Friday, April 11, 2008

How a translation can screw you up.

John 10:10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I
came that they may have and enjoy
, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).

Amplified Bible

Compare with...

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to
destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more




Xan said...

Which translation are you suggesting screws you up?

Modern English, simply because there are so many words, is much more precise than Konine Greek. But that means when we translate, we're picking one word with a very precise meaning to stand for a word with multiple, or imprecise, meanings.

The Amplified translation attempts to get all the senses of the Greek. If the Greek word used here has the sense of "possess in order to enjoy" (as opposed to "possess in order to hoard", or "possess and be miserable"), then it seems perfectly legitimate to translate it "have and enjoy".

That's definitely the sense of it, because it's the only way "abundance" makes sense.

As an aside, the NKJV's "abundant" phrase seems odd: I didn't have life at all a minute ago, and now I have it "more abundantly". More abundantly than what? That may be what the Greek actually says, though, I have no idea.

J. K. Jones said...

Here's another one:

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

I prefer a more word-for-word philosophy of translation, so I have replaced my NIV with the ESV. But I don't get heart-burn over these issues. I still remember many verses from the NIV.

John 10:10 should emphasize that Christ is the One who gives life. He gives life that is abundant. It’s not so much about enjoyment.


L P Cruz said...

That is what I am getting at. The Amplified interprets the text. Because it says that Jesus came so that we may ' enjoy life', one can and I heard, do, sell Christianity that way.

Now looking at third world countries where the poor are unimaginably poor, they get left out of the deal since you can see them not enjoying life, do they?

The point is eternal life and this is what Jesus came to give, this life is not necessarily enjoyable here. The abundant life is eternal life. It is other worldly. Over there yonder. The Amplified slips and makes it over here, not beyond the Jordan, but here and now.

I think that idea skews Christianity.

Any more thoughts?