Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Yahweh In Translation

     I recently read an article by a preacher in which he objected to the use of Yahweh,
the  personal  name  of  the  deity,  in  translating  the  tetragrammaton  (YHWH)  in
the approximately 6828 times the term occurs in the Hebrew text. His reasoning is
that the use of Yahweh in translation tends to be confusing to most people because
they are not accustomed to hearing and/or reading the sacred name.

     First, I  doubt  that  the  degree  of confusion that he alleges really exists. The
American Standard  Version  published  in  1901  made  a  salient  effort  for
consistency by translating YHWH with the hybrid term Jehovah in all of its occurrences.
Some other English versions also use Jehovah for the Tetragrammaton. The KJV even
uses  Jehovah  a  few times. (cf. Gen. 22:14; Ex. 6:3; 17:15; Jdg. 6:24; Psa. 83:18;
Isa. 12:2; 26:4)  Furthermore, the  Jerusalem  Bible  uses  Yahweh  in thousands of
places, and  the  Holman  Christian  Standard  Bible  uses  it  over 600 times in the
Old Testament.

     Second,  even    if    the   use  of   Yahweh   initially confuses  those  who  lack
familiarity  with  the  name, is  it  not be the duty  of  preachers, who ought to be
exegetes of the sacred scriptures to explain its meaning and use? Do we not do this
with other words and concepts with  which  people  may not be familiar? I believe
much of the confusion regarding the issue of translating the Bible, is the direct result
of those who know failing to adequately inform those who do not know ! There are
ways of teaching our people the reasons why some things are translated the way they
are, and why some things need changing without being too technical and sounding
too academic. The bottom line is, we have the duty to teach people so they can be
informed. (2 Tim. 2:15) We who preach need to stay abreast of important issues,
and Bible translation is such an issue. There  is  no  excuse  for  spiritual and mental

     In my judgment, there is one thing confusing about the way most modern versions
address the issue of translating YHWH. It is this: where YHWH occurs in the text, they
put   the  word  LORD   in  all  capitals, except  in  those  instances  when  Adonai
(lord, ruler) and YHWH appear together. When they do occur together, YHWH is
translated GOD. Most people never notice such, and when they do, they have no idea
why Lord with lower case letters appears, and why at other times it is LORD with all
upper case letters. Then at other times we read God with lower case letters and in other
instances it appears as GOD with all upper case letters. Now that is what confuses many
people. They are unaware that such variety is an "expedient" used by translators to
differentiate Lord and God from YHWH.

     So, why not use Yahweh  in  the  places  where  YHWH  appears  in  the  text of
the Old Testament? Why not equip oneself to teach the people about the sacred name
as    we    teach   them   about   words   like   immerse,  congregation,  hades,  and
countless other words and concepts in our writing, preaching, and teaching?

                                                                                                               R. Daly

Copyright 2011


Friday, December 2, 2011


     I am occasionally asked, "Which translation is better, the ESV or the NASB?"
Both are excellent translations. They approach translation "theory" from slightly
different perspectives. The ESV is an "essentially literal" translation, meaning it
attempts word for word correspondence when possible, but it does not hesitate
to be "dynamic" or "interpretive" when necessary. The NASB leans more
toward the formal equivalence method of translation. In this sense it is generally
more of a modified literal text than the ESV. The translation philosophy of the
NASB makes it slightly more difficult (though not impossible) to read than the
ESV. The NASB is generally closer in "form" to the underlying Hebrew, Aramaic,
and Greek texts, and as a result some of its phrasing is awkward. Neither
translation is strictly literal. If they were, they would not be understandable to
most readers of English.

     The NASB tends to pay relatively close attention to Greek verbs and
participles. For instance, in Colossians 3:1 Paul uses the word zeteite, which
is a present active imperative. Most English versions say, "seek," but the NASB
translates it as "keep seeking." Some scholars call this over translation, but it
is useful to the Greek student and non Greek student alike, as it shows what is
going on in the Greek text. Examples of this kind in the NASB can be multiplied.

     The ESV is slightly more accurate than the NASB in that it sometimes makes
better textual choices because its lexical base is better. For example, the NASB
translates the noun paidagogos as "tutor" in Galatians 3:24 and 25. This choice
was likely influenced by older Greek lexicons such as Abbott-Smith's Manual
Greek Lexicon Of The New Testament. A paidagogos was not a tutor, but
was frequently a slave who was entrusted with the care and supervision of a male
child, hence a guardian, guide, custodian, disciplinarian. This is reflected by
modern Greek lexicons (BDAG, Trenchard, etc.) and  modern versions of the
scriptures. (cf. RSV, ESV, NIV, NRSV)  There are several instances wherein
the NASB's textual choices are deficient, but to its credit, the marginal notes
often contain the correct translation. It seems to me that the correct choices
should be in the text.

