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Darkness to Light - Vol. VI, No. 8

Darkness to Light
Volume VI, Number 8

Presented by Darkness to Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla

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Scripture Workbook: For Personal Bible Study and Teaching the Bible - This book contains twenty-two individual "Scripture Studies." Each study focuses on one general area of study. These studies enable individuals to do in-depth, topical studies of the Bible. They are also invaluable to the Bible study teacher preparing lessons for Sunday school or a home Bible study and can be used for group studies.

ALT and Bible Versions Emails

Going through some old emails again. The first emails below discuss my Analytical-Literal Translation (ALT) and Bible versions in general. The emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in greater than and lesser than signs; my comments are in red.

>Subject: 1 Kings 21 in KJV

Thank you for your site. I was getting mired in KJV-onlyism, but your site helped me get out of it. I regularly use the NKJV, with the NASB and KJV as backups.

One thing I noticed in the KJV: In 1 Kings 21:21 (and other places), the phrase "him that pisseth against the wall." I'm not tryng to be crude. But if I were a Sunday School teacher reading that to a bunch of sixth-graders, I'd have to wait until the laughter died down to continue. Maybe that word was acceptable in 1611, but it's a vulgarity now. Ironically, the KJV-only people (or the ones I've known) tend to frown upon words like "darn" and "heck."

Once again, thanks for a terrifically informative site.

Yes, I am sure that school-age kids would get a big kick out of that one! And it is such readings that emphasize why the KJV does need "updating." Once acceptable words do tend to become vulgar, and ice-a-versa.

>Subject: the translation

Why did you chose to use the word "hell" since it is never used in the scriptures? Why not translate hades as hades? or tartarus? He;l is an old Norse word, isn't it? I wish I had read this site before I shelled out 25.00 for YOUR PERSONAL TRANSLATION. Oh well, live and learn.


Thank you for your email and for purchasing the ALT. There are actually three different Greek words for "hell" in the Greek NT, and I translated each differently. Specifically:

Greek - ALT
- hell
- the realm of the dead
- the deepest pit of gloom

I also included a transliteration of the Greek word in brackets after each. So the ALT is very specific in delineating these three different words.

>Subject: the "translation"

Do you personally stand behind your "translation?" i am very disturbed with the liberties you took and want a refund. Are you willing to provide this?

In Romans 1:21 you use the term "they were given over to." This is an addition by you, as far as I can tell.

Another, Acts 5: 21, in your desire to be politically correct and include women you state "high council sons (and daughters) of Israel!!!!!!! You imply there were women in this council!!!!!!!!! of Jewish men!!

I have already written you about using the old English word hell for hades—a clear addition and cultural prejudice on your part. I don't even want this translation in my home. How can you dare take such personal liberties with the NT? I am not questioning your faith in our Lord, just your judgment in this matter of the "translation."

P.S. If I am wrong in the above examples, show me, or I want a refund. Thanks


In regards to Romans 1:21, the words "they were given over to" are a translation of the Greek passive verb in this verse. So the phrase is in no sense added. In most versions, this verb is rendered "they became futile" since this particular passive verb can also have an active sense, hence why I gave an alternate translation as well. So I am very specific in giving both of the possible renderings.

    "they were given over to deception in their thought processes [or, they became futile in their speculations]"

As for Acts 5:21, the words "and daughters" are bracketed. This indicates they are added. As such, they can be ignored by the reader. But as for your comments, the verse with the words does not mean that there were "daughters" on the High Council but that the elders were "over" (as in, "who rule over") the sons and daughters of Israel.

    "council of the elders of the sons [and daughters] of Israel"

Note: The above discussion was in regards to ALT1. But because of this discussion, for ALT2 and ALT3, I added a bracketed note to keep anyone else from making the same misreading. Frankly, I didn't really think this was necessary as I doubt anyone else would so misread the text. But just to be sure, the text now reads:

    "council of the elders of [fig., who rule over] the sons [and daughters] of Israel"

As for "hell," it is not an "old English word." It is a common word that is used frequently today by people in both the theological sense of the place of the damned, and of course, in a vulgar sense. Moreover, as I tried to explain to you before, I did not use "hell" to translate hades. I use it as a translation of gehenna. The word hades is translated by "the realm of the dead."

As for a refund, since you purchased the book from my publisher, I cannot give you a refund. You will have to contact them as them as to what their refund policy is. But you have yet to mention anything to me that in any way shows that there is a problem with the translation.

As for the rest of your comments they are completely uncalled for and unjustified.

>Subject: RE: the "translation"

According to Random House College Dictionary, hell comes from the Old English word "hel."


