Mediating translations 2.1 – 1 Timothy 3:11

On this first comparison, I’m looking closely at a single verse: 1 Timothy 3:11.

NIV 2011:
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
CEB:
In the same way, women who are servants in the church should be dignified and not gossip. They should be sober and faithful in everything they do.
HCSB:
Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.
NET:
Likewise also their wives must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect.
NJB:
Similarly, women must be respectable, not gossips, but sober and wholly reliable.

In the original Greek, the word used for woman or wives is gune (γυνή).  This word could be used for either virgin, engaged, married, or widowed. The CSB and NET tend to be a conservative interpretation in its rendering of “wives”.  “Woman” seems less interpretive but there is a strong reason that it may be referring to the wives of deacons because the next verse begins by speaking about being a husband to one wife and who manage their children and family properly.

The CEB’s rendering of “women who are servants in the church” is very interpretive and is an attempt to give credence to the office of female deacons in church leadership.  I don’t believe this is an accurate rendering of the word gune and it is not the right place to make such an interpretation.

The NIV 2011 has made a change from the NIV 1984 from: “their wives are to be women worthy of respect…”  This is a good change and moves away from interpretation.

The word “slander” is very different from “gossip”. The word used is diabolos (διάβολος), which means the devil or the accuser in English is translated as: false accuser, devil, or slanderer.  I prefer “slanderer” over “gossip”.

The choice between the words temperate or sober, I think I prefer sober because the Greek word nēphaleos actually means sober or may be circumspectively sober.  Temperate is no longer used and has lost its contemporary meaning.  It was used by the “temperance society”.  I don’t think we need to be afraid of implying that women may use some alcohol but “temperate evangelicals” will tend to stay away from this, and therefore, prefer temperate.

Between “worthy of respect” and “dignified”, I think I prefer the former because “dignified” carries a hint of distinction and highbrowedness.  Worthy of respect or honor should come from character rather than how one carries one’s own appearance.

“pistos en pas” is directly translated as faithful in all things.  The first four translations do this.

All five translations are accurate but I will call NIV 2011 the winner on this verse of 1 Timothy 3:11.  Then follows NET, NJB, HCSB, and then CEB.

See also: The search begins | #1: 1 Tim.3:11 |

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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.

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