Need help with Greek

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Pastor_Bob, May 27, 2007.

  1. Pastor_Bob

    Pastor_Bob
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    I am reading a book on hermeneutics that lists this passage as proof that translations contain inaccuracies. The author states that the text should not read as if the heavenly beings were praising God for salvation because the angelic beings are not included in the redemption provided by Christ.

    Revelation 5:8-10 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (KJV)

    From what I can determine, with my limited knowledge of the Greek, is that the TR reads very much as the KJV in this passage:

    Revelation 5:9 And <kai> they sung <ado> a new <kainos> song <ode>, saying <lego>, Thou art <ei> worthy <axios> to take <lambano> the book <biblion>, and <kai> to open <anoigo> the seals <sphragis> thereof <autos>: for <hoti> thou wast slain <sphazo>, and <kai> hast redeemed <agorazo> us <hemas> to God <theos> by <en> thy <sou> blood <haima> out of <ek> every <pas> kindred <phule>, and <kai> tongue <glossa>, and <kai> people <laos>, and <kai> nation <ethnos>; (KJV w/Strongs)

    The Textus Receptus reads:
    The Westcott/Hort text reads:
    As you can see, the TR adds an additional word to the verse.

    The ASV reads:
    Can someone give me a literal translation of the W/H text for this verse?
     
  2. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    How about from the NA? There's no variant between the two in verse 9, but there is in 10.

    And they are singing a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to be taking the scroll and to open its *seals, thatFor Thou wast slain and dost buy us for *God inby Thy *blood. Out of every tribe and language and people and nation.

    If you want a pdf of the verse in Greek with grammar, lemma, transliteration, etc., right click and save: Revelation 5:8-10

    BTW, are you certain that they haven't been offered the opportunity of being redeemed?
     
  3. John of Japan

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    Hi, Pastor Bob.

    As I read it, either Greek text has the same ambiguity, based on the 3rd person plural verb, "They sing," which is the same in either text. The ones praising could be either the creatures, the elders, or both. In a case like this where the original is ambiguous, I believe in leaving it ambiguous in the translation, therefore making the reader interpret instead of the translator.

    God bless.

    John
     
  4. Deacon

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    Fyi

    You loose the tense of the Greek when translating from Strong’s
    The Westcott/Hort and the NA27 are the same in Rev 5:9 and are quite similar to the verses' first witness, P115 (dated mid to late third century) [the only difference being the abbreviated name of God] and 3 missing words at the end where the manuscript deteriorated.
    The TR varies from the Westscott/Hort text only slightly as you note.

    Here's a direct translation in the same format you posted (via the wonders of computer Bible study).

    καὶ <and> ᾄδουσιν <they sing> ᾠδὴν <song> καινὴν <new> λέγοντες <saying>
    ἄξιος <worthy> εἶ <are you> λαβεῖν <to take> τὸ <the> βιβλίον <small book> καὶ <and> ἀνοῖξαι <to open> τὰς <the> σφραγῖδας <seals> αὐτοῦ, <of it,>
    ὅτι <because> ἐσφάγης <you were slaughtered> καὶ <and> ἠγόρασας <bought> τῷ <by the> θεῷ <God> ἐν <in> τῷ <the> αἵματί <blood> σου <of you>
    ἐκ <from> πάσης <all> φυλῆς <tribe> καὶ <and> γλώσσης <tongue> καὶ <and> λαοῦ <people> καὶ <and> ἔθνους <nation>
    (NA text with McReynolds English Interlinear)

    Rob
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know, never mind the Greek. Just looking at the rest of that verse says to me that you should interpret the subject of "They sang" as being the elders, because of the phrase "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." You might somehow apply "kindred" and "tongue" to angels, saying that there are different groups of angels in the Bible: cherabim, archangels, etc. (even that is doubtful), but there are clearly no people groups (Gr. laos) or nations (Gr. ethnos) of angels in the Bible. :type:
     
  6. Pipedude

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    JoJ's reply draws attention to the obvious.

    Although I believe that a pastor needs as much Greek as he's able to get (within reason), I find that it is usually relied upon to give information that isn't legitimate. As I mentioned here some time ago, I once watched R. B. Thieme Live And In Person exegete clear through a passage and totally miss the point, which would have been evident to any careful reader of the English.

    Long ago I heard a rule of Greek grammar that was supposed to be undeniable. On the basis of that rule, a certain verse was made to prove a certain position regarding eschatology, even though I could see plainly in English that the verse wouldn't make sense in context when read that way. Nevertheless, I duly repeated what I'd been told. Recently I heard a seminarian say that computer grammatology programs had declared that old rule incorrect.

    I had a bright young man come up to me one Sunday and ask about a difficult statement in the gospels. "What does it say in the Greek?" Somewhere he'd gotten the impression that English was insufficient to communicate ideas and "the Greek" would make a hard saying understandable. Of course, "the Greek" said the same thing as "the English."

