This month the long-anticipated Literal Standard Version of The Holy Bible was released, a formal equivalence translation aiming to give English readers the most literal glimpse into the Scriptures currently available in contemporary English. Without resorting to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek directly, readers can get a good idea of original verb tenses, prepositions, and the use of definite articles. Despite the translation being strictly word-for-word, the translators managed to maintain ease of readability throughout, although the target reading level will be at the college and seminary proficiency, targeted towards those looking for deeper study and research.
There have been a slew of new English translations in the past half-century, which may cause some to wonder why the need for another. The translators agree with the premise that different translations can serve different demographics and different reading levels to maximize exposure to God’s word. In this sense, the LSV is not a competitor to other excellent translations, but is complementary. As the most literal modern English translation, the LSV is an excellent resource for deep and thoughtful Bible study and research, essentially an interlinear in terms of word-for-word translation, but arranged with English sentence structure.
The Literal Standard Version is a major revision of Young’s Literal Translation (YLT). It maintains many of Robert Young’s great contributions to the field of Bible translation and research. The relationship of the LSV to Young’s Literal Translation is similar to that of the English Standard Version (ESV) to the Revised Standard Version or the New King James Version (NKJV) and Modern English Version (MEV) to the KJV. Young’s Literal Translation was the most literal translation of The Holy Bible ever made into English up to this point for three key reasons: 1. Preservation of verb tenses, 2. Consistent word-for-word translation, and 3. General preservation of word order.
The use of these three principles in combination with other LSV peculiarities has resulted in the most literal translation of The Holy Bible into modern English, as well as the most distinctive.
A number of these distinctive features will stand out to readers right away: the use of the Tetragrammaton in the Old Testament, justified typographic alignment throughout the text mimicking the original autographs, and the use of the ancient caesura mark.
The LSV is published by Covenant Press, which is the publishing arm of the Covenant Christian Coalition.