1 Corinthians 14:29

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Martin Marprelate, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    1 Corinthians 14:29, NKJV. ‘Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.’

    1 Corinthians 14:29, NIV. ‘Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.’

    On another thread, I mentioned that the NIV not only leaves out many verses contained in the NIV and NKJV, but it also adds some. Here in 1Cor 14:29, the words ‘what is said’ do not appear in any Greek manuscript whatsoever. They have been added by the translators as a sort of ‘interpretative gloss’ to try to clarify the meaning.

    But do they? What is being judged or ‘weighed’ here? The NIV allows only one answer. A prophet stands up in the assembly and says, “This is what the Lord has said to me today.” Then the others pitch inn and one says, “Well, brother, I don’t think that came from the Lord, because He told me something quite different.” And another says, “Well I think part of it may be right, but I think the second part contradicts something that was said last week.” Then the first one says, Are you calling me a liar?” And it all ends with a punch-up. Given that most of us (?) believe that Prophecy in the sense of telling the future is no longer extant (1Cor 13:8 Eph 2:20), nonetheless, does this scenario conform to Paul’s instruction that everything should be done ‘for edification’ and that all things should be done ‘decently and in order’ (v40)?

    But there is another possible scenario which the NIV, by its added words, does not allow for. It is of the prophets in Corinth coming together before the meeting and telling each other what the Lord has been telling them during the preceding week. Then they confer together and ‘judge’ or ‘weigh’ which 'two or three' messages are the most important ones for the congregation to hear. Finally they decide that the messages of, say, Gaius, Junius and Lucius are really important and need to be relayed to the church without delay, while those of Tertius, Julius and Rufus, though just as much the word of God, are less vital and can wait until the meeting the following week. That seems to me to be much more in line with the Apostle’s instructions.

    This has a practical application. My church has had a couple recently start attending who have come out of an ultra-charismatic, ‘Word-Faith’ assembly. The husband has been reading Pagan Christianity by Viola & Barna and has come to the conclusion that church meetings should be free-for-alls where anyone can come and give a word and anybody else can ‘judge’ it “as it is in 1Cor 14.” I have to go and see this guy next week and tell to him that this isn’t going to happen and explain to him why not.
    I don’t want this thread to become an argument about church practices in Corinth. Another thread can be opened to do that. I only want to show the NIV translation prevents anyone from coming to an understanding of the text which is at least a valid one, and IMO, the correct one.

    Rippon pointed out correctly that the NKJV and KJV also add words: indeed it’s sometimes essential to make the translation intelligible, but these translations put added words in italics so that the reader can see that they’re not part of the text. In the NIV, ESV and others, it is impossible to tell unless one has a knowledge of the original languages.

    The same problem also arises in 1John 2:2.

    Steve
     
  2. TC

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    1 Corinthians 14:29

    New Living Translation (NLT)

    29 Let two or three people prophesy, and let the others evaluate what is said.



    1 Corinthians 14:29

    English Standard Version (ESV)

    29Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

    1 Corinthians 14:29

    Amplified Bible (AMP)

    29So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach or teach], while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said.

    Other versions read like the NIV here. This is one of the reasons I am gravitating more to the more literal Bibles like the NASB and KJV/NKJV lately.
     
  3. TC

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    In thinking about this for a bit and looking at the context, this scenario does not seem very possible to me. The context of the passage is about order in the service. Paul talks just before about what happens if an unbeliever (outsider) comes in and sees certain things going on. After his statement on the prophets, he goes on to talk about women keeping silent in the Churches and asking for clarification from their husbands at home and not interrupting the service. So, I think it is unlikely that Paul jumps from addressing what goes on during the meeting to what happens before the meeting and then back to what happens during the meeting.

    While it would be great if all Bible translations italicized added words (or somehow noted the literal rendering), it is not as an egregious error as it is made out to be. It is what the prophet speaks that is to be judged. Let's not forget that the Bereans were commended for searching the scriptures daily to see if what they were told was true.
     
  4. Rippon

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    And as I have repeatedly pointed out -- it would be an optical nightmare to italicize as often in the text as you think proper. The NKJV and KJV don't do it nearly enough to be perfectly consistent. The original KJV did not have half as many italicized words as now. What about words from the original languages that were left untranslated? It is just not realistic. No translation of the Word of God can perfectly match-up with the original text of Scripture. To give readers the idea that only the italicized words are not the pure,unadulterated Word of God is giving readers a false impression.

