centuries of preconceptions and biased orthodoxy. This aligns with James’ statement regarding the scriptures:
“…because if anyone is a hearer of a word and not a maker, this one is like a man recognizing the face of the genesis [#G1078] of himself in a mirror; for he has recognized himself and has gone away and straightway he has forgotten what kind [genos] he was.” James 1:23-24 literal
Hebrew Space-Time: To become, First, Last, Beginning, End
One of the most profound mysteries lies in how the ancient Hebrew language approached the accusative of time and space. The existing scholarship on this topic is sorely lacking and remains inconclusive. It’s worth noting that even today, astrophysicists grapple with understanding space-time, and theories proposed by brilliant minds since Einstein are truly mind-boggling.
One of the most often overlooked aspects by translators is the absence of distinct past, present, or future tenses in Hebrew verbs. Instead, Hebrew employs “complete” and “incomplete” forms. Translators have traditionally assumed that these forms were merely linguistic limitations and that the ancient writers used them to convey a past, present, or future “sense.” Interpreting the precise sense was left to context and educated guesses. However, it is uncertain whether the ancients even conceptualized time in a past-present-future framework. Their perspective on the space-time continuum remains unclear.
In the case of the “Complete/Incomplete” forms presented in this translation, we aim to emphasize, rather than obscure, the distinction between them. This approach helps to vividly differentiate between a finished or complete action and an ongoing or incomplete one. Traditionally, modern tenses have been ascribed to Hebrew verbs based on contextual factors like prepositions, adverbs, dialogue, etc., rather than the verb conjugation itself. Hebrew lacks distinct past or future verb conjugations.
The Hebrew language seems to perceive time as a singular “unit,” both “before” and “after.” A more fitting analogy might be to envision time as encompassing us from both the front and behind, akin to two horizons or perhaps as a continuous, circular flow of water. This concept could be likened to a ring of water flowing in opposite directions from a single source. The text subtly alludes to these images repeatedly. This perspective differs significantly from our Western linear notion of plotting points from left to right. It’s evident that Hebrew thought was fundamentally different from ours. They saw Genesis as the “future,” and their concept of “now” held greater significance. Time was perceived in terms of completeness or incompleteness, a notion challenging to grasp in our conventional understanding of time. Consequently, comprehending and translating the Hebrew accusative of time and space has consistently posed a conundrum for scholars and translators because it doesn’t align with Western notions of time.*
Likewise, the Hebrew Scriptures appear to offer durations of time when we, in our modern context, seek specific points in time. This also extends to place versus direction, such as north, west, east, and south. Even Sheol (commonly referred to as Hell) is not depicted as a precise or terminative point or location but rather as a terminative direction (see note at Genesis 37:35).
The Hebrew Scriptures may have been written from right to left for a purpose. What we perceive as moving forward may, in the Hebrew mindset, be akin to moving backward. Throughout the scriptures, a conspicuous literary “game” or cryptic element is discernible, involving inverse thought, opposites, reflection, type and antitype. The question, and perhaps the hidden truth, remains: Why? Is it a manifestation of the Hegelian dialectic, where a thesis + antithesis = synthesis phenomenon is at play? Many words are found in the enigmatic dual form, signifying that they are neither singular nor plural. These words include “eyes,” “waters,” “heavens,” “loins,” “breasts,” “feet,” “double,” “nostrils,” “footsteps,” “wings,” and more. Even words like “stones” and “Jerusalem” occasionally appear in the dual form, adding to the enigmatic nature of the language.
Time and space seem to be subject to this intricate literary game, as exemplified by the wordplay in Ecclesiastes 3:15: “what has become long ago is still present, and what is to come has already been; and God seeks to reunite the banished.”
A statement like this gains coherence if we envision time as a wheel. This three-part, time-defying enigma is also evident in Jesus’ words regarding John: “he is Elijah, who was, who is about to come” (Matt. 11:14). On the surface, it appears that Jesus is suggesting that John occupies two (or even three) points in time simultaneously.
To grasp this ancient Hebrew concept of space-time, we must entertain the idea of a circular continuum, and even then, it remains a challenging concept to fully grasp. Scholars and translators have struggled to comprehend these Hebrew notions, resulting in translations that often miss these subtleties of syntax. Robert
Young is a notable exception, as he attempted to preserve this perspective in the Young’s Literal Translation (YLT). However, throughout history, many Christian scholars have regarded a transition from Hebrew to a Greek New Testament as grounds for deeming Hebrew thought outdated or irrelevant for contemporary understanding. Consequently, they replaced the enigmatic writing style of the Bible with “an urgent universal message for all humanity.” In essence, they have strayed from providing a plain, literal reading of the text.
Yet the Old Testament Hebrew writers viewed the beginning as the end. This concept appears to be illustrated through various picture-parables in Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, in the words of Hagar, and even in the organized arrangement of Jacob’s family as they crossed a torrent-valley in Genesis 33. Ecclesiastes was intended to be read quite literally, as the author skillfully crafted riddle-like sayings throughout the text:
Vapor[Abel #1892] of vapors[abels], the gatherer has said, vapor of vapors: the Whole is vapor.
What is the profit to the Red-one in the whole of his labor who labors underneath the Sun?
A revolution walking, and a revolution coming in, and the Earth to the age is she-who-stands-firm.
And the Sun has broken forth, and the Sun has come in. And toward his standing-place panting [running the race, Ps. 19:5, Heb. 12:1], he-who-breaks-forth is himself there.
He-who-walks toward freedom [south/right] and he-who-circles-around towards hidden [north/left], he-who-circles, he-who-circles, he-who-walks is the Wind, and upon his circuit the Wind is he-who-turns-back [John 3:8].
