NIV vs. ESV, Part 2

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by InTheLight, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. InTheLight

    InTheLight
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    16,216
    Likes Received:
    612
    My church went to the ESV after using the NIV for decades. I carry an NIV (1984) study Bible with me to church so I am able to directly compare the two translations side-by-side. Bible Gateway.com is also handy for these purposes. I find the ESV to be inferior and sometimes downright clumsy compared to the NIV.

    So here is the thread where people may post observations and comments about the differences between the two translations.

    Today's observation is from Ecclesiastes 1

    ESV
    8 All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
    the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.

    NIV
    8 All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
    The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.

    Comment: Obviously a person can say that "all things are weary" so NIV beats ESV that says "man cannot utter it."

    "ear filled with hearing" is a clumsy phrase, sounds like the KJV. I like the NIV's take on it better.


    ESV
    10(b) It has been already in the ages before us.

    NIV
    10(b) It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.

    Really, these ESV translators should try to read aloud some of these verses!



    ESV
    11 There is no remembrance of former things,
    nor will there be any remembrance
    of later things yet to be
    among those who come after.

    NIV
    11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
    will not be remembered
    by those who follow them

    The second half of this verse in the ESV is extremely clumsy and hard to read. Obviously the NIV is much, much clearer and easier to understand. Go ahead and say these two phrases out loud:

    "of later things yet to be among those who come after."

    and

    "will not be remembered by those who follow them."

    Then tell me which one flows off the tongue easier and which is easier to understand.

    It seems the ESV changes up words and phrases, not to give greater clarity to the scripture, but simply to be different from other translations in order to be able to copyright and print a Bible.
     
    #1 InTheLight, Sep 23, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2014
  2. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    This post has absolutely nothing to say concerning the two translation versions identified in the OP. Negative comments toward certain versions has been deemed "hate speech."

    But, lets pause in our efforts to demonstrate one translation is superior to another, and simply consider the meaning of Ecc. 1:8.

    My method would be to start with the NASB95 version to begin the process of study:

    All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it.
    The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    Nor is the ear filled with hearing.


    The meaning of the Hebrew word translated "all things" refers to words, utterances, activities, i.e the actions of mankind to communicate with others. "Dabar" in the form of a noun.

    The Hebrew word translated are wearisome, is an adjective describing an exhausting effort. Thus the effort to communicate with mankind is exhausting.

    Well why is that? Those being communicated with are not satisfied with seeing words, or hearing words.

    And what is the context? Futility.
     
    #2 Van, Sep 23, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2014
  3. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,970
    Likes Received:
    128
    IMO the ESV in Ec 1:8 is clearer in differentiating three responses to weariness:
    speech, seeing and hearing.

    Even better in some other versions:

    Lexham English Bible
    All things toil continuously;
    no one can ever finish describing this.
    The eye is never satisfied with seeing,
    and the ear is never filled with hearing.

    Robert Alter
    All things are weary.
    A man cannot speak.
    The eye is not sated with seeing,
    nor the ear with hearing.

    Rob
     
  4. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,404
    Likes Received:
    328
    Indeed.
    Indeed again. D.A. Carson has said that "The aural (heard) form of language has priority over the written form."


    Certainly, in case after case the NIV uses more natural language without sacrificing fidelity to the source languages.

    I'll give the NRSV rendering:
    "The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them."

    It's still not as clear as the NIV, but still represents an improvement over that of the ESV.
    Well, I wouldn't say that. The ESV is based on the 1971 edition of the RSV. Therefore, most of its renderings stick with the RSV reading. There has been a slow, incremental revision --almost microscopic to the naked eye. Ever so gradually the ESV is improving. It's a shame that the ESV didn't get permission to revise the NRSV instead of the RSV. The first edition of the ESV was released about a dozen years after the NRSV but sounds more antiquated for a "modern version."

    The ESV needs a full-fledged overhaul. The translators need to devote an intense block of time for a much called for true revision. The trouble is : a real revision --not a light dusting --will result in a product that will look remarkably like the 2011 NIV! And they can't have that. So the ESV folks are between a rock and a hard place.
     
  5. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,404
    Likes Received:
    328
    Ecc. 1:8 from the NET Bible:

    "All this monotony is tiresome; no one can bear to describe it: The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content with hearing."

    Oh, on a side note two conservative versions use inclusive language as the NET and NIV have. I'll quote just the first sentence from each.

    WEB : "All things are full of weariness beyond uttering."
    Darby : "All things are full of toil; none can express it."
     
  6. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,404
    Likes Received:
    328
    More From Ecclesiastes

    4:5
    ESV : The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
    NIV : Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.
    [Don't you think that the NIV rendering is tad bit plainer?]

    5:2
    ESV : Be not rash with your mouth
    NIV : Do not be quick with your mouth

    [The NIV still has a few inverted negatives it has to weed-out. But the ESV? It's going to take an excavating machine.]

    5:6
    ESV : Let not your mouth lead you into sin.
    NIV : Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.
    [Back to those pesky inverted negatives again. Does it sound more holy to say "Let not" instead of "Do not let" in a sentence?]

    7:9
    ESV : Be not quick to anger
    NIV : Do not be quickly provoked
    [Get the picture?]

    7:14
    ESV : so that man may not find out anything that will be after him
    NIV : Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
    [The NIV is especially clear.]

