Luke 18:29 – Is TNIV gender-accurate?

Matthew 19:29

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother (NRSV)

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother (TNIV)

Mark 10:29

there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father (NRSV)

no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father (TNIV)

Luke 18:29

there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents (NRSV)

no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents (TNIV)

everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents  (NLT)

Were TNIV translators gender-accurate or too aggressive in their rendering of Luke 18:29?  This one is questionable.  The word ἀδελφοὺς can mean “brother” in the masculine plural but has been translated as “brothers or sisters” in other passages where adelphas (ἀδελφὰς, sisters: fem. pluaral) is absent.   I checked other translations and found no other translation went as far as TNIV did in Luke 18:29—not even the NRSV or NLT.  The NRSV and NLT rendered this as simply “brothers”.

The Matthew and Mark parallels rendered adelphos (ἀδελφοὺς) as “brothers” and adelphas (ἀδελφὰς) as “sisters”.  Did TNIV follow the pattern set in these parallel verses of Matthew 19:29 and Mark 10:29, in which “adelphos” and “adelphas” were rendered as “brothers or sisters”?   The Matt. 19:29 and Mark 10:29 parallels are definitely correct, but Luke 18:29 now becomes questionable when placed in a comparative context with these other parallel passages.

If TNIV is right on this one, then NRSV and NLT are wrong.  What gives me a feeling that TNIV may be right in this case is Luke’s use of guneis (γονεῖς) for parent instead of pater and mater (μητέρα ἢ πατέρα) for father and mother.  Luke may have intended to use guneis as a gender-inclusive term, so in following Luke’s use of inclusive terminology, Luke 18:29 may be more accurately translated as “brothers or sisters”.

Other places where TNIV went further in gender-inclusive language than the NRSV or the NLT are in Luke 14:12, Acts 15:1, 22:5.

Bible Manuscripts and Translations

I found a ppt presentation about the upside of the Critical Texts.  It’s fairly good and seems to be unbiased.  It doesn’t even criticize the KJV as a bad bible.  Click here:Bible Manuscripts and Translations

John 6:27-51 Bread of life – Bultmann’s new order

After the editors get through with their higher critical analysis on a piece of text, they can really restructure the text so completely that it’s almost unrecognizable.  In the passage I’m reading on this week, scholar Rudolf Bultmann has another form that he thinks could be restructured in a more natural and logical order that is suppose to make better sense.  Bultmann believes that editors/redactors of the text in John 6:27-1 moved things around.   So Bultmann also moved things around himself to restore what he thinks is a more accurate text.

Personally, I think this is all subjective, as most commentaries are, so I wouldn’t take it seriously.  When I looked at his order of placement, it still seems to make sense; actually, I think it makes better logical sense this way but I don’t know if I would feel that comfortable playing around with the text as much as he did.  Here’s Bultmann’s order of John ch. 6:  vv. 27, 34-35, 30-33, 47-51a, 41-46, 36-40.  See if it makes more logical sense to you when you read it Bultmann’s way.

Note: Bultmann left v.28 out of his re-ordered passage because he feels v.28 is a detached fragment that was added by editors due to the word “work” (ἐργαζώμεθα).  See: Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, translated by G.R. Beasley-Murray (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1971), 221.

Eph. 3:16-18 “I pray that…”

Ephesians 3:16 – 18:

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.
I pray that
, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, being rooted and grounded in love, And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

For public reading of this particular passage, I would prefer not to read from the ESV because the sentence is way too long.  It is five verses long: v.14-19. It takes your breath away. According to English grammar, it might qualify as a run-on sentence.  Notice the ESV does not have the phrase “I pray that” while the NRSV, NLT, and TNIV translations do. Why?  I looked into this and learned that vv. 16 and 18 (in orig. Greek) contain a subordinate or dependent clause: “that“.   For clarity’s sake, the words “I pray that” were added in by the NRSV, NLT, TNIV translators because this clause “that” actually refers to what Paul said back in v. 14 (“I bow my knees before the Father”). So by adding “I pray that“, clarity to an otherwise, lengthy sentence was increased.

