EHV in Digital Formats

Brian R. Keller (Adrian, Michigan USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Brian R. Keller, pastor of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Adrian, Michigan, serves as New Testament Editor of the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) of the Bible. He chairs the WELS Michigan District Board of Appeals. In the past, he served as pastor of congregations in Arkansas and Ohio. He authored the People's Bible Teachings volumes on the "Bible" (Northwestern Publishing House, © 2002) and "Heaven and Hell" (Northwestern Publishing House, © 2008).

First: What is the Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®)?

In case you haven’t heard of the EHV yet, EHV stands for the Evangelical Heritage Version.

Our translation is called Evangelical because its highest goal is to proclaim the good news of the gospel of salvation through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son. Though there are many topics in the Bible, all of them are there to serve the gospel of Christ. All of our work in producing and distributing this translation is directed to the glory of God and to the eternal salvation of people’s souls.

Our translation is called Heritage because this word looks to the past, the present, and the future. Heritage expresses our respect for the generations of Christians and for the faithful translators who have passed the Bible down to us. We are aware that we in the present are building on the foundation which they have laid. As the old saying goes: We can see so far because we are standing on the shoulders of giants. The term Heritage also looks to the future. The gospel is a precious inheritance that is to be passed from generation to generation until Christ returns. It is our prayer that this translation will have a part in that great mission which the Lord has left for his church. Our goal and motto is expressed in the hymn verse:

God’s Word is our great heritage
and shall be ours forever.
To spread its light from age to age
shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way.
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
we keep its teaching pure
throughout all generations.

To this end, our goal is to produce a balanced translation, suitable for all-purpose use in the church.

In many, many ways, our Wartburg Project team utilized technology to translate, communicate, edit, and review the text of the EHV. It was a project that really leaned on technology. We virtually never had face to face meetings, yet we were in constant contact and could all look at the text. We were able to gather a team of more than one hundred participants to help produce the EHV. More information is available on our website.

Two of the most popular locations on our website are the FAQs and the Lectionary readings.

The FAQs answer many questions we have received about the Bible text, etc. The FAQs are visible in two ways: by basic topic, or by number.

The Lectionary readings have provided EHV text for Scripture lessons. These were provided free of charge and used by many congregations around the world. Here’s a link to lectionary options.

We used a Facebook page to promote the EHV, particularly with putting passages to pictures and Bible history lessons. Many examples can be seen on our Facebook page. We were sometimes able to reach more than 50,000 people all around the world. Sometimes we were quite surprised by how far those went. Here’s a link to the Facebook page.

The EHV Bible has been selling very well through Northwestern Publishing House (NPH). There is a hardcover edition and a leather bound edition of the full Bible.

The EHV Bible is available in several digital versions. We are working on placing EHV text in more apps and digital resources.

Kindle and Nook editions of the EHV are now available.

We are all set with Logos, but they are still formatting it as of this writing. It is available for pre-order now. We hope it will be available by the end of October 2019.

The full EHV is now on BibleGateway!

We expect to make EHV available on Bible Works, but that will be a special internal project because Bible Works is out of business. Yet we have users who still enjoy it.

EHV text is on the Dove Bible app. Details are still being worked out about placing the full Bible on there.

Among other possibilities after these are the following:

  • Pocket Bible
  • Google Play
  • Bible Hub – online
  • Accordance
  • Cadre
  • Tecarta
  • QuickVerse
  • Olive Tree
  • My Bible Connection
  • YouVersion – which involves ParaText, which we do not have yet.

The content for our Study Bible is already done; we have written all of the notes and edited them. The EHV Study Bible is now beta testing. The first formats will be a computer edition in which the text and note/maps/pics scroll side by side on a computer screen. So far it does not run in Apple or Linux. Predicting the arrival dates for electronic products is always hazardous but we hope it will be available in 2020.

EHV Study Bible notes will be available soon in a LOGOS notes module. We are exploring several ways to make the EHV Study Bible available digitally; we are working on this with the Microsoft store. We are often asked if there will be a printed edition of the EHV study Bible (similar to the Concordia study Bibles). We would love to see this happen! For there to be a printed version of the EHV Study Bible, what is needed would be...

  • more sales or
  • convincing a publisher that there is a market for it or
  • receiving significant funding for this purpose.

    We are open to having other publishers attach their study notes to EHV text. Having other publishers utilize EHV text with their study notes could be one way to reach more readers with the EHV Bible. We certainly want to reach as many readers as possible.

    There has been a lot of interest expressed in audio, but so far we do not have a specific commitment. We do plan to have an audio version, but we’ve not yet finalized the plans. We've had many volunteers offer to read the EHV for an audio version. Our leadership has not yet made any decision on the audio other than that we are going to do it.

    The first edition (hardcover) of EHV sold out very quickly, so there was much more interest than our publisher was expecting. There is an ELS Catechism using EHV text (mainly sold on Kindle) and now a WELS/NPH one that is available for school this fall.

    We are looking forward to the EHV Bible finding usage in many more ways. Maybe you will come up with a great idea!

