Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition
The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition (SSBE) is a Sacred Name Bible which uses the names Yahweh and Yahshua in both the Old and New Testaments (Chamberlin p. 51-3). It was produced by Jacob O. Meyer, based on the American Standard Version of 1901 and it contains over 977 pages. The Assemblies of Yahweh printed 5,500 copies of the first edition in 1981. It is also used by some members of the SNM.
|Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition|
Photograph of the 2001 issue of the SSBE
|Derived from||English Revised Version 1881–1885|
|Textual basis||NT: Westcott and Hort 1881 and Tregelles 1857, (Reproduced in a single, continuous, form in Palmer 1881). OT: Masoretic Text with some Septuagint influence).|
|Translation type||Formal equivalence|
|Reading level||High school|
|Religious affiliation||Assemblies of Yahweh|
Use of the SSBEEdit
In the early years of the ministry, Elder Jacob O. Meyer – the Directing Elder of the Assemblies of Yahweh - would preach using a King James Version Bible, simply replacing Lord, Jesus and God by the Sacred Names in the text (Yahweh and Yahshua). However, the KJV presented a problem in that, as pointed out by Bible scholars, there are numerous errors in the text. During the late 19th century and on to the early 20th century, a number of notable Bible translations came about which were more accurate than their predecessor, the KJV. These include the American Standard Version, the New International Version and the New American Standard Bible. The year 1966 saw the significant progressive step of a Bible produced by the Roman Catholic Church, the Jerusalem Bible. In their effort to be literal with their translation they retained the Sacred Name Yahweh in the Old Testament texts, but as a Limited Sacred Name Bible did not include it in the New Testament texts. Other Limited Sacred Name Bibles were produced such as the Anchor Bible, but none which seamlessly retained Yahweh (or indeed Yahshua) throughout the texts. This was one of the main reasons why the Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition came in to being.
Basing the SSBE on the ASVEdit
As Elder Jacob O. Meyer studied Hebrew and Greek and the original texts, Meyer came to believe that most false doctrines found in modern religious teaching originated from the translation of the text in to modern language, not in the original texts. For example, the SSBE does not use the term ‘cross’ in reference to the death fixture used on the Messiah, but rather ‘stake’ or ‘pole’. This is because this term is #4716 in the Greek text, which is the word ‘stauros’. Never is this word intended to represent a cross. Elder Meyer chose the ASV as a basis for the SSBE translation as Meyer noticed that professors would often comment that the English language that would provide the best approximation of the original text was the American Standard Version. Elder Meyer wrote in the preface of the Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition:
The American Standard Version published in 1901 was probably the most accurate translation work ever put in to print. It maintains the delicate balance of providing a very literal translation while simultaneously preserving a fair amount of ethnic idiom evident in the text
A Joint EffortEdit
As Meyer wished the Assemblies of Yahweh to be in complete unity, all reading from the same Bible rather than different people reading different versions, Meyer put out an annual report around the Feast of Tabernacles in 1980. In it, he announced that the project of producing an accurate Bible translation would go forth for the glory of Almighty Yahweh. Firstly, the funds had to be acquired for typesetting, printing and binding expenses, as well as the cost of time spent reviewing, editing and making corrections. Donations came in from all over the world to complete the project. That, with securing a loan from the bank, made it possible to advance this project. In the Spring – Summer of 1981, editing was done to the text, assisted by office staff and Obadiah School of the Bible students. Because the editing work was being done in a time before the computer technology came about, editorial changes were all done by hand by Meyer. Not only was Yahweh and Yahshua put back in the text to replace LORD and Jesus but also the Hebrew titles Elohim, Eloah and El were also restored to the texts. Further, the Shakespearean English was updated to reflect the usage of language in the 20th century.
Published and DistributedEdit
The manuscripts were completed by Autumn in 1981. Elder Meyer found a family-owned publisher in Florida who were willing to publish the Bible and it was in 1981 after the Feast of Tabernacles when the proof copies of the signature sheets were received. After a few more weeks, the Sacred Scriptures Bethel Editions went to press and was delivered to the International Headquarters between December 1981 and January 1982. The Assemblies of Yahweh have continuously had the SSBE on display at the altar table of the Bethel Meeting Hall opened to Psalm 101 – Psalm 103. The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition has been the standard, accepted Bible translation of all Assemblies of Yahweh worship services and literature since 1982.
