[B-Greek] Theologically motivated translation, at times

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 28 09:17:30 EDT 2009

Thanks for pointing this out. I had not noticed it before. 
All the translations I checked offer "Have faith in God" except
two.  Rheims offers "Have the faith of God" and Montgomery
offers "Take hold on God's faithfulness."  The Modern Greek
also has "in God" (NA EXETE PISTH STO QEO.)  I was surprised
to find that the phrase PISTIS QEOU occurs only here and in 
Rom 3:3, where is means something like "God's faithfulness,"
but certainly not "faith in God."
I think I know which groups Wallace is taking about, and it
seems to me that they would be justified in construing this
not as faith in God but as the sort of faith that God Himself has,
maybe even the sort of faith that Jesus has.  The NET editors
themselves do a good job in highlighting those cases in
Paul (e.g. Gal 2:16)  where PISTIS IHSOU CRISTOU may not mean faith
IN Jesus at all, but the saving fidelity OF Jesus in going to
the cross.  It seems to me that all "Word of Faith" folks 
would be doing in Mk 11:20 is construing it as a "subjective
GENIKN," as Wallace might say, but in a different direction,
not the faithfulness of Jesus, but the sort of superhuman faith
that believers can have.  I myself would render Mk 11:20 with something
 like "Get hold of divine faith."  The thing about theologically motivated
translations is that even a broken clock is correct twice a day.
Mark L
Φωσφορος Μαρκος

--- On Sun, 6/28/09, Mitch Larramore <mitchlarramore at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Mitch Larramore <mitchlarramore at yahoo.com>
Subject: [B-Greek] Theologically motivated translation, at times
To: "B Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Sunday, June 28, 2009, 4:49 AM

I read the following short blurb by Dr. Wallace on Mark 11.22 and the reason for translating ECETE PISTIN QEOU. My question is below the blurb, and this topic is coincidental to the resent set of exchanges about GGBB's discussion of the Genitive.

Why doesn't the translation of the genitive in Mark 11:22 use the word of? How is theology used to translate this verse?
By: Daniel B. Wallace 

The Greek genitive case can be used in dozens of ways, and to leave it as simply an 'of' idea is often very misleading. For example, the genitive case is used with the comparative adjective for the idea of comparison. We would translate this something like, "His car is better THAN her car." The 'than' is the genitive word 'of.' But to translate it as 'his car is better OF her car' doesn't make any sense. In Mark 11:22, although there are a couple of valid ways to translate the text, when one is dealing with God as the object, it's difficult to think of more than one. So, yes, theology does play a part in translation, but necessarily so. There are some groups that want to translate this passage as 'Have the faith that God has' but such an idea is unparalleled anywhere else in the Bible and doesn't fit the context. 'Have faith in God' is the preferred translation and meaning.

[End of paragraph]

Is that really true that the translation "of God" is perhaps expected, but for theological reasons, "in God" is substituted? It seems strange to me to suggest that deviations from the translation "of xyz" for the Genitive may result from theological motives, especially in a "theological" book!

Mitch Larramore
Sugar Land, Texas

B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
B-Greek mailing list
B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org


More information about the B-Greek mailing list