Acts 26:28-29

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by InTheLight, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. InTheLight

    InTheLight
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    Ran across this differing translation while reading Acts yesterday. My study bible (KJV, Pilgrim Edition) says the translation "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" was poorly translated and it should read "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to become a Christian?”

    Here's how a couple translations handle these verses:
    ----------
    KJV
    28Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

    29And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
    ----------

    NIV
    28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

    29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
    -------------

    NASB
    28 Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”
    ------------

    ESV
    28And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?" 29And Paul said, "Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains."
    ----------

    Which version is correct, and why?

    I notice the complete lack of the words/phrase 'short time or long time' in the KJV, yet it is in the other versions. Also noted that the NASB does not have Agrippa's response in the form of a question.
     
  2. Rippon

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    As per Philip W.Comfort's book -- "the expression does not mean 'almost',it means 'in a short time.' This is affirmed by Paul's response in the next verse :'Whether short or long,I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am --except for these chains.' This indicates that Paul picked up on the same Greek term with the same meaning." (p.427)

    The KJV rendering is not accurate.
     
  3. Deacon

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    Metzger writes: "The difficulty of capturing the nuances intended in this verse is notorious..."

    [ A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed p 439.]

    Rob
     
  4. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    This is a very interesting question, and it shows how difficult translation from one language to another can be.

    First of all, as an aside, the NIV is all over the place. 'Do you think' is an interpolation; it doesn't exist in the Greek. Secondly, Paul doesn't say, "I pray to God." He says, in effect, "I might pray to God," ie. if it were proper and might not offend, I would do so.

    There is one small difference in the texts. The Critical text has poiesai, 'to be made;' the majority Text and T.R. have genesthai, 'to become.' The only two Church Fathers to quote the text, Gyril of Jerusalem and Chrsostom, use genesthai. The difference in meaning is marginal.


    The difference between the translations comes from the phrase, en oligo, literally, 'in a little.' The KJV translation comes from the Geneva Bible. It supposes the phrase to mean 'but for a little.' The problem is that the phrase en megalo never means altogether, so this rendering is probably wrong.
    However, to make en oligo refer to time, as many of the translations do, is almost certainly wrong because it requires the verb peitheis, 'you persuade' to refer to the future when it is in the present tense. Also, en megalo never means elsewhere 'in a long time.'

    So what's the correct translation? J. A. Alexander, in his commentary on Acts, suggests that Tyndale's translation has it right, and that in oligo means 'somewhat' or 'to a small degree.'

    So the verses might read: 'And Agrippa said to Paul, "To some degree you persuade me to become a Christian.'" Paul replied, "I would to God that both to a small degree and to a large, not only you but all who hear me might become altogether as I am except for these chains."'

    I'd be interested to know what John of Japan and other Greek experts think of this. I'm only a poor amateur.

    Steve
     
    #4 Martin Marprelate, Nov 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2011
  5. JesusFan

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    think that what was being addressed here was that the response back to paul was in a satirical/mocking voice, asking if paul honestly thought that he could teach him on jesus in such a quick time and see him get saved, but the Apostle was redirecting it back as regardless, God will was that all who heard about jesus there would turn to him for salvation....
     
  6. JesusFan

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    Just curious, as to why you always seem to go "out of the way" to almost ridicule the NIV 2011 version?

    Its not perfect, but is a ggod rendering in understandable way what God intended for us to have ?
     
  7. Martin Marprelate

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    I only ever quote from the 1984 version. I don't possess a 2011 and have no intention of doing so.

    I would like to encourage Christians to use more accurate Bible versions. I believe it would help them grow in the faith. As I've said elsewhere, the NIV is by no means the worst Bible on the market, but I don't believe it's ideal.

    Steve
     
  8. JesusFan

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    Agree with you there, as I perfer the ole NASV as my primary study version!
     
  9. Rippon

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    Your loss Steve.

    How do you define the word accurate?

    Plenty of folks in the last 30-odd years have benefited spiritually from various editions of the NIV family --including Spanish.

    Daniel Wallace wrote several articles about the 2011 NIV. In part 2,written on July 21st,2011 he made some interesting remarks.

    "What I need to do here is correct the frequent perception that literal = accurate,and not so-literal = inaccurate."

