About

How is this Resource Unique?

There are six key characteristics of this Bible resource. I will explain them below and you can decide for yourself how this mobile website is different from other resources that are available.

1. For the passages discussed, this resource offers a translation and a paraphrase that were designed to be presented side-by-side. In tandem they give the reader an understanding of what the original said and what it means to us today at the same time.

2. One of my key purposes is to show the meaning of symbolism in parts of the Bible where the use of symbolism is heavy. It is my goal to show the meaning that the original readers would have seen in all the symbols in order to show the message of the entire set of symbols, not just individual symbols.

3. The meaning of names. In ancient times names meant something, but to us they are usually only a form of identification. So I strive to help people see the meanings of the names used in the Bible. I do not provide a list, rather I use the real name in the translation column and the meaning of the name in the paraphrase column.

4. The footnotes provide many word-studies and explain why I translated (or paraphrased) things the way I did. In the footnotes I try to explain impactful lessons that come from the words being used, oddities or strange things about the original language, challenges or difficulties faced by translators, and assumptions that one must make during translation.

5. I also wish to show cultural issues whenever they are important to the understanding of the text.

6. If you seek answers to commonly asked questions about the Bible, the answers I provide are usually part of a unified study of a larger topic; they do not stand alone. This is important because the Bible amazes me by the way it presents a cohesive message. Everything fits together nicely, even the parts of the Bible we have struggled to understand. These large-topic studies help us see the big picture, not just the answer to a few random questions.

Questions About This Ministry

You may copy, distribute, and even print this material if you meet my one condition and consider my one request.

My one condition is:

Do not make any profit when you share this information. Please keep in mind that I do not make a profit from this material. If you distribute it in a way that incurs some expenses, you may be reimbursed for your expenses, but nothing more.

In most situations it is wrong to distribute someone else’s creative work without their permission because you would be keeping them from making money that they would otherwise make from the sale of what they have written, recorded, or produced. But since I am giving my work away free, that is not the case. For that reason I am happy to grant you permission to distribute my work, as long as you meet the one condition listed above.

Here is my one request:

Please do not pretend this information originated with you; give credit where credit is due by keeping my name attached to it.

For the long portions I have translated and paraphrased (entire books or entire chapters), you can email me your request and I will send you a set of PDFs of those works by chapter. That will be much easier for you than copying each verse individually from this site, especially if you are trying to print this material for someone who does not have access to it on line.

This could be helpful if you see that persecution is coming  and you fear that my mobile website may only be available for a short time. The threat of having this information suppressed is a big motivator for me to make this stuff available in a way that you can distribute with my blessing, as long as you meet my condition and request explained above. In this way, even if this mobile website is removed, this material can still be out there.

 

A friend of a friend of mine got a copy of my translation and paraphrase of Revelation and read part of it to his children who were in first grade and kindergarten at the time. He read the portrayal of Jesus found in the paraphrase column of chapter one without telling them what he was reading. After he was done reading, he asked his two young children what they thought about it. Right away the kindergartener spoke up and said, “Daddy, Jesus is great, isn’t he?”

The father relayed the story in a way that indicated that his child was not in the habit of saying “Jesus is Great” on a regular basis. This seemed to be the child’s understanding of what had been read.

When this story got back to me, I felt blessed beyond measure. My first thought was, “Yes! Thank you Lord! If a kindergartener can understand the book of Revelation, I must be doing something right.”

To this day that has been the highest compliment I have ever received about my writing, and I doubt it will ever be surpassed.

I have asked myself that question hundreds of times. The truth is that there are many people who are far more qualified than I to carry out this project of a translation and paraphrase side by side. But God seems to have given it to me. I have often wondered, “Why me, when others are more qualified?”

I think the biggest reason is this: He purposefully chose someone whose qualifications are mediocre so that He alone would get the praise and the glory. I consider myself the co-author because there is no way I could do this by myself, and I cannot take the credit for it. I cannot say, “Look what I’ve done.”

