Romans 6:17 – TNIV vs HCSB vs ESV vs NRSV

Here’s a comparison of Romans 6:17 between four major translations. I was studying this for my sermon preparation and found this interesting difference.

Romans 6:17

TNIV:
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.

HCSB:
But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to,

ESV:
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,

NRSV:
But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted,

v. 17: the rendering in the HCSB and NRSV seems to most accurately render the definition of παρεδοθητε (paredothēte, entrusted). The word paredothēte conveys the idea that this teaching has been entrusted to the receiver, or given over or delivered to someone else’s hands. Both HCSB and NRSV rendering of “entrusted” accurately expresses this idea that something is handed over or delivered to another’s hands. The idea expressed in the ESV is still accurate but might be misinterpreted as to whom, and from whom, this pattern of teaching has been committed to. TNIV’s rendering of “claimed your allegiance” can also be misinterpreted to mean that the receiver of this teaching is the one who has actively committed oneself over to Paul’s teaching. This may be true but it is not what the text is necessarily saying. I prefer the NIV’s rendering of “entrusted.”

Also, ESV’s rendering of “standard of teaching” is a little different from the others. The Greek word τυπον (tupon, pattern or model) expresses the idea of the use of an example or a model that has a mark or impression and can be used as an exemplar. I prefer HCSB and TNIV’s use of “pattern”, and NRSV’s use of “form” is also good.

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

11 thoughts on “Romans 6:17 – TNIV vs HCSB vs ESV vs NRSV”

  1. Kevin, this is a good comparison. You’re correct about the TNIV’s rendering. I favor the NIV on this one. “Entrusted to you” is really the sense of the Greek text. But the TNIV’s gloss is not too bad when we think about the context of slavery.

    The ESV has change the passive paredothēte to a middle, losing the sense of “entrusted to.”

    The more and more I think about the TNIV’s rendering I’m favoring it more, because of the context of slavery. Just something to ponder, I guess.

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  2. I love looking at Scripture through several translations. This has been such a blessing.

    I particularly like the REB in this verse: Once you were slaves of sin, but now, thank God, you have yielded wholehearted obedience to that pattern of teaching to which you were made subject.

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  3. @TC, it’s funny how only a slight difference can sometimes make a big difference in how the reader can understand theology. Despite this oversight by TNIV translators, it’s still a very accurate translation and I still love the TNIV. Overall, with what has been fixed up, the pros still far outweighs the cons.

    But I have to give credit to the HCSB. Being that it’s still the first edition, and the TNIV has been in the translation game for so much longer (30 years) than HCSB, it’s a great first edition, and it’ll get even better.

    @Stan, the REB is so easy to read. Its rendering of “made subject” is slightly different from the original Greek meaning. But it’s still better than how TNIV’s rendered it.

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  4. I like the simplicity of the NLTse:

    “Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.”

    Romans is so much easier to understand in this version. I once tried to read Romans in the NASB, and I almost threw my Bible across the room because I was so frustrated.

    Literal is not always accurate.

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  5. Nothingman, yes I really like NLT’s rendering of this verse. It’s much easier to read and understand, and yet, it’s totally accurate, even more so than TNIV and ESV. That’s why I’m really impressed with the NLT. It’s my favorite dynamic translation.

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  6. Kevin, I hope this does not disappoint you, but the HCSB second edition translates it like this:

    thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, Romans 6:17 (HCSB-2ed)

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  7. I work in an industry in which Codes and Standards are the highest level of authority. Maybe for this reason the ESV rendering is less an issue for me.

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  8. I work in an industry where Codes and Standards are the highest level of authority. Maybe for this reason I do not find the ESV rendering as much an issue.

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