Category Archives: grammar

Greek Definite Article

Acts 8:5

Here is a Greek textual variant that should demonstrate to beginners in NT Greek that maybe they don’t know how to interpret the definite article.

The Textus Receptus and the Robinson-Pierpont Greek texts both read εις πολιν της Σαμαρειας, without the definite article την present before πολιν, “city.”  Here are some translations from the Textus Receptus:

KJV

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

NKJV

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

MEV

Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

 

The UBS / NA text reads, εις την πολιν της Σαμαρειας, with the definite article την present before “city.”

Here are some translations reputedly from the UBS text:

NIV, TNIV

Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.

RSV

Philip went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ.

HCSB

Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them.

CEB

Philip went down to a city in Samaria and began to preach Christ to them.

CJB

Now Philip went down to a city in Shomron and was proclaiming the Messiah to them;

NABRE

Thus Philip went down to [the] city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them.

NASB

Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.

ESV

Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.

NRSV

Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them.

GNT

Philip went to the principal city in Samaria and preached the Messiah to the people there.

MOUNCE

Philip went down to the main city of Samaria and began proclaiming to them the Christ.

NET

Philip went down to the main city of Samaria and began proclaiming the Christ to them.

πολις της Σαμαρειας, for the city of Samaria had been utterly destroyed by Hyrcanus, and the city built by Herod on its site was called Σεβαστη, that is, Augusta, in honour of Augustus. Samaria comprised the tract of country formerly occupied by the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, west of Jordan, lying between Judea and Galilee, beginning, says Josephus, at Ginea in the great plain, and ending at the toparchy of Acrabateni.

The manuscripts:
txt πολιν C D E H P Ψ 049 056 33 1611 1739 1891 cop-sa,bo,meg chrys TR RP την πολιν 𝔓⁷⁴ ℵ A B 1175 SBL [NA28] {C} lac 𝔓⁴⁵ L

 

 

John 15 verse 8

I just made a TC footnote on the variant in John 15:8 regarding γένησθε (aorist subjunctive) in the NA28, versus γενήσεσθε (future indicative) in TR RP.  The UBS5 and NA28 footnotes cite ALL the Old Latin manuscripts as being in support of the γένησθε (aorist subjunctive) reading.  This is true insofar as the subjunctive versus indicative mood question.  But the Latin verbs do not agree with the Greek verbs exactly.  They read in fact: sitis (pres subj) “be” it-a,d,e,q,r¹ efficiamini (pres pass subj) “be made, be proven” it-aur,b,ff² possitis fieri “be able to become” it-f.  Certainly, none of the Latin manuscripts have a future tense verb.

A limitation of Coptic to render Greek is shown in the change from the UBS3 footnotes to now in the UBS5 footnotes.  The UBS3 footnote cites cop-sa,bo,ach2 in support of γένησθε (aorist subjunctive) of the NA28, but now in the UBS5 and NA28, the Coptic is not cited for any reading.  If you were to read the English translations of the Sahidic and Bohairic Coptic texts, you might think that they do support the NA28 reading, because they read in English, “and become to me disciples” (Sahidic) and, “and that ye be to me disciples” (Bohairic).

However, J. Martin Plumley writes in Metzger’s book “The Early Versions of the New Testament, Their Origin, Transmission and Limitations,” Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2001, p. 149, the following: “The well-developed system of auxiliary verbs in Coptic, while capable of dealing with the main temporal aspects of the Greek verb, are less able to represent the more subtle distinctions of mood, especially the subjunctive.  Thus, where Coptic uses a future tense containing the element -NA-, it is not possible to decide whether the Greek text showed the future indicative or the aorist subjunctive.”

Another example of the limitation of Coptic is when applied to the extremely common variant in the Greek MSS of τε versus δε, or ουτε v. ουδε, because Coptic did not distinguish between t and d, and d was usually but not consistently, defaulted to t.

To read the footnote on John 15:8, you can download the gospel of John here.

Typos in Mark?

