"The New World Translation:A Reliable Bible Version? By Gary F. Zeolla, Excerpt: Ephesians 2:8,9." ?
The producer of the Analytical Literal Translation of the New Testament compares it with the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures and the following is that which you can read on a webpage which is itself an excerpt from his ebook "New World Translation: A Reliable Bible Version?" After seeing how the ALT reads and also comparing it with the NWT from the passage from Ephesians which he himself choose, we can come to only one conclusion. The NWT is far superior. The webpage as entitled above begins with quoting from 4 translations of Ephesians 2:8, 9:
"NWT: 8 By this undeserved kindness, indeed, YOU have been saved through faith; and this not owing to YOU, it is Gods gift. 9 No, it is not owing to works, in order that no man should have ground for boasting.
"KIT: 8 To the for undeserved kindness YOU are having been saved through faith; and this not out of YOU, of God the gift; 9 not out of works, in order that not someone should boast.
"NKJV: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
"ALT: 2:8 For by grace you* have been saved, through faith, and this [is] not from you*, [but is] the gift of God, 2:9 not by works, so that no one shall boast."
The folllowing comments by Zeolla upon the New World Translation at Ephesians 2:8,9 we will quote and then comment on to show the shallowness of his and, indeed, the weaknesses of his own ALT translation.
The NWT begins this verse by omitting the conjunction for. Since the NWT claims to be a literal translation, it really should translate every word, and this includes conjunctions. What Paul has just said is true because we are saved through faith. By omitting this conjunction, the NWT loses this connection between this verse and the previous verses. Conversely, the NWT adds the word indeed without indicating it has done so.
Zeolla seems to be confused as to what
constitutes a "literal" translation and, hence, is
proffering here a strawman arguement against the New World
What Zeolla is confusing is between what a word-for-word translation is/does and what a literal translation is/does! If one was to translate every word of the Greek of the 'New Testament' into one English word and also follow the Greek sentence structure then that would be a word-for-word translation. However, a literal translation of the 'New Testament' is not so bound to do so. Added to this is the fact that the New World Translation set out to be "as literal a translation as possible"(NWT, Foreword, 1950, p.9)and so the meaning of the text was more important than a literal translation when a literal translation hides the thought of the original or would not convey the thoughts of the author into modern English idiom.
However, has the NWT 'omitted' to translate the Greek co-ordinating particle 'GAR'? Not so. The Manual Greek-Lexicon of the New Testament by G. Abbott-Smith(T & T Clark, London, third edition,1937, p.88) says about this word "...contr[action] of GE ARA, verily then, hence, in truth, indeed, yea, then, why, and when giving a reason or explanation, for, the usage in NT being in general accord with that of cl[assical Greek].;.."(underlining ours). So in fact Zeolla is patently wrong in believing that the NWT 'omitted' to translate GAR and also is wrong in thinking that the NWT "adds the word "indeed"."
Similiar to the NWT we find that The Translator's New Testament(The British and Foreign Bible Society,1973) reads here: "You believed in him and have been saved. Yes![GAR]." Or The Unvarnished New Testament by A.Gaus offers "Yes[GAR], it is grace that has saved you through faith." The translation by Heinz W. Cassirer uses the same word as the New World Translation does, "indeed," but places it at the beginning by the English rendering " And indeed[GAR],it is by grace that you have been saved."-God's New Covenant, A New Testament Translation (Errdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1989.)
Otherwise, the first clause is basically the same in each version, but the clause after this has significant differences between the versions. The KIT has the very literal this not out of YOU. However, the word out of can also be rendered as of or from (Friberg's lexicon). But the word cannot mean owing to as the NWT has it. There is simply no equivalent to either of these words in the Greek text.