     There are also instances where both the ESV and the NASB miss the same
point in translation. In Acts 19 Paul came to Ephesus and found some disciples.
He asked them "Into what then were you immersed?" They replied, "Into the
immersion of John." Paul taught them about Jesus and on hearing this "they were
immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus." (verses 3 and 5) Both the ESV and the
NASB say they were "baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Both translations
acknowledge "into" is what the text literally says in their footnotes and marginal
notes. The Greek  preposition  used  is  "eis"  in each of the three instances in
the context. The ASV says "into" in all three instances.

     A person can learn what to do to be saved by diligently studying both the ESV
and the NASB. They compliment each other in many ways. Study from both texts.
The ESV is more readable in part because it is not as literal as the NASB. The
NASB, like the ASV-1901, is a good study bible because of its closeness to the
underlying Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. The marginal notes in the NASB
are among the best found in any English version of the scriptures!
                                                                                                         R. Daly
Copyright 2011 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Galatians 5:6 In The English Standard Version

     In the English Standard Version of the Bible, Galatians 5:6 says, "For in Christ
Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith
working through love."  The sentence in the Greek New Testament reads, "en gar 
Christo Iesou oute peritome ti ischuei oute akrobustia alla pistis di agapes
energoumene." The translation of the phrase is, "For in Christ Jesus neither
circumcision  nor  uncircumcision  has any power, but  faith working through love."
(Daly's New Testament Translation)

     I was recently asked," Is the phrase translated 'but only faith working through
love' (Gal. 5:6) in the ESV accurately translated? " The answer is no, it does not
accurately reflect what the Greek text says or means. The addition of the word
"only" is an unfortunate and unjustified rendering. The text simply does not say
"only faith" or "faith only."

     The ESV is a revision of the RSV-1971 and not even the RSV adds the word
"only" to this text. Neither the KJV, ASV, NASB, or the HCSB add the word
"only" in the Galatians' passage. They remain true to the original text in this place,
and they do not reflect a theological slant in their translation of the passage.

     Contextually, Paul warns against being "entangled again in a yoke of bondage."
(5:1) His argument is, it is not works of the law by which one is justified, so the
act of physical circumcision is without power. The hope of righteousness is not
through circumcision or uncircumcision, "but faith working through love." The
Calvinist does not accept the efficacy of Christ's blood through immersion because
he sees it as a work. Yet, the very people to whom Paul wrote had been immersed
into Christ. (Gal. 3:27) Therefore, Paul's teaching about faith, grace, and works
must not be interpreted in a way that excludes immersion in order to be saved from

     Does this mean that the ESV is a bad translation? No. It means that the ESV like
the KJV, ASV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NRSV, etc. has passages that need to
be weighed against the original texts and corrected. The goal of Bible translation is
to give mankind the word of the living God in a way that is both understandable and
accurate. We should expect no less.
                                                                                                                 R. Daly
Copyright 2011 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Modified-Literal Translations Are Still Useful

     It is a well known fact that most of the translations that have been produced
during   the  late  twentieth  and early twenty first centuries  are  either  paraphrases  
(Williams' N.T., Goodspeed's N.T. , Good News For Modern Man, The 
Message, etc.) or   idiomatic (NIV,   New  Living  Translation,  TNIV 
NIV-2011).  One reason for this  shift  is  due  to  the  discovery of the papyri
fragments in the late 1800's into the early and mid 1900's. We  have  learned from
the papyri that the language  of    the   New   Testament    was   the   common  
language   of   the first  century  world. It  was  not  classical  Greek, but  koine,
that  is, the dialect spoken  by  the  "ordinary"  citizen of the ancient world. God
wants people to have his word in their language.

     I believe that most modified literal translations are readable and understandable.
It    is    sometimes    said    that    the    paraphrases    and idiomatic versions are
more   accurate  because   they   are   more   understandable.   This viewpoint
assumes   that   understandability   and   accuracy   are   synonymous, or at least
that understandability leads to or implies accuracy. This is not necessarily true.It
is possible for a translation to be "understandable" and not be a faithful representation
of what  the  original  says.  An  example  is  the  New World Translation (of  the
Jehovah's Witness organization). Though  it  is  one of  the  more  literal  English
translations it incorrectly renders John 1:1 in this way, "In the beginning the Word
was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." This is not what the
Greek text says, nor is it what the text means. On the other end of the translation
spectrum is the Contemporary English Version, a paraphrase that renders
Romans 1:17 in the following manner, "The good news tells how God accepts
everyone who has faith, but only those who have faith." This rendering is
understandable, but it  is  not  what  the  Greek  text  says,  nor  is  it  what  the
passage means. It is a misleading commentary on the text, even though it is
expressed in modern English. My point is this, just because a translation is written
in understandable English does  not  ensure  its  faithfulness  to  the  Greek  text. It
is also true that modified literal versions are not necessarily inaccurate just because
they may be more "stiff" or "stilted."

