There are two prominent translations that are out of print from the middle 1800’s. One was by James Murdock and the other by J. W. Etheridge. Murdock based his work on the western text and Etheridge on the eastern text. Both of them are still very useful in studying the Peshitta. In the 1930’s, Dr. George Lamsa, a native speaker of Aramaic, completed a translation of the eastern manuscripts of the Peshitta and began to travel extensively in the United States, teaching about the value of studying Aramaic. From that time until the present, there has been a renewed interest in fundamental Christianity to know about the language of Jesus and what it has to contribute to biblical study.
Today there are several works available that employ different methods of translation of the New Testament or portions of the New Testament. The Hebraic Roots Version by Dr. James Trimm emphasizes the Messianic beliefs of his branch of Nazarene Judaism. Herb Jahn published a very literal translation using cognate definitions in his Exegeses Bible from a computerized lexicon along with distinctive interpretations and grammatical constructions incorporated by Jahn. The Disciples New Testament by Victor Alexander, a native Aramaic speaker, uses an idiomatic approach to the translation and contributes much in this area. The American Christian Press has produced an interlinear version of the New Testament in 3 volumes. Dr. Rocco Errico has translated the Gospel of Matthew in a parallel edition with useful footnotes. Lamsa’s translation is still available for purchase through HarperCollins Publishers. Another work of great value is by Paul Younan of peshitta.org, which is an interlinear version. Each of the above works represent the distinctive beliefs of the translator.
Light of the Word Ministry has developed this particular translation to fill in a need for a very accurate literal translation, but in modern English. The method employed in this translation is to preserve as much as possible the Semitic usage and sentence structure, but in readable English. Idioms are translated with dynamic equivalency. It adds many footnote explanations, providing a way for the biblical student to begin study from the Aramaic. There is a system of marking common expressions and idioms so that the footnotes can be clear and not repetitious.
It is my sincere wish that each Bible student who is able to read these pages will grow in understanding of the language of Jesus, its idioms and figures of speech and will be blessed with further understanding of the message of the New Testament.