Mediating translations: Isaiah 63:9

Isaiah 63:9

NIV:
In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them.
NET:
Through all that they suffered, he suffered too. The messenger sent from his very presence delivered them.
CSB:
In all their suffering, He suffered, and the Angel of His Presence saved them. 

 

NJB:
In all their troubles, it was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them.
NAB:
in their every affliction.  It was not a messenger or an angel, but he himself who saved them.


Merry Christmas!
I’m looking at Isaiah 63:7-9 in preparation for this Sunday’s Christmas 1A message and found v.9 to be in much dispute.  The difference in interpretation is huge because the resulting differences in

In the NIV, CSB, NET (and ESV/RSV), the meaning offers a comforting message.  God declares his love for his people because it illustrates how when we are burdened, that God also bears a burden and sorrow along with us.  God feels the suffering of God’s people. However, in the NJB, NAB (and NRSV), the rendering does not show God suffering.

Another resulting consequence is that in the [NIV, ESV, CSB] the “angel of his presence” was there to save them, but in the [NJB, NAB] it is not a messenger or angel that saved them, but rather, his own presence.

Given this whole passage from vv.7-14 is actually about the crossing of the Red Sea, and that the “Angel of his Presence” alludes to the angel’s role at the time of the Red Sea crossing (see Exodus 14:19), I think NIV, CSB, NET offers the most intelligible rendering of Isaiah 63:9.

And not that it’s of any significance, but this interpretation also happens to go nicely with the theme of God’s ability to identify with humanity in the N.T. reading of Hebrews 2:10-18 (Year A, Christmas 1).  But for technical reasons, I’m compelled to go with the NIV, CSB, NET rendering on this one.

Mediating translations 2.1 – 1 Timothy 3:11

On this first comparison, I’m looking closely at a single verse: 1 Timothy 3:11.

NIV 2011:
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
CEB:
In the same way, women who are servants in the church should be dignified and not gossip. They should be sober and faithful in everything they do.
HCSB:
Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.
NET:
Likewise also their wives must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect.
NJB:
Similarly, women must be respectable, not gossips, but sober and wholly reliable.

In the original Greek, the word used for woman or wives is gune (γυνή).  This word could be used for either virgin, engaged, married, or widowed. The CSB and NET tend to be a conservative interpretation in its rendering of “wives”.  “Woman” seems less interpretive but there is a strong reason that it may be referring to the wives of deacons because the next verse begins by speaking about being a husband to one wife and who manage their children and family properly.

The CEB’s rendering of “women who are servants in the church” is very interpretive and is an attempt to give credence to the office of female deacons in church leadership.  I don’t believe this is an accurate rendering of the word gune and it is not the right place to make such an interpretation.

The NIV 2011 has made a change from the NIV 1984 from: “their wives are to be women worthy of respect…”  This is a good change and moves away from interpretation.

The word “slander” is very different from “gossip”. The word used is diabolos (διάβολος), which means the devil or the accuser in English is translated as: false accuser, devil, or slanderer.  I prefer “slanderer” over “gossip”.

The choice between the words temperate or sober, I think I prefer sober because the Greek word nēphaleos actually means sober or may be circumspectively sober.  Temperate is no longer used and has lost its contemporary meaning.  It was used by the “temperance society”.  I don’t think we need to be afraid of implying that women may use some alcohol but “temperate evangelicals” will tend to stay away from this, and therefore, prefer temperate.

Between “worthy of respect” and “dignified”, I think I prefer the former because “dignified” carries a hint of distinction and highbrowedness.  Worthy of respect or honor should come from character rather than how one carries one’s own appearance.

“pistos en pas” is directly translated as faithful in all things.  The first four translations do this.

All five translations are accurate but I will call NIV 2011 the winner on this verse of 1 Timothy 3:11.  Then follows NET, NJB, HCSB, and then CEB.

See also: The search begins | #1: 1 Tim.3:11 |

Mediating translations: the search

I haven’t done any serious blogging in a while but I hope things will change. In the near future, I will be blogging on mediating translations by doing some comparisons to see how they render some of the passages of text. Since my last series on mediating translations, several new revisions and updates have come out:

  1. Updated New International Version (NIV) 2011,
  2. Common English Bible (CEB), which is brand new
  3. Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) 2009, and
  4. New English Translation (NET), and
  5. New Jerusalem Bible (NJB).

I’ll be concentrating on the first four but the first three translations are of special interest to me because they are newly updated.  I would like to see how they stack up against one another.  The CEB, currently available only in the New Testament, is a brand new release this year so that’s a very interesting and fresh translation that I haven’t had much opportunity to explore yet. It is an ecumenical translation whose translation/editorial team is mostly led by scholars from mainline protestant denominations.

Mediating translations will not include formal translations like the ESV, NRSV, NASB, or NJKV.  Nor will it include dynamic translations like the NLT, God’s Word, The Message, NCV, NIrV, GNB.  I’ve done similar comparisons in the past but I want to explore the newest updates just to see what’s improved and what’s better.

