Thinking about Scripture

Last month I posted about trying to listen to Scourby reading the KJV , and how distracting it was working out what Elizabethan prose meant in expository texts (i.e., the epistles).

This morning one of our readers took me to task. He argued that just because the KJV is hard to understand is not a reason to say that it is a problematic translation. In fact, he thinks it is a virtue of the KJV. He argues — quite correctly — that there is great value to having to think about Scripture.

But I would argue his premises are flawed. There is a big difference between thinking as a part of processing unfamiliar language and thinking about what the language means. There is great spiritual value in the latter, but no spiritual value in the former.

The real question is how did Philippians sound to its intended audience. Did they have to think hard about the wording, or was it a natural way to talk?

Modern translation standards are that a translation should match the original, not just in reference, but also in tone and implication. If Paul or Luke used an ordinary word or expression, then the translation should use an ordinary word or expression. The example in the original post was ἀναστροφή in I Peter 2:12. Since ἀναστροφή is an ordinary word for referring to behavior or conducting one’s life in Koine, so the KJV’s conversation is the wrong word to use to translate it for the modern English speaker. Period. It doesn’t matter that modern English speakers can, by dint of effort, figure out what was intended.

In a backhanded way, the reader was making my point. We should be thinking about Scripture deeply, getting from the milk to the meat. But if we have to spend a lot of our mental capacity just getting to the starting line, we can mistakenly believe we’re chewing on the meat, when all we’ve done is taste the milk.

Appendix

Part of LSJ’s entry for ἀναστροφή showing that it is an ordinary word for  ‘behavior’:

II  3 mode of life, behaviour, Plb.4.82.1, D.L.0.64; -φὴν ποιεῖσθαι IG2.477b12, cf. SIG491.5, LXX To.4.14, Ep.Gal.1.13, Ep.Eph.4.22, al.; ἀ. πολιτική PGiss.40ii29 (iii A.D.); ἐξημερωμένης -φῆς civilized life, Phld.Sto.Herc.339.19.

40 Comments

  1. Charles
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    NO…………the point isn’t how easy it is to read, but does it carry the message?
    What the original writer meant and possibly what God wanted to say to us.
    I have said this many times on this blog, God speaks to me through the ESV not the TNIV. It is not about picking the ordinary word, its about the conveying the message. This comes more through picking the right word that conveys both the connotation and the denotation. This isn’t about grammar, but conveying a complex and abstract message with limited temporal words.

    Are you saying that every word the speaker used was ordinary Aramaic/Greek, or were some a little more academic, spiritual, poetic, flowery, puns, metaphors, and that everybody understood every word?

    Being a musician, my metaphors often come from that. To me its the difference between Gregorian Chant and Rap.

    I would turn the discussion backwards again. If you need to read a simplified version to understand, one version, of what is said that’s fine. BUT that is not a reason to reject the KJV or ESV. Use your Bible of choice to you heart’s content, buy why not acknowledge that for some number of people, how many we don’t know, benefit more from the Elizabethan language.

    Why is it so necessary to put a value judgement on it. Only your Bible should be used; one size fits all.

    Smell the roses too, savor the new wine. Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with God.

    There is often the odor of elitism in these types of posts.

    “It doesn’t matter that modern English speakers can, by dint of effort, figure out what was intended.” Why doesn’t it matter if the final outcome is understanding?

    “The real question is how did Philippians sound to its intended audience.” Precisely.

    The Bible you are attempting to translate was oral and the time it was written. Even once it was written it still was conveyed orally because there weren’t copies for everyone. Many people believe that the the oral tradition was better because the orator could convey with his eyes, tone of voice, body language, his place in society and maybe even what he wore. People could also ask questions. There was so much more than the use of ordinary words.

    Now I wouldn’t for a second try to say that the KJV captures that nuance better the say the TNIV, but I would never say the opposite either. I understand that you are not necessarily talking about the TNIV. I only use that as an example of a modern translation.

    I would no more base my concept of theology on one man than I would on one Bible.

  2. LeRoy
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Think again and read the Greek, not the KJV.

    1Pe 2:12 Having your inversion honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
    inversion, retroversion, U-turn, reversal

    The reason they avoided translating that way was perhaps because the word inversion can imply also sexual inversion and the translator wanted to avoid that implication.

    Consider the following:
    ανά again, backward, upward
    αναφέρω bring back
    ανατρέπω to reverse
    αναστρέφω τo turn back΄inversion
    ἀναστρεφή

  3. Rich Rhodes
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Charles,
    I think we agree on the point: does it carry the message? Where we differ is that I think we have tools now to tell what the message was in a way that wasn’t available even 50 years ago.

    You should also be aware that I’m an equal opportunity Bible translation critic. I think there are serious problems with every English translation, KJV, ESV, NIV, TEV, etc., etc., precisely because there has been a long history of translation that casts a shadow of expectation. Call it elitism if you like, but I think that Bible translators should be held to the same standards that translators between modern languages are held to. Not a single English Bible translation comes close. (Possibly Robert Alter’s Psalms do. But even there, there are some significant problems.)

    If you’re old enough you might remember Marshall McLuhan and his interest in the media. His book the Medium is the Message gets at the point I’m trying to make. A major part of the message is how it is communicated. There is a crucial difference between the part of word meaning that tells us what that word refers to and the part of word meaning that frames how we think about the referent. The problem is that most of most translations get the reference right but crash and burn on the framing.

    Let me give you a non-Scriptural example.

    1. Elizabeth had her cousin Mary killed.
    2. Elizabeth had her cousin Mary murdered.
    3. Elizabeth had her cousin Mary assassinated.
    4. Elizabeth had her cousin Mary executed.

    All four sentences refer to the same thing, but frame the event in very different ways. Most of the world sees this event as appropriately framed only by 4. Saying 2. or 3. pretty much aligns you as sympathetic to Scottish nationalist causes.

    I posted several times on the issues you raise several years ago here and here, but you might not have been reading BBB then.

    Finally, you’ll notice that the ESV has a modern English word for ἀναστροφή:

    12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

    They’ve “simplified” in exactly the way that I’m arguing for.

