Monday, March 30, 2009

Study Bible Notes Compared 5: John 1:16

This time I’m going to do something a little different. All my previous posts have focused only on the notes of particular study Bibles. This week I will look at the translations also. The NLT reads “From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” (Note how different the first part differs from the first edition of the NLT “We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us—one gracious blessing after another.”) The ESV reads “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” The NIV reads “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” The NET Bible reads “For we have all received from his fullness one gracious gift after another.” The TNIV reads “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” The phrase in question is the last part which reads literally “grace instead of grace.” The NET Bible note shows three different interpretations: “1) love (grace) under the New Covenant in place of love (grace) under the Sinai Covenant, thus replacement; 2) grace ‘on top of’ grace, thus accumulation; 3) grace corresponding to grace, thus correspondence” (en loc). They note that the second interpretation is the most popular and it is also the one they favor. The NLT Study Bible gives this note: “Or received the grace of Christ rather than the grace of the law; a literal translation is received grace upon grace.” The ESV Study Bible combines the note to cover vv. 16&17. The note favors the first interpretation as given in the NET Bible. I like the coverage in the NET Bible though I favor the first interpretation myself. None of the other study Bibles noted the difference. But here is a curiosity I found in the TNIV Study Bible. You can see that the TNIV is the only translation that adopts the first interpretation in its translation which is a change from the NIV. But the notes in the NIV Study Bible and the TNIV Study Bible are exactly the same. So the note reads in the TNIV Study Bible: “grace in place of grace already given. To the blessing that came through Moses has been added the greater blessing that has come through Jesus (see v. 17; see also Heb 1:1-4 and notes).” This note suits the NIV translation well but does not quite go along with the text of the TNIV. I have found this in one other place. Notice the difference between the TNIV and the NIV in Mark 1:41 (NIV = Jesus is compassionate; TNIV = Jesus is indignant, but the note is the same which comments on Jesus’ compassion). To be sure, these are not major problems but it does show the difficulty in just transferring a set on notes designed for one translation to a different translation.

1 comment:

inchristus said...

Okay....who's the editor of the TNIV? Just kidding ;->.

Thanks for pointing this out. I like the TNIV over all due to the inclusive language, but use ESV, NASB, NIV, and NLT as well.