I cannot claim to be well qualified because I am not. I cannot say I know Greek and Hebrew, only that I have studied Greek and Hebrew. In my mind knowing a language implies a degree of proficiency or fluency; I am far from that level. I do my translation work slowly, carefully, and with an awareness of my weaknesses. Because of my shortcomings I am more acutely aware of God’s blessings in trusting me with this project.

I now see that God receives more glory by using obviously flawed vessels than He would by using vessels that other humans view as pristine, capable, and well prepared.

A secondary reason God may have given this to me is that I needed to learn some things and in-depth research was the best way for me to learn them. He gave me an assignment in Song of Solomon because He wanted me to learn to cherish and treasure my wife; He gave me a project in Revelation because he wanted me to learn purity, purity, purity and a few other things like faith and perseverance. In each case God has had something He wanted me to learn. He is also gracious enough to allow me to share it with others who might benefit as well.

Whatever good comes from the writing I have done is a gift from God. As with any special gift, it is the giver of the gift, not the receiver, that deserves the accolades.

There are already a number of very good translations out there. However, there is no perfect Bible translation, and mine is not perfect either. What drives this project is not my desire to make my own translation, but the desire to create a paraphrase and lay it alongside a translation; I wanted to show you the two together.

This desire grows from the fact that I feel there are still many aspects of Scripture that people find confusing. Most of these pertain to things which we are not familiar with, like cultural issues, symbolism, geography, the meaning of names, etc. My desire is to bring clarity to those problematic areas and for that purpose I am presenting both a translation and a paraphrase side by side. The paraphrase provides a new way of explaining things, but the translation keeps us anchored to the text so as not to stray too far afield. I hope that his arrangement will encourage the reader to be more willing to trust the paraphrase.

I never, ever thought I would write a paraphrase of Scripture because I have held a dislike for paraphrases. I feel that many of them stray too far from the original text. However, I first came to see the need for one in order to help people understand the meaning of symbolism in particular. In symbolism, the text says one thing, but means something very different. Only a paraphrase can show you that because it requires much interpretation; only a paraphrase and a translation laid out side by side can show you both the original wording and its intended meaning.

Several factors have influenced my decision to make my own translation of the passages I work with. Those factors are as follows:

  1. In order to express the meaning of the symbols I frequently have to rearrange the entire sentence. I cannot use someone else’s translation and then twist it all around.
  2. Due to copyright laws I think it is best to do my own translation of the passages I work with.
  3. Because I use a two-column system, my translation often sounds cumbersome or rough. That is by design because I have the paraphrase column to tell you what it means.
  4. Starting with translating from the original has forced me to get to know what the original text is saying in a fuller and more accurate way. This has been a huge blessing.

I never, ever thought I would write a paraphrase because I don’t like them. Usually I think they are too free, too far removed from the original text. So why am I writing one now?

Yes, I am writing a paraphrase, but it doesn’t feel the same because it has my translation right beside it. Doing both a translation and a paraphrase has allowed me two opportunities to help my readers understand what was being said. Actually, every time someone has translated parts of the Bible from the original languages, it has been an attempt to shoot somewhere in the middle, between “here’s what it actually says” and “here’s what it means to us today.” I have two shots at it so I try to show you both.

I might have liked The Message, a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, if he had done what I am doing. The guy is a Greek and Hebrew professor so he knows his stuff and he had his reasons. But I usually don’t care for his rendering; it seems too free and too far from the original. However, if he had provided a translation and a paraphrase side by side with lots of footnotes telling us why he did what he did, I would probably love it. I don’t know if he even thought about doing that, but if he had, I imagine there was one big problem – his publisher would have said, “It’s impossible. The Bible would be a tall stack of books instead of just one thick book.” And the publisher would have been right. Who could afford to buy a Bible that looks  The Bible usually has 31,240 verses. The passages I have translated  and paraphrased often average about 1 page per verse. So if someone wrote a side-by-side translation and paraphrase of the entire Bible  study Bible based on the pattern I utilize, it would be about 31,000 pages long. It would take a fork lift to get it down the aisle at church! After the pastor announced the passage of Scripture he would be speaking from, you would request that they sing 6 more songs while you unload your pallet and find the right volume! No publisher would agree to printing a Bible that size. (But the ability to present it online is perfect for this type of thing!)