Since “I pray that” is not present in the original, you would think that the ESV would be more precise.  It may be more precise but it may not be as understandable.  Precision does not equal accuracy.

Ephesians 1:4-5 – Whose love are we talking about? Our love or God’s love?

In Ephesians 1:4-5, whose love is the writer of Ephesians talking about — the love in God’s child or the love of God? Notice that εν αγαπη (en agape) in the Greek NT is located at the end of v.4; however, en agape could also be placed at the start of a new sentence in v.5, which would render a different meaning in the text. “Love” is stuck in the middle between v.4 and v.5. The various translations also take positions right down the middle. The NRSV, NASB, NKJV, NJB and REB locate love (en agape) at the end of v.4 so that love is understood as an attribute within the child of God. Love modifies holiness and blamelessness. Whereas, the ESV, RSV, TNIV, NAB, GNT and HCSB locates love (en agape) at the beginning of v.5; so then, love is understood as an attribute of God’s own character (i.e., “in love [God] predestined us”). As a result, these translations are understood as two differing ideas. It can be a major difference, not a minor one and it completely changes how the passage is understood by the reader. (Note, NLT also locates love in v.4 but love modifies the word “chosen” so it’s meaning is understood almost the same as TNIV and ESV). [This post has been edited.]

Ephesians 1:4-5:

4 καθως εξελεξατο ημας εν αυτω προ καταβολης κοσμου ειναι ημας αγιους και αμωμους κατενωπιον αυτου εν αγαπη

5 προορισας ημας εις υιοθεσιαν δια ιησου χριστου εις αυτον κατα την ευδοκιαν του θεληματος αυτου (Greek New Testament, Nestle-Aland 27th edition)

…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (ESV)

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—(TNIV)

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (NLT)

just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, (NRSV)

Before the foundation of the world he chose us in Christ to be his people, to be without blemish in his sight, to be full of love; and he predestined us to be adopted as his children through Jesus Christ. This was his will and pleasure (REB)

Jer. 31:32 – Jeremiah’s play on words: Baal and husband

“not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:32, ESV).

בעלתי (husband, master): The verb form of “husband” means to “marry.” This is meant to emphasize the idea of the rights of the husband in the context of marriage (e.g., Gen. 20:3; Deut. 21:13; 22:22; 24:1). Does this mean that God has a right to exercise rights over his people in a religious covenant? I would think so, especially when this is placed in the context of covenant. The writer is trying to emphasize the seriousness of their covenant by making a comparison between a marriage covenant and a religious covenant.

God was calling his covenant people on violating their religious covenantal agreement. However, the writer of Jeremiah also added a play on words only noticeable in the Hebrew language. He points out the people’s adulterous worship of Baal with a pun. I am not a Hebrew scholar so I’d appreciate it someone will correct me if I’m wrong. It is interesting to note that there is an intended pun with the name Baal (בעל), which in the original Hebrew, rhymes with the word “husband” (בעלתי). To serve בעל, “Baal,” was to abandon the LORD who had “mastered” or “married” them as a בעל, “husband.”

Why did the writer use this marriage analogy? It was to teach the people that a covenant made with God was to be taken as serious as a marital covenant. God demands loyalty and purity within a relationship with him.

However, since we have failed in keeping the old covenant of the law, God decided to give us a “new covenant” that is to be written on the tablets of our hearts. This is where we can find the gospel of the messiah in this Old Testament text.

Next post: Sexual imagery in Revelation

Functional equivalence comparison #3: Romans 7:15-16

Finally, the comparison between functional equivalent translations continues with Romans, ch. 7.