    [Editor's note: Some of the challenges involved in producing the EHV were discussed by Prof. Brug in the 2016 GOWM Conference.]

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  • Discussion

    Rev. David Locklair (Hope Lutheran (ELS) - Portage, IN) 2019-10-21 6:51:44pm
    In reference to the study Bible: has there been any talk of asking for donations to fund it? I believe at one point the Wartburg Project stopped funding for the Bible itself because they had raised sufficient funds. Perhaps opening that back up for the study Bible would be an option?
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:13:03am
    We would welcome donations for this purpose... Anyone can send in donations via our website or by direct mail. The address is posted at
    Here it is: The Wartburg Project
    907 Mattes Drive
    Midland MI 48642-3708
    Rev. Luke Ulrich (Mt. Olive Lutheran Church & School (ELS) - Mankato, MN) 2019-10-22 2:27:59pm
    Thank You Rev. Keller for this update on the EHV. Being at a congregation with a school, we hand out "Student Bibles" to our students to use through their time with us. The maps and illustrations and book introductions are very helpful and frequently referenced by our teachers. Has there been any discussion of producing an "EHV Student Bible"? Maybe the demand for a Study Bible would be greater at this point--and I'd imagine again it comes down to cost and demand. Perhaps a "Student Bible" edition would not be as costly as a full blown Study Bible? One thing we are hoping to do at our school (and I'm sure other schools are doing the same) is have a text that we can rely on and use for the coming generations--so that our memory work is not not changing, and we end up with students at different grade levels who all know different translations. That's the mess we're in now, having had to change from the "NIV'84 Student Bible" 4 years ago to the "ESV Student Bible." And now, ideally, we'd like to move to the EHV since our local churches have been using EHV for liturgical purposes.
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:18:32am
    Great idea! We would love to do something like this. It's again a matter of funds and time and market interest. It probably would be easier to do than a full-blown Study Bible. We would certainly consider it. It might be possible! We are very committed to having a stable translation. I hope you will move to the EHV and be happy with it from now on. I fully understanding your concern, since I serve as a full-time pastor too. I memorized KJV, then we switched to NIV84, then we were considering what to switch to... and now EHV. Hoping that future generations can have stability now...
    Cody Anderson (Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary) 2019-10-24 2:17:31pm
    I enjoy this translation and am looking forward to the new study bible. It will be a great tool for me to have in the future. In our modern day of technology I'm glad that the full version is on Bible Gateway. It is one of my go to apps when it comes to witnessing to people out in the field. I will be taking advantage of this.
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:19:21am
    Thank you! God bless your Bible reading!
    Paul Grubbs (MLC) 2019-10-24 5:27:52pm
    Rev. Keller,

    Thanks for the detailed background you provide regarding the digital tools used to share the EHV translation. The conversation regarding Biblical translations in the last few years certainly gave fresh emphasis to the language training our church bodies prize. Your piece helped me recognize how technology (whose influence we often bemoan) was a huge blessing when it came to this sizable task.

    You mentioned the completed Study Bible. I would assume that many of the same digital connectivity tools were used to limit costs and logistical hassle for those participating. I looked over your linked materials because I was curious if the same team of personnel that assisted with the translation project contributed to the development of study materials or if that was a narrower group? (If that type of description was provided and I overlooked it, I apologize in advance.)

    Thanks again for providing an overview of this work for the conference. God’s blessings with the development of the study bible, audio edition, and other projects you mention in your piece.
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:28:00am
    Thank you, Paul! Yes, the same digital connectivity tools were used to limit costs and many hassles. In some ways, we did streamline things with the study Bible notes. Dr. Brug, with his many years of teaching at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, already had many notes and resources to use. The study Bible was not the exact same group. Thank you for the kind words and blessings!
    William Rauh (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 5:43:38pm
    Rev. Keller

    I appreciate the work you have done for the new translation and for informing us about the many new digital options with the EHV. I enjoy having a Bible translation that I trust in a digital format.

    You mentioned that the notes for the study Bible have been written and a digital copy should arrive in 2020. What kind of programs would the study Bible appear on in addition to the LOGOS module?

    Thank you for your contribution the the new EHV translation.
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:29:54am
    There is a way to get an EHV Study Bible (digitally) right now. Here's a link to it:
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:30:54am
    We are exploring many options right now... Please stay tuned as arrangements are being worked out. If I could tell you more, I would... We are looking at many.
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:32:26am
    I'm not sure if the link will work, but anyone can copy the address and find it. It's been a privilege to serve in this way! Thanks for the encouraging words! God bless your Bible reading!
    William Rauh (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:17:45pm
    Thank you Rev. Keller for your response and for adding the link to your response. I am grateful for the new possibilities of sharing the Bible that God has provided for us in the 21st century. Thank you again for all your work on the new EHV project.
    Pastor Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-11-10 10:58:04pm
    Working on the EHV has been the privilege of a lifetime! I pray that God will bless the EHV with a wide readership. I pray that it will be a blessing for many people. God's blessings to you!
    Alex Dimke (Martin Luther College) 2019-10-24 5:46:36pm

    Dear Pastor Keller,

    As a student of MLC I really appreciated the opportunity to have a EHV bible given to us as a gift from our President and in cooperation with the board. I have found it incredibly useful and interesting and I cannot wait to see the study notes. I have nothing but the highest regards for you and the nearly 100 others working on this project. Your work is very much appreciated.