  4. Charles
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Robert Alter’s purpose with his translation of Psalms, and the Torah wasn’t to use simple language. I have both and because of his translation of Genesis I have a much better understanding of it. Although I like R. Crumbs illustrations as a supplementary treat.

    It is exactly his quality of translation work that I worry will be lost or beaten into conformity in the zeal to get a dumbed down gender neutral Bible. I wish Alter was a Christian, I’d love to see what he could do with Romans.

    I don’t know about you but I really have to concentrate and read the notes to understand what he is getting at in the Psalms, but now I can really understand and appreciate what he is trying to accomplish with poetry of ideas rather than rhyme as to more accurately representing what the Jews really had in mind.

    Your four examples of killed do fall in with what I’m talking about. Killed is the most ordinary, the rest definitely have a connotation, and some of the general public would not know the nuances, are you saying that because some don’t understand the difference between assassinate and execute then we should use use kill?

    I think conduct is a change for the better, although in an effort to be ordinary I’d hate to see if changed to be watch it around non-christians. Or mind your p’s and q’s ;-)

    BUT taken in context I still don’t think that KJV would take you down the path to misunderstanding the overall thought, and one would miss the goal if one kept their conversation dishonest.

    This is also why I like the ESV so much because it keeps some of the rhythms and language of the KJV.

    BTW, I really have missed hearing your thoughts here and hope to see you more active. Weren’t you once upon a time going to explore the topic of inerrancy?

  5. Rich Rhodes
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    LeRoy,
    Reading Greek is not the same as doing calculus, even though that’s the way it is often taught. Language doesn’t work that way. You can’t simply add up the meanings of the parts of a word and get to the meaning (in this case the referential meaning) of a word. Most of the time that will get you into the ball park, but it won’t necessarily tell you exactly what it refers to. Think about a word like commit in English. It has two parts con- ‘with’ and -mit ‘send’. If you commit someone to a mental institution, you can sort of get there from ‘send with’, but if you commit a sin, it’s hopeless. There’s no reasonable way to get from ‘send with’ to the action you take that counts as a transgression.

    I’ve posted before about a clear case in Greek. The word ἐπιτιμάω is made of parts that mean ‘on’ and ‘honor’. But the literal sense was already mostly obsolete in Classical Greek times when it meant ‘levy a fine’. By LXX times it generally meant ‘scold’, but by NT times it meant ‘tell/ask [someone] not to do something’. There is no way to figure this out from the parts of the word.

    Same thing for ἀναστροφή. The verb it is related to (ἀναστρέφω) has all these meanings involving turning, ‘invert order of words or statements’, ‘turn back’, ‘of soldiers, face about’, ‘return’, but also ‘dwell (in a place)’. We could argue about whether you can figure out all the specific turn meanings from knowing ανα- and knowing στρεφ-, but ‘dwell’ — no chance.

    And it’s on that ‘dwell’ meaning of ἀναστρέφω that the meaning of ἀναστροφή as behavior rests, and even there you have to stretch to think that you could predict that semantic leap.

    Knowing Greek (or any language for that matter) is more, much more than knowing how to parse it into its morphemes. One of the great linguistic discoveries of the late twentieth century is just how much of language is partly idiomatic, i.e., unpredictable.

  6. Charles
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Liked your calculus comment

    BUT I still like the following more than the modern versions

    22 InG1722 whomG3739 yeG5210 alsoG2532 are builded togetherG4925 forG1519 an habitationG2732 of GodG2316 throughG1722 the Spirit.G4151

    for an habitation…………yummmmmm

  7. Mike Sangrey
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    I like the point Rich makes about the negative consequences of thinking through the parsing of the syntax. The tyranny of parsing is one of several reasons that we have so many interpretations of texts. These reasons all appear to conspire against an agreed upon meaning. In fact, it appears to me to conspire against even the process of coming to agreement.

    One person sees an unnaturally used word and frames it in one way. Another frames it differently. And when the rightfully held to theology of “every word inspired” comes up against the cognitively difficult task of cohering the unnatural text, we have everyone thinking what is right in their own mental eyes. That is, the unnaturalness of the translated text generates a heap of ambiguity. And from there it’s an easy walk down many different pathways of meaning, all of them diverging.

    The ability to “parse the Greek” is not much better (if at all). The skill set needed to cohere an unnaturally translated text is pretty much the same skill set needed to cohere an untranslated text. And when so many students are taught Greek with a method that almost unavoidably determines an unidiomatic translation, the coherence skills never get developed.

    I think there are two tests to determine whether we’re thinking through Scripture. And these tests must be applied simultaneously.

    1. What is the single coherent message delivered by a unit of text (such as a paragraph)?

    2. Does the translated text naturally support that coherent message? Or does it need explained?

    Frequently, words, phrases and even entire clauses have to be explained with statements that begin with “The text doesn’t really mean that…” Preachers should not have to publicly exegete a text in order to get the people to think through Scripture.

  8. LeRoy
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    Response To Rich Rhodes: Taking your first word I understand it to mean more than the επι part‘levy a fine’or to forfeit, fine,:
    (Mk. 13:34); Mark 8:27-38 επιτιμάω occurs in this verse and also verses 32 and 33. (Note that the object
    of επιτιμάω is in the dative case.) How else is επιτιμάω used in the Gospel …

    Strong’s Greek Dictionary kinda gives a vague meaning επιτιμάω to mete out due measure, hence to censure

    1909 εφ’ επ’ επι towards, upon after, against for, on, over
    τιμάω to fix the value, to price, forfeit, fine, penalty; loss

    2008 επιτιμώ, reprimanded,to adjudge, award, in the sense of merited penalty, reprove, censure
    Robert’s Grammar: Lesson 37 The Genitive Absolute. Supplementary Participle 290. Vocabulary. Ο! επιτιµάω, I rebuke (with dat.) …rebuke, 6; rebuked, 13; rebuking,

    biblicalgreek, Intermediate Greek Gospel: Mark (GRE 312) eπιτιμάω (9-29) rebuke, reprove, censure