     One of the problems with some modified literal versions is their archaic language.
An example of this is the ASV-1901. It  uses  the  archaic  forms  that are found in
the King James Version. It also has a large number of inverted negatives. For
example,  Matthew 19:17 says, "And  he  said  unto  him,  Why  askest  thou  me
concerning what is good? One there is who is good..." The verse can be translated
in the following way and still maintain its modified literal faithfulness to the Greek
text, "And he said to him, 'Why do you ask me concerning what is good? There is
one who is good...' " Even with its problems with archaic language, the ASV remains
an excellent study bible. The NASB-1977, though not as literal as the ASV is
nevertheless a good study bible  because  of  its  closeness  to  the  Hebrew,
Aramaic,  and  Greek  texts. The  NASB-1977 is generally a better exegetical tool
than the NASB-95 Update because it is closer to the original texts. The NASB-95
has dropped many of   the conjunctions and inferential particles that are found in the
Hebrew and Greek texts, and that are found in the ASV and NASB-1977. This
was done in part to enhance the readability of the NASB, but doing so has made
the NASB-95 Update a less useful study bible.

     The precision of the ASV is its most remarkable feature. It was designed to be
an honest representation of what is in the original texts of scripture. It isn't perfect,
but in spite of its shortcomings, it remains the best of the modified literal versions of
sacred scripture. The NASB-1977 is relatively close to the ASV. When the
translators of the NASB thought a strictly literal translation might be misleading, they
usually have a marginal note or footnote that contains the literal translation, and the
literal translation found in the marginal notes is often what is found in the text of the
ASV. The footnotes of the  ASV and the marginal notes of the NASB are a wealth
of  information! The English Standard Version (ESV) is not as modified literal as
the  NASB, but it is slightly better   in   that  its  textual  choices  are  sometimes
more  accurate.  The   ASV, RSV, NASB-1977, NRSV, ESV,  and to a lesser
extent the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) are probably the best
modified literal     versions   currently  published.    They  compliment  each  other
extremely well, and they can be understood. A person can learn God's plan of
salvation by using one or all of them. (John 3:16; 8:24; Hebrews 11:6; Acts 3:19;
17:30; Romans 10:10; 1 Timothy 6:12; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:58;
2 Peter 1: 3-10)
                                                                                                            R. Daly

Copyright 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Benefits of Idiomatic Translations

     Idiomatic translations are those that seek to convey the "meaning" of the words
in the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. They are sometimes called meaning based
translations. Notable examples of idiomatic translations are: the  Today's English
Version, New International Version, God's Word, New Living Translation,  
Today's New International Version, Holman Christian Standard Version,
and the New International Version 2011

     Idiomatic translations, like modified-literal ones, are useful in many ways but
I will only innumerate a few points that represent the whole.

     (1) Idiomatic translations are generally easier to read and comprehend than
the modified-literal ones. They use modern speech and tend to avoid the
awkward phrasing that sometimes characterizes the more literal versions.

     (2) Idiomatic translations often clarify ancient idioms for modern
readers. For example, the ASV, true to the form of the Hebrew text says
Yahweh gave the children of Israel "cleanness of teeth." (Amos 4:6) The
phrase is an idiom meaning, God has sent famine. The NIV 2011 interprets
it with the phrase "empty stomachs." An example of a N.T. idiom is the phrase
"the bosom of the Father." (Jno. 1:18) ASV. It means the closest intimacy,
fellowship, or relationship. The NIV 2011 explains the idiom to mean "closest

     (3) Idiomatic translations also serve as reasonably good commentaries
because they emphasize meaning. They sometimes explain words that would
be obscure to modern readers.

     (4) They also tend to avoid the use of archaic expressions, phrasing, and
word order that confuses the "average" reader.

     (5) They are generally easier to memorize because the translators ask,
"How do we say in English what we see in the Hebrew and Greek texts."


Copyright 2011

Some Benefits of Modified-Literal Translations

     In this post I would like to innumerate some benefits of modified-literal
translations  of  the  Bible. Examples  of  these  types of  translations are: the
King James Version, American Standard Version, New American 
Standard Version, New King James Version, and to a lesser extent
the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version.
The most recent modified-literal translation of note is the English Standard 
Version. It stands between the Revised Standard and the New American 
Standard Versions in literal quality.

     There are several things about modified-literal translations that make them
very useful, but I will briefly discuss only a few points that are representative
of the whole.

     (1.) Modified-literal translations of the sacred scriptures are generally closer
in form to the original texts, and therefore make better study bibles. They
attempt to show the student what is going on in the Hebrew and Greek texts. 

     (2.) Modified-literal translations are generally built on the actual words of the
Hebrew and Greek texts. This is important to the person who believes the
words in the original texts were breathed out by God. ( 2 Tim. 3:16-17;
1 Cor. 2:10-13)

     (3.) Modified-literal translations do not take as many "liberties" with the text
as other  kinds of versions. As  a  result  they  allow  the  student to determine
what the text teaches based on the actual words that are used.

     (4.) Modified-literal translations are generally not as "wordy" as those that are
more idiomatic. They try to avoid supplying "unnecessary" words to the text.
They often attempt "word for word" equivalency, though such is not possible
one hundred percent of the time.

     (5.) Nothing replaces a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, but not everyone
will or can learn the original languages of scripture. Therefore, the modified-
literal translations give the non linguist the best access to the form of the original.

