Bible Review: Tree of Life Version(TLV) Thinline Edition.

The ornate cover of the TLV Thinline edition.

Then I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication, when they will look toward Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son and grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for a firstborn.  In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, mourning like Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. 

Zechariah 12:10-11


Title: Holy Scriptures: Tree of Life Version

Publisher: Baker Books

ISBN: 978-0-8010-1921-0

1216 pages

Single satin ribbon marker

Gold gilded page edges

Price: £16.10 (UK)


The Bible is God’s love letter to humanity. Some 40 authors, writing independently of each other over centuries and millennia, under divine inspiration, composed its 66 books that form a highly coherent narrative which speaks of God’s desire to tabernacle with humanity, to live among us and guide our thoughts and actions. It has the power to transform lives for the supreme good and, until fairly recently, its moral teachings formed the cornerstone of western civilisation.

Today, we are blessed to have many excellent translations of Holy Scripture to suit most everyone’s needs, and as an avid student of the Bible, I count it as a great blessing and source of comfort to be able to read the words of our Creator in the various thought-for-thought and word-for-word translations now available. That said, some versions of the Bible are more interesting than others. And this new Tree of Life Version(TLV) is of particular note. What makes it stand out from the crowd is its introduction of key Hebrew words that emphasise the authentic Jewish origin of the Biblical narrative.

First published in 2011, the TLV was the brain child of Daniah Greenberg, a gentile lady who betrothed a messianic Jew ( who also accept Jesus as their Messiah), and who came to recognise the need for a good Bible translation that re-introduced some Hebrew words into Scripture, so as to remind Christians that we share a rich tradition with the Jewish community; after all, there is no denying that their God is our God too! Greenberg, who now serves as President of the Messianic Jewish Bible Society, commissioned a small team of 32 Jewish Bible scholars to produce a brand-new translation of the Holy Scriptures. This review will take a close look at the Thinline version of the TLV, a smaller, more portable rendition of the larger giant print edition, which I commented on in an earlier blog.

One would think that the task would merely involve taking an existing Bible version and replace some key words with their Hebrew equivalent. But Greenberg had an altogether more ambitious goal: to get the scholars to re-structure the sentences from the traditional Greek format and rewrite them in the distinctive cadence of the Hebrew language. And it is this achievement that renders the TLV so distinctive and powerful.

Most modern English Bibles have greatly diluted the Jewish accent of the original Scriptures. But the fact remains that Jesus was a Jew; his name is not Jesus but Yeshua. His mother was Miriam and not Mary. Jesus’ half brothers were Judah and Jacob, not Jude and James. Indeed, many of the modern English translations have all but purged much of the original Hebrew context of the Scriptures which has no doubt contributed to replacement theology or supersessionism – the erroneous notion that the Church has replaced Israel. Yet, a careful study of the entire Bible clearly reveals that God has not at all finished with Israel. On the contrary, the final events in human history will make Israel and the City of the Great King – Jerusalem – of central importance at the closing of the age.

That’s why I feel it’s important for Bible believing Christians to try to re-connect with some of the original Hebrew terminology, or at least their English transliterations. And that’s where the TLV really shines. God the Father is referred to as Adonai or Elohim. The Holy Spirit is Ruach ha-Kodesh. The sabbath is Shabbat and the saints, Kedoshim. These re-introduced terms greatly enrich the Biblical narrative and present an altogether refreshing change from the norm that I believe many avid ‘Bibliophiles’ will appreciate.

The TLV also departs from the traditional way in which the individual books of the Bible are presented, adopting instead the traditional Jewish rubric. The Torah(Law) is presented first, just like a regular Bible – covering the five books attributed to Moses;  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This is followed by the Neviim(Prophets); from Joshua right through to Malachi. After these the TLV presents the Ketuvim(The Writings) featuring the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles. So it’s the Christian Old Testament, but with books presented in a different order to its conventional modern equivalent. The New Testament order of books is however identical to any regular Bible. In ‘shuffling’ the Biblical deck, as it were, the TLV offers readers a new and exciting way to study and assimilate the word of God, to both strengthen and deepen your faith.