The side-by-side layout also works very well for books with lots of symbolism in them. Symbolism uses words in ways that are far removed from their actual meaning. So I have positioned the translation and paraphrase in such a way that the symbol in the text on the left is visually connected to the meaning of the symbol in the column on the right. Thus you know what it said, but you also know what it means.

I provide lots of footnotes which tell you why I did things the way I did in the translation or the paraphrase as well as anything interesting or strange about that word.

  1. I have felt that is what God wants me to do.

When I first started self-publishing my books, I charged a normal amount for them, then I felt convicted about that and I started charging only what I had invested in them in paper and ink. It averaged out to be about $1 per 100 pages. Thus my 400 page book on Revelation was $4.00.

  1. May it never, ever be said that Paul Eberhard became rich off the Gospel.

The more profit I receive from the Gospel, the more easily people can question my motives. I don’t want people to think I am doing this for money.

I have a “Donate” button on the site, but that is because there are some expenses incurred in maintaining a site like this. Charging is a form of demanding something; donations depend on the generosity of my readers and cause my faith in God to grow.

  1. I believe a mobile website will enjoy a wider dissemination if it is free.

I would not want a subscription fee to discourage people from trying out my website.

4. The fact that it is free of charge and free from advertising means that I will be able to promote it without hesitation. If I charged a subscription fee, any promotion would feel like I was selling something but since it is free I not have such concerns.

While I purposefully make this website available without a subscription fee and without advertising, I do have a donate button for those who want to support this ministry and say “thank you” in a monetary way. The donate button can be found at the very bottom of this page.

 

 

 

First of all, please pray for me. Pray that God will give me wisdom in all the decisions related to this website and His guidance in all I write.

Secondly, please share this website with others. If someone types a question into the search mechanism of their search engine, and if that questions is one of the ones I address directly on this website, the truth is that they will probably not see my website; there will likely be many, many other sites that pop up before mine does. But if you share this website with your friends, they can come directly here and hopefully find a helpful answer and be drawn to other things I have written as well.

Thirdly, if you, or if a person or persons you know, would like to help me in various ways , that would be highly appreciated. For instance, there are some time-consuming clerical tasks I could use help with and they can be done from a distance. Encourage them to send me an email using the Contact Me tab.

More specifically, if a person or team of people meets the following criteria, I would be greatly blessed to have you put them in contact with me, or share their contact info with me so I can reach out to them:

Skilled at video editing,

Have the technology to do video editing,

Desire to support and help ministries like mine by offering a discount for their work.

Lastly, you can support this ministry financially. I have the monthly expense of a web maintenance fee and I have big dreams that involve producing videos and audio files which will present the content on this website in English and Spanish. I may also need to do some promotion.

The donate button is at the very bottom of this page.

If you would like to help in other ways that are not mentioned here, please send me an email through the Contact me tab. Thank you for any kind of support you can offer me.

I had a retired pastor ask me this question during a Sunday School class I was teaching. I told him I knew it was not 100% but I thought it was 90% or above. I had already thought about that very question and had come to this percentage based on how well balanced the paraphrase seems and how well all the pieces fit together. It also seemed to fit the culture and the overall message of Scripture as a whole. My footnotes explain why I decided to write it the way I did, therefore, if you wish, you can judge my level of accuracy for yourself.

