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Featured Some Alternate Translation Choices

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Van, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    The noun "Pistei" is the Greek grammatical form of "faith" in the dative, singular, female. In this form the noun appears about 58 times in the New Testament. Thayer's indicates that in this form it is a "dative of means" and indicates the means by which something is achieved. Frequently in Hebrews 11, we see in English "By faith" indicating something was accomplished by means of a person's faith. However, this noun, in this form is not uniformly or concordantly translated in the "by means of" manner.

    Sometimes this term is used in conjunction with a preposition, which may according to unknown to me Greek grammar, either reinforce its meaning or alter its meaning. We see both examples in translations. For example in Acts of the Apostles 3:16 we see the preposition "epi" and the translation "by means of faith."

    Now lets look at some discordant choices:

    In 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NASB) "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." Here if the translators took "en" as showing instrumentality, then it would read, ...stand firm by faith, ...

    To provide an example of just such a translation choice, look at Galatians 2:20 (NASB) "“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

    Here is an example where an "article" (ho) appears in the preposition, 2 Corinthians 13:5, (NASB) "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?" Thus it appears when "en ho" precedes "pistei" the meaning changes from by means of faith to the actuality of faith, are you in Christ or not?

    At least one translation (NET) takes our noun in yet another direction in Philippians 3:9 where the preposition "epi" precedes it: Rather than "by means of faith" referring to our faith as credited by God, the NET interprets our noun as "Christ's" and rather than faith it is His faithfulness that is in view. Thus the righteousness that comes from God is by means of Christ's faithfulness. I doubt the NET unique choice is right, since "on the basis of faith" leaves "our faith in His faithfulness" intact.

    I have only addressed 5 examples, but hopefully other examples will be addressed in future posts.
     
  2. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    In a similar fashion, Romans 14:1 provides the apparent affect of the article "Ho" preceding the dative of means version of faith. Here the person's understanding or grasp of "the faith" is weak. But we are told to accept them, even though our view of biblical doctrine differs. Here we see an admonition against throwing disparagement toward those who love Christ, even though they do not yet rightly divide the word of truth in our opinion. On the other hand, I believe, this verse does not suggest we should accept the mistaken views and not use God's word for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.
     
  3. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    In 2 Corinthians 1:24, "faith" appears twice and it is the last one that is in the form of a dative of means. The translations are pretty well split, with many going with standing firm in the faith, but many others going (correctly in my opinion) with "by faith standing firm.
     
  4. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    In 2 Corinthians 8:7 we see a possible choice that differs from just about every translation.

    Here is the NASB version: But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.

    And below is the reworded version based on translating our noun as a dative of means.

    But just as you abound by faith in everything, even utterance and knowledge and all earnestness, and your love for us, yet because of this love, grace will abound also.
     
    #4 Van, Oct 18, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  5. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    In Philippians 1:27, we see striving together "for the faith" of the gospel as the most chosen rendering. However, striving together by the faith of the gospel seems a better choice, given the context.
     
  6. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Again, it is not clear to me why this verse is not translated as "by the faith" rather than "in the faith."
    Colossians 1:23 (NASB)
    if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

    Here is the alternate possibility, at least as far as I know:
    if indeed you continue by the faith of the gospel firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope that you have heard, which was proclaimed among all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

    As an oh BTW, "in all creation" was translated as "among all creation" to recognize those who have not heard the gospel.
     
    #6 Van, Oct 18, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  7. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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  8. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    For those with more rudimentary understanding of Greek, nouns/pronouns/adjectives in English are usually one of two cases - subjective or objective. Can tell only by usage and position in a sentence.

    In Greek there are eight cases with five distinct endings tacked on the root word to show their function. Each of these groups have special endings but within a group, it is open to interpret WHICH function :

    Nominative

    Genitive
    Ablative

    Locative
    Instrumentive
    Dative

    Accusative

    Vocative

    With identical Greek declension endings in the Locative, Instrumentive, and Dative cases, it may be a general rule to think this must be "dative of means", but no way ruling out the other possibilities of instrumentive or locative. It is often cleared by the preposition (like εν in Galatians 2:20 ο δε νυν ζω εν σαρκι εν πιστει ζω τη του υιου του θεου) [English "the life I now live in flesh I live in faith of the son of the God] as denoting a fixed position (in place/state), and only by implication the instrumentality and translated "by"
     
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  9. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    If I understand this informative post, nothing in the grammar compels translation of our noun as a dative of means. Thus, when the translators think the context points to another choice, they are within their discretion.

