Another Translation Poll: The Results

Okay here are the translations I used for 1 Corinthians 1.28:

A) God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are (ESV)

B) He chose what the world looks down on and despises, and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important.(GNB)

C) God has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things—the things viewed as nothing—so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, (HCSB)

D) And God chose what is insignificant in the world, what is despised, what is nothing, in order to destroy what is something (ISV)

E) God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something (NET)

F) and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are (NASB)

G) God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, ([T]NIV)

The vote results were:

8 B’s

1 C/E

Interestingly enough, nobody went with this “traditional” rendering here, which is represented by the ESV, NASB, & [T]NIV. And the not/are language comes directly from the KJV. It seems to me that while many people don’t like the Good News translation for its simplicity, when other translations fail to be good English, it comes through quite clear.

Here’s my suggested rendering:

God chose the insignificant and despised of the world, what the world gives no value, to make worthless what the world views as valuable.

And I welcome everyone else to give a suggestion as well. Please do! Kurk can even copy and paste his here, if he’d like.

7 thoughts on “Another Translation Poll: The Results

Add yours

  1. Ouch. We’re all so alike. And I jumped the gun (but I was always so fast with cutting and pasting in kindergarten).

    Mike, On a suggested rendering, really (with all your w‘s and vs inter-playing): what you said!

  2. I’ve found these exercises to be pretty interesting. I wonder how much I take my notions about a translation into account when I look at a verse. Certainly the GNB has more of a stigma to me than any of the other translations listed above.

    I’ve started coming to the conclusion that what I would prefer most in an English translation is one that uses my current language, but at a college reading level. Probably something that is a mix of the REB, HCSB, TNIV, and GNB.

    I recently acquired a catholic version of the GNB (w/ Deutero.) for $5 and it has some really cool line drawings in it. I’ve only just started reading it to my daughter and it’s been different. Not good or bad different, just not what I’m used to. Looks like it’s going into my rotation for translation comparisons now.

  3. I don’t like the “of” in “the insignificant and despised of the world”. Do you mean the insignificant and despised parts of the world, or what the world considers insignificant and despised? Some of the published translations are ambiguous on this one too. As for which is correct – for that we have to look at the Greek!

    Also “so that he might” seems wordy, convoluted and high level language when it can be replaced simply by “to”.

  4. I’ll give you the second one on the “to” versus the “so that” (particularly since the very next verse would begin with a “so that”), but I’m not surrendering my prepositional phrase! I think the Greek is ambiguous:
    καὶ τὰ ἀγενῆ τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὰ ἐξουθενημένα ἐξελέξατο ὁ θεός

    By the way, this is 1 Corinthians 1.28, in case anyone was wondering.

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