To my mind, the TLV steers a middle of the road path between translations that are highly literal( so-called word-for-word) and those that follow the principle of dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought) but is also respectful of other highly thought of translations such as the King James Version. For example, the TLV maintains classic phrases lost to many modern translations such as Behold and Selah (which is thought to represent an interlude or pause for thought) found in the Psalms. Another change the reader will notice is the absence of the word baptism, which implies infant baptism, which was most likely not practised by the earliest followers of Yeshua and indeed only appears as a controversial topic in the third century AD  (see Tertullian’s c 206 AD, de baptismo, ch. xviii). The TLV re-introduces the proper terminology here; Immersion. Thus John the Baptist becomes John the Immerser, etc. This is a more accurate description of how the earliest believers – all of whom had come of age – symbolically affirmed their dedication to the Christian faith and so feels more natural and less contrived than sprinkling luke warm water on the head of an infant who is not cognisant of the significance of the event.

Unlike many popular, thought-for-thought translations, such as the NIV and NLT, the TLV maintains a very conservative line on keeping accuracy a priority. For example, consider Romans 1:16 in the NIV, which dispenses with the word ‘Greek,’ replacing it with ‘Gentile’:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:16(NIV)

The TLV maintains greater accuracy like the more literal, word-for-word translations available(e.g. the KJV, NKJV, NASB & ESV):

For I am not ashamed of the Good News, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who trusts—to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 (TLV)

The reader can thus be assured that such close attention to linguistic details is strongly adhered to throughout the TLV, ensuring that the Bible reader is getting a highly accurate rendering of the Holy Scriptures.

Notable Features of the Thinline Edition of the TLV

The soft faux leather covering and Smyth-sewn binding makes the TLV open flat on the table.

The thinline TLV measures 5.5 inches wide, 8.5 inches long and just 1 inch thick. The font is clear, approximately 9-point sized, and is line matched to minimise ghosting.

The thinline TLV has a beautifully designed spine:

The decorative spine of the thinline TLV Bible.


The TLV text doesn’t have an overwhelming number of Hebrew words, so you’ll rapidly learn those words and phrases. But just in case you get bogged down, there is a nice little glossary at the back where you can quickly look up the meaning of any word that you’re unfamiliar with.

The TLV has a small glossary at the back which you can consult if you’ve forgotten the meaning of any Hebrew phrase you come across.

Like the Giant Print edition, the Thinline TLV also contains a number of Hebrew prayers and blessings, the Lords Prayer and the Aaronic Benediction. These can all be found after the Scriptures are presented. This is a wonderful Bible for devotional study at home or to take along to church with you.

The beautiful gold gilding on the page edges of the TLV.


Well, I hope you will understand why the TLV has become one of my favourite Bible translations for both accuracy and poetic beauty. These are difficult times to be sure but they are also exciting because we can see world events aligning just like the prophets of old and Yeshua, whose testimony is the very spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10) foretold.

Neil English is working on a brand new book on Newtonian reflectors. If you like his work and wish to support him in your own small way, why not consider buying one of his books? Thank you and God bless you!


De Fideli. 

15 thoughts on “Bible Review: Tree of Life Version(TLV) Thinline Edition.

  1. In God’s word, He said you are not to add to or take away of His word. This plainly is what has happened in this man made book. I’m very careful about all these new so called bibles that has cropped up. They can be mis guiding and takes away the true meaning of the Holy Scriptures. So beware of this book. It’s not a bible. It’s made up from mans opinion.

    • What exactly has it taken away from the words of God?
      It is as reliable as any other translation and better than many.
      Or is the issue at hand that it isn’t the King James Version, which some are misguided into thinking is the only true Bible.

  2. Hello ‘Me,’

    I’m afraid I totally disagree with you. As I explained, the TLV was translated from the original tongues by a committee of Messianic Jewish Bible scholars. Thus, it is just like any other popular Bible eg NIV, KJV, NASB etc.

    There is nothing added or omitted.

    Kind Regards,


  3. Dear Nathan,

    Thanks for your message. The TLV does not have Parashah but does arrange the Old Testament books in the same order as they appear in the Jewish Bible.

    Hope that helps,

  4. Dear Neil,

    This review is great introduction to the new version. Thank you!