Again, Zeolla is wholly wrong it that which he is asserting, this time in regard to how the New World Translation has translated the Greek preposition EZ(EK) in ...KAI TOUTO OUK EZ(lit.,"out of") hUMWN as "...and this is not owing to YOU." Any look at a good Greek-English lexicon will dash this criticism! For example, Arndt and Gingrich(BAGD) states under its enty for EK: "3.d.f. of the reason which is a presupposition for something.: by reason of, as a result of, because of..." It lists examples, one of which is EK at Galations 2:16 which occurs three times. Here we find ANTHROPOS EK ERGWN NOUOU EAV MN translated word for word "man out-of(EK) works of-law if-ever not." EK, here, can be translated as, negatively(MN) "by doing" as the New Revised Standard Version . Note how the New International Version understands the meaning of EK here by translating "by observing" three times. It appears Zoella is wholly ignorant of the uses that the Greek NT authors could employ it and that it often means, in English, more than "of" or "from." His very own translation then can only be described as 'wanting' in regard to this at least.
The Revised Standard Version renders KAI TOUTO OUK EZ hUMWN at Ephesian 2:8 as "and this is not your own doing,.."(See also the New Revised Standard Version of 1989 which reads exactly the same)
William Barclay offfers the 'paraphrase "..The whole process comes from nothing that we have done or could do." C.B.Williams has "...you have done."- The New Testament in the Language of the People. Goodspeed has "your own action.."-The Bible, An American Translation
Next the NWT has Gods gift rather than the gift of God. Now it has been mentioned previously that it can be very legitimate to omit the definite article when it is not necessary in English. But in this case, there is a point to the article. It is not just any gift from God that is being referred to but a very specific gift. And the article indicates this specificity.
The New World Translation is right here
to have it read "God's gift" for the Greek word order
here, QEOU TO DWRON, literally "of God the gift" is
emphasising not the 'specificality' of the gift but that
it was God's gift and this is somewhat lost in the
"the gift of God" rendering. Even with the addition of
["but is"] before "the gift of God" has not
helped to bring the correct emphasis out. The New Interpreters
Bible correctly informs us that "Verse 8b underlines the
fact that salvation is entirely God's gift, not the
result of human effort."(italics ours)
It is not surprising then to find that the Revised English Bible(1989) also has "It is God's gift" at this place. Kenneth Wuest in his The New Testament: An Expanded Translation translates it "of God it is the gift." Note that the emphasis is on the giver of the gift not the gift itself. Given the emphatic position of QEOU and the context, this is undoubtedly correct.
Verse nine is a phrase, but the NWT has turned it into a complete sentence. To do so requires the NWT to add the words it is, which again, are not bracketed. Also not bracketed is the added interjection No. And once again, the NWT has the impossible owing to.
We have already shown that "owing to " is not "impossible" but rightly brings out the apostles meaning which meaning the ALT is sorely wanting! Supplying the word "No" and "it is" and without brackets is something that all translations do from time to time when the need is there to bring out the meaning or force of the authors words.
The NWT ends this passage with should have ground for boasting instead of the simple should boast of the other three versions. The word here is a verb in the subjunctive mood, but the NWT has changed it into a noun phrase. This change required the NWT to add the verb have, which once again is not bracketed.
It is true that KAUXHSHAI "boast" is
in the subjunctive mood here but this is the very reason why the New
World Translation employs the transitive verb "have"!
When a verb is in the subjunctive it is not asserting absolutely,
"should boast," negatively(MH "not"), for
that would be if it were in the indicative but as it is in the
subjunctive it is conditionally that Christians, negatively(MH
"not")in this case "should boast". This is a
purpose clause we have here.
Hence we find the Revised English Bible (1989) renders "There is nothing for anyone to boast of." Or we have the Translators New Testament rendering "so there is nothing to boast about."
The Expositor's Greek Testament comments at this place "....That the glory[or "boasting"]of that salvation belongs wholly to God and in no degree to man, and that it has been so planned and so effected as to take from us all ground for boasting, is enforced on Paul's hearers again and again.." Vol.3, p.289.(italics ours)
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