    Now turning back to αναστροφή I never heard of a Greek person using theat word to mean dwell/ Tell me, how did you come up with that and I will ask my Greek Great Grandfather.
    The word in french means rebrousser (turn back), intervertir (invert, reverse ), chavirer (turn turtle)
    The word for overturned in John is aναστρεφω NETBible John 2:14
    1. Turned backward in position, direction, or order.
    (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law)
    обръщам obrátit vende op og ned på umkehren αναστρέφω invertir pahupidi o turn upside down or reverse the order of (Free Online Dictionary)

  9. Posted November 24, 2009 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Here’s what my LXX lexicon (or, “LXXicon”) says.
    In the active voice, ἀναστρέφω can mean:
    1. to turn upside down; to upset (Jgs [Vaticanus] 7:13)
    2. to turn back; to return
    3. to return (in conversion) (Jer 3:7)
    4. to send away

    Passively,
    1. to dwell (Ezra 3:15)
    2. to be engaged in, to be conversant in ἔν τινι (Wis 13:7)
    3. to behave (Ezra 22:7, 29)
    4. to wander in ἔν τινι (Joshua 5:6)

    By analyzing the morphemes, I can sort of understand its active range of meaning, but certainly not the passive uses. The easiest to understand morphologically is active #2: to re-turn. In this instance, morphological dissection does reveal one of its meanings, but certainly doesn’t cover the full range, as Rich Rhodes correctly notes.

    And Wayne, yes — I did type passive #2 verbatim. “Conversant” in relation to behavior. This one comes from the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, which I think explains why they may not be as sensitive to how archaic some wordings (such as conversant) are to English speakers. I found the appearance of “conversant” here highly ironic.

    Honestly, I have no idea why anyone is quoting a modern American dictionary’s translation for modern Greek ἀναστρέφω. Modern use of ἀναστρέφω is not the same as the New Testament’s usage of ἀναστρέφω. Heck, not even all the uses I listed in the Septuagint appear in the New Testament, I’ll bet!

    However, ἀναστρόφη pretty much always refers to conduct or behavior, both in the Septuagint and in the New Testament.

  10. Posted November 24, 2009 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Rich: let me apologize. I addressed you as Wayne because I thought he had written this article. I’m new to blogs with multiple authors, so please forgive me there!

    To actually stick with the topic: I do think there is some value in struggling with unfamiliar language, because it leads precisely toward asking questions of “what does this language mean?” While you very rightly point out that struggling with unfamiliar language does not ipso facto work anything of spiritual benefit, the added burden pretty much demands more scrutiny than most would likely give if the language were more familiar.

    In other words, it makes you need to ask questions, which lead to a clearer understanding. While I certainly affirm that people, myself included, need straightforward translations, I have scrutinized the Bible as I continue learning Greek. I pretty much have to scrutinize, or else I come up with nothing. And so it is to my personal benefit of understanding that I enjoy working with unfamiliar language.

    I do wish, however, that people would ask such questions more often even if the language is familiar. A friend of mine recently asked me if Jesus literally said in Greek that that generation of Jews would not pass away until everything is complete. A wonderful question! Yes, Jesus did say “this generation.” However, we had a good discussion of the different meanings of “generation” in the Bible — specifically ones beyond defining a generation as “a contemporaneous group of people.”

  11. Bryon
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    Struggling with archaic language in a Bible can create a number of problems. A couple of which are misinterpretation and abandonment of reading. In fact, those are two very pressing problems for the western body of Christ today.

  12. Posted November 24, 2009 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Bryon: Agreed. I am saying I found it helpful, but only because I am pursuing a scholarly understanding. Unless someone is going to do that, unfamiliar language is probably not helpful at all.

  13. Daryl Campbell
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    “There is a big difference between thinking as a part of processing unfamiliar language and thinking about what the language means. There is great spiritual value in the latter, but no spiritual value in the former.”
    The KJV is not written in an unfamiliar “language”. There may be some words, howbeit very few compared to the number in whole, that could be updated. But to imply that the whole translation is somehow not understandable because of a few words whose meanings have evolved is not strong enough argument to end the use of it. There are tools in the KJV that just don’t show up in other translations. Tools which help those who can’t read the original languages. Such as the use of the singular and plural pronouns – thou and ye. Also techniques used in translating certain tenses of verbs. Etc.

    “The real question is how did Philippians sound to its intended audience. Did they have to think hard about the wording, or was it a natural way to talk?”
    This, too, is comparing oranges to apples. The Philippians received a letter that was in its original language, so there was nothing “lost” in translating. And, the Bible is not a collection of inspired “talk”. It’s the “written” word. The word was given to us in written form precisely so it can be studied. The books that contain narrative are much easier to “listen” to than a letter of doctrine. The four gospels are much easier to listen to because they are narrative.

    BTW …. I just read through the letter again, and it is a powerful testimony of a man sold-out for the sake of the gospel and love for his fellow believers. (yes, in the KJV)

    I am often intrigued, and very perplexed, with the drive that modern Christian scholars have in trying to find the newest and best translation, or in attempting to author such. The KJV was used by God to bring revival and salvation to the English-speaking world for 300+ years. I will never abandon the TR from which the KJV was translated, and I am more ready to defend the right Greek text than I am the right English translation. If there was a genuine, honest effort to update some of the words in the KJV, relying solely on the TR, AND, it had no copyright – I could accept it.

    …respectfully submitted.

  14. Rich Rhodes
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Gary. (No problem about addressing me as Wayne. That kind of thing happens a lot on this blog.)

    I was just winding up to talk about how words in use now can’t be counted on to have had the same meaning three thousand years ago. In fact, it’s the rare word that does.

    BTW, I can see how ‘turn back’ could come to mean ‘dwell’, particularly if it’s really, as I suspect, middle rather than passive (a lot of Koine motion verbs are middle, at least in some aspects). The connection is that if you dwell in a place you go back and forth over it a lot.

  15. Rich Rhodes
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    LeRoy,

    Unless your great grandfather is an expert on Homer and Koine, he can only say what ἀναστρέφω means now. He can’t say what ἀναστρέφω meant in Homer or the LXX or the NT. And you can’t simply trust lexical resources as I have discussed before here. You have to read and compare the usages in the contemporaneous texts. But when you have to use lexical resources, use the best and most up-to-date ones. Bauer, et al., Liddell and Scott, not Thayer, Strong’s word list, and certainly not secondary sources like lessons in a Greek textbook, etc.