Copyright 2011                                                                                                                                                     

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NIV 2011 and The New American Standard Bible

     I hear many people say, "The NASB is the most literal English translation, and
the NIV 2011 is a paraphrase. The NIV is not a good study Bible because of its
underlying theory of translation. Meaning based translations are not good for

     One problem  with  the  foregoing  statements  is, it  is  based  on erroneous
information. Sometimes the NASB is very interpretive. Some of its renderings
are more meaning based than the NIV. 

     A key phrase in the Greek text of Acts 11:30 reads, "dia cheiros Barnaba
kai Saulou." The literal English translation is, "through/by hand Barnabas and
Saul." The NASB 77 and 95 say, "in charge of Barnabas and Saul." The NIV 2011
says, "by Barnabas and Saul."

     The phrase "dia cheiros Barnaba kai Saulou" (through/by hand of Barnabas
and Saul) is an idiomatic expression. The NASB, dubbed the most literal by many
people, interprets the idiom "in charge of Barnabas and Saul." The NIV 2011
drops the "cheiros" (hand) and says "by barnabas and Saul" which serves the same
purpose as the NASB rendering except the NIV 2011 almost does it with the
precision of modified-literal accuracy! By the way, the ASV-1901 again manifests
near word for word precision. It says, "by the hand of Barnabas and Saul."

     The meaning of "dia cheiros Barnaba kai Saulou" is Barnabas and Saul were
the ones through whom or by whom the relief was sent to the elders for the disciples
who lived in Judea. They were the ones "in charge of" delivering the funds, hence
the interpretation of the NASB.

     These findings illustrate at least two points: (1) the accuracy of a translation
must be evaluated on a passage by passage basis. (2) We must not assume that
modified-literal versions are always literal, nor should we assume that meaning
based translations are not sometimes (or perhaps often) modified-literal.

Copyright 2011  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

When Compared To The Greek Text

     Acts chapter10 records some marvelous events leading up to the conversion
of the Gentiles. Peter fell into a trance and God used the opportunity to prepare
him for the journey to the household of Cornelius. Acts 10:17 tells us about
Peter's response to the vision he had when he went up on the roof to pray.

     There is a word that is used in the Greek text of Acts 10:17 that tells us of
the degree of Peter's bewilderment regarding the vision and its meaning. The
word is dieporei. It is imperfect active in form and means to "be greatly
perplexed, be at a loss." (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
and Other Early Christian Literature, page 235)  In the Greek text
Acts 10:17 says  "Now as Peter was greatly perplexed within himself, what
the vision he saw might mean, behold the men who had been sent by Cornelius
found Simon's house by asking, they stood at the gate."

     I compared several English translations to the Greek text of  Acts 10:17
in order to see which ones rendered dieporei in a way that accurately conveyed
the depth of Peter's bewilderment.

     The RSV says, "Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed..."
     The ESV says, "Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed..."
     The NIV 2011 says, "While Peter was wondering about the meaning..."
     The NASB says, "Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind..."
     The HCSB says, "While Peter was deeply perplexed..."
     The NRSV says, "Now while Peter was greatly puzzled..."
     The ASV says, "Now while Peter was much perplexed in himself..."

     Of the translations listed, the NIV 2011 rendering is the most bland,
followed by the RSV and the ESV.  The remaining four do well in translating
dieporei . I especially like the NRSV's "greatly puzzled." It is a bit more
modern than the NASB and the HCSB. The ASV rendering "much perplexed" 
is somewhat antiquated but can be understood. As expected, the ASV's rendering
is not only literally accurate, but it is virtually a word for word translation of
the Greek text in Act 10:17.

     When compared to the Greek text, the NASB, HCSB, NRSV, and the ASV
accurately convey the meaning  of dieporei in Acts 10:17. They phrase their
interpretation differently, but each exhibits good exegetical precision. This
shows the value of comparing translations, and it shows that just because a
translation is accurate in one place does not mean it maintains accuracy
throughout its text. All translations must be examined on a passage by passage

Copyright 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Choices For The Top Five Bible Versions

     In this post I will list my choices for the top five Bible versions. I will also
say a little about each and give the reasons for my choices. Remember, these
are my choices and my list does not imply a blanket endorsement of any
of them. All English translations have areas that need improvement, otherwise
there would be no need for continuing revision.

     (1) American Standard Version. The British edition (Revised Version)
was published in 1881. The ASV was published in 1901. It is a revision of
the Revised Version. The ASV incorporates the textual choices made by the
American  scholars  who  were  on  the  revision  committee. The  ASV  is
generally recognized as superior to the English Revised Version. To this very
day the ASV remains unsurpassed as a study text for the person who can
navigate   through   the   archaic   English.   It   is   often   hard    to  read
because the word order and sentence structure are awkward. The ASV
is so literal that it sometimes retains the word order of the Hebrew and
Greek  texts  instead  of  striving for idiomatic English. This is one of its
greatest strengths  because  it  enables the person who does not know
Hebrew and Greek to have a text that is largely transparent to the original
scriptures. It is truly "the rock of biblical honesty." I began using the ASV
in 1976 and I love it to this very day. It is not as wordy as the NASB
because it adds fewer words to the text for clarity. Generally it pays closer
attention to the details  of  the  text  than  the  NASB.  The  footnotes  in
the ASV offer a veritable  mine  for  exegesis. The ASV stands in the
number one position among  the  modified-literal  bible versions.