HCSB Study Bible by Holman

I wish to thank the precious people at LifeWay for sending me a copy of the HCSB Study Bible to review.

Broadman & Holman has entered the study bible market with the new HCSB Study Bible in 2010.  This is a very good study bible.  As a perused through the HCSB Study Bible, I was taken in by its use of color in highlighting of subheadings, study notes, and cross reference verses.  It uses an orangy-tan color to give it that old rustic papyrus look—a tasteful use of color. The various colors give good contrast makes it easier to locate verses.  What makes most other reference bibles inconvenient and difficult to use is when the cross references look like “one big blur” of numbers and verses.  The HCSB-SB’s blue contrasting of verse numbers makes it much easier to locate the verse you are reading.  The solid horizontal yellow bar that highlights the alternate and literal translations acts as a natural page divider.  This breaks the page up so the reader can quickly find the bible text above and the study notes below.  I like this.

The font size of the bible text is reasonable and not too small and is similar to Times New Roman.  The study notes font size is a smaller type of Arial is readable.  The bolded text of key words is good too because it breaks up the “one big blur” factor.  The tan-brown subheadings is easy to read and helps the reader to locate the topic of the biblical text.  In the paper department, the bible paper used is not too thin, which is good. Some study bible paper is so thin that they can tear easily if you’re not careful. The paper in this one is a decent weight.  For a bible that has 2280 pages, it is on the heavier side but it’s not difficult to carry around.

The construction of the HCSB Study Bible is very good because the binding is Smyth-sewn rather than glued so I expect this bible will last a long time. All of the glued bibles are cheap to make and begin to fall apart after the glue dries up.  How can you tell if a bible’s binding is Smyth-sewn or glued?  Lay it flat and if the pages stay flat, then it is likely Smyth-sewn.  A more sure way to tell is by examining the edge of the binding from either the top or bottom view, if you see sections of pages folded into many sections, these sections are sewn together.  If you see some glue, it’s just to tighten it up but not to hold the page together.  However, if all the pages look like they are individually glued directly to the glue (similar to paperbacks), and you don’t see any small sections of folded pages, then you can be sure it’s a cheap glue job.

The text uses a two-column layout.  This is fine for me.  Some people prefer a single-column layout but I’m fine with two-columns.  What is important for me is that the inner biblical quotations (intertextual quotes from other books of the bible) are indented. This helps the reader to know when a passage or verse is being quoted by another biblical writer.  For example, the writer of Hebrews quoted Psalm 95:7-11 in Hebrews 3:7-11.  The quote text from Psalm 95 is bolded in Hebrews. This is a good feature I really like about the HCSB-SB.  I think it is important when you are doing a study or exegeting a passage of text.  A careful exegete-reader wants to easily determine where the inner biblical text originates from.  Moreover, given the good visibility of cross-references, the reader can quickly locate the inner-biblical text.

Another feature that is useful for the exegete-reader is the word study of key words or family of words showing the spelling, pronunciation, and meaning of the 175 Hebrew key words and 133 Greek key words.  It also explains the definition and expands upon how the word is used in other instances in the bible.  If you like AMG Publishers Key Word Study Bible but you’re too lazy to flip pages to really use it to its potential, then you might like this handy feature.

Each book introduction includes circumstances of writing (authorship, background); message and purpose; contribution to the bible; timeline; structure; and outline.
•    There are 18+ hand-drawn color illustrations, plus many more color photos in various places throughout the bible.
•    20 charts, plus many more charts placed throughout.
•    62 maps, plus 8 full-page maps on thick paper in the back of the bible.  In the maps and illustration category, I would say that it is even better than the other major study bibles.

The contributors to the study notes are some of the top evangelical scholars.  These include Ed Blum, Robert Yarbrough, Andreas Kostenberger, Duane Garrett, Walter Kaiser, Tremper Longman III, Carl Anderson, plus many more.  The essays are also contributed by some of the top evangelical scholars George Guthrie, Robert H. Stein,  Mark E. Dever, Daniel B. Wallace, Craig Blomberg, Craig Evans, plus more.

The contributors to the study notes are evangelical first and they seem to be largely from a Baptistic background.  That is very obvious in looking at the list of contributors of the study notes and essays.  I get a very strong impression that the study notes of this study bible are primarily written by Baptists, and secondarily by evangelicals.  If you are Baptist, and prefer a baptistic theology, then this study bible is for you.  Dr. Edwin A. Blum is the general editor of the HCSB, and is the executive editor of the HCSB Study Bible, is not Baptist, but the overall tone of this study bible is still Baptist and conservative evangelical—either dispensationalist and Calvinist.

Will the majority of contributors being Baptists be a barrier for this study bible?  I don’t think so. Most evangelicals are familiar with baptistic theology and we receive Baptists like any other evangelical Christian. On the other hand, if Broadman & Holman wanted the broadest appeal for the HCSB-SB, they might want to broaden their scope of contributors.  There are many other evangelicals other than Baptists, e.g., Wesleyan, Alliance, Pentecostal, Holiness, Nazarene, Ev. Presbyterian, Free Methodist, Mennonite Brethren, Evangelical Free, plus many more.

