Bible Concepts or Analogies Obfuscated
Additionally, the NIV frequently interjects novel and even questionable concepts, such as the routine exchanges of capstone for cornerstone throughout the New Testament. Archeology has confirmed that biblical writers most certainly had a foundation stone in their mind. “Behold, I lay in Zion for a FOUNDATION stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure FOUNDATION” Isaiah 28:16. “And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for FOUNDATIONS; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the Lord” Jeremiah 51:26. UPON this rock I will build my church” Matthew 16:18. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house UPON a rock”Matthew 7:24 and Luke 6:48. Repeatedly, biblical writers use the word “foundation” or “upon” or other words that reasonably create an image of this stone being “underneath” a structure. No where in the New Testament do there appear words distinctively linking the past ministry of Jesus or the future ministry of the Church with the TOP of a wall (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 3:10-12, 1 Timothy 6:19). No other translation has followed the NIV. In fact, the new TNIV has changed each instance back to Cornerstone.
|In most of the New Testament, we discover the literal Greek words KEPHALEN GONIAS or “head of the corner” (excluding Ephesians).|
Matthew 21:42 - KJV Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read PHILLIPS Head of the Corner in the scriptures, The stone which the NASV Chief Corner Stone builders rejected, the same is become the NRSV Cornerstone head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, EVS Cornerstone and it is marvelous in our eyes? NIV Capstone Mark 12:10 - KJV And have ye not read this scripture; The PHILLIPS Head of the Corner stone which the builders rejected is become NASV Chief Corner Stone the head of the corner. NRSV Cornerstone EVS Cornerstone NIV Capstone Luke 20:17 - KJV And he beheld them, and said, What is PHILLIPS Head of the Corner this then that is written, The stone NASV Chief Corner Stone which the builders rejected, the same NRSV Cornerstone is become the head of the corner? EVS Cornerstone NIV Capstone Acts 4:11 - KJV This is the stone which was set at nought PHILLIPS Head of the Corner of you builders, which is become the NASV Corner Stone head of the corner. NRSV Cornerstone EVS Cornerstone NIV Capstone Ephesians 2:20 - KJV And are built upon the foundation of the PHILLIPS Corner-stone apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself NASV Corner Stone being the chief corner stone. NRSV Cornerstone EVS Cornerstone NIV Corner stone 1 Peter 2:7 - KJV Unto you therefore which believe he is PHILLIPS Head of the Corner precious: but unto them which be disobedient, NASV Corner Stone the stone which the builders disallowed, the NRSV Head of the corner same is made the head of the corner. EVS Cornerstone NIV Capstone
Actually these were stone pads in the building’s foundation, directly underneath the corner of intersecting walls. Field stone was used to construct the walls of most smaller buildings, and being the most unstable at corners, these pads helped to insure the building’s integrity. Here is the analogy. These pads held the weight, interlocked the walls, and provided stability for the entire building and precisely describe Christ’s relationship to the church; for He undergirds the church, interlocks the members, and provides stability for their faith. However, a capstone is a crown block which rests on the top of a wall. It undergirds nothing, interlocks nothing, and could be removed without affecting the integrity of the building whatsoever. The NIV has ruined the very analogy that the biblical writers were trying to make.
Characteristic of Biblical Writers & NIV Jesus Foundation Stone Capstone ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- INVISIBLE in Heaven INVISIBLE in the ground Visible on top SUPPORTS the church SUPPORTS the building Nothing is supported INTERLOCKS members INTERLOCKS adjacent walls Interlocks nothing (if removed) (if removed) (if removed) Church collapses Building collapses Nothing changes
This writer has seen numerous ancient building particulars in the ruins of archeological digs while traveling in the Middle East and is convinced that biblical writers of both Testaments had a foundation stone in mind – not a crown block. Hymn authors understood this foundational undergirding analogy, for their titles and verses have captured this same essence of Christ in their hymns: The Churches One Foundation by Samuel J. Stone, How Firm A Foundation by George Keith, and the powerful Christ Is Made A Sure Foundation, a 7th century Latin hymn translated by John M. Neale. This textual alteration may be of little consequence to novice readers or those who delight in innovation, but it does sadly push the envelope for serious biblical study, because the precise analogy of the biblical writers has been obfuscated.
These numerous examples do not mean that the NIV Committee was not seriously endeavoring to produce a more readable and understandable version, but the point herein to be made is the real danger of crossing that line between literalness and interpretation where there remains no inherent guard rail to restrain one from allowing the text to reflect theological disposition, presumption, or imagination. It requires an extra amount of caution on a leash to successfully use this methodology.
Robert L. Thomas (see bibliography) pleasingly demonstrates that serious translation often uses Equivalence as a system of hermeneutical interpretation and exegesis whereas Nida emphatically separated each methodology. Thomas further contends that Equivalence and exegesis frequently overlap, and offers adequate explanation, such as: De Waard and Nida object to formal-equivalence renderings ofPsalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” by stating flatly, “want no longer means to lack but rather to desire.” In contrast, contemporary dictionaries give the intransitive verb “want” a first meaning of “lack” or “have a need,” exactly what the psalmist intended to say. Rather than correcting the formal-equivalence translators, the linguistic specialists should have acknowledged the legitimacy of their word choice. They would also have been more credible if they had prefaced their critical remark with “in our sphere of knowledge” or “according to our judgment,” but to say without qualification “want no longer means to lack” raises questions about their judgment in general.
Dynamic Equivalence can be a helpful method when exercised with caution and respect, otherwise, unguarded attempts to explain result not only in misunderstanding, but as Jerome stated above concerning scribal activity, translators blend and mix their own guesswork. Paraphrase on the other hand is mostly conjecture, and readers must clearly understand this fact or the opinions of the translator may be construed to be the language of the Divine.
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