     (2) The English Standard Version. It was published in 2001 and is a
revision of the Revised Standard Version which was published in 1952. The
RSV N.T. was revised in 1971. A light revision of the ESV was published
in 2007. Much of the ESV's strength is derived from its parent, the RSV.
The  RSV  is  not  nearly  as  bad  as  was alleged by its critics. The ESV
removes the archaic English forms that were retained by the RSV.  It is
a very good translation and it is a modified-literal translation in philosophy.
It also  strives  for  gender  accuracy  albeit inadequate. For instance, it
has footnotes that inform the reader that "the plural Greek word adelphoi
(translated 'brothers') refers to siblings in a family." Adelphoi should be
translated "brothers and sisters" when a congregation is addressed. The
ESV is slightly more accurate and readable than the NASB.

     (3) The  New  International  Version  (2011 edition). The revised
NIV  is  imminently  useful  as  a  reading  and  study text. It is a noted
improvement of the 1984 edition of the NIV. The most recent edition of
the NIV is aware of the need to be gender accurate. One often reads of
"brothers and sisters," "human," "person," "mankind," and the like in the
updated NIV. It is a pleasure to read and I have noticed that in many
places  the  revision   has  restored  some  of  the  inferential   particles
("therefore," "so then," etc.) to the text. This aids in following the logical
flow of the writers argument. Except for the fact that the ESV is a more 
modified-literal text, and slightly better for "technical study,"  the NIV
2011 gives it a "run for its money."

     (4) The Holman Christian Standard Bible. It, like the NIV was
not a revision of any previous English translation. It was translated from
the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. The HCSB is readable, generally
accurate, and incorporates some outstanding interpretations in a large
portion of its text! It breaks from longstanding traditions in the bible
translation process. Examples: "Yahweh" is used several hundred times
in the Old Testament for the tetragrammaton (YHWH). Most previous
versions use the word "LORD" to represent the personal name of God
in Hebrew. The HCSB also accurately translates John 3:16. Most English
versions say, "God so loved the world..." Many people interpret the word
"so" as an intensive. "God soooo loved the world." This is not the point.
The Greek text uses the word houtos, which is an adverb expressing the
manner or way that something is done. John 3:16 says, "This is the way
God loved the world; he gave his one and only/unique Son..." The HCSB
recognizes this fact in translation. The HCSB is not perfect. As an example,
it uses the word Christian several more times than it is used in the Greek
N.T. Nevertheless, it is a useful translation.

     (5) The New Revised Standard Version. It was published in 1989.
The NRSV like the ESV is a revision of the RSV. The NRSV went too
far and the ESV does not go far enough in some of their translation
choices. In  many  ways, it  and  the  ESV  work well as companion
texts. The NRSV is wonderful as a comparative translation. There are
many places where it stands among the very best English translations.
(cf. John 1:18; Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:24-25) Before the appearance of the
NIV 2011 the NRSV was among my top three favorite English versions.
The NIV 2011 is a better overall translation and it usually avoids the
awkward phrasing used by the NRSV in an effort to be gender accurate.
Nevertheless, the NRSV is a very useful translation and it is rated highly
in most religious academic circles.

     I am sometimes asked, "If a person could only purchase two English
translations; which two would you recommend?" This is a good question
and not easily answered. I would likely recommend one translation from
the modified-literal philosophy of  translation, and  one from the more
readable-idiomatic approach. This would  have a  balancing  effect so
that neither translation would  be  allowed  to  run  wild. The  student
could note the differences  between  the two translations  and  use this
as a means of increasing their knowledge of God's word. I believe the
ASV and the NIV 2011 make an awesome pair of translations. The
problem is, the ASV is only published by the Star Bible Publishers in
Fort Worth, Texas and may be very hard to find. In view of this, perhaps
the ESV is a suitable replacement for the ASV.

Copyright 2011 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Different Kinds of Accuracy

     I am often asked, "Which translation of the scriptures do you believe is
the most accurate?" There is not one particular translation of the sacred
writings that is the "most accurate." Most translations are accurate in key
areas and a person who diligently studies them can learn what to do to be
saved from sin.

     Nevertheless, it should be noted that there are different kinds of
accuracy. I will illustrate this using the Greek N.T. and three different
English translations; ASV, ESV, and NIV 2011.  Phil. 2:6, which is
very likely a portion of a Christological hymn will be the passage for

     The Greek Text: " hos en morphe theou huparchon ouch
harpagmon hegesato to einai isa theo,"

     Literal Translation: "who in form of God existing not a thing
to be grasped did regard the being equal with God."

     American Standard: "who, existing in the form of God, counted
not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped."

     English Standard: "who, though he was in the form of God, did
not count equality with God a thing to be grasped."

