Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442


Fred R. Coulter, Minister

January 9, 2007

Dear Brethren,

We are continuing to make good progress with the Bible Project. As you know, this Bible will be called The Holy Bible In Its Original Order—a Faithful Version. Some have asked, "Why are we doing this?" While there are many answers to that question, here are some of the most important reasons for the Bible Project:

  • Our primary motive is simply that we love God the Father and Jesus Christ—and we love the Word of God and desire to have it correctly translated and made plain so people can better understand the Truth of God.

  • There are so many versions of the Bible today that actually distort the meaning of God’s Word and obscure the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • There has never been a complete English Bible published in its original order.

  • The KJV NT includes many blatant mistakes which have been corrected in the Faithful Version of the NT. Likewise, this project will correct KJV translation errors made in the OT—resulting in a faithful version of the entire Bible.

  • The whole Bible—not just the New Testament alone—proclaims the Gospel. This project is therefore another way of preaching and publishing the Gospel as God has commanded us to do.

  • The Church of God should have its own faithful version—one which brethren can look to with confidence, knowing that it has been accurately translated.

In completing this project, it is our daily prayer that we are continually led by the Holy Spirit of God—that we express in English the most accurate meaning of the original Hebrew for the OT, and the original Greek for the NT.

1611 KJV English is Not a Sacred Language: Because the majority of newer versions of the Bible are filled with translation errors, many fundamentalist Protestants rely solely on the KJV of the Bible—even going so far as to venerate the 1611 English a "sacred" language. But the OT was inspired to be written in Hebrew, and the NT in Greek. What is truly sacred, however, is not the language itself, but the message God has inspired to be written.

Concerning the Old Testament, Jesus proclaimed: "It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’ " (Matt. 4:4). He also said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until the heaven and the earth shall pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the Law until everything has been fulfilled" (Matt. 5:17-18). We use Jesus Christ’s teachings as the fundamental basis for completing this Faithful Version of the OT.

The fact is, Hebrew and Greek are far different than English—and it usually takes several words in English to completely express the full meaning of a single word in another language. In answer to questions about the OT Project, our editor Philip Neal wrote the following: "The premise of all Bible translations is that the meaning of the text should be conveyed in as clear and comfortable a manner as possible in the reader’s own language. Ideally, the reader should not have to work or struggle to understand what is being said.

"The original Hebrew text is just that, Hebrew—an ancient and sometimes obscure language that speaks in a way very different from today’s English. Word order in Hebrew is vastly different from word order in English. While the KJV does sometimes follow the original Hebrew text’s word order, it more often does not. Why? If the KJV translators had insisted on following the Hebrew word order, the resulting translation would be awkward and difficult to read. For example, here’s how Gen. 2:3 would read (each underlined section is from a single Hebrew word):

And-he-blessed God day-of the-seventh and-he-made-holy it because on-it

he-rested from-all-of work-of-him that he-created God to-do.

"This word order actually reflects how the Hebrew people spoke. So, the job of the translator is to take the same information with the meaningintact and rearrange the words—to make it read (and speak) in a manner that is both familiar and comfortable.

"No translation—including the revered KJV—can even begin to fully convey the cadence and syntax of the ancient Hebrew text. The two languages are worlds apart. One of the realities of translation is that something always gets lost. The meaning of the words, however, is what must come through untarnished."

In translating into English, we must also understand that the use of more words (or in some cases fewer words) does not mean that we are losing a single "jot" or "tittle." The key is this: We are not removing words from or adding words to the original text. We are being as faithful as possible, asking God for guidance in everything we do, so that we will truly convey the meaning of the original Hebrew into the English.

Therefore, everyone can be assured that we are always keeping in mind—with fear and trembling—the warning that the apostle John gave at the end of the book of Revelation: "For I jointly testify [with Jesus Christ] to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book [the whole Bible as well], that if anyone adds to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the book of life, and from the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book" (Rev. 22:18-19).

I hope that this information helps to clarify the reasons behind producing the Holy Bible in its original order. If you like the New Testament translation, I am sure that you will like the Old Testament version as well. Everyone can be well assured that it will be just as accurate and faithful as the New Testament.

This month’s letter is a bit short because of the work on the Bible Project, the Holy Day Transcript book and my travel schedule. This week I will be going to Monrovia, in southern California, for the Sabbath. In February I will be going to Waco and Houston, Texas. In March, it will be on to Seattle and Spokane, then back to Monrovia. In April, during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I will be going to Atlanta, Georgia and Manchester, New Hampshire. Finally, in May, we will have the Elders’ conference, with Sabbath services in Cincinnati. Everyone in his or her respective area will receive a travel announcement with complete information. Later this month we will be sending out receipts and the annual financial report.

We will be making two CDs to send to you as our final tests before we officially switch over completely to CDs. We will mail the first one next week. The final test CD will be recorded in MP3 format and will have over three hours of sermons. We will mail it to you the first part of February.

Brethren, thank you for all your love and prayers for us and all the other brethren as well. We all need your prayers. We love you and are praying for you daily. We thank you for all your support through your tithes and offerings as God blesses you. May God continue to bless you and yours in every way.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter