of the TaNaKh and the B'rit Chadashah

A Hebrew Beginner's Primer



This rendering of the TaNaKh and the B'rit Chadashah is intended for those who have at least some background in Hebraic studies (know what Torah, TaNaKh and B'rit Chadashah mean) and are interested in slowly expanding their knowledge of the Hebrew language.  Those familiar with Scripture will often know what word or words have been replaced; for those unfamiliar with the verses, a glossary is provided.  Most relevant Greek words commonly transliterated into English (e.g., diakonos/deacon; angelos[aggelos]/angel, sunagoge/synagogue, etc.) are replaced with the nearest Hebrew equivalent (shammash, malakh, qahal, etc.), having compared 2-3 versions of the Greek and/or 2-3 versions of Hebrew translations of the Greek.  Most Greek names are transliterated as nearly as possible.

Some other English words commonly used in the Bible, mainly those of a spiritual or abstract nature (truth, faith, righteousness, etc.), have also been translated from Greek to Hebrew, then transliterated to English.  Mainly nouns and simple verb forms without gender being noted are changed.  These are not necessarily the best translations, and the reader is admonished to do independent study (2 Tim. 2:15).

Translation can be proven, by simple comparison of several different ones, to be a very subjective process, often driven by denominational doctrines.  The best ones are produced by translators who have no agenda to drive.  My intent with this work is to provide the reader with transliteration from the as-near-as-possible-original texts and leave interpretation alone.  Some words, however, have been rendered in only one way for so long that they are ingrained into almost all current translations.  One example is Joseph's "coat of many colors."  Everyone has heard that translation, but another is, in The Stone Edition Tanach, "fine woolen tunic."  Still another is "long-sleeved tunic" from a Hebrew word meaning "reaching to palms and soles."  The last is my preference, because that's the translation listed by Brown-Driver-Briggs.

Direct transliteration for this endeavor is often not possible when not transliterating an entire word, especially where there are prefixes and suffixes which I have decided not to include in order to keep it simple.  Pronouns are many and varied and can be confusing, so I have usually chosen to use the English forms and leave the Hebrew simple.  But this leads to syntactical differences in vowels; e.g., eretz v. aretz.
Also, word order is necessarily changed, most often because the verb almost always precedes the noun.  E.g., "B'reishit bara Elohim ...".  Literally, "In beginning created Elohim ..."

A little more explanation of pronunciation, syntax, and grammar is given on the Glossary page.


Since this project was started, I've added more and more words to the list of those being translated/transliterated, so if it's your inclination to just skim through catching a Hebrew word here and there, you'll really be slowed down.  You must really want to learn Hebrew, or you'll get bored and/or disheartened rather quickly.  Hebrew is not an easy language to casually learn, especially the syntax and "conjugation."  It takes work and, for me, someone to learn with, except to add a word now and then to my vocabulary.

"Yeshua" is not italicized in the text.  Should we not give the "name above all names" (Phil. 2:9) its proper original pronunciation in everyday speech?  This also helps to differentiate his name from the translation of "salvation," yeshu`ah.  However, Yahweh/YHWH is italicized as a reminder that the accent is, like other Hebrew words, on the last syllable.

Quotations from the TaNaKh and occasionally from the B'rit Chadashah are lettered footnotes at the end of each chapter.  Whenever possible and appropriate, verbatim or near-verbatim quotes from the TaNaKh use the original (translated and/or transliterated) words, rather than the usual English translations in the NT.

Paragraphs are generally according to the RSV.

Brackets [ ] are explanations of the translation.
"Don't think that I came to destroy [overthrow, abolish, annul, tear down] ha-Torah or ha-Nevi'im." (Mat. 5:17)

Parentheses ( ) are implied in or parenthetically included within the original, or possibly spurious additions to the text by the translators.
"Ahavah doesn't brag, is not proud, 5 doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with ha-emet; 7 bears all (things), believes all (things), hopes all (things), endures all (things)."

[♦] = footnote; see by chapter and verse at the end of the book and/or on the Footnotes pages.

Most B'rit Chadashah book titles are transliterated from The New Testament in Hebrew and English, 1966, The Society for Distributing Hebrew Scriptures, Middlesex, England.

Base translation is Hebrew Names Version of the World English Bible, a modern English update of the American Standard Version, HERE and is in the public domain.

Reference books, abbreviated, include:
CJB           Complete Jewish Bible (Stern)
JNTC         Jewish New Testament Commentary (Stern)
NBMHED    The New Bantam-Megiddo Hebrew & English Dictionary, 1975.
NTHE         The New Testament in Hebrew and English; The Society for Distributing Hebrew Scriptures, Middlesex, England.


27 October 2013
Last update 1 April 2017