The 2001 Translation AboutOur manuscripts and source texts

Three generations of women sitting at a table with a large Bible
Juledag 1900, by Michael Peter Ancher, 1903

A Bible translation typically uses a primary source text, or critical edition. What’s that? It’s a version of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek texts compiled from various manuscripts by experts to produce the most reliable text.

We don’t only consult one critical edition, codex, or manuscript. Our volunteers are free to use whatever they like. However, here’s what our translation primarily uses.

Old Testament

Our Old Testament is based on the Greek Septuagint, not the Hebrew Masoretic text (although the Hebrew is consulted when necessary).

Three main families of the Greek Septuagint have survived down to our day (Alexandrinus, Sinaiticus, and Vaticanus). While they overwhelmingly agree with each other, they have a small number of differences.

Originally, our primary source text for the Old Testament was the critical edition of the Septuagint by Henry Barclay Swete (printed in 1930), which is primarily based on the Codex Sinaiticus.

As of 2021, we have switched to the Apostolic Bible for our primary source text. That is mostly based on the Codex Vaticanus family, but takes input from all manuscripts. The Apostolic Bible is an excellent choice, as it is still being updated and improved as more discoveries are made.

New Testament

We approach the New Testament in a unique way. We believe that much of the NT may have been originally in Aramaic (except for Mark, Luke, and Acts), and therefore could have been translated into Greek in ancient times.

Therefore our NT is a hybrid translation. It is primarily based on the Greek source texts (as people who know Ancient Greek are easier to find), but where the Aramaic differs, we are more inclined to defer to the Aramaic (but not in Mark, Luke, and Acts, which we believe were originally in Greek). We don’t always do this, especially in Matthew, as we don’t know when the Aramaic adopted errors back from the Greek. Each situation is assessed separately.

Our primary source for the Greek was originally the Westcott and Hort text, however, volunteers consulted the Tischendorf and Nestle-Aland editions so much, that soon it became clear that no single critical edition was used or trusted more than any other.

Today, our primary Greek source is (like with the OT), the excellent Apostolic Bible, although our volunteers consult other critical editions too, especially the Nestle-Aland Bible, which is still updated and known as the Novum Testamentum Graece, available at academic-bible.com, and is now in it’s 28th edition.

We have three primary sources for the Aramaic: the Peshitta published by the British and Foreign Bible Society (1920), and the Khabouris Codex Transcription by Stephen P. Silver. The Crawford Codex may be descended from the original Aramaic copies of 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation. English transcriptions are all available from the excellent Dukhrana project.


About our translation