Swimming suits in the Bible
those who want to make a good showing in the fleshOrdinary fluent speakers of English who read this can easily assume that this is referring to showing off our flesh, such as at a swimsuit contest.
Obviously (I hope!), this verse is not talking about baring our skin. So how can translators prevent that wrong understanding of this biblical text?
The solution is for English translators to carefully consider what their translation wordings communicate. One of the best ways to discover what our translations communicate is to ask others. Then, based on responses, translators should revise until the English wordings communicate the same thing to others that the translators understand the biblical text to be saying.
In this verse the word "flesh" (a literal translation of Greek sarx) is not referring to our bare skin. But 'skin' is a common understanding today of the word "flesh." If we want Bibles to communicate accurately and clearly it is necessary to use English wordings which are part of the current syntax and lexicon of a language.
There probably also needs to be some adjustment to the wording of "make a good showing" so that the meaning of the biblical text here is communicated more accurately and clearly.
It seems to me that the following wordings accurately and clearly translate the problem phrase in Gal. 6:12:
Those who want to make a good impression outwardly (NIV)Interestingly, the TNIV returns to the problem wording by revising the NIV to:
those who want to be outwardly in good standing (REB)
the ones who want to show off and boast about external matters (TEV)
These people who want to make a big deal out of a physical thing (GW)
Those who want to impress others by means of the fleshOne of the themes of this blog is that it is possible to translate both accurately as well as naturally, using only the accepted syntax and lexicon of English or any other language into which the Bible is translated.
Categories: Bible translation, translation accuracy, sarx, flesh, natural English