Tag Archives: bible

Translation Tuesdays: 1 John 1-7

trasltuesheaderHey all! Today begins Translation Tuesdays, starting with 1 John 1-7. I’m excited for this series; it should last until the end of April, when my class is finally over and we turn in our translation notebooks. I hope we can learn more about scripture together! Here’s to remembering to post and actually getting my homework done! Don’t you just love it when you can do two things at once? But enough of that. Onward, my dear readers!

The Translation Notebook

Part of my grade is being something I’m not very often—organized. We weren’t given much to go on except “a notebook,” so being me, I went to the campus bookstore the next day and picked up a plain jane spiral notebook. (Don’t go to your campus bookstore without an arm and a leg for cash…)

1 John 1:1

1 John 1:1

I even color-coded! The Greek is in pink, my final translation is in blue, and the NRSV text is purple. I made the verse numbers orange and I’m using green to write the assignments. (Hey, I finally found a use for my mountain of pens!) I’m hoping that maybe, once we’ve translated and corrected everything, I’ll be able to transcribe everything in a nicer notebook to keep. A good way to memorize 1 John, yeah?

The Translation

I have a newfound respect for Bible translators. This first assignment wasn’t too bad—not a lot of new words or odd constructions—but I still struggled. Like in verse five, the Greek reads, “Καὶ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ ἀγγελία ἣν ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν καὶ σκοτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδεμία.”

This verse is one of my favorites in the New Testament, but boy is it confusing in Greek! I’m okay up until “ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν,” and then it gets really weird. Greek is odd because it doesn’t matter what order the words are in as much as what case the words are in. So “σκοτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδεμία” literally reads, “darkness in him not is nothing.” (As best as I can tell anyway.)

But this is where you get one of those cool Greek emphasis things going on, so what it’s really saying is, “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” (NRSV) “οὐδεμία” can mean nothing, but it’s really a giant underscore yelling, “No darkness, period. ” Language nerd happiness!

The same thing happens in verse four, which in the NRSV reads, ‘We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” The English doesn’t translate “ἡμεῖς,” which I think is there for emphasis. As if the verse were saying, “Yes, we are writing these things—us the apostles.” With all the false prophets going around, I can see why they’d write this way. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if I got it right in class today.

Thanks for reading everyone! I hope that was an informative, fun post for you all! Tell me what you think. What would you like to see in Translation Tuesdays? Also, here’s a Pronunciation Guide for the Greek; I think we are using the Erasmian pronunciation in my class. Have a great week—1 John and I will see you next Tuesday!

In His Sacred Heart,

Erica

Psalm Saturday: Psalm 12

It's Saturday! Call your Mom!

It’s Saturday! Call your Mom!

Hello all! Here we are on another lovely Saturday morning. Today we explore Psalm 12, a ‘Plea for Help in Evil Times.” I love psalms like this one—so often I think we get in the habit of reading the Psalms as a part of the Bible, but these were the prayers of the Israelites, sung and brought before God in His temple. Right now, I think this is my prayer, too. Continue reading

Translation Tuesdays Start Next Week!

Dear readers, I know that I don’t post often—my dismal statistics usually reflect it, too. Part of my ongoing “I want to be organized!” crusade is trying to come up with new topics to write about on a weekly basis. Thankfully, life managed to be helpful this time, and I have something for you!

I’m currently taking Koine Greek II as an elective, and we’re finally starting our semester project—translating 1 John. (Excuse me while my inner language nerd does a happy dance…) Starting next Tuesday, I’ll be sharing my progress with you. Nothing like a little motivation to get work done, right?