    "...a formally equivalent,or 'literal,' translation of the Bible will inevitably be uneven and inaccurate."

    "...a faithful translation to the meaning of the original does not have to be faithful to the form of the original."

    "...the best translation is one that is faithful to the meaning of the original text. That does not always,nor even usually,mean a literal translation."

    "The primary focus of the NIV 2011 is an accurate translation...and one has to admit that they have accomplished this objective admirably...overall the translation is extremely well done."

    "The scholarship behind the NIV 2011 is probably as good as it gets. And the textual basis is both bold and exceptionally accurate."

    "All in all,this is a fine translation...everyone associated with the NIV is unswervingly committed to the Bible as the word of God written. Their joyous wonder at the beauty and majesty of the scriptures comes through loud and clear in this superb version."
     
  10. JesusFan

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    Would say that IF one was to use JUST Nasv/Niv 2011, would have 'best of both worlds", at least among English versions!
     
  11. convicted1

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    Versions, smersions. All of this boils down to personal preference. If you enjoy the NIV 2011, by all means study from it. If you like the NLT, KJV, NASB, HCSB, ESV, CEV, NKJV, etc., study from the one that you get the most understanding from.


    Here's a little secret; it doesn't matter which translation you use if God doesn't enlighten you to understand what is being conveyed in His Word. Study with what you like, and all will be good.

    Bashing other translations brings heat, and not light.
     
  12. Martin Marprelate

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    Well, we can all find an expert who will tell us what we want to hear.
    Mine is Robert Martin who wrote Accuracy of Translation & the New International Version (Banner of Truth. ISBN 0 85151 546 0). He was writing about the 1984 version, but I'm sure he'd be even less happy about the 2011 because of its gender-inclusiveness.

    'If we define accuracy of translation in terms of dynamic equivalence principles, virtually any rendering may be judged accurate; unless, of course, the concensus of opinion is that the translator has missed the 'idea' of the original author. If the translator divides complex sentences, adds or omits words, eliminates technical terms, makes the text modern culturally, injects his interpretive opinions, or engages in outright paraphrase, it is of no great concern. A long as he gives his readers the general ideas of the original text, he is not guilty of innacuracy in translation. By such a standard, of course, the NIV is an accurate translation. But if we define accuracy in terms of formal equivalence principles; that is, in terms of close correspondence to the structure and wording of the original texts, the the NIV must be judged innacurate on a number of counts, as the preceding chapters demonstrate.

    'Which stanard of accuracy should we use? I am convinced that we must view accuracy in terms of formal equivalence. I cannot conclude otherwise with a clear conscience. Since the inspiration of the Bible is both verbal and plenary (i.e., since inspiration extends to the very words of Scripture and equally to all the words of Scripture), and not just dynamic (i.e., the error that inspiration has only to do with the 'ideas' or 'thoughts' of the Bible), then the accuracy of translation must be judged by principles which reflect a recognition of this most fundamental truth concerning the nature of the Scriptures. But is the dynamic equivalence philosophy of translation ultimately consistent with such a recognition? I do not believe that it is.

    'In the dynamic equivalence method of translation, the individual word is not the primary unit in translation. But if the individual word is not the primary unit in translation, then it is difficult to defend the premise that the individual word should be regarded as the primary unit in inspiration either. Indeed.....what preactical significance would a doctrine of the verbal-plenary inspiration of the originals have for the Bible reader who could not read the Greek and Hebrew texts?

    '......The NIV is not worthy of becoming the standard version of the English-speaking world. Its accuracy is suspect in too many ways.......We must beware of the long-term costs of supposed short-term gains. The idea in some places seems to be that more people will read their Bibles if they have one of the simpler dynamic translations. This may or may not be so; I do not know. I suspect that spiritually-minded folk have always read their Bibles and studied diligently those parts 'hard to be understood' (2Peter 3:16). I do know, however, that sacrificing precision for simplicity is no bargain. Inaccurate and paraphrastic ranslations cannot but contribute to the further erosion of theological precision in the decades to come.'


    Steve
     
  13. Martin Marprelate

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    Using an inferior translation and presuming on God to enlighten you in spite of it is akin to testing Him (Matt 4:7).
    Heat perhaps; hopefully light as well, if folk are prepared to listen.