    "hell *comes from* the Old English word ‘hel.'"

It does not say hell *is* an Old English word.

The dictionary is simply giving the etiology of the modern-day word hell. Most modern-day English words come from either old English words or from foreign words.

>Subject: RE: the "translation"

Agreed. Please forgive my nasty comments. I still read your admirable effort every a.m. I do battle with a critical spirit, and am seeking God for grace. Please pray for me...God bless your service to His kingdom.

P.S. Thanks for your time; wish I had more friends locally, like you, who I could talk Scripture with.


>Subject: Hello!

Hello Gary,

Sorry I have not written in a while. Life has been very busy.

Something interesting happened recently. My mama has used the KJV for the last couple of years since she became a Christian. She finally admitted that the KJV was hard too understand. To fix this, she used a copy of the NLT I had. One day, she gave the NLT back to me saying that she felt something was missing. I told her about the NKJV and gave her a copy. She uses that now.

I have a small question. In the LITV, Green has cross references in the NT to the OT. Am I correct to assume that if a cross-reference has LXX and MT that it's a reference to the original texts? For an example, see Acts 28:28.


Interesting to her about your mom. As for the abbreviations, LXX refers to the Septuagint, a third century Greek translation of the Hebrew OT. MT when referring to the OT generally refers to Masoretic Text, the standard Hebrew text used in translating the OT.

>Subject: Re: Hello!

Thanks as always, Gary!

So, if an NT verse has an OT quote with LXX or MT, Green is saying that a parallel is in the LXX/MT?


Yes. But the important point is, if it only has LXX then the referred to verse probably will not read the same in your Bible, which most likely is based in the Hebrew Text. The LXX notation is generally only used when the LXX differs significantly from the Hebrew, but the NT seems to be referring to the LXX.

Note: In the ALT, I also use the LXX notation when an OT quotation in the NT is clearly from the Septuagint. For ALT3, I more carefully studied this issue and many more such notations. I also added the notation "Heb." for "Hebrew" to indicate when the NT writer was clearly quoting from the Hebrew text.

Out of the 303 OT quotations in the NT, 71 are from the LXX, 10 are from the Hebrew, and the rest could be from either text as the LXX and the Hebrew are basically the same.

How Can We know?

The following email exchange is discussing claims about the Bible and Jesus often heard in the New Age Movement.

>Subject: How can we know?

I read a book called The Hidden Gospel, by Neil Douglas-Klotz. In his view the meaning extrapolated from the Aramaic, SP, was far more mystical than the KJV. I read a post by another one of your subscribers and your subsequent answer. It seems the translation upon translation diminishes the original intended message. Can we say, safely, that we may never really know what language Jesus used? It seems to me that he used Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin, or so scholars would have you believe.

Secondly, can we ever truly get to the bottom of what Jesus was saying? If these different translations render different meanings then how can we be sure of what he really said and meant?

Is it just that, as with all philosophies, that there will always be a winnowing effect? Dependent on the moral climate of the time and who is in control of the information?

I encountered the same thing when I studied the Qu'ran. I was brought up as a Catholic, but have felt uneasy about the "missing holes". Why was the mysticism left out?

Sorry to ask so many questions in one email, the answers to which could quite possibly fill a book in their own right.

God bless,

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. It is to those texts that Christians base their doctrines and beliefs on. The Gospels were written by apostles, who knew Jesus personally (Matthew and John), or by those who attained their information from the apostles and other eye-witnesses (Mark and Luke). And these apostles spent much time with Jesus. So even if He was speaking a different language than Greek, they had spent enough time with Him to know what His intended meanings were and to translate that correctly into English. Christians also believe that God was "inspiring" their writings, so that insured an accurate record as well. It's when we again translate their Greek into another language that discrepancies can enter in.

But that is why I translated my Analytical-Literal Translation to give as literal of a translation as possible of the Greek text so there is as little chance as possible of not correctly rendering the original intended meaning. I do give paraphrases of difficult phrases and other helps in the text, but these are clearly bracketed so as to be offset from what is a literal translation of the Greek text. And there are other literal translations available as well. And ultimately, learning Greek would enable one to bypass all translations.

So the problem of finding the original intended meaning is not insurmountable.

Is it written in ancient Greek? Or if I learn modern Greek is it still accessible?

I've ordered your book Gary, to learn more. I am learning so much right now. Just in the middle of a book by John O'Donohue, called Anam Cara. It means soul friend in the Irish language. I spoke to a priest recently and he told me that friendship was the true face of God. He draws on the mystical and the Celtic relationship with God and nature. I find myself needing to read more and more.