    If you want to know how to figure out that ἐπιτιμάω means ‘ask/tell someone to stop doing something’, it’s covered here, here, here, here, and
    here.

    The LSJ section on the ‘dwell’ sense of ἀναστρέφω is:

    II dwell in a place, ἀλλά τιν’ ἄλλην γαῖαν ἀναστρέφομαι go to a place and dwell there, Od.13.326, cf. Call. Lav.Pall.76, Aet.1.1.6 (so ἀναστρέφειν πόδα ἐν γῇ E.Hipp.1176); ἀναττρέφεσθαι ἐν Ἀργει Id.Tr.993; ἐν φανερῷ, ἐν μέσῳ, go about in public, X.HG6.4.16, Pl.R.558a; ἀ. ταύτῃ Th.8.94; ἐν εὐφροσύναις X.Ag.9.4; ἐν τοῖς ἤθεσι Pl.Lg.865e; ἀ. ἐν ξυμμαχίᾳ continue in an alliance, X.HG7.3.2; ἀ. ἐν γεωργίᾳ to be engaged in . ., Id.Oec.5.13; ἐπὶ κυνηγεσίαις Plb.32.15.9; ἀ. ἔν τινι dwell upon, in writing, Apollon. Cit.2: generally, conduct oneself, behave, ὡς δεστότης X.An.2.5.14; οὑτωσί Arist.EN1103b20; θρασέως, ἀχαρίστως καὶ ἀσεβῶς εἴς τινα, Plb.1.9.7, 23.17.10; ἐν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς ὁσίως IG12(7).233 (Amorgos); ὡς τὰ παιδία Epict.Ench.29.3; πῶς δεῖ ἐν οἴκῳ θεοῦ ἀ. 1 Ep.Ti.3.15.

  16. Bryon
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Gary Simmons: I’m in agreement with you. I wasn’t targeting you but was commenting in general.

    The KJV was used by God to bring revival and salvation to the English-speaking world for 300+ years.

    Daryl Campbell: The KJV has only come into large popularity in the last few decades.

  17. LeRoy
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/ says:
    ἀναστροφή a turning upside down, upsetting
    LSJ says: A. [select] turning upside down, upsetting, overthrow, E.Fr. 301 (pl.); μοῖραν εἰς ἀ. δίδωσι, = ἀναστρέφει, Id.Andr.1007; disorder, confusion, Posidipp.26.22.

    2. [select] turning back, return, S.Ant.226; πολλὰς ἀ. ποιούμενος, of a hunter, making many casts backward, X. Cyn.6.25; wheeling round, of a horse, Id.Eq.Mag.3.14; of soldiers in battle, whether to flee or rally, Id.Cyr.5.4.8; “μηκέτι δοῦναι αὐτοῖς ἀ.” time to rally, Id.HG4.3.6, cf. Ages.2.3; esp. of the reversal of a wheeling movement, Ascl.Tact.10.6, Ael.Tact.25.7, Arr.Tact.21.4; of a ship, Th.2.89; “ἐξ ἀ.” turning back, Plb.4.54.4; “κατ᾽ ἀναστροφήν” conversely, S.E.M.7.430.

    3. [select] in Gramm., throwing back of the accent, as in Prepositions after their case, A.D.Synt.308.15, etc.
    303 ανά per;Up, through, by, whilst,each
    4762 στρέφω To turn; to turn round, or about; to twist, bend; to return; to convert

    Here are the usages of what ἀναστρέφω meant in Homer or the LXX or the NT. Passive, vtr.
    reverse vtr (put opposite side up or out) αναστρέφω ρ.μετ.
    invert vtr (turn upside down) τα πάνω κάτω αναστρέφω, ανατρέπω, αναποδογυρίζω ρ.μετ.
    invert vtr (reverse) αναστρέφω, αντιστρέφω ρ.μετ.

    tip vtr (overturn) ανατρέπω αναποδογυρίζω ρ.μετ.
    The table was accidentally tipped over.
    Το τραπέζι αναποδογυρίστηκε τυχαία.
    overturn vtr (turn over) ανατρέπω ρ.μετ.
    καθομιλουμένη αναποδογυρίζω ρ.μετ.
    subvert vtr (overturn, overthrow) ανατρέπω, υπονομεύω, αναποδογυρίζω ρ.μετ.
    keel vi (lean precariously) για πλεούμενα μπατάρω, αναποδογυρίζω ρ.μετ.
    για ανθρώπους καταρρέω, τουμπάρω, σωριάζομαι ρ.αμ.
    invert vtr (turn upside down) τα πάνω κάτω αναστρέφω, ανατρέπω, αναποδογυρίζω ρ.μετ.
    capsize vi (overturn: boat) για πλεούμενα ανατρέπομαι, αναποδογυρίζω, μπατάρω, τουμπάρω ρ.αμ.
    capsize vtr (cause to overturn) για πλεούμενα ανατρέπω, αναποδογυρίζω, μπατάρω, τουμπάρω ρ.μετ.
    topple vi (things stacked: fall) ανατρέπομαι, αναποδογυρίζω, πέφτω, κλονίζομαι, σωριάζομαι ρ.αμ.
    topple vtr (overturn: things stacked) ανατρέπω, αναποδογυρίζω, ρίχνω ρ.μετ.
    upturn vtr (overturn, knock over) αναποδογυρίζω ρ.μετ.
    καθομιλουμένη τουμπάρω ρ.μετ.
    roll over v literal (turn to other side ) γυρίζω ανάποδα, γυρίζω στην άλλη πλευρά, αναποδογυρίζω ρ.αμ.
    I thought you said not to trust recent translations? The part you quote was an English translation by Herbert Weir Smyth, Ph. D. in two volumes. 2.Eumenides. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1926.

