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Question about Proverbs 16:25

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by ElainaMor, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. ElainaMor

    ElainaMor New Member

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    I was reading the ESV and NIV side-by-side in my YouVersion app and noticed the difference in translation in Proverbs 16:25

    ESV
    There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

    NIV
    There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

    I'm not sure if I'm seeing a problem or not but to me leaving off "to a man" kinda weakens the meaning of this verse. What are your opinions? Am I seeing an issue that just isn't there?
     
  2. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland Active Member

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    This is one place where the updated NIV differs from its traditional reading, which was:

    Prov. 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but in the end it leads to death.

    The original language (Hebrew) has the preposition meaning "to/before/in front of" followed by "man". Apparently the editors/translators thought the expression superfluous; otherwise they could have added "to a person" or some other inclusive language. Whether one weakens the meaning might be debated.

    The Contemporary English Version reads:

    25 Sometimes what seems right
    is really a road to death.

    Again, some translators are not as concerned about rendering every word of the original as they are about giving the original meaning its biggest punch in English.

    In expositional preaching, having "to a man/person" in the text (as it is in the Hebrew) would be a nice cue to expound the Bible's view of man, how his heart is deceitful, how he is separated from God, how he deceives and is being deceived, even deceiving himself at times.

    You ask if you're seeing an issue that just isn't there. There have been some pretty vocal people (even world-class scholars) on both sides of the issue. If you do some searches on the Internet I'm sure you'll run across them and can read their arguments on the issue, pros and cons, for yourself.
     
  3. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member

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    That's why I like the 1984 NIV.

    BTW, does anyone else find the ESV clunky on this verse:

    ...but its end is the way to death.

    How can the endpoint of something be the way to it?
     
  4. Rippon

    Rippon Well-Known Member

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    I think any problem you or others might have with the rendering of the 2011 NIV in this verse is quite unnecessary. There is no mistake that the Proverb is speaking of human beings --not animals or angels certainly. It's a non-issue.
     
  5. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe Active Member

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    Welcome to the BB, Elaina.

    Do you think that if you were just reading this passage in NIV that its rendering would be confusing or misleading?
     
  6. ElainaMor

    ElainaMor New Member

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    Thanks, I see both you and Rippon's point. I think it just jarred me at first to see the difference.
     
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