1 John is so full of great verses… Well so is the rest of Scripture, but you get my point. I’m so excited for this! Hopefully I can come up with a more snazzy name and have everything thought out before next week sneaks up on me…

Well, that’s all for know. I leave you with my Scripture for the day, “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”—Hebrews 4:12

In His Sacred Heart,

Erica

Sunday Gospel Reflections: A Grain of Wheat

wheat-fieldToday’s Gospel reading gives some of my favorite Christ imagery—Jesus as a grain of wheat. As Catholics we understand Christ’s continual bread allusions as pointing toward the Eucharist, toward the Bread of Life we consume at every Mass. This Gospel is also a reminder of the reality of the sacrificial nature of Mass, where we are at the foot of Jesus’ cross. Continue reading

Psalm Saturday: Psalm 10

Hello everyone! I know its been a while since I checked in; that Spring Break writing bonanza I promised fizzed out when family problems came up. Say a quick prayer for my parents, especially my dad. He’s going through a rough spot right now. To tone down the depressing situation and make up for some lost time, why don’t we compare the Psalm from last week, “A Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies?”

Psalm 10: A Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor—
let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
3 For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart,
those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord.
4 In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”;
all their thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 Their ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of their sight;
as for their foes, they scoff at them.
6 They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved;
throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.”
7 Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.
8 They sit in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places they murder the innocent.
Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
9 they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert;
they lurk that they may seize the poor;
they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.
10 They stoop, they crouch,
and the helpless fall by their might.
11 They think in their heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
12 Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
do not forget the oppressed.
13 Why do the wicked renounce God,
and say in their hearts, “You will not call us to account”?
14 But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief,
that you may take it into your hands;
the helpless commit themselves to you;
you have been the helper of the orphan.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers;
seek out their wickedness until you find none.
16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations shall perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek;
you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
18 to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that those from earth may strike terror no more.
Why dost thou stand afar off, O Lord?
Why dost thou hide thyself in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his heart,
and the man greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
4 In the pride of his countenance the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 His ways prosper at all times;
thy judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
6 He thinks in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
7 His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
8 He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the hapless,
9 he lurks in secret like a lion in his covert;
he lurks that he may seize the poor,
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The hapless is crushed, sinks down,
and falls by his might.
11 He thinks in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up thy hand;
forget not the afflicted.
13 Why does the wicked renounce God,
and say in his heart, “Thou wilt not call to account”?
14 Thou dost see; yea, thou dost note trouble and vexation,
that thou mayst take it into thy hands;
the hapless commits himself to thee;
thou hast been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break thou the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
seek out his wickedness till thou find none.
16 The Lord is king for ever and ever;
the nations shall perish from his land.
17 O Lord, thou wilt hear the desire of the meek;
thou wilt strengthen their heart, thou wilt incline thy ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

I’m not sure why our table is misbehaving… Onward, I suppose. Our first difference is in verse two, where the NRSV uses “persecute” over the RSV’s “hotly pursue.” I think “persecute” is very easy to understand, but I love the way “hotly pursue” sounds, and the image it creates. It’s something to think about today, when it seems everyone is “after” God’s people in relentless pursuit.

Verse four is an interesting example of the NRSV’s tendency to use direct quotes for a speakers thoughts—I really like this. But I wonder, does this translation overstep a boundary? The RSV seems to be saying something different. I think the NRSV is trying to convey the same idea—wicked men don’t care about a supposedly non-existent God. I’d be curious if any readers familiar with Hebrew could weigh in on this issue.

In verse five, the RSV uses “puff,” while the NRSV uses “scoff”—archaisms for the win! I think of an angry chicken with his feathers all ruffled when I read this… Further down in verse nine, the NRSV makes a comeback with the nice “drag” imagery; I think this adds to the “violent guy” vibe we’re supposed to be getting more than the “draws” does.

Verse ten again seems to have meaning differences and I’m not sure why. Overall, I think this is still a great example of the NRSV’s elimination of “biblish”; even though I’m used to seeing archaic language on a daily basis, sometimes it makes my head spin!

Archaic language or no, we can all at least be thankful that we have a just God who sees and knows all; even in the midst of injustice we can have peace, because we know the God of justice will have the final say. Praise Him forever and ever!

In His Sacred Heart,

Erica

I know I’m a psalm behind! I’ve been very sick and it has been difficult to get back on track with all that’s going on! The double-header Psalm Saturday continues tomorrow, followed by a Gospel reflection! God bless you all for your patience!