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Monday, 6 April 2015

1 Peter 2:2--Another Calvinist mistranslation in the NIV

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation," --NIV 1973-2011

"As infants euen now borne, reasonable, milke without guile desire ye, that in it you may grow vnto saluation." --Rheims NT 1582

There are several issues here; we may as well begin with the textual issue. Most Greek NT manuscripts don't have the last 2 words of the verse, εἰς σωτηρίαν. But it's a rather slim majority, and the words are well attested in the sizable minority, with omission tending to increase rapidly toward the end of the manuscript era, when most extant manuscripts were made. Of special note is that the words ARE found in the versions, whether early, middle, or late. It would appear that theological reasons were behind transmitting a text without them--and that, even as recently as the textual selections behind the King James Version--but we'll leave such questions for another day, because even by including the variant, the CBT managed to rob it of its meaning by mistranslating it into English.

And thus we come to the translational issue: how should one translate εἰς σωτηρίαν? Well, literally, it's "unto salvation." Εἰς is a directional preposition, most often translated into in the KJV.

Here is a lexical definition:
eis (a preposition) – properly, into (unto) – literally, "motion into which" implying penetration ("unto," "union") to a particular purpose or result.

We can see that in regards to entering into salvation, 'unto' would be a more grammatically apt wording. But I'll accept 'into,' as it wouldn't make a difference either way. The vital point is that salvation is being entered through the process of craving pure metaphoric milk (the Greek literally means 'wordly,' or--idiomatically--'reasonable' or 'logical,' not 'spiritual'). "In" is an unacceptable translation, as it denotes position, not transposition.

Now, why would the CBT want to have us "grow up in our salvation" rather than "grow into salvation," maugre well-established translation principles? Clearly, this paraphrase was made for no other reason than to avoid the implication that salvation is a goal to attain rather than a state to improve. And this is an characteristically Calvinist interpretation, pressed into service under the guise of the most accurately translated English Bible possible.

Calvinism, of course, does not stand or fall upon a paraphrase of 1 Peter 2:2. It is able to twist any scripture to its ends, and this one need be no exception. So why not just translate it as it stands, and leave its (mis)interpretation up to the theologians?

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