A question about Greek and translation

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Carmen Gauvin-O'Donnell | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, May 23 2022 3:06 AM

Hey folks, I have never studied Greek or Hebrew or anything so I am very grateful for Logos' language tools. But here's where I'm confused.

In 1 Corinthians 6.9, I see the fragment "nor men who practice homosexuality" (ESV). The study I am doing has asked us to pay attention to the verb tense. "Well I can do that!" I think. Or can I? Smile

So I crack open my Greek interlinear to see the following transliteration for that fragment:

"malakoi oute arsenekoitai"

Cool. So then I go look up each word in translation to see what I can learn, only to see that there is no verb "practice" in there per se. Not a problem though since I know that something can be translated accurately without necessarily including a word.

But my question is this: the translators must have come to their conclusion for a reason. So where do I go next to understand why the translators believe that the original text should be translated to include "practice" (in what appears to me to be the present tense in English).

See what I mean? Thanks in advance!

Man I love studying the Bible! What a gift from God!

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Gregory Lawhorn | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 23 2022 5:01 AM

Hi Carmen!

The ESV has combined two terms, malakoi (an adjective) and arsenokoitai (a noun) into a single phrase. Some translations treat them separately (the 1995 NASB, the 1982 NKJV), but others combine them in a way similar to the ESV. It's only a guess, but I imagine that the words were thought to be a little too coarse by themselves. Even effeminate and homosexual (as the 1995 NASB puts it) are somewhat less descriptive than the lexical meanings. 

As for the verb tense, since the words used in First Corinthians 6:9-10 describe ongoing behavior, the present tense verb "practice" is appropriate. I imagine the study is contrasting "practice" with the past tense verb in v. 11, "and such WERE some of you." 

Does that help?

Posts 1665
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 23 2022 7:05 AM

Gregory makes a good point on comparing translations.  Even if you were an expert, you'd still compare on rough locations.  That's the main reason I keep a Text Comparison window open in my layout, just to see the opinions.

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 23 2022 8:09 AM

Carmen Gauvin-O'Donnell:
where do I go next to understand why the translators believe that the original text should be translated to include "practice"

BDAG comments on the translation of arsenokoites in this passage - 

a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex, pederast 1 Cor 6:9 (on the impropriety of RSV’s ‘homosexuals’ [altered to ‘sodomites’ NRSV] s. WPetersen, VigChr 40, ’86, 187–91; cp. DWright, ibid. 41, ’87, 396–98; REB’s rendering of μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται w. the single term ‘sexual pervert’ is lexically unacceptable), of one who assumes the dominant role in same-sex activity, opp. μαλακός (difft. DMartin, in Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality, ed. RBrawley, ’96, 117–36);

William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 135.

I suspect the translators use "practice" to convey the nuance that this word refers to a person who "engages in" rather than the modern ideas of "identifies as" or "is tempted by"

In light of your assignment to consider the verbs: I like that Logos makes it easy to create visual filters. The filter I have applied below colors all the conjunctions blue (so I can see the flow of ideas) and boxes/highlights Greek verbs. Notice that what you are seeing as a "supplied verb" in English is not a verb in the original therefore it has no tense. {know, inherit & deceived are the Greek verbs}. Also, there is debate in the Biblical community about if Greek verbs are embedded with TIME, or ASPECT [think "I swim" may speak of a current state of ability, but "I am swimming" focuses on the action in process].

Note: why does ESV "nor men who practice homosexuality" all appear in the visual filter as a conjunction? because the conjunction {oute} appears in between the 2 words that Gregory identifies so the whole phrase is identified as a conjunction.

For an introduction to verbal ASPECT consider - https://www.logos.com/product/41545/basics-of-verbal-aspect-in-biblical-greek 

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 23 2022 8:22 AM

Carmen Gauvin-O'Donnell:
Hey folks, I have never studied Greek or Hebrew or anything so I am very grateful for Logos' language tools. ... pay attention to the verb tense

English verbal system expresses time of action: past, present, future.

Hebrew verbal system expresses kind of action: complete, incomplete, volitional, existence.

Greek verbal system primarily expresses kind of action (aspect) and may have secondary time of action (translation of Hebrew into Greek has scholarly debate about Greek verbs having secondary time of action). Greek has seven verb tenses.

Logos (& Verbum) can use visual filters to highlight Greek morphology in Reverse Interlinear resources: e.g. place the word "How" above Greek verbs

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 has eight Greek verbs "How"

Resource The Biblical Greek Companion for Bible Software Users includes exegetical insights.

Logos Wiki Extended Tips for Highlighting and Visual Filters includes:

Logos Help Center (LHC) => Visual Filters includes

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 3575
Beloved Amodeo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 23 2022 8:34 AM

Denise and Gregory give sound advice and are likely further along in their OL study than I. When faced with the learning challenge such as yours there are certain resources I find invaluable. You may or may not possess some or all of these. BDAG, UBS Handbook Series (this will help with translation issues), NET 2nd ed.(If you have the first ed. it'll do. You'll need the notes too.), and Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. Use these and learn from them.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

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Carmen Gauvin-O'Donnell | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 24 2022 3:19 AM

Hey all! There's is some great information above for me to go check out and see if it helps me better understand why stuff was done.


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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 24 2022 6:36 AM

I find the UBS Handbooks very helpful. They do a good job of discussing any potential translation issues in a verse.

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