February 3, 2014

The Jubilee Bible

As an ecumenical Christian eager to promote, not uniformity but unity in the church Body of Christ, I began to read the foreword of The Jubilee Bible with trepidation. This translation published by Aneko Press resulted from ten years of studious work by Russell Stendal, a missionary to the people of Columbia, including the very people who once held him hostage!

As impressive and loving as that it, I really didn’t want to review a Bible with any slams against any particular church – especially over murderous debates and family feuds a few hundred years old that I pray will soon be put to rest! However, the “To The Reader” section pointed to those terrible times only by way of introduction to a Bible translation that got caught in the crossfire.

But why bother to translate that ancient Spanish Bible into English now when new translations seem to be cramming the shelves? Actually, that is why!

New versions range from contemporary (even faddish or slang) English that lessens the rich vocabulary of the Bible to easy-to-read versions that lose connotations important to the context to “politically correct” versions that seem more interested in pleasing people than conveying what God inspired.

Leafing through The Jubilee Bible, however, one might think it’s another King James Version with its use of “Thee” or “Ye and “Thou,” and in many ways, it is. Unlike KJV though, this translation aimed for consistency in the many synonyms translators can choose to say the same thing.

As the publisher explained, this translation “has each unique Hebrew word matched and mated with a unique English word so that the usage (number of occurrences and number of verses where the word occurs) sets forth a meaningful number pattern and a complete definition of what God means by each word.”

If you’re a Bible student or lover of God’s Word, as I am, who likes to compare texts to deepen your understanding, as I do, you might want to order a full copy as shown below.

©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer

The Holy Scriptures Jubilee Bible, paperback

Jubilee Bible, imitation leather


  1. Jubilee bible is excellent. But, I'm kind of uncomfortable of the usuage of the word ' saving health ' in the place of ' salvation ' often which isn't smooth in translation process. Also, the word ' clarify' for glorify. I feel the KJV is slightly superior in translation compared to the jubilee. Yet, this translation is a good one.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Stephen. One of the things I appreciate about having so many translations of the Bible is that different choices of synonyms can startle or help to get our attention! :)

  3. Thanks for your comment.

    People translating the Bible from one language to another (Hebrew & Greek to English, for example) usually have several word choices for many of the words. Since salvation, salve, and healing have a root of "salvos," I get where the Jubilee is coming from. And, when you think about it, eternal salvation through Jesus Christ is the ultimate healing!

  4. Hi! I just purchase a copy of this Bible and I’m reading the back of the box and I just understand what he’s saying. Are the key words in italics? I just don’t get it. Please help!

  5. Colleen, I don't have this edition in front of me, but my understanding is that key words have numbers beside them that you can look up in the back of the book. In the Old Testament those numbers occur by the English translation of a Hebrew word, while the New Testament numbers refer to the word in the original Greek. The front pages of the book, however, should tell about the use of italics.