My son Jacob sent me a list of what he thought might be typos in my translation of Mark:

2:16 – “Torah scholars of the Pharisees” instead of “Torah scholars and the Pharisees”

This is a Greek textual variant between the Nestle/Aland, United Bible Societies’ text, versus the Textus Receptus.  The text as I have it is referring to the Torah scholars belonging to the sect of the Pharisees; there were Torah scholars belonging to other sects as well.  This is not the only place we find this variant; it is in other passages and other gospels too.

2:23 – The heading is “Man Over the Sabbath”. I was wondering if you meant “Lord Over the Sabbath”?

Well, I have it purposely ambiguous, because not only is there a man who is Lord over the Sabbath, Jesus Christ, but also it means man is more important than the Sabbath.  Judaism made the Sabbath the most important thing in the Jewish universe, far more important than people, or any other part of the Torah, even more important than an actual walk with God.

5:35 – “Why inconvenience the teacher any farther?” Farther is used for physical distances. If it is figurative, it should be further. I think it’s a stretch to call it a physical distance.

Yes, further is for abstracts, and farther is for physical distance, but in fact, if you look at it, physical distance is actually what is being talking about.  Jesus had not yet traveled all the way to him, so they are saying, why make Jesus come all the way.  Why make the Rabbi go even farther out of his way.  I do remember thinking about that a long time when I translated it. Maybe I will make a footnote about it.  BTW, people are losing that distinction these days, I have heard even news anchors use the words wrongly.

9:23 – Jesus said to him, “‘If I can’?…” First, shouldn’t the single quote mark be after the question mark? Secondly, why is it necessary, since Jesus is paraphrasing the father?

Yeah, the Greek actually says, quoting the father directly “What is this ‘If you can’ you are saying.”  I’ll have to think about what to do there. But you are right, the quotation marks are not necessary for an indirect quotation.

14:22 – “taking a loaf of bread and blessing” Should there be an it after blessing to indicate that the bread was being blessed?

Here, the Greek word for blessing is also the Greek word often used to mean “giving thanks,” or “praising.”  Jesus was actually blessing God, not the food particularly, but blessing in the sense of praising God for it.  The lesson is, you bless the food by praising God for it. I remember making it deliberately ambiguous so that people would stop and think.  Catholics would have an easier time understanding it, since they use those words more interchangeably than Protestants do.  I guess I should make a footnote explaining it.

Dad

Accidental Scribal Addition

An Accidental Scribal Addition in DRP translation of Revelation

I finished translating the Apocalypse of John in April, 2006.  And now in August 2016, as I am making my TR and RP editions, I discovered a scribal error on my part.  In Rev. 16:11, I wrote in English “they reviled the name of the God of heaven.”  But the Greek only says ἐβλασφήμησαν τὸν θεὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, they reviled the God of heaven.  So, I made a scribal addition of the words “the name of.”  Even though my exemplar had the correct text.  Why did I accidentally do this?  Because two verses prior, the same word ἐβλασφήμησαν was followed by τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ, “they reviled the name of God,” and I was familiar with that phrase from just having translated that verse.  See immediately below my translation as it stood from April 2006 to August 2016.

16:9 καὶ ἐκαυματίσθησαν οἱ ἄνθρωποι καῦμα μέγα, καὶ ἐβλασφήμησαν τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἔχοντος τὴν ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ τὰς πληγὰς ταύτας, καὶ οὐ μετενόησαν δοῦναι αὐτῷ δόξαν.
⁹And the people were burned a very bad burn, and they reviled the name of God, the one having authority over these plagues; yet they did not repent to give him glory.

16:11 καὶ ἐβλασφήμησαν τὸν θεὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐκ τῶν πόνων αὐτῶν καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἑλκῶν αὐτῶν, καὶ οὐ μετενόησαν ἐκ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῶν.
¹¹and they reviled the name of the God of heaven, because of their pains and because of their ulcers, yet they did not repent of their works.

I looked in Hoskier’s apparatus to find out if any ancient scribes made the same mistake which I did, and lo, two of them did indeed make the same addition.

