Let’s Play “Fill in the Blanks” (1 Timothy 4:3) – Mondays with Mounce 263

Bill Mounce on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Paul can hardly be accused of mincing his words. He is an apostle, knows the truth, and says it clearly and unapologetically. Sometimes he uses sentences that are so long we struggle a bit to follow his discussion, but the Greek often has clues that help.

In describing the false teachers, Paul says that “some” people (τινες) will depart from the faith, and then follows with a series of participles that tie the argument together. When the NIV and NET start a new sentence at 3, and the NLT starts a new paragraph, they break the flow of thought and…

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Do all things really work for good? (Romans 8:28) – Mondays with Mounce 262

Bill Mounce on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

The ESV represents the standard translation of this verse. “For those who love God all things work together for good” (see also the NET, KJV, HCSB).

The reason these are poor translations is because they make it appear that “all things” mystically make everything that happens good.

Really?

Part of this is just common sense, after you have stripped away the religiosity and shallowness of the church’s stereotypical response. Don’t get me wrong; I believe our sovereign God is all good all the time, but it is just nonsensical to say that every evil thing that happens is good, regardless of how you massage…

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Is there ever a time to use “man”? (Col 3:9–10) – Mondays with Mounce 261

Bill Mounce on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Paul tells the Colossian church to “Stop lying to one another, since you have put off the old man (τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον) with its practices, and have put on the new man (τὸν νέον), which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (3:9–10).

The challenge is the translation of ἄνθρωπον and the dual meaning in the verse.

On the one hand, it is a contrast between our old sinful nature and our new regenerated nature, hence the NLT’s translation. “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”

On the…

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At What Point Does Interpretation Run Counter to Biblical Intention?

Bill Mounce on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,.

This morning in church the pastor read Acts 27 out of the NLT, and I was bothered. I understand that the NLT’s policy is to make the text readable and understandable, and I applaud the desire. I read the NLT often, not so much to know what the biblical writers say but what the NLT committee understand what the writers meant. And since all translation involves interpretation, I am okay with this.

But I am disturbed by the NLT’s translation of Acts 27. Some examples:

V 1. “And when it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they delivered…

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Do you feel like a “glorious inheritance”? (Eph 1:18) – Mondays with Mounce 260

Bill Mounce on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

In the words of Iron Man, “It’s good to be back.” I had a good session with the CBT on the NIV, except that a good friend dropped dead at 42 years of age and I left early to do the funeral. Good break this summer, fantastic board meeting for BiblicalTraining.org topped off with a trip to the Bahamas. Now it is back to work.

I have been reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. It is an exceptionally good book and I encourage all of you to read it. This part caught my eye on the flight back yesterday. “The wildest part is that Jesus doesn’t have to love us. His being is utterly complete and perfect, apart from humanity. Yet He wants us, chooses us, even considers us His inheritance (Eph. 1:18).…

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Is κυριος Nominative or Vocative? – Mondays with Mounce 259

Bill Mounce on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Someone pointed out the other day that the only time Jesus is directly addressed in the nominative κυριος as opposed to the vocative κυριε is in Thomas’ declaration, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28, ο κυριος μου και ο θεος μου). Is there any significance?

On the one hand, the nominative can be used to function as the vocative, so there is no necessary significance. And yet it is interesting that this is the only example of κυριος being used this way of Jesus. In every other case (as far as I can tell) it is κυριε.

I wouldn’t have thought much about this distinction except that it is such an important passage. It is one of clearest statements of the divinity of Christ, and although our Christology does not depend…

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Are Ants People? (Mondays with Mounce Archive)

Bill Mounce on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Poetry can be exceptionally difficult to translate. It often conveys meaning more with pictures than with individual words, the words working together to create images more powerful than words.

Metaphors are only slightly easier, but here there is even less context and so the meaning of the metaphor is easily loss.

