[B-Greek] Acts 15:11, proper rendering: present fact or future reality

Iver Larsen iver at larsen.dk
Tue Nov 22 02:01:47 EST 2005

Hi, Mike,

Let me comment from a Bible translation point of view:

>  The kjv rendering of the term "are saved" or "to be saved" in the future:  ". . .we shall be saved. . ."  But the 
> NASB Renders this phrase as present reality.

Some English versions:

KJV: "we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
NASB: "we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."
NIV: "We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."
NET: "we believe that we are saved throught the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are."
NLT: "We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the special favor of the Lord Jesus."

>  (1)  Why does the NASB take the aorist infinitive(future - if I am correct) and render it as present fact/ or 
> reality??

The aorist infinitive is used in a timeless sense to indicate that the means of salvation is by faith.

>  (2) What should be the most accurate rendering here, in your opinion??  The KJV, NASB or something else??

The use of "shall" in English has changed over time. I think that the KJV would have been accurate in the language 
spoken at that time, but is confusing in current English.

>  (3)  Can one take the tense and keep it in the present without doing the greek grammer any harm??

Yes, even in English the focus of "we are saved" is not on the present tense, but on the result. It describes a process 
or procedure (like in a recipe), and procedural statements are generally timeless, even though present tense is the 
default tense to use in English.

Of the versions above I prefer NIV, because it has focused on "the grace..." as the only and all-important means of 
salvation, both for Jews and non-Jews. NLT has also captured the focus and in addition has tried to avoid the Biblical 
word "grace" which is not part of normal English today. It has lost some of the comparison between Jews and non-Jews.

Iver Larsen
Bible Translation consultant 

More information about the B-Greek mailing list