What do you think about the research that's been done to suggest that Jesus spent time in India? Or that he studied Buddhism? Yogis in the 60's said that a lot of what he did occurs in Yoga. Either way, I am amazed by what I read about Jesus. I thought for many years that I wanted to be a priest, after a religious experience when I was 13. This feeling was like an echo keeps coming back in dreams. I'm now a musician and I realize that I can help people through this medium. The heart vibration, speaking to another heart.

I look forward to reading your book, to get deeper inside the word. I feel that there is so much more to what Jesus was saying, that I think most people don't get. The mystical side of his nature and his message. Have you read Thomas Merton or Meister Ekhardt? What do you think about the gospels that were omitted, like Thomas'?

Thank you for your email,

Good luck,
God Bless,

Thank you for your email. The NT was written in Hellenistic Greek. There are considerable differences between it and modern-day Greek. There are also considerable differences between Hellenistic Greek and Classical Greek. So to be able to read the Greek NT, you need to study Hellenistic (NT) Greek. Generally, the only place to do so would be in a seminary.

Merton and Ekhardt were mystics. I have not read very much of their writings, but I do know that mystics in general discount the intellect and the importance of doctrine. As such, I am not too thrilled with such writings. See my article on Madam Guyon for further details in this regard.

In regards to Jesus visiting India, this is a theory that has been put forth from time to time, but there really is no evidence for it. Most of the so-called evidence that has been put forth, when investigated, has been proven to have been fabricated. The following are two books I have in my library that address these issues.

Rhodes, Ron. The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age Movement.
Groothius, Douglas. Revealing the New Age Jesus.

These books are both old (copyright 1990), but the same and other Christian authors have written more recent books that also address this topic.

As for The Gospel of Thomas and other such "Gospels," they were not included in the canon of Scripture because they did not meet the requirements that were set forth, such as having been written by an Apostle or an associate of an Apostle. The Gospel of Thomas comes from the second century. As such, it could not have been written by the Apostle Thomas. Books like the above also address such Gnostic Gospels.

Moreover, if you actually read these "gospels" you will find many outrageous statements, like the last verse of The Gospel of Thomas where "Jesus" says that a woman must become a man in order to be saved!

The text reads:
Simon Peter said to them, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven" (Robinson, James M., editor, The Nag Hammadi Library. Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1988).

Note: During the time I was working on this newsletter, I “just happened” to watch an episode of the TV show Ancient Secrets of the Bible titled, “Jesus’ Travels: Did Jesus Journey Beyond the Holy Land?” (TBN, 7/28/08).

The show addressed the theory about Jesus traveling to India. The whole story comes from the early 1900s when a Russian reporter supposedly visited a monastery in Tibet. It contained a scroll describing the visit of “the holy man Issa” (the Tibetan name for Jesus). The Russian then published a book about this supposed scroll.

But the book was soundly criticized by the western media. And when American reporters visited that monetary, the “Great Llama” of it knew nothing about any such scroll. And when he was read portions of the book, he cried, “Lies, Lies, all Lies!” But despite this, the book was republished in 1929, and so this tale continues to be told to this day, despite the complete lack of verifiable evidence.

The show discussed other such theories about what Jesus was doing between the ages of 12 and 30 (the so called “silent” or “lost” years of Jesus). But the one that made the most sense to me was concerning a building project of Herod Antipas IV that was occurring in Sesoria (sp?) during this time period. Herod employed 10,000 craftsmen from the surrounding areas.

Sesoria was only a 45 minute walk from Nazareth, where Jesus grew up. So it is possible that Jesus and His father Joseph were employed in this endeavor. This would fit with Jesus being called “the Son of the craftsman” (or carpenter; Matt 13:55) and “the craftsman” (Mark 6:3).

It would also fit with Luke telling us, “And Jesus kept advancing in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and people” (2:52). Being involved in such a renowned building project, and assuming He was skilled at His trade, would give Jesus “favor with people.” And Sesoria was a very “cosmopolitan” city, with many inhabitants and travelers from different areas and religions. So Jesus would have acquired “wisdom” from being exposed to such a diverse group of people.

Of course, this is all just conjecture. But it fits with the Scriptural and historical details better than any myths about Jesus traveling to India.

NEW: The Director's Autobiography has been updated.

Three Volume ALT3 Set

The Ideal Bible Study Tool:
Analytical-Literal Translation: Third Edition
Companion Volume to the ALT
Complete Concordance to the ALT

Also by Gary F. Zeolla:
Fitness for One and All
Web site and FitTips for One and All newsletter.
Helping people to attain their health, fitness, and performance goals.


All material in this newsletter is copyrighted © 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla or as indicated otherwise.