Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

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Thursday, April 14, 2022

When Translators Cross the Line (Matt 6:13)

There is a thin line between translation and commentary. All Greek and Hebrew sentences need some level of interpretation to make sense in English, but sometimes translators go past that line and become commentators. Here are a couple examples.


Mr. Mounce, Thank you for your insights into the original language. Your blog entries are so informative and interesting! I was wondering if you might address the connection between the "gifts" that Christ was going to give to men after he ascended to heaven as Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4:8. My question is this: When the text says, "He gave gifts to men," [δόματα--accusative, plural, neuter] are these "gifts" the individuals listed in Ephesians 4:11 like the ESV says (The apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers)? Or, are the gifts the miraculous gifts given in the first century (tongues, prophesy, etc.) that the apostles, prophets, etc. would use in their preaching to confirm the word and thus build up the body of Christ? It seems odd to me that the gifts (a neuter noun) would be a reference to people listed in Eph. 4:11 as gifts themselves instead of gifts given to these men to perform the actions of Eph. 4:12-13. Also, Ephesians 4:8-16 would share many parallels to 1 Corinthians 13:8-11. So, would a neuter noun in Eph. 4:8 refer to all of the masculine nouns in Eph. 4:11?