The minuscule 1957 reads in v. 11, ἐβλασφήμησαν τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ, an exact duplication of the previous phrase in v. 9, even without the τοῦ οὐρανοῦ of v. 11.

The Philoxenian Syriac in v. 11 reads ἐβλασφήμησαν τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.  My translation was an exact translation of the Philoxenian Syriac, without my knowledge or intent.

So, when you see the UBS Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament speculate that a phrase found in the BYZ text but not found in the UBS text, and they say it was added because of scribal familiarity with that phrase a couple verses prior, I can personally attest how that can and does happen.

Revelation 8:7 Homoioteleuton

A case of homoioteleuton in the Textus Receptus

Will one third of the earth be burned up or not?  Revelation 8:7.  This is a variant between Bible versions based on the Textus Receptus, and all others.  The Textus Receptus and the King James Version omit the first of the three phrases below, which means, “and one third of the earth will be burned up.”

καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῆς γῆς κατεκάη
καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν δένδρων κατεκάη
καὶ πᾶς χόρτος χλωρὸς κατεκάη

Only three late Greek manuscripts (out of 300+-) omit the first phrase, and it is a clear case of “homoioteleuton” that happened in the Greek copying process.  That means, the lines end the same, so a copyist, having left off his work for a break, then resumed doing his work, and he remembers, “I resume, at the line ending with κατεκάη,” but he resumed with the wrong line ending with κατεκάη.  Skipped one line by accident.  Homoioteleuton.

Or, it could have been a case of “homoioarcton,” that is, all three lines BEGIN the same, with καὶ, and the scribe having left off, resumed, thinking, “I resume with the line beginning with καὶ, but he picked the wrong line beginning with καὶ.

Interestingly, the scribe of manuscript 620 wrote the phrase in question two times, which is another kind of parablepsis from homoioteleuton.

As long as I am on this verse, let’s look at a Bible version.  As you can see, the word κατεκάη is used 3 times, the exact same word and same form of the word, and it means “burned up.”

NLT:  One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned.

So why does the New Living Translation render one of the occurrences of κατεκάη as “set on fire”?  This is simply unacceptable.  Just one of thousands of translation errors in the NLT.  I would never recommend the NLT, or the Message.  If you want a paraphrase, the Philips NT is much better, or the NIV.  I consider the NIV a mild paraphrase.

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James 4;15


Why am I doing yet another translation of the New Testament? One of the main reasons is because, after I studied NT Greek, I kept finding mistakes in the mainstream translations that I was reading. Oh, you say, who are you to say they are wrong and you are right? Fair enough. The Bible says, One man’s testimony seems right, until another cross-examines him. Here is an example from the Epistle of James, the Greek text, with a literal English rendering underneath the Greek words.

James 4:15

Ἐὰν ὁ κύριος θελήσῃ καὶ ζήσωμεν καὶ ποιήσωμεν τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο.
If – the – Lord – wills – and – we will live – and – do – this – or – that.

There are two instances of the word καὶ in the phrase, but all the mainstream translations ignore the first instance of the word καὶ. They do not translate it. There is no difference in this regard between the Greek manuscripts, no difference in regard to the two instances of καὶ between the Textus Receptus, the Majority Text, and the Nestle-Aland / UBS text. There is no justifiable reason for not translating it.

KVV: If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that
ESV: If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.
NIV: If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that

Now the word καὶ usually means “and” in English, but sometimes means “also,” or “even.”

My translation (DRP) says:

If the Lord wills, we will even be alive and do this or that

Acts 2:47 KJV

In the Greek text in Acts 2:47, the Textus Receptus, Tregelles’ GNT, and Von Soden’s, those three alone have σωζομένους, and Tyndale and the KJV render it “such as should be saved.  But all the other Greek editions have σῳζομένους, and render it something like “those who were being saved.   If anyone has insights on the Greek manuscript basis for the TR reading, let me know.

Most Important Greek Textual Variant

Is This the Most Important Greek Textual Variant?