    Folks can consult a Bible commentary or any number of other Bible study helps now available to them to dig into a given passage.
     
  5. Rippon

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    You say the NIV leaves out many verses --and I say it leaves intact the words of the original. The KJV and NKJV indeed have added a slew of words not found in the original.

    But again,lest a false impression is left by some,most modern Bibles in English and other languages follow the same textual principles as the NIV. The NIV is not out there alone in its textual decisions.The ESV,HCSB,NASB and many others do the very same thing. It's important to say this --because it's factual.
     
  6. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    True , but so what? Because a thing cannot be done perfectly, does that mean that it is OK to do it badly or not at all? Because I cannot be sure of driving perfectly, does that mean it's OK to drive through every red traffic light I see? Because I cannot guarantee literary pefection in my postings here, does that mean it's permissable to forget all about spelling, punctuation, grammar etc.? I think not. The KJV, NJKV and NASB perform a very valuable function in alerting us to added words in their translations.
    Yes, but how many ordinary Bible-readers have ready access to these things?
    First of all, my copy of the NASB uses italics. The reason these other Bibles do not italicize added words is because they can't. Their dynamic equivalence makes it impossible to do. The more I look at the ESV, the less I like it. It is scarcely better than the NIV in its 'dynamic' approach. In the unlikely event of Rippon persuading me to support the Critical Text, I shall undoubtedly plump for the NASB which is SFAIK the only CT translation to use Formal Equivalence.

    Steve
     
  7. Rippon

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    But,as I have tried to put out to you --those versions do not italicize or bracket each and every word and phrase that is a not as close as possible to a direct translation of the original. You are only fooling yourself if you think so.

    The ordinary Western Bible reader has access to the internet with loads of Bible study helps. The ordinary reader of any Bible translation of any language who does not have access to a computer will still have enough information gleaned from their version to understand much of the Word of God. God provides.
     
  8. Rippon

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    SFAIK. I had to look that one up. It means so far as I know. The ESV,NRSV and other versions use what is known as formal equivalence.The NASB is not the only one.
     
  9. franklinmonroe

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    It seems fairly straightforward to me: the unspecified thing being 'judged' would grammatically and logically be the last item mentioned specifically which in this verse is the prophetic 'speaking'.

    It would be ludicrous to think that this could mean that the unnamed 'thing' to be judged could be just anything at random. The reader would be completely without guidance: are the speaker's clothes are to be judged? his hair? his posture? his education? or maybe his chariot to be judged? or his wife? etc.

    The judgment of "what is said" is grammatically and logically implied. Therefore, it is not really a problem to make it explicit in the translation (especially in a dynamic rendering).
     
  10. franklinmonroe

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    The italicizing of 'added' words is of little practical value. Many of the words in italics are little words like "is", "and", "are", "shall", and "even" that don't dramatically affect the meaning: How does it help you to know that an insignificant word like "is" was not from the original language text?

    I can also assure you that there are hundreds more of 'added' words in the KJV that probably should be italicized but are not. If applied consistently, there would so many italics as to be distracting when read.
     
    #10 franklinmonroe, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2011
  11. Rippon

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    A fairly new one is the Lexham English Bible.
     
  12. Rippon

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    Yes indeedy. Just look at the marginal notes of the NASB where it shows the literal,but did not put it in the text.

    In Genesis 3:19 it has "by the sweat of your face" in the text. However, the more literal translation would be:"by the sweat dripping off your nose."

    In 1 Kings 3:9 the literal is "a hearing heart." But the NASB has "an understanding heart"in the text.

    In Matthew 22:16 it has "defer to no one" in the text. But it literally is "you do not look at people's faces" as a translation of the Greek.

