44 How Hard it is to enter the Kingdom.
There are times when the Bible Translator has to make a difficult decision. What would you do if you were confronted with two variants in Scripture with almost equal manuscript evidence?
The easy way would be to choose the variant that most readers are familiar with. At least you would avoid unfavorable critique!
But a responsible translator has to do all he can to discern which version has the greatest probability to render the original words God let be written down.
The words printed in Italics in this quote from Mark 10:24 are not found in the New International Version:
KJV: “But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, ‘Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!’ “
NIV: “But Jesus said again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!’ “
Let us look what is available and see what we would choose ourselves.
The table below gives an indication of all the facts recorded in the manuscripts available:
|Witness:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:|
|301-400||<א , B||1 Old Latin </span Bohairic||1 Old Latin, Vulgate, 3 Syriac, Bohairic, Gothic|
|401-500||A, C, D||3 Old Latin, Armenian, Georgian|
|501-600||1 Old Latin|
|601-700||3 Old Latin|
|801-900||Δ||K, X, Π, Θ|
|1001-1600||f1, f13, 19 Minuscules|
When we are confronted with the need to make a choice, there are three criteria we can employ to help us make a decision.
1. External Evidence.
Here we consider the manuscript evidence. Facts like the date of the documents, the geographical distribution as well as the genealogical relationship of the documents are taken into consideration.
i) In the manuscript evidence, we note that an Arabic and a Persian translation of the Diatessaron of Tatian are the oldest documents to have this clause in verse 24. During the years 170-175 A.D. a Syrian by the name of Tatian created a Harmony of the four Gospels by combining them into one narrative called the Diatessaron (through the four [Gospels]). Due to the manipulative character of such a document learned scholars of the New Testament do not give much weight to this document. Yet the Diatessaron had great influence on many later manuscripts, especially those originating in the East, and the Byzantine Text type in general.
ii) Looking at the rest of the Manuscript evidence, we see that up to the year 400 A.D. two of the most important Greek manuscripts (א and B) supported by three antique translations have this clause not included in verse 24. On the other side no less than seven antique translations include this clause. Four of them (the three syriac and the Gothic translation) fall directly within the influence sphere of the Diatessaron.
The weight according to external evidence, especially when we take the negative influence of the Diatessaron into account, tips the scales slightly in favor of not including this clause.
2. Internal Evidence
Here we look at the possible alterations or deviations that could be caused by the scribes themselves.
The following factor could play a role in this particular case.
In verse 23, directly preceding our verse under discussion, the clause “who trust on riches is used in almost exactly the same sentence. Two possible causes for an unintentional alteration come to the fore:
i) The eye of the scribe could have “jumped” to the previous sentence, causing a duplication of the clause (dittography). One manuscript has exactly the same words!
ii) A scribe could have remembered what he had just written before, and unknowingly added this clause.
3. Intrinsic Evidence
When evaluating intrinsic evidence we look at the probability that the original speaker (Jesus) or the original author (Mark) could in fact have used those words. In the matter on the table, the direct context is of paramount importance. Look at the following:
i) The reaction of the disciples was not: “But which rich man will then be saved?” No, they reacted by: “Who will then be saved?” In other words, they interpreted Jesus’ words though the demands for the Kingdom of God do not only touch on those who trust or riches but has a much wider application.
ii) The answer of Jesus that it is impossible with men, but with God all things are possible has the parable of the camel and the eye of a needle, and not to riches. A rich man is able to sell all ad give it to the poor, otherwise his request to the rich man would have been impossible. But to really sacrifice everything? That is only possible with God.
iii) The next statement by Peter on their behalf is even more far-reaching. He wanted to know whether they complied with the demands for discipleship. It is clear that Peter was not thinking of riches at all, but of much more.
iv) Jesus’ reaction that whatever one would sacrifice for the Kingdom, he will receive hundredfold in this time also does not have riches in scope, but much deeper things are mentioned in the list!
All three criteria weigh a little heavier to not including this clause in verse 24. I am convinced that Jesus made the seriousness of discipleship applicable on every prospect follower – not only the rich.
Therefore it is important to take Jesus’ words serious when He ensures that though man could not comply with the demands of discipleship, it is possible with God. Then we should accept it in faith and build a living relationship with God.
If you had to prepare a new translation – what would your choice be and what would motivate that choice?
Do give your thoughts at the bottom of this page.
Submitted on 2012/01/01 at 12:52 am
“If you had to prepare a new translation – what would your choice be and what would motivate that choice?”
That’s a satanic question of bombastic pride and measureless infidelity.
God’s words aren’t choices we make.
God preserves his words and purifies his words: “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
God uses translation to keep from death: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Heb. 11:5. (& Col. 1:13).
Interpretation of tongues is a gift in the Church – and it belongs exclusively to God: Genesis 40:8; 1 Cor. 12:30.
Only one interpretation is authorized: “If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.” 1 Cor. 14:27.
God does not speak Greek and Hebrew only: 1 Cor. 14:21. & “And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.” Genesis 42:23.
Exact words are important: John 21:23.
So-called linguistic scholars ought to shut their mouths: “But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.” 1 Cor. 14:28.
Thank you for posting your comment to this delicate aspect I handled in this post. Though I find your very first statement a bit odd: “That’s a satanic question of bombastic pride and measureless infidelity.”
Did you not understand what the post was all about? Or are you completely ignorant of the fact that there are many older and more authentic manuscripts that differ from the few Erasmus had to his disposal when he hastily compiled his Greek text in 1516 to have it printed before that of Ximines? His text became the basis of the Textus Receptus from which the King James Version had been translated! Or are you ignorant of the fact that even Erasmus made choices between versions within the few Greek manuscripts he consulted? Or of the fact that as a devote Roman Catholic, he even created his own Greek text where his manuscripts were lacking words in order to have his text correspond to the Catholic Vulgate?
Could it be that your statement to which I refer reveals your own stance and outlook on the Word of God!
I do hope that you are not one of those guys who blindfold your mind and “canonize” a certain version of the King James in order to sidestep the real facts. I hope it is not one of the versions speaking of “gay clothing”!
Let’s get to the facts you refer to in your remarks:
1. “God’s words aren’t choices we make.” I take this together with: “Exact words are important: John 21:23. The fact is that scribes, monks, publishers and many other people in the past made mistakes and even deliberately altered the exact words of God to suit their own dogmas. Therefore the choices translators have to make have to do with finding the exact words God gave and discard human meddling through the ages.
2. “God uses translation to keep from death:…” Please don’t tell me that you confuse “translation” as used by the KJV (following the Latin Vulgate?) in Heb.11:5 & Col.1:13 with “translation” in its meaning “to transfer into another language”? !!!
3. Your statement: “Interpretation of tongues is a gift in the Church…” and the rest of your statement misses the point completely! “Speaking in tongues” has nothing to do with translating the Bible from Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into English or any other modern language. Please!!!
This blog is not for jokers! Rather humble yourself and take 1Cor.14:28 that you refer to, for yourself to heart!
Bear also in mind Jesus’ own warning recorded in Mat.12:37: “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”(KJV)
I stand in responsibility before God! It is all concerning His Glory!