Carry on’s

by libr8tr

We have some J.W.’s who occupy a hallway at the college I teach at.  They set up their article racks, sit on chairs and engage students who are interested in finding out more.

Sometimes, I want to put up a sign next to them that reads, “Arian Heresy” with an arrow pointed to their set-up.  I would sit next to them and explain to wayward souls why their beliefs are considered heresy.

One significant issue I have is their translation of the book of John.  They mistranslated the definite articles in John Chapter 1 to be indefinite articles (i.e., ‘the word was a god’)  This is theological malpractice.

However, they are not the only ones who participate in this unfortunate behavior.  Many English translations are subject to the “carry-on baggage” of modern evangelicals and Reformed Christians.  Don’t get me wrong; I am not accusing them of heresy.  What I am saying is that some of the choices they made do not accurately reflect the Greek.

One example that can be found in Greek in Galatians 2:16a:

16yet we know that a person is not justifiedb by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ… ‘

Here is the Greek for the words faith and Christ Jesus:

πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ  (“Pisteos Christou Iesou”)  Do you see how the endings of both Christou and Iesou are ‘ou’.  This means that you have to add the word ‘of’ to it.  Pisteos is the noun form of ‘faith’.  Altogether, this means, “(the) faith(fullness) of Jesus Christ”.

This specific example happens in other parts of the New Testament, as well.  It makes a HUGE difference in the proper interpretation of Scripture.  I think it is enough to say that it can create a paradigm-shift in the thinking of the reader.

So, why did they do it?  Why is it consistently translated this way in almost every English translation?  Because the translators brought their carry-on baggage on board.  They brought their theology and imposed it on the text of Scripture.

If discovering a contradiction between your theology and the actual text of scripture overturns a previously-held belief, have the intellectual honesty and integrity to be crucified by it.  Be faithful in the translation of the text!  Salvation can hang on a single word!