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Hebrews 10:23 -- KJV Translation Error?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by jmbertrand, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. jmbertrand

    jmbertrand Guest

    In The Bible In Translation: Ancient and English Versions, Bruce Metzger cites Hebrews 10:23 as an example of a mistranslation in the King James Version. The Greek word for 'hope' is translated 'faith.' Thus, the verse reads:

    The NKJV, based on the same Greek NT, reads:

    Comparing the Textus Receptus and the Critical Text on Hebrews 10:23, I found that the Greek wording was the same. JP Green's Interlinear NT translates the word in question as 'hope,' too. The word -- 'elpis' Strong's #1680 -- is translated 53 times in the KJV itself as 'hope,' and only once as 'faith,' here in Hebrews 10:53.

    So, a) there is no textual difference between the TR and the CT to explain the difference, b) other translations based on the TR translate the word as 'hope,' and c) the KJV translators translated it as 'hope' in every instance but one (including four more times in Hebrews). This seems to bear out Metzger's judgment that 'elpis' at Hebrews 10:23 in the KJV is mistranslated.

    Would anyone disagree with this conclusion?

  2. kman

    kman New Member

    May 21, 2002
    Likes Received:
    What would interest me is knowing WHY the KJ translators chose faith here. They obviously were aware of the normal translation of the greek word elpis. Is there something contextual they were considering? I don't know.

    I guess they didn't leave any translation notes..which I'd find extremely interesting. There are numereous places where they chose a certain translation and I've wondered "why?".

  3. jmbertrand

    jmbertrand Guest

    As a follow up, I checked the translation of 'elpis' in the Geneva Bible, and found that there it was translated as "hope," too. Again, that supports the idea that the KJV translation at Hebrews 10:23 was simply an error that slipped through the process and has been perpetuated ever since.

    If there is an alternative explanation, I would love to hear it.

  4. DocCas

    DocCas New Member

    Jul 24, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I suspect the more reasonable explanation is that the translators considered "hope" and "faith" in this context to be synonymous and "faith" was more in keeping to the context of Hebrews.

    As to the lack of translators notes, the great London fire of 1629 was thought to have destroyed all the notes made by the translators, but Frederick Scrivener mentioned that John Bois had made a set of notes, but they too were thought to have been lost.

    However, a photograph in the book "The Learned Men" by Gustavus Paine suggested to Ward Allan that the notes may still exist, and a search of the Bodleian Library turned up MS C.C.C. 312 which was a section of those notes.

    Those notes were published under the title "Translating for King James" by Vanderbilt University Press.

    I have a copy of those notes. However, in the section of notes on Hebrews, there are notes covering verses 12, 14, 26, 27, 32, and 38, but there is no note regarding verse 23. [​IMG]