Home Up FAQs Contact Us Terms of UseToo Much Lettuce

Up Introduction Alliteration An Ode to Love Can Faith Save? Good Citizens Good Giving Mustering Mystery On Poets & Liars Poetry in the ISV Press On? Sloppy Agape Teachable? The Disciple Too Much Lettuce Whom Sweet Whom Conclusion

Musings -- A Continuing Series of Comments on Specific Translation Issues within the International Standard Version New Testament

by Dr. David Alan Black

"So great is the force of established usage that even acknowledged corruptions please the greater part, for they prefer to have their copies pretty rather than accurate."

Jerome

drblack.jpg (5141 bytes)
Dr. David Alan Black
Associate Editor
, ISV NT

Too Much Lettuce?

Let’s talk about vegetables first. Lettuce to be exact. The NIV has three "let us"s in Hebrews 12:1-2, two more than the original Greek has. Even the NASB has two "let us"s—one more than the original author wrote. The national security of the United States may not depend on this issue, but accuracy is, after all, the goal of every translator. If the passage contains only one explicit command—only one "lettuce" if you will—shouldn’t that be reflected in translation?

Hebrews 12:1-2 form a single sentence in the Greek. The main clause is "let us keep on running," which is qualified by three dependent clauses introduced by "having," "throwing off," and "looking off." Rendering the last two clauses with "let us" is grammatically permissible but causes certain problems, for such a rendering would suggest that they carry the same weight as the main clause. In other words, while it is true that we are to throw off what hinders us and look off to Christ, the main command—and the only real "lettuce"—remains "let us keep on running," and this should be reflected in translation:

Therefore, having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles us, let us keep on running with endurance the race set before us, looking off to Jesus, the Founder and Finisher of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Now, how can this bring clarity to Bible study? One way is in terms of constructing an outline for teaching or preaching. The following analysis of Hebrews 12:1-2 demonstrates how we can get in touch with the text through an awareness of its structure:

Therefore,

let us keep on running with endurance the race set before us

having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and

throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles us,

looking off to Jesus, the Founder and Finisher of faith.

Here the basic thought units jump out like the white lines on a football field. The theme is brought out to the left, while the more subordinated ideas cluster to the right.

We can immediately see the author’s main point— running the race with endurance—as well as his qualifications of the "race":

  1. By knowing that others have finished the race the present generation of runners can expect to complete it;

  2. No runner, however, can hope to attain the goal without an abhorrence of personal sin; and

  3. The runner must look to Jesus, "the Pioneer and Perfector of faith."

By reducing these elements to an outline, we can move directly from analysis to presentation:

Text: Hebrews 12:1-2

Title: Run to Win!

Theme: The Christian is called on to follow the example of Christ into a life of submission and obedience ("let us keep on running with endurance")

Outline:

I. Our Encouragement ("having so vast a cloud of witnesses")

II. Our Entanglements ("throwing off everything that hinders us")

III. Our Example ("looking off to Jesus")

This simple outline clearly demonstrates how by analyzing the text of the ISV one can move from theory to practice.

But you can’t get there without just the right amount of lettuce.

Introduction Poetry Lettuce? Press on? Good Giving Good Citizens Can Faith Save? On Poets & Liars An Ode to Love The Disciple Teachable? Sloppy Agape Mustering Mystery Alliteration Whom Sweet Whom Conclusion

This website and its images are copyright 1998-2010 by Davidson Press, Inc. Essays by Dr. Paul Eidelberg are copyright 2005-2010 by the author. All rights reserved internationally. This website was last updated on Monday, 11 February 2008. Direct inquiries about website issues to webmaster@davidsonpress.com