Sunday, 9 July 2017

Israel and Some Modern Bible Versions

ROMANS 11:25-26a
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved...
Notice it says "...and so all Israel shall be saved" not "...and 'then' all Israel shall be saved".
'So', not 'then'.
Some modern translations, such as the New American Bible, render it "...and then all Israel will be saved". But is that a purely scholarly way of translating the Greek word οὕτως - or does it reflect the translator's own eschatological presuppositions somewhat?
Looking at the many occurrences of the Greek word in the New Testament, it seems to me to always mean "in this way", never "and then".
Manner, not sequence.
And the rest of verse 26, and the verse following, quotes a number of Old Testament prophecies each of which, rather than still awaiting their fulfilment at some future time, had in fact already begun seeing their fulfilment:
ROMANS 11:26b-27
26 it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
The Deliverer had already come - Jesus Christ - He had already made the New Covenant with them - or else no-one has ever yet been saved!
So it seems to me that Paul, rather than issuing an exclusively eschatological forecast, was instead mainly and simply answering a question about the Gospel itself, and how the Gospel is the fulfilment of Bible Prophecy. He was addressing first-century concerns - a question about the already-current scheme of things - and mentioning present possibilities - not so much predicting the future.
And that's a problem I suspect with the 'dynamic equivalence' method of Bible-translation, compared to the 'formal/-' or 'exact equivalence' method: a translator can place his own theological (in this case eschatological) presuppositions into the text.
Makes me think it might be true what one New Testament scholar said - that if a church only, or mainly, relies on [some modern Bible-version] it will, quite simply, never understand what Paul was talking about.  

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