The whole of the Brooks are those-who-walk toward the Sea, and the Sea is not full [satiated]. Toward a standing-place which the Brooks are those-who-walk there, they are those-turning-back to walk.
The whole of the Words are tired. A man is not able to speak [mute]. An eye is not satisfied to see [blind]. An ear is not filled to hear [deaf].
Who is he who HAS BECOME? He who IS BECOMING. And who is he who has been made? He who is being made. And nothing of the whole is new underneath the sun.
Is there a word of whom he is saying, ‘See, this one is new’? Himself HAS BECOME long-ago to the ages, whom HAS BECOME from-to our faces [from our faces to our faces, 1 Cor. 13:12]. There is no remembrance [foresight] to the First Ones; and also to the Last Ones WHO ARE BECOMING. HE IS BECOMING not to them a remembrance with those WHO ARE BECOMING to the Last One.”
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 literal
Notice how Ecclesiastes 1 is full of participle verbs which speak of actions with specific pronominal suffixes (he/she/them), but without any definite indication of time or place. The participle form in Hebrew is absent of any accusative of time or space. The Hebrew participle is often called a “non-finite” verb form. In other words, it carries a timeless sense.
Accordingly, each circuit would be considered a “remembrance” just like each hot-one is a called a memory. Imagine yourself walking into a memory. We call such an experience déjà vu. It has happened “before”. Perhaps this is the reason Hebrew does not have past/present/future tenses but only the complete/incomplete tense (or better, complete, incomplete). The whole Hebrew Bible is structured in this manner. What is becoming, and about to become, and has already become “long ago”. The wind is he-who-makes his circuit, the words are recorded in “history,” and then they are fulfilled, exactly, for what has been made is he who is being made, i.e what is complete is yet being completed. From his face, to his face. The thinking of the Scriptures is not based on then, but now. And the idea seems to be that then and now unite somehow at some place. Behold, now is the time of favor [a bending down]; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Some Historical Background
A fundamental characteristic of biblical Hebrew is its binary-gendered nature, as the language predominantly employs masculine or feminine constructs throughout, encompassing nouns and verbs alike. It lacks gender-neutral nouns, save for a few “common noun” constructs that are not always straightforward. Hebrew lacks equivalent words for “it” or “that.” This stands in contrast to several Asian languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and Austronesian languages, which are “genderless.” In between, we find the ternary (three-part) Indo-European languages, which include masculine, feminine, and neuter genders. These languages encompass biblical Greek, Old English, German, Czech, Old Irish, and Slavic languages. Some languages have more than three noun classes, like Swahili, which has eighteen. Modern English has shed the grammatical gender of Old English and now employs only three gendered pronouns.
Translating a binary language into a ternary one poses a challenge. How does one translate a feminine plural verb into an English verb? The challenge becomes even more complex when translating a binary-gendered language into a genderless language.
Throughout history, Bible texts have been subject to agenda-driven translation practices and cover-ups. In 2007, a new Bible translation called The Inclusive Bible was introduced, adding to the already crowded world of Bible translations. In its introduction, this translation openly declared its agenda to “refresh” the language by “cleansing” it of male pronouns, claiming that the Bible needed to conform to the standards of political correctness in our era. They mentioned retranslating “a few passages based on scholars and activists.” Their Hebrew translation, they wrote, was “carefully crafted to let the power and poetry of the language shine forth.” But did they truly grasp the essence of the “power and poetry” of the language? This “careful crafting” led to substantial changes in the text, such as altering “Kingdom of God” to “Kindom of God” to reflect collectivist political theory and to oppose the perceived “classist” connotations of “kingdom.” “Father God” was changed to “Abba God” or “Loving God” to challenge “the patriarchy.” These are significant alterations to the original text.
“And don’t call anyone on earth your ‘Mother’ or ‘Father.’ You have only one Parent—our loving God in heaven.” (Matthew 29:3, Inclusive Bible)
Their anti-family agenda appears to overshadow any notion of “power and poetry.” How did such openly deceptive practices by scholars come to be published? Why would these “scholars” spend a decade hijacking and recreating an ancient text in this manner? Is it because today’s “scholars” have assumed the roles of modern-day soothsayers and prophets in a new collectivist religion? Even those driven by similar agendas cannot seem to agree on the essence of the Hebrew language. In “Good News For Women,” a widely circulated Christian evangelical book from the late 1990s, the “power and poetry” of the Hebrew language was not viewed as radiant but as oppressive:
We should note that the ancient Hebrew language was an expression of the patriarchal culture.
These agenda-driven “scholars” believe that the ancient text should be adapted or reworked to align with their modern progressive thinking, essentially “making it relevant” or “refreshed.” This only serves to obscure the true text and manipulate the masses into corruption. The author seems to both affirm and deny divine inspiration simultaneously, stating:
We cannot conclude, simply because the Bible was written under divine inspiration, that the languages in which the Bible was written were themselves created under divine inspiration. These languages were as male-centered as the cultures they reflected and by which they were created.
So, which is it? Either the language is inspired, and thus the writing as well, or it is not. According to this perspective, the ancient language should be discarded, and a “relevant message” somehow derived from it. This approach is not only unacademic but also fraudulent. However, this practice of agenda-driven translation fraud did not originate with the Marxist Left in the 1980s. Every single translation since the canonization of the scriptures by the early Nicene councils under Emperor Constantine has been tainted by agenda-driven malpractice. These agendas gave rise to tradition, and these traditions became the gold standard for translation methodology and practice ever since.
*See Meek, Theophile James. “The Hebrew Accusative of Time and Place.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 60, no. 2 (1940): 224-33. doi:10.2307/594010.