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?