    To further prove my point --look at an interlinear. Compare it with the NASB. Observe all the "liberties" the NASB took with the original text! (Said sarcastically)

    You would have a very vexing time indeed attempting to place italics or brackets with all the added words! (Not to mention indicating missing words that are next to impossible to translate --or not that necessary)
     
  13. Martin Marprelate

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    I disagree. If a translation were to say, "Two or three prophets should speak and the others should judge which ones," it would be entirely logical, and more to the point, the casual reader would have no idea that there is an alternative interpretation. That is why aded words should be put in italics.
    .
    It is not for you, or the translators to decide on behalf of the reader what is being judged and then impose your decision upon the reader. That is what the J.W.s do in their translation.
    I disagree. Two or three speak; the others judge which ones it should be. That is entirely logical and grammatical. However, I don't seek toimpose my interpretaion upon you, but you and the NIV want to impose yours upon me.
    Again, I disagree. I find it of great value, to the point that I would not use a Bible for my private study that did not italicize added words and I strongly advise others to do the same. A lot of the time putting 'is or 'and' in italics is not particularly helpful, but sometimes it's useful to know that the 'and' written in my Bible could equally well be 'but.'

    Steve
     
  14. Rippon

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    Why do you constantly single-out the NIV as if it's the only translation that does not use italics or brackets (that much)?

    That's interesting,though it's not a new concept your advancing. I'd like to know if translations in other languages like French and German practice what you advocate?
     
  15. Martin Marprelate

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    Purely because it's one that I know reasonably well. I have an ESV but seldom use it; I don't possess a NLT or HSCB.
    I don't know. I suspect that the more literal ones do, and the others don't.

    Steve
     
  16. Logos1560

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    The 1933 English translation of the Syraic Peshitta by George Lamsa has at this verse:

    Let the prophets speak two or three in turn, and let the others discern what is said.


    The 1946 RSV N. T. has at this verse:
    Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.
     
  17. TC

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    You are certainly free to use the translation that you like best. Nobody is telling you any differently. I will continue to use the one I like best - and right now it is the NIV 1984. IMO - its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.
     
  18. Martin Marprelate

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    Just so, but which aspect of the 'speaking'? Paul has just said that two or three prophets should speak. The natural question is , which ones? And how is it to be decided? By arm-wrestling? The answer is given to us: the prophets themselves decide which ones should speak.

    Your argument here is with the Holy Spirit, not with me. It is He who has written 'Let the others judge' and left it at that. He could have added 'What is said' if He had wanted to do so, but He didn't, and it's not for us to second guess Him. I might add that Christians muddled by perfectly well for centuries without the NIV to force its opinion upon them.
    I absolutely disagree for the reasons I've given above. I believe that it is far more likely that it is the identity of the speakers that is to be judged rather than what they said. That way lies division and discord.
    That is understood, and I don't impugn the motives of the NIV translators. However, the effect is not dissimilar. The unwary reader is thinking that something is in the original when it isn't.
    They are imposing their added words upon their readers because they don't tell thm when they're doing it.

    I was actually converted at a church that used the NIV so I don't say for a moment that it is too flawed to be used. It is a whole lot better than the TEV, CEV, Message etc. There are actually two places I can think of where it has better translations than my favourite NKJV (Phil 2:6; 2Tim 3:16). The perfect translation has not yet been made.

    However, I do say that if anyone wants to grow in Christian knowledge, he would do well to use a Formal Equivalence translation such as the NKJV or NASB.


    Steve
     
  19. Van

    Van
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    I do not think Martin has missed the mark significantly. The translation should translate and not interprete the text. Therefore a highly readable translation that says what the orignianl language says seems desireable. I do not like added words, especially if they alter or interprete what is being said. So when I read my NASB95, I skip all words in italics.

    Contextually the idea is letting one person present their information at a time so confusion is minimized. I too many teachers speak, what was said might be lost, whether what was said was truth or falsehood. Looking at it positively the truth might be lost and the falsehood glossed over. So let the speakers speak and the others evaluate seems to be the idea. Martin points out that by adding what was said, the possible idea of evaluting the prophets as opposed to what was said is hidden.

    There was no need to add to the inspired word.

    It is easy to attack the NIV or ESV in this case. But as others have pointed out, another verse could be cited where the NIV and ESV nail the original message, but the KJV, NKJV and NASB miss the mark.

    So I think any serious bible student must compare the translations and then where they say different things, determine which comes closest to the author's intended message without taking away or adding our ever helpful ideas.
     
  20. Rippon

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    All translators interpret in the process of taking the original language into a modern language. It is not possible not to interpret. The words interpreter and translator are virtually interchangeable. And don't try to tell me that it only applies to secular matters --it goes on in the course of converting the original languages of the sacred text into a modern language.
     

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