    So if we see the "implication of instrumentality" then by faith or by the faith is a valid choice.
     
  10. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Let us look at Romans 3:28 (NASB) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Here the implication of instrumentality points to the "by faith" choice.
     
  11. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Now let us look at Romans 4:19 (NASB), Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb;

    Here most translators say Abraham, without weakening his own faith, he contemplated.... But an alternate reading seems possible, without weakening, by faith, he contemplated.... As I read the passage (Romans 4:19-21) the idea is by his strengthen faith, he was able to perform. So Abraham's resolve was strengthened, by means of his faith, such that he could contemplate the unlikelihood of God's promise and by faith stand firm.
     
  12. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Same passage, next verse (Romans 4:20)
    yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,

    Here we see a few translators seeing the implication of instrumentality, thus "...grew strong by faith, giving...
     
  13. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Next, only one translation, that I found, saw the implication and rendered our noun as a dative of means. So here is the NASB text of Colossians 2:7 with "in faith" changed to by faith.
    "having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established by your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
     
  14. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    With 1 Timothy 1:2, again only one translation saw the implication of instrumentality, which provides the basis for this rewording:

    To Timothy, my true child by faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
     
  15. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    1Peter 5:9
    But resist him, firm by faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
    Here again is the implication that we stand firm by faith.
     
  16. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Jude 1:3
    Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly by the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

    Again I think the implication is we contend by faith so "for the faith" might be better translated "by the faith."
     
  17. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    In summary, our noun (G4102) in the Dative, Singular, Female grammatical form appears 58 times in the New Testament. It appears without a preposition 39 times and in 13 causes it is not translated as a dative of means by the NASB, but other translations at least to some extent, do see the implication of instrumentality.

    Post #7 addressed Acts of the Apostles 6:7, 14:22 and 16:5.

    Posts #11 and #12 addressed Romans 4:19 and Romans 4:20.

    Post #2 addressed Romans 14:1.

    Post #3 addressed 2 Corinthians 1:24.

    Post #5 addressed Philippians 1:27.

    Post #6 addresses Colossians 1:23.

    Post #13 addresses Colossians 2:7.

    Post #15 addresses 1 Peter 5:9.

    Post #16 addresses Jude 1:3.

    That leaves Jude 1:20 as the last of the 13 verses where other translations infer instrumentality by the context.

    Jude 1:20:
    But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
    Here if we change "on" to "by" the instrumentality is made clear, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up by your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit...
     
  18. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    To make the support (or lack thereof) clear, I have added in red the number of translations that indicate instrumentality.

    Post #7 addressed Acts of the Apostles 6:7, 14:22 and 16:5. (zero for all three)

    Posts #11 and #12 addressed Romans 4:19 and Romans 4:20. (1 for verse 19, 7 for verse 20)

    Post #2 addressed Romans 14:1. (zero)

    Post #3 addressed 2 Corinthians 1:24. (15)

    Post #5 addressed Philippians 1:27. (1)

    Post #6 addresses Colossians 1:23. (1)

    Post #13 addresses Colossians 2:7. (1)

    Post #15 addresses 1 Peter 5:9. (zero)

    Post #16 addresses Jude 1:3. (zero)

    Post #17 addresses Jude 1:20. (1)

    As a footnote, our noun in its dative of means form, is never, repeat never used with an article in the entire New Testament. Thus when a translation goes with "for the faith" or "in the faith" the actual meaning is being altered. Instead of utilization of our faith to accomplish or achieve something (i.e. by means of faith) faith is turned into a set of beliefs which we defend or adhere.
     
    #18 Van, Oct 21, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  19. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Twice our noun in its dative of means form, is used with the preposition "epi" which literally means upon something, and is used metaphorically to show faith is the basis or foundation of something. Thus, in Acts of the Apostles 3:16 and Philippians 3:9, the prepositional phrase is translated "on the basis of faith.
     
  20. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    While another grammatical form of the noun, nominative single female, also is never used with an article, because it does refer to the set of beliefs we hold, adding "the or that or because of" does not alter the message. Usually the noun in this form is preceded by a possessive pronoun, thus we see "your faith," meaning what you believe and hold forth as true.
     
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