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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Acts 9:31: ESV, NIV, and TNIV

The ESV Bible blog quotes from Styria's LiveJournal post of August 20. Styria writes about the translation wordings of Acts 9:31 in the NIV and ESV. (Styria's LiveJournal post is a repost of his post on his Blogspot blog, dated October 9, 2004.) Styria prefers the ESV wording of
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
over the NIV wording of
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
I commented on Styria's re-post, saying:
I think the NIV is attempting to say the same thing that the ESV does. The ESV makes it clearer what the two parts of the "means" of church growth are, as you nicely state.

FWIW, this is a verse that the TNIV revised, and with the revision the two parts of the means of church growth are just as clear as in the ESV. (BTW, the ESV wording is nearly identical to the RSV wording on which it is based.)

Here is the TNIV wording:
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
I should also add that the TNIV wording is actually clearer and, in my opinion, more communicatively accurate, than the ESV wording, which uses the somewhat obscure church term "walking" which is a Biblical Greek (but not English) metaphor for "living." Also the TNIV has "encouraged by the Holy Spirit" which is definitely more natural, and more communicatively accurate than the ESV wording "... in the comfort of the Holy Spirit."

I'm not a TNIV advocate, nor was I ever an NIV advocate (nor did I advocate against either), but I believe that if a thorough comparative study of the communicative accuracy of the ESV and TNIV were conducted, the TNIV would come out far ahead. The TNIV has better quality, more natural English which communicates the original meaning of the Bible more accurately, more often than the ESV. I think my own quantified studies which include analysis of the ESV and TNIV already demonstrate this.

Unfortunately, for too many people today, who have heard the vitriol against the TNIV, when someone simply mentions the name Today's New International Version (or TNIV), there is a negative Pavlovian response, the same response I had as a child when the RSV was mentioned. The RSV was thoroughly condemned by the church I grew up in, but now has been used as the basis for the ESV whose team leadership have been in the forefront of attacks against the TNIV. Of course, the ESV team has revised the passages in the RSV which were of such concern to the church leaders of my background. One need not agree with some of the gender-inclusive decisions made by the TNIV team to recognize the overall translational superiority of the TNIV over the ESV. I could not say this if the ESV were written in contemporary English and did not have so many passages with odd, obscure wordings. The TNIV uses almost no obsolete English, especially compared to the RSV/ESV versions. Its English is still not as smooth and natural as I like in a Bible version but it has much better English than a number of other English versions, including the RSV, ESV, and NASB.

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2 Comments:

At Wed Aug 24, 05:02:00 PM, Blogger Styria said...

Thanks for commenting. I actually meant to backdate that post along with the others, so now I know that I missed one<G>. But at least the mistake brought visitors.

I don't know that the NIV was trying to say the same thing as the ESV. Their wording strikes me as being charismatic.

Some things about the ESV are a little irritating, like their wordy "steadfast love," but I'm more comfortable with its 'higher' language. I view the TNIV as something to download as a resource but never read, as opposed to taking up shelf space.

 
At Fri Aug 26, 12:40:00 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Hopefully in the long run the TNIV or a translation in its tradition will prevail.

I for one can't worry about what people think. I will use the TNIV for preaching and teaching when possible. I refer to others and want to get back into the original languages again.

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

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