    Steve
     
  14. Van

    Van
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    Reply to In the Light,

    Sometimes the various translations present scattered results, because of variants or "difficult" Greek.

    Here is how HCSB renders it: 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?"

    29 "I wish before God," replied Paul, "that whether easily or with difficulty, not only you but all who listen to me today might become as I am—except for these chains."

    And here is the NET translation: 26:28 Agrippa said to Paul, “In such a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian?” Paul replied, “I pray to God that whether in a short or a long time not only you but also all those who are listening to me today could become such as I am, except for these chains.

    So if we take it one phrase at a time, "Then Agrippa said to Paul" is correct.

    Some translations omit, then, and others translate it as "And". However the actual Greek word is used to denote change or opposition, i.e. but, so in the prior verse (27) Paul makes a statement but then in verse 28 Agrippa responds.

    Next we get Agrippa's deflection answer, answering a question with a question, "with a little would you persuade me to be a Christian?" The text does not say with a little [time] or [effort.] Many of the translators, trying to be helpful added time and that could be the idea. But the HCSB goes with effort rather than time. Therefore to be conservative, the translation should simply say "with a little" and leave it to the reader or commentary to explain whether time or effort is in view. The inspired text does not tell us.

    Now in verse 29 we start with: But Paul said; with same Greek word denoting change this time being translated in its most usual and concordant form, i.e. But.

    Next I would pray to God that whether with a little or a lot, not only you but all who hear me this day might become as I am, except for these chains.

    The key idea is to pick what is actually in the text over something added to it to be helpful. Not to put too fine a point on it, but first figure out what was said, then figure out what it means.
     
  15. Rippon

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    You're comparing Robert Martin with Daniel Wallace? Wallace is a well-known conservative textual critic. Wallace would certainly be regarded as the expert here --not Martin.

    Martin's book is almost 28 years old. That's rather dated,don't you think?

    I reviewed his criticisms of the NIV in a thread some time ago. I compared his critique of the old NIV vs.the TNIV. Many of his criticisms did not apply.




    Martin has too many errors to comment upon. But he makes a primary mistake when he insists that an accurate translation must use the formal equivalence model.

    Dividing complex sentences of the original into smaller chunks in modern versions such as the NIV is not a bad thing --it is a necessary thing.

    I'll forgo listing his other errors in that paragraph.


    The 2011 NIV is not in the dynamic-equivalent realm. But individual words are not the important thing as much as phrases and sentences. Martin Luther, and John Purvey thought so as well.

    Steve,I have to tell ya' --the NIV has been the standard translation of the English-speaking world for nigh unto 34 years or so.Robert Martin was way off in his judgment calls.

     
  16. Rippon

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    Steve,you are stepping way out yonder on that note. I consider the NKJV inferior to a number of modern English versions --but I would not dare say that is akin to testing the Lord. You show plenty of zeal but...

    You're displaying too much of the former and too little of the latter Steve.
     
  17. Van

    Van
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    Hi Martin, see how your careful and accurate presentation of truth is being treated? If we create a scale with accurate translation meaning providing the closest concordance with the original intended meaning, we have interlinears on the far left and paraphrases on the far right. The NIV is further right than the ESV. The ESV further right than the HCSB. The HCSB further right than the NASB 95, The NASB 95 further right than the NASB 77.
     
  18. Rippon

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    Steve is a friend. But I have to correct wrong information with facts.

    That would not be the accepted meaning of what defines accuracy.

    Marginally so.

    Marginally so.

    Marginally so.

    [/quote]

    That's debatable. Since accuracy involves more than what you have described -- the 95 version ends up really being more accurate because it is more understandable than the 77 edition.
     
  19. JesusFan

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    That's debatable. Since accuracy involves more than what you have described -- the 95 version ends up really being more accurate because it is more understandable than the 77 edition.[/QUOTE]

    Would say the 1977 version "better" IF measured by being more consistent to greek verbage and the "way" Greek text was written, as realting to sentence structure, BUT makes it more "wooden/ackward" at times, so functionally speaking unless one geeks at studying from greek text, 1995 revision easier to follow and understand!

    1901 ASV/1977 NASV best to me for serious studies of especially the NT from english bible, but unless one can actually read it with understanding, better to grab the revision!
     

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