What is the Evangelical Heritage Version?
Our translation is called Evangelical because its highest goal is to proclaim the good news of the gospel of salvation through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son. Though there are many topics in the Bible, all of them are there to serve the gospel of Christ. All of our work in producing and distributing this translation is directed to the glory of God and to the eternal salvation of people’s souls.
Our translation is called Heritage because this word heritage looks to the past, the present, and the future.
Heritage expresses our respect for the generations of Christians and for the faithful translators who have passed the Bible down to us. We are aware that we in the present are building on the foundation which they have laid for us. As the old saying goes: We can see so far because we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
The term Heritage also looks to the future. The gospel is a precious inheritance that is to be passed from generation to generation until Christ returns. It is our prayer that this translation will have a part in that great mission which the Lord has left for his church. Our goal and motto is expressed in the hymn verse:
God’s Word is our great heritage
and shall be ours forever.
To spread its light from age to age
shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way.
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
we keep its teaching pure
throughout all generations.
To this end, our goal is to produce a balanced translation, suitable for all-purpose use in the church.
We seek a balance between the old and the new. We debated whether our translation should be called new or revised. Neither term tells the whole story. Our translation can be called revised or traditional insofar as it builds on the tradition of Bible translation that goes back to the King James Version, to Martin Luther, and beyond. It is new in that it is not based on any one template, and it introduces new terms in those places where the traditional terms no longer communicate clearly.
We seek a balance between the poles of so-called literal and dynamic equivalent theories of translation. A translator should not adhere too closely to any one theory of translation because literalistic, word-for-word translations sometimes convey the wrong meaning, or they do not communicate clearly in the receiving language. Overly free translations deprive the reader of some of the expressions, imagery, and style of the original.
We seek a balance between formality and informality. The Bible contains many types of literature and different levels of language, from the very simple to the very difficult. For this reason, the translator should not be too committed to producing one level of language but should try to reproduce the tone or “flavor” of the original.
The Evangelical Heritage Version is designed for learning and teaching. Our translators assume that their readers have the ability and the desire to learn new biblical words and to deepen their understanding of important biblical terms and concepts. Translators should not be condescending or patronizing toward their readers but should be dedicated to helping them grow. The Bible was written for ordinary people, but it is a literary work with many figures of speech and many rare words. The Bible is a book to be read, but it is also a book to be studied. Our footnotes are designed to assist in the process of learning and teaching. Our translation is in that sense a textbook.
The Evangelical Heritage Version is not an interpretative translation. On one level, every act of translation involves interpretation, but when we say that the Evangelical Heritage Version strives to avoid importing interpretation into the translation, we mean that our duty and goal is to understand and to reproduce as closely as possible what the original text says and to say no more and no less than what the text says.
We offer this translation to the church as a balanced translation, suitable for all-purpose use in the church.