     NIV 2011: "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider
equality with God something to be used to his own advantage."

     As expected, the ASV known for its modified literal translation
philosophy is very "form accurate." It is almost "word for word."
The ESV is not as form literal as the ASV, and it translates the
present active participle huparchon  as a past tense "though he
was" instead of  "existing" as in the ASV. The NIV 2011, a
version that sits between modified literal and paraphrase in its
translation philosophy, accurately translates  huparchon with
the word "being." It also interprets the word morphe to mean
"nature," indicating that Paul was not using the word in its literal
sense (form or outward appearance). The NIV 2011 goes a
step further. It accurately translates harpagmon with the phrase
"something to be used to his own advantage."

     The  ASV with  almost  word  for  word precision, accurately
translates  Phil. 2:6  from the standpoint of modified-literal form.
A couple of adjustments could be made to the word order and
vocabulary in the ASV, but it is true to form.  The ESV is further
removed from the Greek text than the ASV and it is not as
concerned with the details of the text as the ASV, but it is more
readable. The  NIV  2011  is  virtually  word  for  word,  is
very readable, and is lexically up to date in Phil. 2:6. All three
translations have a high degree of accuracy, but overall the
NIV 2011 edges out both the ASV and the ESV  in Phil. 2:6.

     The accuracy of Bible translations must be determined on a
passage by passage basis, and we must remember that there are
different kinds of accuracy. The ASV often reflects form
accuracy; the ESV often combines form accuracy where possible
with meaning; and the NIV 2011 often reflects form accuracy
where possible, but it is primarily designed to convey meaning
by the use of idiomatic English.

Copyright 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

An Illogical Objection to a Version of the Bible

     Most of our English versions of the sacred scriptures were translated
from the Hebrew and Greek texts by people who are highly trained experts
in their respective disciplines. They not only know the intricate details of the
source  languages, but  they  know  the  target  languages  well, otherwise
the translation process would be impossible.

     Translators are not miraculously guided by the Holy Spirit in their work.
Therefore,  their  work  sometimes  reflects  the  imperfections  of  human
tradition,  thinking,  and  training.  This  is  why  translations  often  need
revision. There is not a perfect translation of the scriptures in existence.
But, this does not mean that a person cannot learn what God wants them
to do in order to be saved from sin. God's plan of salvation can be learned
by studying most English translations.

     There are a number of reasons why people choose particular translations
as their primary Bibles.  Some choose modified-literal translations because
they are close to the original texts in form. Most modified-literal Bibles are
not idiomatic in their approach to the translation process. Modified-literal
Bibles are good for study purposes, but they  are  not  good  for extended
periods of  reading. Most of them tend to be awkward in style, archaic in
phraseology, and cumbersome in sentence structure. The American 
Standard Version is a perfect example of each of the foregoing elements.
It is very faithful to the Hebrew and Greek form, but it is not good, idiomatic,
readable English in many places. Notice the ASV's rendering of Luke 9:17,
"And they ate, and were all filled: and there was taken up that which remained
over to them of broken pieces, twelve baskets." The ASV is nearly word for
word and true to the form (word order of the Greek text). But, it is not good
readable English. It is called biblish, that is, artificial translation English in a
form never spoken as a common dialect. The NIV 2011 translates the same
passage in this way, "They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked
up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over." Faithful to the text,
precise, and expressed in clear modern English.

     A fellow preacher objected to the NIV on the following basis, "It's
too easily understood. It doesn't sound like the Bible ought to sound.
Furthermore, a Bible like that will make my work as an expositor
unnecessary." His objection to the NIV is an illogical objection. It
makes no sense. God wants his word translated in a way that people
can understand it! According to the preacher, God's word should be
extremely difficult, archaic, and unnatural. (Eph. 3:3-4) He also fails to
understand that there will always be a place for the expositor of the word.
His role is to explain the text in harmony with the immediate and remote
contexts; to define key words; and to make application to his life and to
the lives of others.

     If one objects to the NIV and other translations, let it be on the basis
that they do not accurately convey the meaning of the original texts of
scripture. The Hebrew and Greek texts are the standard, not someone's
personal likes and dislikes.No matter whose they are, illogical objections
will remain illogical objections!

Copyright 2011 



Tuesday, March 15, 2011


     Zondervan Bible Publishers of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in conjunction with
Biblica US, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co. has released an update of the New
International Version, Copyright 1973,1978, 1984, 2011. Their intent is to bring
the NIV in line with current scholarship, and to update the text so that gender
accuracy is reflected  in both the Old and New Testaments. The new revision is
generally referred to as the NIV-2011. Most people who purchase it will think
of it as a revised NIV.

     Today's New International Version (TNIV), Copyright 2001,2005, was a
"failed" attempt to accomplish the same goal. It was rejected by many who style
themselves as evangelicals. Some evangelicals judged the TNIV as being loose
primarily because it made an an attempt to be "gender accurate." There are many
places in the Old and New Testaments where the biblical writers include both
males and females, but such is often obscured when gender specific words such
as "he," "man," "men," and  "brother/brothers" are used in English translation.
When both males and females are included in the words used by the writers of
scripture, the meaning is "person," "people," "human being," "mankind," and
"brothers and sisters." Inasmuch as the TNIV didn't read like their NIV, many
people rejected it even though it has many virtues that commend it as a good
reading Bible and it is good for comparison with other translations. 