I have been on a blogging hiatus for a while but I’ve finally found some time to catch my breath. I like doing these translation comparisons but they take a lot of time to prepare. I have found that comparing eight different translations is just too much, so to simplify things, I will limit the number of translations I am comparing to these six: NLT, NCV, NIrV, GW, CEV and GNT.

Romans 7:15

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. (NLT)

I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. (NCV)

I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. (NIrV)

I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. (God’s Word)

In fact, I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. (CEV)

I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. (GNT)

v.15: the original Greek says κατεργάζομαι οὐ γινώσκω (katergazomai οὐ ginōskō, “deeds not know,” “deeds not understand”). Therefore, the NLT’s idiomatic expression of “I don’t really understand myself” is not accurate. Paul does understand himself; what Paul says he does not understand is his own deeds or actions.

In the Greek, Paul did not say: “I don’t do what I know is right” (CEV). Paul actually said: “I do not do what I want to do.”

The GNT also uses: “would like to do.” In the Greek, Paul used θέλω , which means one’s will or volition, rather than, one’s liking. We know in v.18b, Paul says he has a will but just can’t act according to his will.

Concerning v.15, I prefer the renderings from NCV, NIrV, and GW.

Romans 7:16

But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. (NLT)

And if I do not want to do the hated things I do, that means I agree that the law is good. (NCV)

I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the law is good. (NIrV)

I don’t do what I want to do, but I agree that God’s standards are good. (GW)

Although I don’t do what I know is right, I agree that the Law is good. (CEV)

Since what I do is what I don’t want to do, this shows that I agree that the Law is right. (GNT)

v.16: The original Greek expresses the first phrase in the positive—“I do”; but the GW and CEV expresses this in the negative—“I don’t”. This is not accurate.

All the translations, other than GW, rendered nomos as “law” rather than “standards”. The Greek used νόμος (nomos, law), so the GW inaccurately rendered this as “standards” instead of “law”.

The NCV’s negative expression is difficult to understand and it also adds “hated things”, which is absent in the Greek.

The NLT uses the word “wrong” but this word is also not in the Greek.

The GNT renders “law is right.” In the Greek, Paul uses the word καλός (kalos) which reflects the agreeable impression made by the good. It is not related with a legal judgment in the sense of being right or wrong, which would otherwise be expressed using δικαιος (dikaios).

I hope that I do not disqualify every translation in this series. They all have their strengths in various passages of texts. But regarding Rom. 7:15-16, the NIrV seems to have come out on top.

Functional equivalence comparison #2: 1 Samuel 3:13 – What blasphemy?

The comparison between functional equivalent translations continues with the First Samuel 3:13.

NLT: I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them.

GW: I told him that I would hand down a permanent judgment against his household because he knew about his sons’ sin—that they were cursing God—but he didn’t try to stop them.

NIrV: I told Eli I would punish his family forever. He knew his sons were sinning. He knew they were making fun of me. In spite of that, he failed to stop them.

Message: I’m letting him know that the time’s up. I’m bringing judgment on his family for good. He knew what was going on, that his sons were desecrating God’s name and God’s place, and he did nothing to stop them.

GNT: I have already told him that I am going to punish his family forever because his sons have spoken evil things against me. Eli knew they were doing this, but he did not stop them.

NCV: I told Eli I would punish his family always, because he knew his sons were evil. They acted without honor, but he did not stop them.

CEV: He knew that his sons refused to respect me, and he let them get away with it, even though I said I would punish his family forever.

REB: You are to tell him that my judgement on his house will stand for ever because he knew of his sons’ blasphemies against God and did not restrain them.

In the original Hebrew, it is not very clear what “making themselves vile” really means. What were the sons of Eli doing to actually make themselves contemptible or vile? To make oneself vile is taken to be a blasphemy against God. But was it an act directed against God’s holy sacrifice (as the NCV implies), or were they doing something to themselves that made them vile? Amongst the functional equivalent (F.E.) translations, the NL T renders it as “blaspheming God”, which is the traditional rendering (also NRSV, ESV, TNIV). It is all by itself on this one because the other F.E. translations are very wide and far apart in their interpretation of the nature of this blasphemy.

