The Results: Part One

I put up five translations last night of 1 Tim 6.10, asking which one sounded the most natural. Here they are again with their respective abbreviations:

A) New International Version – “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. #Some people, eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”

B) King James Version – “#For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

C) New Century Version – “For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. #Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows.”

D) Good News – “The love of money causes all kinds of evil. Some people have left the faith, because they wanted to get more money, but they have caused themselves much sorrow.”

E) NET – “For the love of money is the root of all evils. #Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.”

Everyone voted for either the NCV or the GNB.

But I think Esteban’s words were the best:

But I can’t help the feeling that there should be another option; something between B and C.

I don’t think any of these translations are very good quality either. I cannot at all stand the phrase, “pierced themselves through with many sorrows/griefs.” That is not English, not even close. And while I find D’s “they have caused themselves much sorrow,” to be infinitely better, I also cannot stand their use of the word “get.” That word is meaningless. Its semantically hollow. I taught ESL to Jewish Russian senior citizens about a year ago. One of them, Carl, told me that the piece of advice about English that he regarded the most helpful for him was when someone suggested that whenever he could not remember what verb to use to simply use “get” and he would be understood. The scary thing is that its generally true. But “get” is very poor written English – very poor. 

Anyway, “C” is probably my favorite, but I would still change it. I think that “…they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows” is still semantically ill formed. Its not natural English to have “sorrows” be the instrument for anything – definitely not breaking. All the translations except the GNB maintain the syntax o this phrase by keeping sorrows & griefs as the instrument that breaks & pierces. Its about as coherent as saying, “John drank his sandwich and took a big bit out of his coffee” or “My pencil doesn’t know how to spell that word.”

But this is the question:

How would you render this verse? Would maintain the “pierce themselves”? Would you try to find an English idiom to replace it? Or would you translate the meaning in concrete language?

So that’s the call! Give me your translation in English! Even if you don’t know Greek! How you change the verse to make it more natural sounding? And why?

12 thoughts on “The Results: Part One

Add yours

  1. “For the love of money leads to all sorts of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have left the faith, causing themselves much sorrow”

    I left in the “for” because I would want to keep the link between verse 10 and 9, where verse 10 seems to be a ground for verse 9. I basically combined C and D.

    As I said earlier, I do appreciate the use of “pierce” or “stabbing” because I have felt sorrow before that seemed to “pierce my very being.” The problem is, if someone hasn’t experienced that, it is hard to explain. Since it is hard to explain, I went with D’s rendering, though, my preferred personal translation would have it.

  2. Excellent! Bryan, I’m glad that the imagery does speak to someone and I’m sure there are others who resonate with it. Its just not a common idiom to my mind.

  3. How about Weust’s expanded translation:

    for a root of all the evils is the fondness for money, which certain ones, bending their every effort to grasp, have been led astray from the Faith and have pierced themselves through with many consuming griefs.

    I don’t know about you, but I know that that’s the way I always talk. 😉

    Plus it has the added bonus of getting rid of ‘get’ and replacing it with ‘grasp’ 🙂

  4. Oh, I agree. I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, it just resonated when I read it. I don’t think many people would use it.

  5. “And the love of money is behind all sorts of evil. Because some have craved getting rich, they have departed from the faith and have caused deep anguish within themselves.”

    I’m not quite satisfied with that but it’s the best I can do for now.

    Is this use of And at the beginning of a sentence bad English?

  6. I’ve always thought you sounded like Wuest, Nick.

    Jeff, no. Its not bad English. Its okay to use conjunctions to begin sentences and even paragraphs to draw out emphasis or contrast with what you’re saying.

  7. Here’s my English from some others’ ancient Greek:

    “A root of all the bad things, in fact, is the affection for silver, which causes some climbing for it to wander from the belief [in God], and they themselves are driven around by many regrets.”

  8. Very interesting, more fun not knowing the translation up front. I’m still wrapping my head around a direct translation and haven’t come to my own conclusion yet. However, I do prefer the HCSB to my choice of C earlier:

    “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”

  9. I also don’t have as much of a problem with the “piercing” language, so here’s my stab at it (terrible pun intended):

    “For the love of money motivates all kinds of evil. Some, because they desired that love, have strayed from the faith and impaled themselves upon much sorrow.”

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