    Could you please explain giving a bit more examples – what one can expect more from the TLV along with the Hebrew names and terms? Like how will the TLV enhance or add values to one’s understanding of the ‘original message’ better as compared to the old established or say popular versions?

    Mostly I have read NIV and am planning to add KJV along with my old NIV as I have learnt from many sources that the KJV is more focused on presenting the ‘original essence’ of the scriptures. So how will TLV better influence one’s understanding of what the original writers actually meant? And is it helpful to comprehend the original intended meaning in present day’s context?

    In the mean time I will also go through your previous blog “A Brief Commentary on the Holy Scriptures; Tree of Life Version(TLV)” to understand more about TLV.

    With kind regards,

  5. Dear Ab,

    I enjoy reading many different Bible versions, with the possible exception of “The Message,” which I think is awful.
    I have found the TLV to be a very good, solid and fresh translation of the Holy Scriptures, with a distinctly Jewish accent. I enjoyed learning some Hebrew phrases and how it correctly interprets baptism as “immersion” etc. To see how it flows, I would recommend taking a look at the full text, which is available online for perusal:

    If you click on ” book list” at the lower right, you can gain access to all the books.

    I have recently been looking through “The Complete Jewish Bible,” by David H. Stern, which provides much more Hebrew content than the TLV. It’s an interesting read!

    In the end, what matters most is that we all stay grounded in Biblical truth during these dark times.

    Kind regards,


    • Dear Neil,

      Thank you for the explanation and the guidance. The link to ‘biblegateway’ is very helpful. At present I am referring YouVersion app for reading and comparing the different versions and have the TLV as the default version. I’ll compare a little more and then get a hardcopy preferably TLV or NKJV as am more interested in getting the real original sense/meaning of the text and not just the Jewish names, though that can be an addition. Did you mean Jewish words and names as ‘Jewish content’ while very kindly sharing about “The Complete Jewish Bible,” by David H. Stern?

      Your explanation of the mention of immersion as the means of baptism is indeed helpful. I am not sure if any version throws light on infant baptism vs adulthood baptism?

      Likewise, thank you for reinforcing the truth of the need to be grounded in Biblical truth during these dark times. In this connection can you please also guide regarding finding a good publication of the Book of Enoch? I tried looking for reader’s feedback on the available books where most are reviewed as ‘poorly written’. This will be rather attention distracting for me as English is not my first language. I am not much interested in the commentary on the Book of Enoch at this stage as I just want a book in ‘plane easy flowing’ translation in English to see what is mentioned in there and am not going to contemplate much on the linkages with what is mentioned in the Bible. However, a good commentary will be an addition.

      Thanking you,

      With kind regards,

  6. Hello Ab,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I think having a digital app that allows you to compare and contrast different Bible versions is a great idea, especially since you’ve not settled on one particular version. Once you are sure which version suits you best, it’s definitely a good idea to have a hard copy, something you can flick through and meditate on. That is especially true given the times in which we now live, where Christians are being persecuted for sticking to Biblical principles – principles that held western civilisation together for centuries and millennia. Now that society has turned its back on Biblical morality, things have rapidly deteriorated with disastrous consequences. Currently, I am trying to memorize as much Biblical tracts as possible in the event that one day they will be banned because it doesn’t fit with mankind’s alarming moral decline. You just never know what will happen next.

    I have a super giant print version of David Stern’s, Complete Jewish Bible, that I dip in and out of every now and then. He’s done a great job bringing many more Hebrew words into the pages of Scripture.

    There are some versions that are easier to understand and read through if English is not your first language; the NLT is very refreshing, as is the newly arrived Christian Standard Bible and the NIV 2011, though all of these have gone down the road of gender neutral language, which I don’t especially espouse. Since when did Biblical knowledge have anything to do with political correctness?

    My main go-to Bible is still the NKJV, though I do love the original King James also and use the highly accurate NASB quite frequently too, but in the end you have to decide which one to memorize from, and for me that is the NKJV.

    Anyway, thanks again for your post,

    With every blessing.


  7. Dear Kenneth,

    The TLV presents the New Testament books in the same order as any other Bible.



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