    I have one question for you concerning the digital content and the study notes for the new bible. How will we be able to support the digital content for other languages and nation beyond the United States? I believe it would be very helpful for our missions around the world to have access to all of the available resources we are currently producing as a synodical body. It would be fantastic and I hope it is on the boards list as a goal.

    Thank you very much for all of your hard work! May God continue to bless it!
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:35:44am
    Thanks for the kind words! That gift was giving by an anonymous donor through the Wartburg Project, and we were pleased that it was passed along to you. We know some missionaries and trust that they can use and translate the resources as they wish. We hope the resources will be a blessing for them and for many people around the world. The study notes are available digitally at the Microsoft store.
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 12:39:49am
    *typo... "That gift was given by..."
    Rev. Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-10-29 1:47:18am
    Please tell other students at MLC about the free gift of an EHV Bible! It seems that word is not getting around. Thank you!! There is one for each, but time is running out.
    Alex Dimke (Martin Luther College) 2019-11-07 6:24:09pm
    Thank you very much for your response. I am excited at the opportunity of a digital study version. I believe that it will be enormously helpful to be able to search the study notes for key phrases in this digital format. I'm glad that the missionaries who would possibly be using this resource have been considered. I'm sure that they are very capable individuals and will be able to accurately translate. If time and resources were not an obstacle would that have been a considered option? I really appreciate the work the team has done and I have done my best to inform others of the fantastic opportunity here.
    God's blessing on your continue work and Ministry!
    Pastor Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-11-10 10:56:35pm
    Thank you, Alex! I think it's still possible that many resources could be developed in the future. The HUGE projects are completed... translating the Bible and writing study notes for the Bible... Now we have much work to do to make it available to others. Thanks for your kind words! God's blessings to you!
    Sashia Swenson (Bethany Lutheran College) 2019-11-03 8:54:31pm
    It seems that there are many translations of the Bible, not talking about different languages. I understand that this may be necessary as older versions are harder to understand as the language is in an older style. I am curious to know why new translations come out frequently when the most recent before was still understandable, unlike the difficulty with older Bibles. It is important that even with all these translations, that they are available to a wide sweep of people through the use of the internet.
    Pastor Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-11-10 10:06:45pm
    The reason why new translations have come out recently is both simple and complex. The simple answer, for some, is that NIV changed and the publisher refused to allow the older version to be purchased or used for publications. That forced a choice. Some where not entirely happy with all of the choices for many complex reasons. In the end, the question came up, "could we do our own translation? At least then, we would not constantly be at the mercy of others..." Some said, "That is impossible. It cannot be done." Others said, "With God, all things are possible." In 2013, a team of volunteers set out to try... Internally, some admitted that if the attempt failed, we would have to admit that it was, in fact, impossible. But, the result is the EHV. Now the Wartburg Project has produced and controls a Bible translation. We no longer need to ask permission of other publishers to use their versions. At any time, Zondervan or other publishers can change their translations again and take them away. They can charge as much for royalties as they want. Some of us are now continually grateful to God that we are no longer at their mercy. God has blessed us with a translation of the Bible that we can use and quote and share as we wish, without being at the mercy of others. Does that maybe help to answer your question? I think it is both simple and complex... Thanks for asking! God bless!
    Pastor Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-11-10 10:22:21pm
    Here is one example of the changes NIV made. My professors taught that Psalm 8 is talking about Jesus. Check out the difference between "old NIV" and "new NIV." Most regular people won't notice a difference, because the cover just says, "NIV" so they assume it's all the same... Notice carefully the pronouns and if it could be about Jesus anymore in the new one...
    Psalm 8:4–6 (NIV84)
    4what is man that you are mindful of him,
    the son of man that you care for him?
    5You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
    6You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under his feet:

    Psalm 8:4–6 (NIV 2011)
    4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
    5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
    6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
    Pastor Brian Keller (Wartburg Project) 2019-11-10 10:47:20pm
    But, is Psalm 8 really about Jesus? Read Hebrews 2:5-9 to see... I'll quote the EHV...
    Hebrews 2:5–9 (EHV)
    For God did not place the coming world, about which we are speaking, under the control of angels. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:
    What is man that you remember him,
    or the Son of Man that you look after him?
    7You made him lower than the angels for a little while.
    You crowned him with glory and honor.
    8You put everything in subjection under his feet.
    Indeed, in putting everything in subjection to him, God left nothing that is not in subjection to him. At the present time, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we look to Jesus (the one who was made lower than the angels for a little while, so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone), now crowned with glory and honor, because he suffered death.