Case in point: Proverbs 30:26. Mark Strauss lists this in his “Oops” category. The ESV translates the passage from vv 24-28 as follows:

Four things on earth are small

but they are exceedingly wise:

the ants are a people not strong,

yet they provide their food in the summer;

the rock badgers are a people not…

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Was Jesus In A Lonely, Deserted, or Uninhabited Region? (Mark 1:45) — Mondays with Mounce 258

Bill Mounce on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

The sermon yesterday was on the need for solitude, planned margin. Always a good reminder for those of us who tend to define ourselves by what we do — do I hear the amens?

The passage was Mark 1:45. “Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but stayed out in unpopulated areas (ἐρήμοις τόποις; NASB).”

What caught my eye was the NASB’s use of “unpopulated.” For a translation that tends away from excessive interpretation (although all translations are interpretive), their use of “unpopulated” was a very good choice.

ἔρημος is technically an adjective meaning, “pert. to being in a state of isolation, isolated, desolate, deserted” (BDAG). When used substantivally, ἔρημος means “an uninhabited region or locality, desert, grassland, wilderness.” ἔρημος…

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Ellipsis’ Ugly Head (John 12:7) —Mondays with Mounce 254

Bill Mounce on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

We don’t talk much about ellipsis in first year Greek, but it is a grammatical fact that occurs more than you might think.

An ellipsis is when words are left out, and the assumption is that the context is sufficient to fill in the gaps. It especially happens in the second of two parallel thoughts, words from the first assumed in the second.

But John 12:7 gives us a good example of ellipsis when there is no parallel. Mary anoints Jesus’ feet, Judas objects, and Jesus responds, “Leave her alone…. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial” (NIV). ἄφες αὐτήν, ἵνα εἰς τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ μου τηρήσῃ αὐτό. In other words, the words “It…

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Is “Has Been Causing to Grow” Redundant? (1 Cor 3:6) — Mondays with Mounce 259

Bill Mounce on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,.

One of the important steps every Greek student must make is to move beyond the formal structures of first and even second year Greek, and start considering other issues such as the meaning of a word.

Take for example 1 Cor 3:6. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God has been causing the growth (ηὔξανεν).” Because ηὔξανεν is an imperfect — past time; imperfective aspect — every first year Greek teacher would expect an explicitly durative translation: “has been causing.”

This is great for first year Greek, but let me ask the question. Isn’t the actual meaning of “grow” a durative idea? Do we have to explicitly say “has been causing” to get the durative idea across? Of course not.

In fact, it could be argued that having both “grow” and “has…

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Does the Order of Phrases Matter? (Rom 1:5) – Mondays with Mounce 276

Bill Mounce on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

One of the harder things to do in translation is line up the phrases properly. Since English uses sequence and proximity, related phrases need to go together. Greek doesn’t care (as much).

Take for example Rom 1:5. Speaking of Jesus, Paul writes, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (ESV). The Greek is, δι᾿ οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ.

The prepositional phrase translated “to bring about the obedience of faith” (εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως) is adjectival, modifying “grace and apostleship” (χάριν καὶ ἀποστολήν); it is the end result of God’s grace and his apostolic call.

“Among all the nations” (ἐν πᾶσιν…

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Is It the Spirit or His Gifts? (1 Cor 14:1) — Mondays with Mounce 260

Bill Mounce on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Here is a great example of the challenges of a substantival adjectives.

Paul writes, “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts (τὰ πνευματικά), especially that you may prophesy” (1 Cor 14:1, ESV). πνευματικός is an adjective meaning “spiritual,” often referring to the divine spirit, the Holy Spirit. This is the topic of the end of the verse and also the entire chapter, and this is how every major translation views the verse.

Interesting, then, is the parallel statement in 12:1. “Now concerning spiritual gifts (τῶν πνευματικῶν),* brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed” (ESV). The footnote on “gifts” says, “Or persons.” The HCSB is inconsistent; in 12:1

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