Many have undertaken translation of the sacred Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek writings—known collectively as The Holy Bible—into English, with varying degrees of success. The word Bible comes from the Greek βιβλία, the plural form of βιβλίον ("book" or "scroll"). Thus, the Holy Books or Holy Scrolls are the protocanonical collection of God-breathed writings central to Judeo-Christian belief. Christians regard the original autographic manuscripts to be directly inspired by God, inerrant ("without error"), and infallible ("without fault"; i.e., incapable of fallacy). The absolute truth of God revealed therein is the basis for the Protestant/Evangelical doctrine of Sola Scriptura ("by Scripture alone")—the fundamental belief that God's word stands alone as the ultimate arbiter of religious, spiritual, and historical truth because that knowledge which is directly revealed by God to mankind is perfect and without flaw. All beliefs and theories regarding origins and religion are only true insofar as they agree with Scripture, and are false inasmuch as they disagree.
While Christians recognize the infallibility of the autographs, there is also necessary recognition that the original writings have been lost to history. What we now possess are manuscript copies or copies of copies of the originals. Some of these copies were made shortly after the originals and others were written many decades later. To complicate matters, there are distinct manuscript versions and text-types of the Old and New Testaments with minor discrepancies. For the Old Testament we must consider the distinctives between various manuscript versions such as the Masoretic Text (MT), Septuagint (LXX), Samaritan Pentateuch (SP), and Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). And for the New Testament, translators compare the Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine text-types.
The goal of any good translation is to produce a readable text that preserves the original autographic meaning and comes as close as possible to translating, word-for-word, manuscripts that accurately represent the original writings. It's with this goal in mind that the Literal Standard Version (LSV) was written—a modern, yet literal English translation based upon the most prolific texts: the Masoretic Text (MT) for the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus (TR) and Majority Text (M) for the New. However, in certain, specific instances other manuscript versions and text-types are used where the evidence seems incontrovertible (e.g., the LXX and DSS in the Hebrew and Aramaic; the Alexandrian in the Greek).
While many may at first feel disoriented by the cacophony of textual questions, it should be stated with utmost certainty that one of the many things that sets The Holy Bible apart as the unique and divinely inspired word of God is that the manuscript evidence for it is simply overwhelming. No other ancient text, religious or otherwise, has as much manuscript support as The Holy Bible. There are literally tens of thousands of papyri fragments, external citations, and complete copies of ancient manuscripts in the original languages and though there are minor variations, the texts, across all versions, are largely identical. Recent discoveries, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, add further weight to the authenticity of the Scriptures and the accuracy of the translation-base from which we translate to English.
Distinctive features of the Literal Standard Version of The Holy Bible:
- A modern, literal, word-for-word (formal equivalence) English translation of the Holy Scriptures utilizing English word rearrangement when necessitated for readability. The LSV is the most literal translation of The Holy Bible, with significant improvement over previous literal translations, including Robert Young's excellent Young's Literal Translation.
- Preservation of verb tenses wherever possible.
- Utilization of the transliterated Tetragrammaton in the Old Testament. All uppercase LORD is used in the New Testament when a reference to Yhwh is likely.
- Generally consistent approach to formal equivalence translation; most English translations use a broad set of words when translating a single Greek or Hebrew word based on context. We are striving to only use varying words when the context demands it.
- Removal of many Hebrew and Greek transliterations; remember, transliterations are generally not translations.
- Unlike most translations, justified typographic alignment consistent with the style of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek biblical autographs. The ancient caesura mark is used for easy readability of poetic literature such as the Psalms.