    7:24
    ESV : That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep, who can find it?
    NIV : Whatever exists is far off and most profound --who can discover it?

    Conclusion? The NIV is the winner in these six examples. More at a later time.
     
  7. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,404
    Likes Received:
    328
    Snips From Ecclesiastes 8

    v.3
    ESV : Be not hasty
    NIV : Do not be in a hurry
    [Back to the inverted negative with the ESV]

    v. 12
    ESV : prolongs his life
    NIV : may live a long time
    [A person does not prolong their own life as the ESV seems to suggest.]

    v.17
    ESV : However much man may toil in seeking
    NIV : Despite all their efforts to search it out
    [The NIV makes the idea plain.]

    v. 17 (the end)
    ESV : he can not find it out
    NIV : they can not really comprehend it
    [The NIV uses natural English...the ESV? Not so much.]
     
  8. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,404
    Likes Received:
    328
    Ecc.

    9:12
    ESV : man does not know his time
    NIV : no one knows when their hour will come
    [The ESV reading can be taken the wrong way --not so for the NIV]

    10:5
    ESV : as it were an error proceeding from the ruler
    NIV : the sort of error that arises from a ruler
    [As it were an error? That's not normal English.]

    12:4
    ESV : all the daughters of song are brought low
    NIV : all their songs grow faint
    [Someone is growing deaf. The NIV communicates the meaning.]

    12:12
    ESV : much study is a weariness of the flesh
    NIV : much study wearies the body
    [Who speaks like the ESV rendering?]
     
  9. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,041
    Likes Received:
    48
    No, rather they should decide to overhaul it, and go for becoing a true literal version of the scriptures, not an"essentially one"
     
  10. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,404
    Likes Received:
    328
    No version can be even 85% literal. You're fooling yourselof to think that. Even the term "essentially literal" is a misnomer. The more literal --the more incomprehensible.
     
  11. InTheLight

    InTheLight
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    16,216
    Likes Received:
    612
    This verse came up in the sermon yesterday.

    Philemon 1:21

    ESV
    21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.

    NIV
    21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

    Seems to me that in the context of the chapter and the context of someone being obedient, the correct word to use would be "ask" and not "say". But I don't know what the literal Greek says there. Anyone?

    In the context of the chapter, esp. v. 17-20, which are essentially if-then statements, "if you consider me a partner...", "if he has done you any wrong...", I think the proper phraseology would be, "you will do more than I ask", rather than "you will do more than I say."

    Thoughts?
     
  12. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    The Greek word, G3004, legO, means to gather words together to express something. So it could easily include the expression of a question. OTOH, to assume it was a question, rather than simply an expression using words, would need to be driven by context. In looking at the prior verses, Paul is telling Philemon what to do. Thus asking is certainly a viable translation choice, but not a necessary one.
     
  13. zaptearNH

    zaptearNH
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Philemon 1:21 KJV

    Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.

    I my self like KJV
     
  14. Van

    Van
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    9,516
    Likes Received:
    49
    The Greek word is usually translated as some form of "say" but plenty of alternate choices are found in the various translations, such as ask, or mention. "Request" might be a good choice, since Paul is confident in Philemon's obedience.
     
  15. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,404
    Likes Received:
    328
    Other versions which use ask are : NIrV, NLT, NET, GWT, ISV, Goodspeed, NCV, CEB, Phillips and the 20th Century New Testament.
     
  16. InTheLight

    InTheLight
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    16,216
    Likes Received:
    612
    Ran across this during the Mother's Day sermon:

    Proverbs 31:26
    She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. [NIV]

    She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. [ESV]

    "She opens her mouth with wisdom" vs. "She speaks with wisdom". I think she speaks is much more succinct and readable.
     
  17. McCree79

    McCree79
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    34
    It may be smoother. I don't know if I would call it "much more succinct". It probably isn't as word for word though. Most translations I have use "mouth". I don't have Hebrew text....so I dont know for sure.

    NASB95|She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

    ESV|She opens her mouth*°with*wisdom,°and*the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.*11.8%*difference

    NLT|°When she speaks,*her*°words are wise,*°and she gives instructions with*kindness*°.75.8%*difference

    NKJV|She opens her mouth*°with*wisdom, And*on her tongue is*the*°law*of kindness*°.35.3%*difference

    HCSB|She opens her mouth*°with*wisdom°and loving instruction*is on her tongue.35.5%*difference
     
  18. InTheLight

    InTheLight
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    16,216
    Likes Received:
    612
    People can open their mouth and not say a thing. Therefore, she "speaks with wisdom" conveys the the thought more precisely.

    Also in the ESV (and others) the way it is phrased, "wisdom" could be an object used to open the mouth.
     
  19. McCree79

    McCree79
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2015
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    34
    I see what you are saying. But there may be something the wording of ESV and others. The NIV translations makes it sound like she is only wise when she speaks. However, it is at times in life, wiser to not speak. So, I look at it as she speaks when it is wise. Not necessarily that she is a speaker of wisdom.

    We can all think of times when we should have kept our mouth shut.
     
  20. InTheLight

    InTheLight
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Messages:
    16,216
    Likes Received:
    612
    How so? When she speaks, she speaks with wisdom.

    You're changing the meaning of the text. It doesn't say "when she speaks she is wise".

    Sure, but that has nothing to do with this verse.
     

Share This Page

Loading...