Sacred Name supporters often cite from passages such as Isaiah 42:8 where, in the original Hebrew texts, YHWH (יהוה) is found. The Name is found approximately 7,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. Some claim that the pronunciation was lost, or unknown. However, most prominent, authoritative reference works today do not support this view. The Encyclopedia Judaica makes the following statement:
"The true pronunciation of the name Yahweh was never lost...Greek writers of the Christian church testify that the name was pronounced Yahweh."— Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol.7, pp. 679 – 680 (1971) "God, Names of"
Prominent religious leaders have agreed that Yahweh cannot be translated into any word exactly (Herbert Armstrong, pp. 128 – 129), while other Bible translators point out that the reason for not pronouncing Yahweh and producing the form Jehovah, was down to a misunderstanding of Jewish tradition (Anchor Bible, page XIV). Bible translations such as the Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, the Anchor Bible, and the Jerusalem Bible have retained the name Yahweh in the Old Testament. The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition is one of the few English Bible translations that uses Yahweh in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
|“||We have restored the Sacred Name and the Sacred titles to the English texts.||”|
|— Preface, The Language of the Bible|
The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition uses Yahweh in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Notable aspects include its use of the name of God (Yahweh) and the Semitic name of the Messiah, Yahshua, commonly referred to as Jesus. Instead of the Greek word Christ, it uses the Hebrew word Messiah, and instead of church it uses assembly. Also, the translation does not use the terms cross and crucify but torture stake and impale.
It is also distinguishable by its preface section, which describes the setting, language and name of the Bible. Evidence is offered to show how the rendering Jehovah is a serious mispronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. Among some of the terms used by scholars to describe the name Jehovah are "morphological monstrosity" and a "mispronunciation".
Meyer writes in the Sacred Name Broadcaster: "We as humans cannot choose the name which we personally wish to call him. He has already named himself and that "the best transliteration of this name into English is spelled Yahweh, and is so pronounced". They therefore reject the English titles for God's name, claiming to trace such titles etymologically to the worship of other deities.
Pure Religious Vocabulary sectionEdit
The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition concludes with a "pure religious vocabulary" section, which gives the explanation of words which should be avoided for those seeking "to purify their personal worship". The glossary of terms briefly traces and presents the etymology of words used frequently by Christian theologians that the translator claimed are pagan in origin. It also includes additional information for scholarly research.
The Assemblies of Yahweh continue to use the Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition as their preferred text. As of 2016[update], it has undergone seven printings: 1981, 1986, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2008. The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition is a publication by the Assemblies of Yahweh and its editor, Jacob O. Meyer. The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition is available at some libraries in England and the United States and is used at Dalet School and Obadiah School of the Bible, both in Bethel, Pennsylvania.
The Assemblies of Yahweh present this volume to the reader in the humble endeavor to present you with a special gift of greater knowledge. We have restored the Sacred Name and the sacred titles to the English text of the Old Testament as well as returning the Name of Yahshua the Messiah our Redeemer to the text of the New Testament. We have sought to eliminate the Shakespearean English which is no longer employed in modern usage. We have tried to be faithful in rendering the original texts as closely as we can return to them— Preface
I am Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other elohim before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your Elohim, am a jealous El, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.— Exodus 20:1–6 (SSBE)
But from there you shall seek Yahweh your Elohim, and you shall find him, when you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you, in the latter days you shall return to Yahweh your Elohim; and listen to his voice; for Yahweh Elohim is a merciful El; he will not fail you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers, which he swore to them— Deuteronomy 4:29–31(SSBE)
Available on KindleEdit
The Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition is also available for download on Amazon Kindle as an e-book where text to speech is enabled. It has a 5 star customer review on Amazon.
- Paul, William (2003) "Jacob O. Meyer" in English Language Bible Translators, pp162,163. McFarland, NC: Jefferson & Co.
- J.D Douglas. New Bible Dictionary, (Wm. B Eerdman's Pub. Co(c) 1962) p.9.)
- "Yahweh" Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th Edition
- Job introduction.” Anchor Bible, Volume 15, page XIV
- ”Jehovah”. Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 15, p 311.
- ”Jehovah” Jewish Encyclopedia Vol. 7. p 87.
- ”Names of God, YHWH” Jewish Encyclopedia Vol.9. pp 160–165.
- Sacred Name Broadcaster, (4/1987), Radio Message: A Name That Endures Forever, a publication of the Assemblies of Yahweh; Meyer, Elder Jacob
- Jacob O. Meyer, SSBE, A Pure Religious Vocabulary, I
- "Ramseyer Bibliography - Bible in English". D.umn.edu. 1 March 2001. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- Catalogue of English Bible Translations: A Classified Bibliography of Versions and Editions Including Books, Parts, and Old and New Testament Apocrypha ... and Indexes in Religious Studies) by William J. Chamberlin
- The Memorial Name Yahweh. Assemblies of Yahweh U.S.A, Bethel PA 19507 LCN-87-072550 by Jacob O. Meyer.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Yahweh.|