In my first book on Song of Solomon (self-published), I did not do my own translation work but relied on a variety of other translations. Almost every line showed a change in the version of the Bible I had drawn from and often there was more than one version indicator in a given line. Later I decided I should go back and revise my book on Song of Solomon by doing my own translation from the original. I did that and I was glad I did. Here is the interesting thing that I found in the process – the translation column changed much more than the paraphrase column did, in fact the paraphrase column needed very few changes. I took that to mean that my ideas about where the symbolism was pointing were on track for the most part.

Once again, I cannot prove that the degree of accuracy I claim is actually true; my paraphrase is my opinion about the symbolism based on careful study, and I hope you find it helpful.

What would Solomon say if he could see what I have done with the symbolism of the Song of Solomon? What would John say if he could how I have repackaged the symbolism of Revelation? Would they be happy? Would they slap me on the back and say, “Good job, little buddy, you figured it out!”

No. I’m confident they would not praise my work at all. Rather they would say, “Paul, “What are you doing? These are symbols. Don’t analyze them; just feel them!”

To which I would have to answer, “You are right. But I am not able to just feel your symbolism. I don’t know your language, your culture, and your thought processes well enough to feel them; I have to analyze your symbolism because that’s all I have left.” The people of that day naturally knew what the symbolism meant. They did not have to analyze it; they felt the response immediately from deep inside them. But for us that is not an option.

Dear reader, think of the times you have had to explain a joke to a child. When you have to explain a joke, it ruins the joke! Every time a joke is explained it no longer seems funny. Jokes are intended to be understood immediately, without being analyzed. They elicit an automatic response of laughter, or they aren’t a good joke. What I am doing by explaining the symbolism in my paraphrase column is similar to explaining a joke. It would be much better if we could all feel the response to these word pictures immediately and without analysis. But alas, we can’t feel them immediately, so we have to analyze them, then say, “Oh, so that’s what it means.” Granted, we do feel some emotional response at that point, but it is not really the way symbolism is supposed to work.

Even though I am doing it wrong by analyzing something that should be felt automatically, when you read my paraphrase of The Song or of Revelation, you will find new energy, power, and impact in those two books of the Bible which so many people have come to dislike. Even though we are doing it wrong, we are amazed at the richness in their meaning and how these ancient word pictures preach powerfully to us today. We need to remember that they are not our symbols, they are their symbols. When we learn to interpret them the way the people of that day did, our eyes are opened to a whole new world of understanding.

How much more powerful these books would have been for the people that day! The impact was immediate and undiluted. When we see it in this light it is no wonder that the Song of Solomon was called “Solomon’s song of songs!”

In a number of the Troublesome Topics found on this website, there is a key that opens a new method of interpretation which makes that topic understandable. Usually, it is a matter of perspective. Not all of my topical studies exhibit that reliance on an uncommon interpretive method, but a number of the “big ones” do. For many of the most troublesome topics, the key to the interpretive method did not come from me. I have simply found and applied something from someone else which answered all the relevant questions better than any other method.

Here is a list of the topics for which one key opens the door for the interpretive method I have employed and the sources of those keys.

 

Why are parts of the Bible so hard to understand?    Myself

The Law                                  Paul Hansen

Clean and Unclean things       Rich Oka and myself

Revelation & Prophecy          John Yeatts and Lynn Thrush

Tongues                                   Eric Ludy and Myself

Solomon’s Life and Writings, specially Ecclesiastes             Myself

Rest/Sabbath                           Myself

True Prayer                             Eric & Leslie Ludy

Adam & Eve After Eden        Myself

House Churches                      Myself

Authorship of Hebrews          Myself

Emotional healing                  Audry Eberhard (This study was written by Audry Eberhard)

Tongues                                   Myself with some help from Eric Ludy

As with most study Bibles, I do not cite my sources for every bit of information given. Instead I will list here the sources I used for each major category found in this mobile website. However, I do try to cite the sources for direct quotes and sometimes in other situations where I deem it of great value for you to know the exact source. Otherwise I trust this list will suffice.

