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.

NIV 2011: Gender-inclusive language in Matthew 18:15-17

I am happy how it handles gender-inclusive language in using singular (“The one who. . . ,” “the person who. . . ,” “‟whoever. . . ,” and the like) instead of the awkward plurals (“they, their, etc.”).  The Committee’s translators’ notes says:

While the Greek word anēr (‟man” or ‟person”) was frequently translated with masculine forms in English, it is clear in several contexts that the word refers to men and women equally (an option endorsed by major dictionaries of the Greek NT).

Being contextual is not for the sake of trying to be gender-inclusive.  We need to look at facts when the writer or the speaker being quoted is intentionally speaking to both men and women. This is the way most of us speak in real life anyway, isn’t it?  In our everyday speech, how many of us direct our speech only to men?  Maybe some times but for the most part, I think I speak to both men and women when I preach and teach.

Let’s take a look at Matthew 18:15-17 to see a difference between the NIV 1984 and NIV 2011.

NIV 1984:

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

NIV 2011:

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Was Jesus speaking only to men or to both men and women?  Is gender-inclusiveness only for the sake of being gender-inclusive?  Or is gender-inclusive because Jesus, the speaker being quoted, was directing his teaching to the entire group of listeners?  If we are being gender-inclusive only for the sake of being neutral even if the speaker’s intention was directed to men, then I want nothing of it.  But if it was the speaker’s original intention to speak to both men and women, then “Yes!  I’m all for the changes in the updated NIV 2011.

I’m liking the updated NIV 2011

I’ve just been informed that the Updated NIV 2011 is now available on BibleGateway.com for preview. Thanks to fellow blogger TC Robinson for informing me. I think the news was released when I was out of the loop. In the mean time, it looks like others have also started blogging about the updated NIV of 2011 too: TC Robinson (here, here, here), Suzanne McCarthy (here, here, here, Iver Larsen (and here), Bill MounceJoel Hoffman, John Hobbins, Rick Mansfield, David Ker, Peter Kirk, and Brian Fulthorp. Comparison charts by Robert Slowly and John Dyer (and here) (HT: Wayne Leman).

Well, I’m glad the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) got past the bumps of the rough ride concerning the debacle of gender-inclusive language.  When pro-ESVers got on the anti-TNIV bandwagon and ignorantly trashed it, many of us bibliobloggers weren’t too happy about it, especially when gender-inclusive translations like the NLT got away without any lumps. It was a classic case of bullying.  When CBT trashed the TNIV, I remember I wasn’t too happy about that (here, here & here), but I’m glad the CBT took responsibility to back up its previous revision, the TNIV.  The translators’ notes states:

“As stated in the September 1, 2009, announcement regarding the planned update, every single change introduced into the committee’s last major revision (the TNIV) relating to inclusive language for humanity was reconsidered…. Nowhere in the updated NIV (nor in the TNIV, nor in any of the committee discussions leading up to either version) is there even the remotest hint of any inclusive language for God.” (see translators’ notes…)

And I’m glad that changes to the NIV do not happen haphazardly:

“Therefore a change is introduced into the text only if at least 70 percent of the committee members present at the time of the voting agree to it.

The changes to gender-inclusive language was intentional and so I think we need to support what CBT has done to bring these improvements into the NIV 2001.  In my eyes, CBT has redeemed itself.  Who cares what the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood thinks (here)!  I’m looking forward to reading more of the Updated NIV 2011.