OET Readers’ Version

  • The Readers’ Version speaks like people around you. Because the history and legacy of English Bibles now goes back for hundreds of years, many things have been carried over that readers don’t even realise. For example, we all smile at Yoda saying, “Strong is the force.” That’s because naturally we would say, “The force is strong.” So think about “Great is your faithfulness.” (At least Miles Coverdale improved it in 1535 if you look carefully.) But our aim isn’t at all to criticise those who came before (because we very-much build on their shoulders)—we just want our readers to be able to share the Good News of Jesus the messiah with others, without them thinking that Christians speak like dinosaurs (or Yoda)!
  • The Readers’ Version has section headings and cross-references and most of the other features that help modern Bible readers.
  • The Readers’ Version uses modern units for all measurements (easy to understand and visualise).
  • The Readers’ Version keeps well-known figures of speech, but if the original figure of speech is not readily understandable, it explains the point that the author appears to be trying to express.
  • Up and down in the original languages (and thus in the Literal Version) refer to uphill and downhill. However, in the Readers’ Version, up and down are used to refer to north and south respectively as per our modern norm.
  • The Readers’ Version is less formal than most modern English Bible translations, for example, we would use contracted words like we’ll and didn’t, especially when it’s in direct speech. (Always remember that the Bible was written in the languages of the common people.)
  • The Readers’ Version is less wordy than some English Bible translations, because we don’t always need to translate all the words, e.g., something like ‘And all the assembly of the sons of Israel departed from the land of Egypt’ might become ‘Then all the Israelis left Egypt’ as well as removing unnecessary duplicated phrases like in Exo 18:10. (Always remember that the Readers’ Version is for Bible readers, and the Literal Version is right there for those who’re wanting to get in and study the text.)
  • The Readers’ Version uses section headings which are very helpful to skim through when trying to locate a certain passage. However, you’ll quickly notice that they are formatted in such a way as not to break the flow of the letter or narrative. This is to visually help the reader to appreciate the full context of the part they’re reading, and not to ignore the connections with what came before and what follows.
    We’ve also tried to focus our section headings on principles that are being taught, rather than just focusing on the events happening at the time.
    We provide a list of these section headings that you can quickly skim through (and we hope to also include extra, alternative headings in the future).
  • Being a 21st century translation done in an era when there is much more effort in general to respect speakers of other languages (including the languages of ethnic minorities in our own countries) and to pronounce their names and placenames correctly, the OET attempts to show greater respect for Biblical names and placenames.
  • In addition to wanting to get names and placenames more accurate, we’ve also attempted to modernise and simplify the spelling (transliterations) of these names to make it easier for readers to pronounce them as they come across them, e.g., using f instead of ph, so Epafras instead of Epaphras.
  • With regular words, we’ve tried to do the opposite, i.e., to use less Greek rather than more wherever possible. So a word like apostle (which is an adapted transliteration of the Greek verb meaning ‘one sent out’), actually gets translated, so this example becomes missionary in many places.
  • Italics are only used for emphasis, not to indicate added words as historically done in older translations due to limitations of the ancient printing processes. (The OET fixes the problem where most modern printing uses italics for emphasis whereas older Bibles use italics for the words which should actually be deemphasised, i.e., the words which actually aren’t in the original manuscripts!)
  • The English word Christ is an adapted transliteration of the Koine Greek word Kristos used for the original Hebrew messiah. (It’s not Jesus’ surname!) It seems to make sense to only use one word consistently rather than using two words for the same thing (just because they came from two different languages), so the OET has elected to only use messiah.