FOR THE TRANSLATION AND PARAPHRASE OF PASSAGES:

HEBREW LEXICA AND CONCORDANCES:

Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon (BDB)

Strong’s Concordance

Harris, Archer and Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT)

 

GREEK LEXICA AND CONCORDANCES:

Thayer’s Lexcion

Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Lexicon (BAG)

Strong’s Concordance

Kittel (The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, often referred to as TDNT or simply as Kittel)

 

COMMENTARIES:

Barnes, Bengel, Benson, Cambridge, Edersheim, Ellicott, Gill’s, Godet, Jameison-Fausset-Brown, Meyers, Poole, Pulpit Commentary, Vincent’s, Keil and Delitzch

 

BIBLE DICTIONARIES:

Unger’s Bible Dictionary

 

STUDY BIBLES:

the NET Study Bible

the NIV Study Bible

 

HEBREW GRAMMARS:

J. Weingreen

Kelley Page

Dwight Paine

 

GREEK GRAMMARS:

J. Gresham Machen

William D. Chamberlain

Dana & Mantey

Huber Drumwright

A.T. Robertson

 

REGARDING CULTURAL ISSUES:

Ray Vanderlaan, That the World May Know DVDs

Unger’s Bible Dictionary

 

THE COVENANTS:

Paul Hansen, A people called

Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants

Professor Terry Brensinger (in person)

 

THE LAW:

Rich Oka, a Messianic Jewish blogger : https://messianic-revolution.com

James B. Prichard., The Ancient Near East, a New Anthology of Texts and Pictures

Gordon Wenham., The Book of Leviticus

 

REST AND SABBATH:

Rabbi Abraham Heschel  The Sabbath

Dan Allender Sabbath

Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries

Eric & Leslie Ludy, Wrestling Prayer

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

 

PROPHECY:

John Yeatts – Believers Church Bible Commentary: Revelation

Lynn Thrush – Soaring Hope

George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope

Josephus – Antiquities of the Jews

 

DON’T HELP SATAN BY BEATING UP ON YOURSELF

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Eric & Leslie Ludy, Wrestling Prayer, and Authentic Beauty

For the science facts:

https://www.brainfacts.org/archives/2009/decision-making

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7149951/

https://theconversation.com/how-the-brain-makes-choices-the-sinuous-path-from-decision-to-action-108190

Meet Paul Eberhard

Early Years

I was born in Honduras, Central America, where my parents were missionaries. I spent about 15 of my growing-up years in Honduras and 1 year in Nicaragua.

Education

I earned a BA in Bible from Vennard Bible College, near Oskaloosa, Iowa. After that I attended Western Evangelical Seminary, near Portland, Oregon and earned an MA in Biblical Studies.

Marriage

I met Audry in Bible college and we got married in 1987, while I was in Seminary. We have two grown children.

Ministry

I have been a pastor of two small congregations (in Iowa and Michigan) for a total of 12 ½ years, and a missionary in Honduras and Mexico for a total of 6 years. All of these years were with the Brethren in Christ denomination.

Work Outside of the ministry

While not in full-time ministry I have done the following types of work: Teacher at a Christian school, a Bilingual tutor in a public middle school, assistant manager of a restaurant, and various types of construction. I currently work full-time for a printing company and consider the writing of additional projects for this website as my part-time job, for which I do not get paid in money. Somethings are their own reward.

Hobbies

I enjoy walking, music, science, and photography (and challenging writing projects).

My writing Projects

I have been writing books about challenging parts of the Bible since 1996 and have self-published several of them. However, these books are no longer available in printed because I think this website is a much better way to disseminate information than printing books.

This Website

The idea for this mobile website began in 2018 and the website was launched in October of 2021.

Support the Work

I debated whether or not to include a donate button on this site, but I decided to include it because some readers may want to say “thank you” with more than words, and I do have some expenses associated with this ministry. The money donated here will be used for the expenses of this ministry and anything beyond that will see a large portion given to charitable causes.