    II. [select] dwelling in a place, Plu.2.216a.
    2. [select] abode, haunt, “δαιμόνων ἀναστροφή” Aesch. Eum. 23. [select] mode of life, behaviour, Plb.4.82.1, D.L.0.64; “-φὴν ποιεῖσθαι” IG2.477b12, cf. SIG491.5, LXX To.4.14, Ep.Gal.1.13, Ep.Eph.4.22, al.; “ἀ. πολιτική” PGiss.40ii29 (iii A.D.); ἐξημερωμένης -φῆς civilized life, Phld.Sto.Herc.339.19.

  18. Charles
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t get how people can get so into translation of single words, when we are not at all sure what the word meant in the first place. It is all a guess, not that one should not guess or try, but to spend so much time on one word that doesn’t really change the big picture implies a level of knowledge about the times it was written in just plain doesn’t exist. Sure we can say we will look at contemporaneous books but even then its still just a guess. So exactly what will we gain by trying to decide what kind of rolled over, inverted, reverse translation we want to apply.

    Remember, these texts were oral for a long time, and as I said they depended on body language and tone, etc. to convey the message. To think just because you use this or that lexicon is going to bring some sort of ultimate knowledge or truth is just not productive.

    Remember,as one of my favorite scholars, Kenneth Bailey, is fond of pointing out, these Books were written by middle eastern men, for middle eastern men, who obviously were influenced by middle eastern thought and culture. Where is the rigorous analysis of this critical factor?

    Has anyone over the last 1500 years or so came up with a translation that totally changed Christianity for what was believed before?

  19. Posted November 24, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Daryl: My I just say how much I appreciate your respectful tone on this? I would say we disagree — and it does go back to the TR, since I prefer Nestle-Aland’s text. If you look at I Peter 3:1 in the KJV: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.”

    This is problematic for people who don’t know that conversation meant behavior/conduct. Some women do read this verse and think that nagging their husbands in getting their butts to church is what they’re supposed to do, even though Peter is saying that’s exactly what you should not do. These tricky bits are deal-breakers for me.

    And while the “ye” and “thou” precision may be helpful, it still requires a little knowledge most people don’t have. Sure, I think people can figure the difference betwixt those words without much trouble, but some people don’t understand that “loveth” is third-singular. You can’t say “I loveth,” for instance, but that difference is lost on people. English speakers are just not used to conjugating verbs at all.

    That said, it would be inappropriate to bash the KJV or its translators. Not just because it’s against the blog rules, but because the KJV does have a place in history and the development of the church. It’s earned its place on a pedestal, though I’m not so sure if that pedestal should be today’s pulpit.

    And I concur with you about the verb tense thing. The KJV translators had a grasp of English that is simply superb.

    But words change over time. Take the phrase “on the line,” for instance. It used to mean “using the phone line,” whether to make a phone call or to use dial-up. It then came to imply you were using the phone line [for internet]. Now, however, that implication or connotation is its straightforward meaning. It means to be operational or on the internet, with no reference to phone lines whatsoever. This change in meaning took less than twenty years, I think.

    Now, a new translation based off the TR would be interesting. As long as they remember that spirit and ghost have flip-flopped meanings now.

  20. Posted November 24, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Rich: Thanks for explaining those passive [middle?] uses of the verb. That does make sense now.

    LeRoy: Perseus is a great website to look at many texts for free, and it has a brief form of three lexicons. However, it’s not perfect by any means.

    I’m quoting you here:
    II. [select] dwelling in a place, Plu.2.216a.
    2. [select] abode, haunt, “δαιμόνων ἀναστροφή” Aesch. Eum. 23. [select] mode of life, behaviour, Plb.4.82.1, D.L.0.64; “-φὴν ποιεῖσθαι” IG2.477b12, cf. SIG491.5, LXX To.4.14, Ep.Gal.1.13, Ep.Eph.4.22, al.; “ἀ. πολιτική” PGiss.40ii29 (iii A.D.); ἐξημερωμένης -φῆς civilized life, Phld.Sto.Herc.339.19.

    OK, so the lexicon on Perseus admits that ἀναστροφή can mean “behavior” or “mode of life.” It also can mean “abode” or “dwelling.” See? “Inversion” is not the only thing it can mean, even if that’s the only way Greek people today use the word.

  21. Rich Rhodes
    Posted November 24, 2009 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Charles,
    I guess we have very different views about the meanings of words. I’ve spent most of my adult life working in languages that have no dictionaries or grammars and have worked out ways to figure out with great precision what words mean. (That enabled me to write a dictionary of one of those languages.) It’s not guesswork at all.

    It turns out that many of the same techniques can work when there is a very large corpus (body of texts) even for a dead language. So if there are enough instances of the word in question, I can tell you with great certainty what that word means. This is greatly helped by dictionaries that narrow the potential reference, but even that can be shown to be wrong, as I have done for ἐπιτιμάω (only = ‘rebuke’ in the LXX, but not in the NT). My continuing complaint about translations is that we can figure out what both the reference and framing is for many, many NT words, and the framing is from time to time quite wrong, even in such sophisticated sources as Louw & Nida’s dictionary.

  22. LeRoy
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Response to Gary Simmons: Thank you for your imput, it did give me some insight and by looking at the verses more carefully you can see the results I have found.

    στρεφω (aor. pass. εστραφην, ptc. στραφεις) intrans. (mostly in passive) turn, turn around (εστραφη εις τα οπισω she turned back, and saw Jesus Jn 20:14;
    turn and become as little children Mt 18:3;
    But God turned Ac 7:42;
    trans. turn the other cheek, Mt 5:39;
    brought back the thirty pieces of silver Mt 27:3

    You will notice the word is NOT αναστρεφω but is spelled differently in Mt 17:22 συστρεφομενων δε αυτω εν τη γαλειλαια ειπεν αυτοις ο ις μελλει ο ϋιος του ανου παραδιδοσθαι εις χειρας ανθρωπω
    And coming together in Galilee, Jesus said to them: The Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men,
    συστρεφομενων gather up, gather, come together

    You will also notice the word is NOT αναστρεφω in Joh 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overturned the tables;
    κατεστρεφεν overturned Codex Sinaiticus

  23. LeRoy
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Part II that you are referring to is translated from the Greek to English by someone in the 1900’s and is not any better at translating than were the KJV translators.
    English translation by Herbert Weir Smyth, Ph. D. in two volumes. 2.Eumenides. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1926. II. [select] dwelling in a place, Plu.2.216a.

