Mounce Archive 29 — Money Bags (Luke 10:4; 12:33; 22:35, 36)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t carry a purse. Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn’t even carry my wife’s purse unless I grab the straps in a way that makes it clear the purse isn’t mine. And unlike some of my friends, I don’t carry a “man-bag.”
The other problem with “moneybag” is that the similar “moneybags” is used pejoratively for a wealthy person.
The problem is that there really isn’t a word in English for this. The ESV has…
Mounce Archive 28 — Biblical Greek and Holy Week
For today’s Mondays with Mounce post, we decided to select a few classic posts from the archives of Bill Mounce’s weekly column on biblical greek. They touch on three subject areas that impact how we view and understand the events that transpired during Holy Week:
Translating “δια” in relation to Christ’s death; Whether Jesus hung on a “tree” or a “pole;” Paul’s use of “καί” for Christ’s resurrection and suffering.
Enjoy the excerpts below and continue reading the original posts to be enlightened and encouraged this Holy Week by engaging the original biblical greek.
Speaking of Jesus, Paul says he “was delivered up for (δια) our trespasses and raised for (δια) our justification.” What does δια mean? Does it have to mean the same thing in both places? Should it necessarily be translated the…
What’s a Janus? (1 John 3:19) – Mondays with Mounce
Every once in a while we come across a phrase that can either look back to the previous or forward to the next. Sometimes the phrase or verse is truly a Janus, looking both directions. But other times it only goes one way or another.
Bruce Waltke introduced me to the expression “Janus.” It refers to a mythical god with two heads, one looking forward and the other looking back. Wikipedia comments, “In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.”
A common example is 1 Timothy 4:11. “Command and teach these things.” “These things” could be the previous instructions to avoid…
Can a word be a punctuation mark? (Matt 1:18) – Mondays with Mounce 270
This is perhaps a little picky post, but it does illustrate why a word-for-word translation is not always helpful.
Matthew begins with his genealogy, and then moves into the story of Jesus’ birth. “Now (δέ) the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way” (ESV and most). Along comes the NIV and does not represent the δέ. “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about” (also HCSB and, as you might expect, the NLT).
Are they leaving out a word…
Greek Words with No English Meaning – Mondays with Mounce 284
I am currently reading through the New Testament focusing on just one thing: discipleship. Specifically, why should we care about spiritual growth? We’ve gone through the gate; why should we worry about the path? (The answer, of course, is that, according to Jesus, life is at the end of the path, not the other side of the gate.)
This is a practice I strongly encourage. It doesn’t have to be discipleship. You can pick any theme you want. By focusing on one theme, you will probably see things you haven’t seen before.
What is an “Accurate” translation? – Mondays with Mounce 294
A friend asked me this question the other day, and I thought I would take this opportunity to flesh out what I think the answer is.
The standard answer is that a “literal” Bible is the most accurate, and by “literal” they generally mean word-for-word. If the Greek has a verb, the English should have a verb. If the text uses the same Greek three times, the same English word should be used three times.
This understanding is seriously flawed at two levels.
First, the English word “literal” has to do with meaning, not form. Webster gives these three definitions of “literal.”
Involving the ordinary or usual meaning of a word Giving the meaning of each individual word Completely true and accurate: not exaggerated
Meaning 1 and 3 are purely about meaning.…
“A Teacher” or “The Teacher”? (John 3:10) – Mondays with Mounce 291
What a difference an article can make! This is an example of one of those subtle uses of the article that can often be missed, and is also an example of why we need to do our exegesis and translation looking at the bigger picture.
Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, either because that is when rabbis study, or because he did not want others to know. In the case of the latter, it would give us the best example in the NT of the genitive of kind of time; Nicodemus came as one who comes in the night (νυκτὸς).
He addresses Jesus with some politeness in v 2: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God.” Note the anarthrous διδάσκαλος;…
The Power of a “So” (John 13:4) – Mondays with Mounce 290
It is a well-known fact that Greek sentences tend to be longer than English, and therefore a translator will regularly turn a long Greek sentence into two of more English sentences.
The problem with this is that often the connection between the two English sentences will lose some meaning. In other words, the Greek will convey meaning that the English does not.
I came across a great example of this today in the NIV of John 13:4. This is the beginning of the Upper Room Discourse. V 4 reads, “so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”…
Is the Bible an Ancient Book? – Mondays with Mounce 289
This is one of the more interesting questions that is answered in each translation’s “Philosophy of Translation.”
For example, the NLT reads like a modern book. It is so interpretive that many of the cultural expressions are lost; but that is its approach, and as long as the reader understands this, it is fine.
The ESV on the other hand wants to be in the translation stream of the KJV, and in most places reads like an ancient book. Just count the percentage of the occurrences of “shall” and “will” in the Old Testament vs. the New Testament and you will see what I mean.
When Verse References Get in the Way (Luke 24:33–34) – Mondays with Mounce 288
When the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem, the Eleven and the other disciples told the two that Jesus had indeed risen and that he had appeared to Peter. But our translations aren’t that clear.
Here is the passage. “33 So they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has indeed been raised and has appeared to Simon!” The relevant Greek is, ἠθροισμένους τοὺς ἕνδεκα καὶ τοὺς σὺν αὐτοῖς λέγοντας ὅτι ὄντως ἠγέρθη ὁ κύριος.
The problem is three-fold. (1) The twice repeated subject is the two, not the Eleven. “They” got up and “they” found the Eleven, so it is natural to think that “they” are “saying.”…
Lots of Noise in Heaven (δεῖ; Luke 15:32) – Mondays with Mounce 287
I was reading Luke 15 this morning and concluded that heaven is a “happening place.” Celebration. Shouting. Rejoicing.
Luke 15 is the primary biblical passage for the joy God feels when someone repents. But not only God but also the angels. This is the happy side of the spiritual realities in which we live. True, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12). But there is more than struggle in the spiritual realm. There is joy.
Just like the joy of finding a…
Was Apollos Lazy? (1 Cor 16:12) – Mondays with Mounce 285
The Corinthian church is well-known for its factions. Among others, some identified themselves with Apollos and others with Paul (1 Cor 1:12).
This makes Paul’s admonition in 16:12 quite interesting. “Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him (πολλὰ παρεκάλεσα) to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now (πάντως οὐκ ἦν θέλημα ἵνα νῦν ἔλθῃ), but he will go when he has the opportunity (ὅταν εὐκαιρήσῃ)” (NIV).
πολλὰ could be adverbial, meaning that Paul urged him repeatedly, but contextually it is more likely that πολλὰ carries the idea of “strongly” (as per most translations).
In response, Apollos strongly (πάντως) resisted Paul’s request. The usual explanation is that Apollos did not want…