    I've even seen cases where there was a little Greek word in the text that just needed to be left untranslated (as good English translations had done). The verse made perfectly good sense without it and it fit the context with no problem. But some zealous preachers will see that word, lock onto it, and preach some fabulous extravagance unknown to Christian theology for the first two thousand years.

    And then there's the case where a certain Greek tense is used to disprove Catholic theology on some point. Nobody tells the student that that particular construction is a figure of speech and, interpreted correctly, actually strengthens the Catholic argument (which has to be overthrown using theology, rather than mere grammar).

    I'm no KJVO and I'm not really a KJVP, but I felt a lot of resonance with Bro. Roloff on the day when I saw him narrow his eyebrows and say "And you don't need to rewrite it, neither. You just need to re-read it!"
     
  7. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    One thing that I've discovered is that written Catholic theology is quite sound. If you go back far enough.

    But, I think that all Christians could claim those same church fathers and not just the Catholics.

    As far as the Greek, if more pastors taught from the original languages, there would be fewer denominations. I don't think they would go away completely, but I think they would be a fraction. (Of course, I, and many others, would have to teach from the LXX in the OT...) Teaching "huiosthesia" (son-placement) certainly clarifies "adoption", and shows that it is position within the family and not placement into the family. Of course, this lines up with 17th centure English, but although the English word has changed meanings, we still use it, and try to place a meaning on the passage that it won't support. Teaching from the Greek, even if just to clarify the passage in English, clears up this.

    As far as words that translators left out: Wonder why God put it there in the first place since it wasn't needed? Too bad he didn't know that.

    As to the words the KJV adds, I want to know which ones they are, even though it's my preferred translation.
     
  8. Pipedude

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    I refer to apologetics today
    Even the English defines adoption as "the redemption of the body." Denominations don't form over mistranslations of Greek. They all have Greek scholars.
    As a Greek scholar, you already know the answer to that.
     
  9. gb93433

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    Language is always tied to a culture. If one does not understand the culture and historical background of the language of the time then the words are meaningless in a sentence.

    If one read the sentence, "The bats were sure flying" could be taken to mean som3eone was in a baseball park watching the players hit home rtuns. Some one could be in a baseball park watching someone watching bats being broken. Someone could be in a baseball park watching fying animals. Someone could be under a bridge watching animals fly. Context will most likely solve the problem not just the meaning of a word.

    If I were reading a book and I read "Joe is gay" I might want to take a look at the date the book was written and certainkly the time period it covered.

    Too many peope think if they just get out their study Bible and a dictionary then they have al of the answers. There seems to be a consistent pattern that when a preacher constantly refers to the Greek he is just telling the congregation how little he knows Greek.
     
  10. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Particularly idioms and figures of speech.

    Try to tell someone from Thailand "I'm tickled to death to see you!"

    We need to make sure we don't put English figures of speech where they don't belong.

    By the same token, when translating, you have to deal with them from both the Greek language and the Hebrew culture.
     
  11. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Oh, I knew what you were referring to. I was just adding an aside that I've really come to realize very strongly recently. You can look at a lot of Catholic literature from waaaaay back, and it is very sound and very fundamental. There are even some strains of it (that are called derogatory names by the RCC) that today are pretty sound.

    I will refer back to this tomorrow after my surgery, since it will take some time (as long as I'm not out of it), but if you're talking about Romans 8:23 (which I assume you are), but let me ask you one question:

    Is there a single reference in the OT types in which redemption is anything but a family matter that only takes place with those who are already in the family?

    There's one denomination that I was reading about recently that, although small (about a dozen or so churches when the article was written; I haven't even had the article in my possession for two or three years), were based entirely upon the difference between the "Holy Spirit" and the "Holy Ghost".

    Now, I know that's an extreme example, but for one that a bit more widespread, although not a denomination, look at Calvinism and Arminianism. They both use the same Bible. Yet, I know very few Greek scholars personally (and this is entirely anecdotal) who are either. The ones I know see good in both and grave errors in both.

    Well, I don't know which one you're referring to specifically. But, I think there's a reason that the italics in the KJV are a good thing.

    There are also cases, such as the story of Abraham and Abimelech in which the Hebrew and the LXX use their names seven times. I think it's important because they are at the well of oaths, and to take an oath is to "seven" yourself, and seven is the number of completeness or perfection. (This is the Reader's Digest condensed version, BTW.)

    But, following English conventions, some translations (including the KJV and the NIV) use personal pronouns. It doesn't change the story, but I think it impacts the spiritual implications, and it falls into the category that that's the way he wrote, that's the way we should convey it.

    As a point of interest, there's also a definite article in the book of the Revelation that doesn't go with anything. It's just there. And, it's in most manuscripts. (That's just something that I filed away as a curiosity; I'll try to find it again some other time, but I'm not really inclined to spend a lot of time on it.)

    Edited to add: I think this is one reason that a literal translation is important, but a word for word translation is impossible. And, by "literal", idioms should be translated as idioms, but with a marginal note explaining it so that when future generations read it and the English language has evolved further that it can still be understood the way it was intended. And, questionable idioms should give both possibilities, with cross references.
     
    #11 Hope of Glory, May 29, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2007

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