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Analytical-Literal Translation

Questions on the ALT:


The following are e-mails I received in 2001 asking questions about the Analytical-Literal Translation (ALT). The e-mailers' questions and comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.

>Hi Gary,

Just some thoughts on your note to James 1:1 below:

1:1 James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the Twelve Tribes who are in the dispersion [i.e. the scattering of Jews outside of Judea]: Greetings!

The part that I feel needs correcting is the comment: [i.e. the scattering of Jews outside of Judea]. The tribe of Judah (the "Jews") was only one twelfth (1/12) of the Twelve Tribes. The northern kingdom of Israel, composed of the ten tribes after the split following the death of Solomon, had been taken captive many years earlier by Assyria and resettled to the northeast.

Many years later the Jews in the Jerusalem area were conquered by Babylon and taken captive to there. These are two separate and distinct scatterings of two separate political entities and kingships, separated by hundreds of years. James is addressing all Twelve Tribes, not just the one tribe Judah/Jews.

A more accurate note might read: [i.e. the scattering of all Israel, including the Jewish portion, outside of the former 12 Tribe area.]

Thank you for providing the opportunity to comment.

Cordially yours,

Someone made a similar comment before the ALT was published. So I ran the note past a Jewish friend, and she said it was just fine the way it was. That it was only Gentiles who get hung up over differences between Jew/Israelite. So I kept it the way I had it. But thanks for the input.

>Greetings from Korea.

I have been browsing your ALT, and (as I usually do when I check out an unfamiliar translation) I went right to 1 Tim. 2:4 to see how you translated the Greek word thelo. Well, while it appears that your ALT displays reasonable translation consistency elsewhere in the NT, don't you think you should have translated thelei "will" here instead of "desire"?

1 Tim. 2:4 ... who desires all people [or, peoples] to be saved and to come to a full [or, true] knowledge of the truth.

Bible translation committees undoubtedly avoid translating the Greek here as "will" out of theological bias; namely, if God "wills" all people to be saved, well, it looks like all people will be saved, because who can resist or defeat God's will? But this smacks of universalism, and heaven forbid if all people end up being saved (I'm being a little sarcastic here).

Was there any theological bias involved in your translation of 1 Tim. 2:4? Let's be frank.

Seoul, Korea

The word thelo can mean will, desire, or wish." I used the first two in the ALT, but I don't believe I ever used the third. So it could have used either will or desire in 1Tim 2:4 and still have been consistent in my translation of the word. But I chose "desire" simply because that is what YLT had and I saw no reason to change it.


Hi, I am really confused on the contradictory info I have received from two normally dependable sources, and I was hoping you could clarify! Ephesians 1:5, comments from Robertson's WP, "[predestined is] To be taken with exelexato [chosen] either simultaneous or antecedent (causal)." I believe this is what you have chosen for the ALT, "having predestined."<

What I have chosen for the ALT is the most basic way of rendering the aorist participle. I use this form as it is the less interpretive way of rendering the participle.

>But the NET Bible from the Dallas Theological Seminary states in their translation notes, "(1:5) By predestining. The aorist participle may be translated either causally ("because he predestined," "having predestined") or instrumentally ("by predestining").<

This note is somewhat confused. "having predestined" could be taken in either of these ways, or in a temporal manner, "after, when, or before He predestined."

>A causal nuance would suggest that God's predestination of certain individuals prompted his choice of them. An instrumental nuance would suggest that the means by which God's choice was accomplished was by predestination.<

Neither of these options make much sense to me. I don't see God's choice and predestination as being separate. So personally, I think a temporal "when" makes the most sense, as in Robertson's simultaneous option.

>The instrumental view is somewhat more likely in light of normal Greek syntax (i.e., an aorist participle following an aorist main verb is more likely to be instrumental than causal)."<

I'm not sure if this is true or not. I have never done a study of which view is more likely given the exact Greek forms. But I do think it would be hard to get such stats since, as this verse shows, there is often disagreement as to which view fits best in particular passages.

What I will say is that all of the views mentioned here are possible.

>So, Robertson says only causal or simultaneously, but DTS says, causal or instrumental, more likely instrumental! Which is more likely correct? Is the DTS going overboard trying to prove the doctrine of Election, which is already made clear by other texts?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

GOD bless!!

Its hard to say who is definitely correct as this really involves interpretation translation. But I will suggest you check out the section on participles in the ALT Companion Volume. It discusses the different options for rendering participles and why I generally use the form I mention above.


I was wondering, is the ALT a gender neutral version? ...<


My basic philosophy was to be as inclusive as the Greek text allowed, but under no circumstances did I change the text to make it inclusive where the original was not.

For instance, the Greek word antropos can mean "man" or it can more generally mean "person" or "humanity." I only used "man" when a male was clearly being referred to in the context. Otherwise, I used "person" if one person was meant or "humanity" if the whole human RACE was being referred to. It's for this reason that the ALT has the very unique translation of "Son of Humanity," as the term refers to Jesus' connection to the whole human race not just men.

OTOH, I did not change "he" to "they" as many modern versions do as the Greek text does not allow changing a singular to a plural. For further details, see the "ALT Glossary" on relevant terms contained in the Companion Volume to the ALT Bible.


Congrats on the completion of the ALT!  And thanks for posting the textual variants on your site.  I find it of great value and convenience in my studies.< 

Thank you. And I'm glad at least some people are benefiting from all the work I put into those variants!

>One more question for you:  I know what the brackets [ ] mean in most texts such as in the NASB for example in Mark 16:9-19, but what do the parentheses mean (  ) as in John 1:38 & 39?  Are these words suspect or are they part of Scripture?

Grace & Peace,

The verse you ask about reads: 

1:38  But Jesus having been turned and having beheld them following, says to them, “What do you* seek?” But they said to Him, “Rabbi (which [is], being interpreted, Teacher), where are You staying?”

1:39  He says to them, “Be coming and see.” They came and saw where He stayed, and they stayed with Him that day.  It was about [the] tenth hour [i.e. 4:00 p.m. Jewish time or 10:00 a.m. Roman time].

In verse 38, the parentheses mean the same as in English, i.e. the phrase "which [is], being interpreted, Teacher" is a parethentical comment. In this case, it is probably a comment by the apostle John, not something John the Baptist said. However, the "is" in brackets is a word added for clarity. 

In verse 39, the phrase in brackets is an explanatory note. IOW, all bracketed materials are added while words in parentheses are original words.

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