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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Comparing the TNIV and TSNT Bible versions

I thought it would be interesting to compare a few passages from the TNIV and Dr. Nyland's new translation, The Source New Testament (TSNT). Remember, as with every Bible version, the translators chose to translate as they did because they believed that the source language data plus English language usage best supported that translation decision. On this blog we ask that if you disagree with a translation decision, you do so on the grounds of data from the biblical languages, not on the basis of theology or personal ideology. We do not want any name-calling (about translators or translations) or questioning of spirituality on this blog. Instead, we want to only deal with biblical language data as we evaluate translation decisions. We can come to different conclusions from the data, but we can do so with grace. Please do not post lists of "errors" in the TNIV which come from other websites, unless you are prepared to argue the specifics of the language issues for each verse.

Both translations use the singular they which has been in common usage in English since the late 1300s. Here is Rev. 3:20 (whose singular they wording has been strongly and repeatedly criticized by Wayne Grudem) from both versions:
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me. (TNIV)

Indeed, I stand at the door and knock! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and we will have dinner together. (TSNT)
Hebrews 2:6b is another verse which has been criticized in the TNIV:
What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? (TNIV)

What is humanity that you remember it
Or the Human Being that you visit him? (TSNT)
The first edition of the TNIV used "parents" instead of "father" in Heb. 12:7. There was strong criticism of that decision. The TNIV CBT (Committee on Bible Translation) reconsidered its decision and decided that it was better to use "father":
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? (TNIV)

Because you undergo education, God treats you like his children - what child is there that a parent doesn't educate? (TSNT)
The TNIV has been criticized for translating gender inclusively instead of with the word "brother," in Luke 17:3:
If any brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. (TNIV)

If your fellow believer sins, rebuke them, and if they change their mind, forgive them. (TSNT)
Rom. 12:1 is a good verse to discover whether translators understand Greek adelphoi, in that context, to refer to male Christians only or both male and female Christians (see our blog poll on this question). Translators who believe this verse is addressed to both males and females sometimes make that clear by using some kind of gender-inclusive language:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is true worship. (TNIV)

I encourage you, fellow believers, through God's compassion, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, sacred, pleasing to God, which is your rational worship. (TSNT)
In the Introduction to her translation, Dr. Nyland addresses the translation of Greek biastai:
... Matthew 11:12 has puzzled people for centuries. Only in recent times was it discovered that the verse contains technical legal terms referring to the hindering of an owner or lawful possessor of their enjoyment of property. Thus the scripture has nothing to do with heaven suffering violence or forcefully advancing.
Here is Matt. 11:12 from both versions:
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. (TNIV)

From the time of John the Baptizer until now, Heaven's Realm is being used or even robbed by people who have no legal right to it. This stops those who do have a legal right to it from enjoying their own property. (TSNT)
1 Cor. 13:4-7 is one of my favorite passages:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (TNIV)

Love has perseverance, love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not show off, love is not arrogant. Love is not rude, is not self seeking, it is not hot tempered, it does not calculate wrong doings, it is not happy over dishonesty, but is happy only with the truth; it puts u with everything, it has endurance in all things. (TSNT)
Finally, here is the translation of Eph. 1:7-10, a passage not easy to translate because of the long, complex Greek sentences and the presence of the Greek word xaris which is difficult to translate to contemporary English:
In him we have redepmtion through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the ties reach their fulfillment--to being unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (TNIV)

His favors to us are so abundant, that he bought us by paying the ransom for us with his Son's blood. This canceled our sins. In fact, he showered us with so many favors that they overflowed, and he also gave us all types of wisdom as well as common sense. He showed us the secret hidden truth of his plans. Actually, he was pleased to do this. He intended that the secret hidden truth would be revealed through the Anointed One. (TSNT)
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