    He was educated at Swarthmore (A.B. 1876), Harvard (A.B. 1878), Leipzig, and Göttingen (Ph.D. 1884). From 1883 to 1885 he was instructor in Greek and Sanskrit at Williams College, and then for two years was reader in Greek at Johns Hopkins. From 1887 to 1901 he was professor of Greek at Bryn Mawr. In the latter year he was called to Harvard as professor of Greek and in 1902 was appointed Eliott professor of Greek literature, succeeding Goodwin.

  24. Posted November 25, 2009 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Well LeRoy, I was just reminding you of what you quoted. If you’re going to say now that he was not a very capable translator, then why quote him? Yes — he is outdated, but still not as outdated as Strong’s. His understanding of ἀνατρέφω is correct, so what does it matter? And outdated or not, he had good credentials for his day. And I would ask you not to belittle somebody with a PhD, even if his lexicon is outdated. That doesn’t mean he was wrong. He obviously wasn’t an idiot since he was a well-known college instructor. If he said that ἀναστροφή can mean “behavior” or “dwelling,” then he just might know what he’s talking about.

    Rich: You’re right on this. Languages are complex, sure, but they’re made from the human mind. They are made in a way that the human mind can actually access them. This is because God made language. And so, even ancient languages can be understood with certainty because of how God designed language and the human mind. It’s not all ultimately just a bunch of guessing.

  25. Rich Rhodes
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I want to correct a possible misimpression from my previous comment. I worded it so that it sounded like I worked out ways of figuring out meaning. Actually all of the thinking and techniques I used were worked out by giants on whose shoulders I stand, Trubeztkoy, Sapir, and Stampe, Austin and Grice, Lyons and Lakoff, to name a few. Mostly I just recognized how to apply their insights to questions of Ojibwe, Métchif, and Sayuleño semantics. It was a great surprise to me to discover that the Koine corpus was large enough to be able to do the same kinds of analysis.

    In many ways the process replicates what children do to learn their native language, which is why it works even with dead languages if there’s a big enough corpus.

    BTW, one of my colleagues in the Classics department does exactly the same kind of analysis on key words in the much earlier Greek texts he works with to sharpen our understanding of the reference and framing of those words well beyond what LSJ offer.

  26. LeRoy
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Gary Simmons said “He obviously wasn’t an idiot since he was a well-known college instructor. If he said that ἀναστροφή can mean “behavior” or “dwelling,” then he just might know what he’s talking about.” Unquote
    Gary, the appeal to a title does not presuppose correctness. I have a brother-in-Law a well known college instructor, who obviously is an idiot, and does not know what he is talking about.

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/ says:
    ἀναστροφή a turning upside down, upsetting

    Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all have returned upside down in times past to the lusts of our flesh,

  27. Charles
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry if some view this as hijacking this thread but I can’t figure out how to email the site or Richard. Please feel free to start a new topic or email me offsite
    charlespdog@gmail.com

    I really like this benediction, I mean really like it

    Num 6:24 The LORD bless you and keep you;
    Num 6:25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
    Num 6:26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

    Many Lutheran churches have modified verse 26 to read

    “look upon you with favor”.

    To me this has kind of a weenie feel to it compared to the original, lift up his countenance.

    I picture some kind of abstract huge presence rising up in front of me, and I look up at God and God bestows peace on me.

    Look upon me with favor, means to me God kinda likes me, and hopes good things happen to me.

    Big difference, how do we get to this “lesser” version from, way over my head here
    nâśâ’ pânîym?

    pânîym

  28. LeRoy
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Also consider the following:
    B. Pass., v. supr. A.1.
    II. ἀλλά but τιν᾽ into ἄλλην another γαῖαν country ἀναστρέφομαι a returning (Jashub) (he turns)., Od.13.326, Smith’s Bible Dictionary (1884) ; Jushabhesed change of mercy Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary (1869); returner Easton’s Bible Dictionary

    The underlying beliefs of the translators were made apparent by this showing the underworld haunting
    2. [select] demon abode, haunt, “δαιμόνων ἀναστροφή” Aesch. Eum. 23.

  29. LeRoy
    Posted November 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Charles please consder the Hebrew translation
    Num 6:24 The LORD bless and preserve you;
    Num 6:25 the LORD make his face to guide you and toward you to be greatly loved;
    Num 6:26 the LORD lift up his face upon you and implement a reparation to you.

    Word for word:
    24 preserve וישמרך God יהוה bless יברכך
    25 guide ויחנך toward אליך face פניו God יהוה beloved יאר
    26 reparation שלום to you לך to implement וישם toward אליך face פניו God יהוה lift ישא

  30. Posted November 26, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Charles, it has to do with courtly language. If a king lifts his head to you, then he is showing you favor. It’s quite similar to Elizabeth’s use of “to look upon” in Luke 1:25.

    Kings don’t “take note” of everybody, as a general rule. God is a Special Case, though!

  31. Posted November 27, 2009 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    I prefer translations that are easier for me to read than the KJV, bit find it fascinating that many of the people who use the KJV are not very educated. What does this say about the intelligibility of the KJV? Maybe its literary strangeness does make it attractive for many people in modern America. And Charles is onto something: meditating on the strange wording of a traditional translation can help a person absorb the word into the heart. Unexpected words are processed differently by the brain. That’s a major reason for poetry. If you translated Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Pied Beauty” into simple English, it would lose much of its force.

    The best Bible for any particular person is the one that best enables that person to hear God’s word. Thus, it’s wonderful that we have Bibles in different literary styles at different reading levels.

  32. LeRoy
    Posted November 28, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The Bible is written so that you can speak on the level of the person to whom you are addressing. The shortfall is not in the Bible but in the translators, who, wishing to impress colleges, relaced the ordinary words with their seemingly higher learning.

    If, instead of making the translation more difficult, they would adhere to the actual wording it would enhance the understanding of all.

    The ambiguous translation of what the soldiers did to Jesus is one of the more revealing words, “osculate” a humorous kiss, to φιλεω make fun of him.