     The NIV-2011 is an improvement over both the NIV and TNIV. It has
the strengths of both the NIV and TNIV, and it corrects many of the exegetical
weaknesses of both. It is not perfect but it is imminently useful! It is not among
the modified-literal texts such as the ASV, RSV, NASB, NRSV, and ESV.
The NIV-2011, like the NIV and TNIV stands among the idiomatic translations
that strive to translate using terminology that is current. Their translators looked
in the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts and said, "We know what the Hebrew
and Greek say; how do we say the same thing in English?" They are meaning
based versions. Many people criticize meaning based translations, but the fact
is, every single English version is meaning based to a large extent! Every
informed translator determines the meaning of the words or phrases he is
translating, then he transfers the meaning by selecting the word or phrase in
the receptor language that means the same as the original word or phrase.

     We will now mention a few notable instances in which the NIV-2011 excels
over the "original" NIV. In Acts 2:27, the NIV reads, "...you will not abandon
me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay." The revision says,
"...you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy
one see decay."  In John 1:18, the NIV says the Son is "at the Father's side."
The revision says the Son "is in closest relationship with the Father." This
beautifully and accurately conveys the meaning of the idiom "in the bosom of" in
the Greek text. The NIV received a lot of criticism for translating the Greek
word sarx as "sinful nature" in the letters of Paul. Most of the places have been
"corrected" and the revision generally reads "flesh." When Paul used sarx he
was not literally referring to the material composition of the body, but to a sinful
state or condition. (cf. Rom. 8:3; Eph. 2:3, etc.) In 1 Cor. 7:1 the NIV says, "It
is good for a man not to marry." The revision says "It is good for a man not to 
have sexual relations with a woman." The revision has corrected the alleged
contradiction that many have seen between Mat. 5:17 and Eph. 2:15 in the NIV.
The NIV uses "abolish" in both texts. The revision keeps "abolish" in Mat. 5:17,
but says, "setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands" in Eph. 2:15.

     The NIV 2011 is not perfect, but it is a very useful version. It, like all other
versions should be used with discretion, and may we never forget that accuracy
is not determined by comparing one translation to another translation, but the
standard by which accuracy is measured is the original text.

Copyright 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Daly's N.T. Translation: The Second Letter of Peter


     Second Peter

   1:1 Simeon Peter, a slave and apostle of 

Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained 
an equally precious faith as ours through 
the righteousness of our God and Savior 
Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be yours 
in abundance in the knowledge of God and 
of Jesus our Lord.
   3 His divine power has given us everything 
needed for life and godliness, through the 
knowledge of him who called us by his own 
glory and goodness; 4 through which he has 
given to us his precious and very great 
promises; so that through these you may 
become sharers of the divine nature, having  
escaped from the corruption that is in the 
world because of lust. 5 Also for this very 
reason you must put forth every effort to 
supplement the faith you have with 
excellence, and the excellence with  
knowledge, 6 and the knowledge with 
self-control, and the self-control with 
endurance, and the endurance with 
godliness, 7 and the godliness with  
brotherly affection and the brotherly 
affection with love. 8 For if these things 
are in you and increasing, they keep you 
from being unproductive or unfruitful in 
the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
9 For the person who lacks these things is 
nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten  
the cleansing of his past sins. 10 Therefore, 
instead of being like that, brothers and 
sisters, you must make every effort to 
confirm your calling and election: for if you 
do these things, you will never stumble. 
11 For in this way, the entrance into the 
eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior 
Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.
   12 Therefore, I intend to always remind 

you about these things, though you know 
them, and have been established in the 
present truth. 13 And I think it right, as 
long as I am in this body, to stir up your 
memory, 14 knowing that the putting off 
of my body will soon come, even as our 
Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 So, 
I will make every effort so that after my 
departure you may be able to recall these 
   16 For we did not follow cleverly devised
myths when we made known to you the 

power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 
17 For he received honor and glory from 
God the Father, when a voice conveyed to 
him by the Majestic Glory, said, "This is my 
Son, my Beloved, with whom I am  
well-pleased:" 18 and we ourselves heard 
this voice from heaven, while we were with 
him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have 
the prophetic word more fully confirmed; to 
which you do well to pay attention, as to a 
lamp shining in a dark place, until the day 
dawns and the morning star rises in your 
hearts: 20 knowing this first, that no  
prophecy of scripture was produced by 
one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy 
ever came by the human will, but men spoke 
from God, being carried along by the Holy 