This is an excellent study bible.  I definitely put this study bible up there in the same league with the ESV Study Bible and NLT Study Bible [added: and Concordia’s Lutheran Study Bible].  Broadman & Holman did a very fine job putting this together.  I am sure this will become one of the premier study bibles as people begin to take more notice of it.

Exodus 22:8-9 “God” or “Judges”?

I think this will really bug some people as it bugs me.  It seems that Exodus 22:8-9 is clearly referring to judges but some translations like the NLT,  ESV, NRSV rendered elohim as “God“; but TNIV and CSB rendered elohim as “judges“.  Yes, technically, “God” is correct; but it seems clear to me that elohim (in the sense of a small “g” gods) which can be translated as judges, was what the writers/scribes intended.

Should we go with what we know as technically correct? Or should we go with what we know the writer/scribe/editor intended?

_________________________  Exodus 22:8-9 _________________________

NLT But if the thief is not caught, the neighbor must appear before God, who will determine if he stole the property. 9 “Suppose there is a dispute between two people who both claim to own a particular ox, donkey, sheep, article of clothing, or any lost property. Both parties must come before God, and the person whom God declares guilty must pay double compensation to the other.

ESV If the thief is not found, the owner of the house shall come near to God to show whether or not he has put his hand to his neighbor’s property. 9 For every breach of trust, whether it is for an ox, for a donkey, for a sheep, for a cloak, or for any kind of lost thing, of which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before God. The one whom God condemns shall pay double to his neighbor.

TNIV But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges, and they must determine whether the owner of the house has laid hands on the other person’s property. 9 In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any other lost property about which somebody says, ‘This is mine,’ both parties are to bring their cases before the judges. The one whom the judges declare guilty must pay back double to the other.

CSB If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house must present himself to the judges to determine whether or not he has taken his neighbor’s property. 9 In any case of wrongdoing involving an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or anything else lost, and someone claims: That’s mine, the case between the two parties is to come before the judges. The one the judges condemn must repay double to his neighbor.

Exodus 15:3 – Yahweh is his name

Only the NJB and HCSB translations use the name of God when the writer clearly intended to speak His name in Exodus 15:3. The intention of the writer seems clear here: “Yahweh is his name”. When one speaks someone’s name, you would expect the person’s actual name be mentioned. The TNIV, ESV, NRSV and all other translations did not do this.

Should the name of Yahweh be mentioned if the writer intended to use it?

1 It was then that Moses and the Israelites sang this song in Yahweh’s honour:
I shall sing to Yahweh, for he has covered himself in glory, horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.

2 Yah is my strength and my song,
to him I owe my deliverance.
He is my God and I shall praise him,
my father’s God and I shall extol him.

3 Yahweh is a warrior;
Yahweh is his name. (Exodus 15:1-3, New Jerusalem Bible)

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD. They said:
I will sing to the LORD,
for He is highly exalted;
He has thrown the horse
and its rider into the sea.

2 The LORD is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation.
This is my God, and I will praise Him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

3 The LORD is a warrior;
Yahweh is His name. (Exodus 15:1-3, Holman Christian Christian Standard)

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
“I will sing to the LORD,
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea.

2 “The LORD is my strength and my defense ;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3 The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name. (Exodus 15:1-3, Today’s New International Version)

1Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying,
“I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.

2 The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3The LORD is a man of war;
the LORD is his name. (Exodus 15:1-3, English Standard Bible)

Romans 6:17 – TNIV vs HCSB vs ESV vs NRSV

Here’s a comparison of Romans 6:17 between four major translations. I was studying this for my sermon preparation and found this interesting difference.

Romans 6:17

TNIV:
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.

HCSB:
But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to,

ESV:
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,

NRSV:
But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted,

v. 17: the rendering in the HCSB and NRSV seems to most accurately render the definition of παρεδοθητε (paredothēte, entrusted). The word paredothēte conveys the idea that this teaching has been entrusted to the receiver, or given over or delivered to someone else’s hands. Both HCSB and NRSV rendering of “entrusted” accurately expresses this idea that something is handed over or delivered to another’s hands. The idea expressed in the ESV is still accurate but might be misinterpreted as to whom, and from whom, this pattern of teaching has been committed to. TNIV’s rendering of “claimed your allegiance” can also be misinterpreted to mean that the receiver of this teaching is the one who has actively committed oneself over to Paul’s teaching. This may be true but it is not what the text is necessarily saying. I prefer the NIV’s rendering of “entrusted.”

Also, ESV’s rendering of “standard of teaching” is a little different from the others. The Greek word τυπον (tupon, pattern or model) expresses the idea of the use of an example or a model that has a mark or impression and can be used as an exemplar. I prefer HCSB and TNIV’s use of “pattern”, and NRSV’s use of “form” is also good.