    The soldiers free salt which many try to say is a salary; “μισθός” ME: from Anglo-Norman Fr. salarie, from L. salarium, orig. denoting a Roman soldier’s allowance for free salt, from sal ‘salt’.

    Even more astounding is the “group of people working together” πλήρωμα, ME, in sense ‘band of soldiers': from OFr. creue (crew)’augmentation, increase’, feminine past participle of croistre ‘grow’, from L. crescer
    Hdt.8.43,45; but, of single ships, complement, crew, make up the full number of citizens, Arist.Pol.1267b16, 1284a5, cf. 1291a17, Pl.R.371e; τω̂ν φίλων π. ἀθροίσας E.Ion664 ; gang of workmen, PPetr.3p.130 (iii B. C.). reserves of troops, στρατιω̂ν Lyd.Mag.3.44 (pl.).

    Which shines more light on the crew of people who are working for God.

  33. Posted November 29, 2009 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    LeRoy, What’s truly astounding is that you never cite any dictionaries of Koine Greek. And I find it offensive that you feel it’s OK to attack the motives and credibility of translators as a whole, and of individuals who have worked hard to make lexicons. You cited someone, then you said he didn’t really know what he was talking about.

    Rich, I’d ask you to please do something about this pseudexegesis. Really, it detracts from the environment of this blog.

  34. LeRoy
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Gary Simmons said: “LeRoy, What’s truly astounding is that you never cite any dictionaries of Koine Greek. “. unquote

    Did you mean: pseudo exegesis? I suppose you could “translate” λειτουργος as liturgy but that would be a desynchronizing where the real translation is to act as a public functionary or you could take “η προσφορα των εθνων” to mean “the prosphora of the nations” instead of offering.

    This is not just about me or an exegesis by myself. Just read the actual Greek. You can look on this Blog and see the Dictionaries I have given. I thought you were able to use more than one dictionary and decipher the Greek simply by parsing or by going to a number of translations and comparing them agaist each other.
    Here are some I have used (Jashub) (he turns)., Od.13.326, Smith’s Bible Dictionary (1884) ; Jushabhesed change of mercy Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary (1869); returner Easton’s Bible Dictionary
    demon abode, haunt, “δαιμονων αναστροφη” Aesch. Eum. 23.
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/ says:
    αναστροφη a turning upside down, upsetting

    English translation by Herbert Weir Smyth, Ph. D. in two volumes. 2.Eumenides. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1926. II. [select] dwelling in a place, Plu.2.216a.

    Here are the usages of what ἀναστρέφω meant in Homer or the LXX or the NT. Passive, vtr.
    reverse vtr (put opposite side up or out) αναστρέφω ρ.μετ.
    invert vtr (turn upside down) τα πάνω κάτω αναστρέφω, ανατρέπω, αναποδογυρίζω ρ.μετ.

    S.Ant.226; πολλὰς ἀ. ποιούμενος, of a hunter, making many casts backward, X. Cyn.6.25; wheeling round, of a horse, Id.Eq.Mag.3.14; of soldiers in battle, whether to flee or rally, Id.Cyr.5.4.8; “μηκέτι δοῦναι αὐτοῖς ἀ.” time to rally, Id.HG4.3.6, cf. Ages.2.3; esp. of the reversal of a wheeling movement, Ascl.Tact.10.6, Ael.Tact.25.7, Arr.Tact.21.4; of a ship, Th.2.89; “ἐξ ἀ.” turning back, Plb.4.54.4; “κατ᾽ ἀναστροφήν” conversely, S.E.M.7.430.

    3. [select] in Gramm., throwing back of the accent, as in Prepositions after their case, A.D.Synt.308.15, etc.
    303 ανά per;Up, through, by, whilst,each
    4762 στρέφω To turn; to turn round, or about; to twist, bend; to return; to convert

    LSJ says: A. [select] turning upside down, upsetting, overthrow, E.Fr. 301 (pl.); μοῖραν εἰς ἀ. δίδωσι, = ἀναστρέφει, Id.Andr.1007; disorder, confusion, Posidipp.26.22.
    Strong’s Greek Dictionary kinda gives a vague meaning επιτιμάω to mete out due measure, hence to censure

    1909 εφ’ επ’ επι towards, upon after, against for, on, over
    τιμάω to fix the value, to price, forfeit, fine, penalty; loss

    2008 επιτιμώ, reprimanded,to adjudge, award, in the sense of merited penalty, reprove, censure
    Robert’s Grammar: Lesson 37 The Genitive Absolute. Supplementary Participle 290. Vocabulary. Ο! επιτιµάω, I rebuke (with dat.) …rebuke, 6; rebuked, 13; rebuking,

    biblicalgreek, Intermediate Greek Gospel: Mark (GRE 312) eπιτιμάω (9-29) rebuke, reprove, censure

  35. LeRoy
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Gary, Mat I remind you…POSTING GUIDELINES>
    Do not question the intelligence, spirituality, beliefs, or motives of anyone, INCLUDING Bible translation teams or those who post or comment on this blog. (5) Avoid sarcasm; it seldom makes a positive contribution.

  36. Posted November 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    LeRoy, what Gary was responding to was your own negative comments toward others who use other exegetical tools. As a blog administrator, I, too, have been concerned about some of your put-downs toward others. They do fit the blogging guidelines which you have quoted to Gary.

    Constructive criticism is welcome by anyone on this blog. But sarcasm and put-downs are not. Let’s all learn from each other here and practice gracious speech.

  37. Posted November 29, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    This is not just about me or an exegesis by myself. Just read the actual Greek. You can look on this Blog and see the Dictionaries I have given. I thought you were able to use more than one dictionary and decipher the Greek simply by parsing or by going to a number of translations and comparing them agaist each other.

    We cannot understand the Greek very well by using dictionaries, parsing, and comparing English translations. To read and understand Greek requires taking Greek classes or carefully doing self-study with Greek textbooks such as ones by Mounce, Wallace, and others.

    On this blog we prefer that people who post about facts in the biblical languages do so based on formal study of the languages, not on lay helps such as Strong’s number system.