The NCV’s use of “acted without honor” implies a physical action. Whereas, GW (“cursing God”), NIrV (“making fun of me”), and GNT (“spoken evil things against me”) implies speech. The renderings of CEV, Message, NLT and REB could go either way—action or speech. CEV’s (“refused to respect me”) uses an inactive adverb; whereas, NIRV’s (“making fun of me”) uses an active verb. However, this is very subjective because everyone may have their personal opinion as to what constitutes speech or action.

I prefer the rendering in The Message the best because it seems to most accurately describe blasphemy while covering both aspects of blasphemy in speech and action, and is easy to understand. Most people do not know what “blasphemy” means so I have to prefer a thumbs up for The Message. HCSB also has an excellent rendering: “his sons were defiling the sanctuary”. It’s extremely clear and understandable, but it’s in the mediating translation category.

Functional equivalent translations #1: 1 Samuel 3:7 Confusion about young Samuel

The comparison between functional equivalent translations begins with the First Samuel 3:7.

NCV: Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the Lord had not spoken directly to him yet.

Message: This all happened before Samuel knew GOD for himself. It was before the revelation of GOD had been given to him personally.

CEV: The LORD had not spoken to Samuel before, and Samuel did not recognize the voice.

REB: Samuel had not yet come to know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not been disclosed to him.

NLT: Samuel did not yet know the LORD because he had never had a message from the LORD before.

NIrV: Samuel didn’t know the Lord yet. That’s because the Lord still hadn’t given him a message.

GNT: The boy did not know that it was the Lord, because the Lord had never spoken to him before.

God’s Word: Samuel had no experience with the LORD, because the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

I was studying 1 Samuel 3:7 and noticed something puzzling. I asked myself: Why did young Samuel not know the Lord? Did the writer of Samuel mean that Samuel did not know the LORD because:

a/ he was still young?
b/ he had not yet spent enough time to learn of the LORD?
c/ he had not yet heard from the LORD in a personal way?

The interpretations provide by these translations are indeed numerous with each one including a slightly different connotation. Personally, this brings more confusion rather than clarification. The interpretations for this verse can vary quite a lot (see translations below).

The NLT, NIrV, GNT, and GW translations add “because”, which makes Samuel’s knowledge of the LORD conditional upon a prior revelation from the LORD. The original Hebrew does not contain the word owdowth (“because”, “on account of|). This is very different from the rendering provided by NCV, The Message, REB, and CEV, which do not contain this conditional clause. The two ideas expressed are independent upon one another but may also be taken as conditional (depending on how you wish to read it).

GW’s rendering expresses the idea of Samuel’s “inexperience” with the LORD, whereas, other translations stick with the idea of “knowing the LORD.” GNT’s rendering expresses that even though Samuel had heard, he did not know who it was. The Message ‘s rendering expresses Samuel’s knowledge of the LORD in a more personal way: “for himself” and “personally.”

There are many places in the O.T. where the original Hebrew lacked “because” but have been added by translators to add clarification. However, in this instance, I would prefer not adding “because.”

Justice vs righteousness

Is it justice or righteousness? Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines the two terms:

1 acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin;
2 morally right or justifiable.

1 the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity;
2 the quality of being just, impartial, or fair b (1): the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action;
3 conformity to truth, fact, or reason.

Both terms seem to be used interchangeably, depending on the translation. Justice comes from the Latin term “justitia” and righteousness comes from the Old English term “rihtwīs” or rightwise. The term “justice” has a tone of judgment or criminal law; whereas, “righteousness” does not.

E.g., in Isaiah 51:8, Catholic translations (NJB, NAB, and Douay-Rheims) tends to use “justice”. The other translations (NRSV, ESV, TNIV, HCSB, and NASB) tend to use “righteousness”. Which term is more correct? Or are they both equally correct?