Colossians Translation Comparisons – 1

As is usual practice, before reading through a commentary I like to slowly and carefully read through the book of the Bible. The next one is Colossians. Since I’m evaluating the HCSB I decided to use that along with my regular NRSV. Then I decided to add the Lattimore and then looked something up in TNIV and decided to add that too. Colossians is a short book that I like a lot so this is a good time to do this and I always get a lot out of it.

When reading v. 5, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven seems disjointed and it wasn’t clear to me exactly how that relates. NRSV is typical of all the other translations I looked at, even in addition to the four, except for TNIV.

Colossians 1:3-6 NRSV
In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you.

TNIV “explains” this:

Colossians 1:3-6 TNIV
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all his people– 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true word of the gospel 6 that has come to you.

But is it too much of a commentary on the passage?

7 Responses to “Colossians Translation Comparisons – 1”


  1. 1 ElShaddai Edwards

    For what it’s worth, the REB is similar to the TNIV:

    In all our prayers to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we thank him for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love you bear towards all God’s people; both spring from that hope stored up for you in heaven of which you learned when the message of the true gospel first came to you.

    So the question is regarding “spring from”. The IVP commentary on BibleGateway.com says:

    The NIV’s loose translation of the difficult phrase dia ten elpida, “for the sake of hope,” correctly indicates that faith and love are the effective yield of hope: faith and love . . . spring from hope. This should not seem remarkable to us (cf. Moule 1968:49), even though we might expect Paul to view faith or love as the ground of hope. He does speak elsewhere about the impossibility of a hopeless faith (1 Cor 15:12-19) or a hopeless love (1 Thess 3:12-13), and in 1 Thessalonians he combines faith and love to make hope their common foundation (1 Thess 1:3; cf. 5:8).

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    I wish the REB was online somewhere. I suppose I’ll have to buy one. I also want an NLT. Too much stuff to buy.

    Thank you for looking up the commentary.
    Jeff

  3. 3 Nathan Stitt

    The REB and NEB are great translations and worth owning. If there is a used bookstore near you there is a good chance they’ve got a NEB available second hand. I already have a NLT, however it is the 1996 edition. After the recent discussion on TC’s blog I’m going to pick up the NLTse on Saturday when I’m near the bookstore. There is a hardback copy that is only $12 or so, that is nice enough for comparison work. While I’m at it, I’m also going to be on the lookout for a CEV. David Ker over at Lingamish has recommended it quite frequently and it’s about time I get myself a copy of that.

  4. 4 Bryan

    Yeah, so I just typed out a long response quoting O’Brien and Wright, in favor of my translation on my site.

    Then your blog ate it because I forgot to allow javascript.

    So… basically I’ll paraphrase:

    “I agree with the TNIV, although the RSV maintains the ambiguity of the original.”

    Citations:
    O’Brien, Colossians-Philemon, WBC.
    Wright, Colossians and Philemon, TNTC.

  5. 5 Bryan

    A few more thoughts-

    Basically, I take the dia, (“through,” “because of”) as modifying “which you have” in the previous verse.

    The relative pronoun “which,” has “love” as its antecedent:
    “The love which you have” – So here, we find that “hope” is connected to the “love which you have” by the preposition “dia,” as I said above.

    Going backwards a bit more, we see that the “love” is connected to “faith” with a simple conjunction, “and.”

    This gives us that their faith AND love are “because of” hope. In other words, they come from, or “spring from” hope.

  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    Sorry about that Brian. I wasn’t aware that JavaScript was needed to post a reply.

    Thanks for the second reply. I know you’ve been working on Colossians and that’s very helpful.
    Jeff

  7. 7 TCR

    I totally agree with Bryan on this one. Besides, every translation has some sort of “commentary” to make sense to the reader. It’s the nature of translating.

    The TNIV is the clear winner here.

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