Revelation 14:9-11 says that if anyone takes the mark of the beast, that person will be tortured in fire and sulphur for ever and ever.

So it is very important not to get the mark. But how will it happen that people take the mark? Will it be forced on them by the beast, or will they give it to themselves / get it for themselves? Because of this question, I think that the textual variant below from Revelation 13:16 is the most important textual variant in the Bible.

In the first set of manuscripts, “they” are giving the mark. In the second set, with the Textus Receptus alone among the editions, “he,” that is, the beast, is giving the mark.

“they” Aleph A C P 046 82 94 141 172 175 181 241 256 367 424 459 469 616 627 792 920 922 986 2059 1611 1678 1732 1778 1828 1854 1862 1888 2019 2020 2026 2028 2048 2067 2070 2080 2081 2138 2256 2349 2351 2436 sahidic WH VS TG RC AT PK NA27 HF RP SBL

“he” 051 2053 2065 2302 2329 2814 TR

Download this chart in the Swanson style for the variant in 78 manuscripts and 11 editions.

Rev. 13:16

KJV: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:”

NIV: He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,

NASB: And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,

DRP:

DRP: And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave, to provide themselves a mark on their right upper limb or on their forehead,

Rev. 14:9-11: And another angel, a third one, followed those, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and takes the mark on his forehead or on his hand, he shall himself also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, mixed undiluted in the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb. And the smoke of their torture goes up for ever and ever, and they have no relief day or night, those who worship the beast and the image of him, and anyone who takes the mark of his name.”

I have received criticism of my rendering of this verse. Here is a copy of some of that discussion, from a discussion board:

Critic: “Surely the unmentioned subject of the plural verb δωσιν does not refer to those included in παντας, but rather is generic, namely, ‘He makes it so that they (generic) should give all a mark on their right hand or forehead,’ hence why most translations simply say ‘receive’ instead of the unnecessarily wooden-literal translation.”

My response:

Rev. 13:16 καὶ ποιεῖ πάντας, τοὺς μικροὺς καὶ τοὺς μεγάλους, καὶ τοὺς πλουσίους καὶ τοὺς πτωχούς, καὶ τοὺς ἐλευθέρους καὶ τοὺς δούλους, ἵνα δῶσιν αὐτοῖς χάραγμα ἐπὶ τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῶν τῆς δεξιᾶς ἢ ἐπὶ τὸ μέτωπον αὐτῶν,

Let me get this straight. You are saying that ποιεῖ, 3rd person singular, should be rendered “He makes it,” where there is no Greek word present for “it.” So you supply an object for the verb. And you are saying that δῶσιν, 3rd person plural, which means “they give,” agrees in grammatical concord with an un-named subject you supply, rather than agrees with the 3rd person plural πάντας, which immediately and naturally follows our verb ποιεῖ.

So, you are supplying both an unwritten object, and an unwritten subject. All in one sentence!
Call me unreasonable, but how is this “surely”? I don’t see anything sure about it.

If you truly honestly believe that that is what the Greek means, then you should write that in your translation, like this, “And he makes it so that they give everyone a mark…” That isn’t so wooden. But literal it certainly is not. That would be very far from literal.

And I want to state, in case some readers don’t know, that the pronoun αὐτοῖς can and often does mean “themselves” as in ἑαυτοῖς. There is a contraction in the Greek of that time for ἑαυτοῖς as follows : αὑτοῖς. Notice the difference between αὐτοῖς and αὑτοῖς? There is a huge difference. The first has a smooth breathing mark, so it means “them,” and the second has a rough breathing mark, so it means “themselves.” Reflexive meaning. But the earliest Greek manuscripts did not necessarily always have breathing marks and punctuation. One of the most common Greek textual variants in Revelation, about which I am very knowledgeable by the way, and won’t apologize for it, is this confusion between αὐτός and αὑτός in the minuscules.

I thus find it easy to defend my rendering of this verse in my translation of Revelation. Your defense on the other hand of “most translations” is a great example of why I do not trust “most translations,” and am doing my own.

To download my translation of the Revelation of John, use this link.

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