Using Young Literal Translation of the Bible and the King James Version to Compare Genesis 17:4-5 and Deuteronomy 7:14-15

young literal translation of the bible

Joseph Prince mentioned that Robert Young, the compiler of the Robert Young Literal Translation of the Bible (YLTB), said that the Hebrew language only has past and present tenses. There is no future tense. Why is this significant?

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) is a translation of the Bible into English, published in 1862. The translation was made by Robert Young, compiler of Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible and Concise Critical Comments on the New Testament.

It is a literal translation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. This is because Young believes that “The Word of God is made void by the traditions of men.” It preserves the tenses, the articles, the subjunctive, verbs, nouns and etc.

Reading Young Literal Translation of the Bible can be quite awkward but it is quite useful when making comparisons with another bible translation.

I did a simple comparison between the King James Version and Young Literal Translation of the Bible using the following 2 bible verses.

Genesis 17:4-5

As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

King James Version

I–lo, My covenant [is] with thee, and thou hast become father of a multitude of nations; and thy name hath been Abraham, for father of a multitude of nations have I made thee;

Robert Young Literal Translation

Where KJV says “thou shalt be” which is future tense, YLT says “thou hast become” which is past perfect tense.

Isn’t this interesting? I know some may think that this is trivial but I don’t think so.

I believe this is like seeing things from God’s perspective. In His eyes, Abraham has already become a father of a multitude of nations even when he is still childless. When Abraham believed this, it is by faith. As we read through Genesis, we know that Abraham did become the father of multitudes. Reality follows faith.

Another example from Deuteronomy 7:14-15

14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

King James Version

14 Blessed art thou above all the people, there is not in thee a barren man or a barren woman — nor among your cattle; 15 and Jehovah hath turned aside from thee every sickness and none of the evil diseases of Eqypt (which thou hast known) doth He put on thee, and He hath put them on all hating thee.

Young Literal Translation

Where KJV uses the future tense for blessings: “Thou shall be blessed” and “will”, the Literal Translation uses the past tense, “blessed art thou” and “hath turned aside”.

What is the significance of the tenses?

I believe that when I read God’s promises in the past tense, it builds my confidence in His words. The promises have already been fulfilled. I am not waiting for God to bless me. He has already blessed. I simply receive.

Pastor Joseph Prince always encouraged us to make our requests to the Lord out loud. Claim the Lord’s promises out loud and receive our blessings out loud.

This can be awkward. At least, for me. I am not used to being so direct and outspoken about my prayer requests. Another reason is fearing how other people might think about me.

But Pastor Prince demonstrated, through the Scriptures, why Abba God is pleased with such external expressions of faith. These outward expressions are not for man, they are for Him.

This Quiet Time note is based on the sermon Speak God’s Language of Faith. Watch an excerpt below.

We have come to the end of this post. If you have found it useful, do let me know by liking or sharing it or leaving a comment about what you like.

Be greatly blessed!

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