  38. LeRoy
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    reply to Wayne Leman
    Thank you for your consideration, and I concur, to read and understand Greek requires taking Greek classes or carefully doing self-study with Greek textbooks such as ones by Mounce, Wallace, and others.
    I use the MSS and have hard copies of the Codex Vaticanus (B), Codex Sinaiticus, Alexandrius, Beza 1565, Erasmus 1516 with his concordance, Stephanus 1550 Received Text, The New Testament in the Original Greek by Wescott & Hort, and also the 4th Edition by Arlan, Black, Martini, Metzger and Wikgren just to mention a few.

    I also like to compare the Strong’s as well as Blass, Gr. of N. T.΄Moulton, Burton, N. T. M., Robinson, Greisbach, Scrivener’s Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus, as well as Smyth Greek Grammer, Bullinger, and others.

    LSJ says: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/ A. [select] turning upside down, upsetting, overthrow, E.Fr. 301 (pl.); μοῖραν εἰς ἀ. δίδωσι, = ἀναστρέφει, Id.Andr.1007; disorder, confusion, Posidipp.26.22.
    Strong’s Greek Dictionary kinda gives a vague meaning επιτιμάω to mete out due measure, hence to censure
    Robert’s Grammar: Lesson 37 The Genitive Absolute. Supplementary Participle 290. Vocabulary. Ο! επιτιµάω, I rebuke (with dat.) …rebuke, 6; rebuked, 13; rebuking,

    biblicalgreek, Intermediate Greek Gospel: Mark (GRE 312) eπιτιμάω (9-29) rebuke, reprove, censure

    Smith’s Bible Dictionary (1884) ; Jushabhesed change of mercy Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary (1869); returner Easton’s Bible Dictionary
    I also find the Strong 99% of the time gives the correct meaning, but the translators, such as KJV, NASB, NIV etc, choose not the correct word but one of the other less meaningful.

  39. Rich Rhodes
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    LeRoy,
    It might be helpful to be explicit about what we mean by translation. Let’s see if this is a correct characterization:

    You believe that translation is the process of matching words part for part (morpheme for morpheme) between Greek and English. At least, this is what it appears to me you mean.

    If so, that’s where the problem lies. We believe that translation is what translators do between modern languages and therefore the principles of that kind of translation should be applied to Bible translation.

    One of these principles is that word for word translation is completely inadequate, let alone morpheme for morpheme translation. A clear demonstration of that can be found in one of my earlier posts.

    I realize that there is a belief in some quarters that only word for word translation is “safe”. If that’s what you think, then let’s talk about that, rather than trading barbs about the proper translation of particular words, when we believe in very different principles of translation.

    BTW, I think there is no place to hide in translation. There is no safe way to translate. And there are certainly no shortcuts.

  40. Ross Stockwell
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi Folks
    This is a general question / observation concerning the genitive case in Koine Greek. After many years looking at this subject it appears that Koine has some eight or so aspects of the Genitive case these are determined by the immediate context in which they appear. In most cases the state of the Genitive is determine by the qualifying noun / verb of the immediate context. There seems to be no inflection involved but the state of the genitive is worked out according to its immediate context and definite noun. The following “the gospel of the grace of God” and “the dispensation of the grace of God” contain the same genitive case words i.e. tes chariots tou Thou but is there a difference? Can we assume the same general idea of possession i.e. that grace is gods possession? The assumption that we can is decided on English assumptions, the original case of Koine is made to fit English assumptions given that English has basically four cases independent of the definite article; Possession, Apposition, Objective and Partitive. Koine has Eight or so conected to the definite article; Origin / Place, Ruling, Possession, Character / Quality, Relation, Apposition, Partition, Contents.

    The above phrase “the gospel of the grace of God”. Here Gospel is qualified by the accusative neuter “to” followed by two genitives qualifiers. “the administration of the grace of God” Here administration is the accusative feminine “ten” followed by the same two genitives. Both nouns seem to determine the aspect of the genitive; The gospel is message that has contents while administration is passively internal and actively external management. Both nouns seem to answer to their genitive string, “of the grace” genitive of contents and “of [the] God” is genitive of the origin as it pertains to the gospel it contents and origin. The other “of the grace” genitive of the ruling principal and of [the] God is genitive of possession this pertains to the dispensation requires a managing or governing principal this is the possession of God.Inheritance is the subject of the Book of Ephesians.

    The impotence of English to distinguish clearly the genitive case aspects of the Koine have been widely recognized but little commented upon out side of the various editions of the Greek texts. Most readers of the English translations are not aware of these mechanisms, the reason that much is quoted out of context. For example. Romans 6:23 “The wages of Sin is death” has been translated from; “tes amartias” the “genitive of quality” in koine, to the English “objective genitive” “of Sin” placing the emphasis on sin. In the original texts the gentive of the quality gives rise to the latent genitive of the ruling principal i.e. death. The thematic aorist root “amart” of amartias connects all sin to the curse due to Adam’s fall and the ruling principal of death that entered the kosmos. Many assume that death is earned by sinning however, this error denies what is revealed as death and the free gift are passive to all human effort. Death is earned by birthright and Adamic descent, life as the free gift of Elohim by grace.

    It was recognised by older scholars and notes are often made in the Greek texts that indicate that correct rendering in English is difficult. This occurs as koine has case structure connected to definite articles but English does not and the English definite “the” does not answer to the koine.

    For Example in Ephesians 1 there are about 4 or so definite in koine but in English the KJV has translated 14… Koine Case is powerful instrument of emphasis and context but forms more towards syntax than towards etymology. Modern Koine Greek studies spend much time, as rule, upon etymology however, if the genitive aspects are not considered then error must logically be the result. I present this for some discussion and if this pattern is correct then perhaps for more accuracy these genitive aspects and there following strings need to be better qualified in English editions.

    Keep well
    RJ


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  1. By Re-thinking the Bible « Aberration blog on November 27, 2009 at 8:17 am

    [...] KJV, The Message, word of God. Leave a Comment Reading a recent post at Better Bibles Blog titled Thinking about Scripture, the writer mentions that  someone claimed a hard to understand Bible isn’t problematic. [...]

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