   2:1 But there were also false prophets 

among the people, as among you also there 
will be false teachers, who will secretly bring 
in destructive opinions, even denying the 
Master who has bought them, bringing swift 
destruction on themselves. 2 And many will 
follow their morally corrupt ways; because of 
whom the way of truth will be maligned.
3 And by covetousness they will exploit you 

with fabricated words, but for them the 
sentence pronounced long ago is waiting; it 
is not idle and their destruction is not asleep.
   4 For if God did not spare angels when 

they sinned, but sent them to tartaros, and 
committed them to chains of deepest gloom, 
to be kept for judgment; 5 and he did not 
spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah 
the eighth one, a preacher of righteousness, 
when he brought a flood on the world of the 
ungodly; 6 and having reduced the cities of 
Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, judged them 
by complete devastation, making them an 
example of what awaits the ungodly; 7 and 
delivered righteous Lot, being distressed by 
the morally corrupt conduct of the lawless  
8 (for that righteous man dwelling among 
them, by seeing and hearing, his righteous 
soul was being tormented from day to day 
concerning their lawless deeds): 9 the Lord 
knows how to rescue the godly from trial, 
and to keep the unrighteous under 
punishment until the day of judgment; 
10 and especially those who indulge the 
flesh in desires that defile, and despising  
authority. Daring, self-willed, not afraid to 
 blaspheme glorious ones: 11 whereas 
angels, though greater in might and 
power, do not bring a slanderous judgment 
against them before the Lord. 12 But these 
people, as irrational creatures, were born 
animals of mere instinct, to be taken and 
destroyed, blaspheming in matters which  
they are ignorant of. Indeed, in their 
destruction they will be destroyed, 
13 suffering wrong as payment for 
wrong-doing; considering indulging in the 
day time a pleasure. They are spots and  
blemishes, indulging in their deceits while 
they are feasting with you; 14 their eyes 
are always looking for an adulterous 
woman, and who are never satisfied 
without sin; enticing unstable souls; having 
a heart that has been trained in greed.  
Accursed children! 15 forsaking a straight 
way, they went astray, having followed the 
way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved 
the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he 
was rebuked for his own transgression: a 
speechless donkey spoke with a human voice 
and restrained the madness of the prophet.
   17 These are waterless springs, and mists 

being driven by a storm; for whom the most 
gloomy darkness has been reserved. 18 For, 
speaking pompous dictums, they entice by 
the lusts of the flesh, and by moral corruption 
they are enticing those who are just escaping 
from those who live in error; 19 promising 
them freedom, while they themselves are 
slaves to corruption; for by whom anyone has  
been overcome, to this one he has been 
enslaved. 20 For if, having escaped the 
defilements of the world through the 
knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus 
Christ, they are again entangled by them 
and overcome, the last state has become  
worse with them than the first. 21 For it
was better for them not to have known the 
way of righteousness, than having known 
it, to turn from the holy commandment 
delivered to them. 22 It has happened to 
them according to the true proverb, "A dog 
returns to its own vomit, and a sow that 
has been washed to wallowing in mud."

   3:1 This is now, beloved, the second letter 

that I am writing to you; I am trying to stir 
up your sincere mind by way of reminder; 
2 that you may remember the words that 
have been previously spoken by the holy 
prophets, and the commandment of the Lord 
and Savior through your apostles: 3 knowing 
this first, that in the last days mockers will 
come mocking, living according to their own  
lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of 
his coming? For, from the time the ancestors  
fell asleep, all things are continuing as they 
were from the beginning of creation. 5 For 
they deliberately forget, that by the word of 
God, heavens existed long ago, and an earth 
having been formed out of water and through 
water, 6 through which the world existing 
at that time, perished being deluged with 
water: 7 but the present heavens and the 
earth, by the same word have been stored up,  
being kept for fire, for a day of judgment and  
destruction of the ungodly people.
   8 But do not forget this one thing, beloved,
that one day with the Lord is as a thousand 

years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The 
Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as 
some think of slowness; but is patient toward 
you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come 
to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will 
come like a thief; in which the heavens will 
pass away with a sudden roar, and the 
elements burning up will be dissolved, and 
the earth and the deeds that are done on it 
will be laid bare. 11 Since all these things 
will be dissolved in this manner, what sort 
of persons ought you to be in holy conduct 
and godliness, 12 waiting for and earnestly 
desiring the coming day of God, because of 
which the heavens being set on fire will be 
dissolved, and the elements burning up  will 
melt? 13 But, according to his promise, we 
are looking for new heavens and new earth 
in which righteousness dwells.
   14 Therefore, beloved, waiting for these 

things, make every effort to be found by 
him in peace, spotless and unblemished. 
15 And regard the patience of our Lord as 
salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul 
also wrote to you according to the wisdom 
given to him, 16 as also in all his letters, 
speaking in them concerning these things;
in which are some things hard to be 

understood, which the ignorant and unstable 
distort as they do also the other scriptures, 
to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, you 
beloved, knowing these things in advance, 
must continue guarding yourselves, lest 
being carried away with the error of the 
lawless, you fall from your own stability. 
18 But continue growing in the grace and 
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus  
Christ. To him be the glory both now and to 
the day of eternity. Let it be so. 
Copyright 2007, Ron Daly, All Rights Reserved