Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Colossians 1:3, Always give thanks.

Εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ θεῷ πατρὶ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν προσευχόμενοι
We always give thanks to God the father of our lord Jesus Christ while praying for you,  Colossians 1:3
While translating from the original greek, one must use a little common sense in how you translate.  Take Colossians 1:3, the King James Version 
We give thanks to God and* the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  Colossians 1:3 KJV
Did Paul always thank God for the folks in Colosse when he prayed, or did he always pray?  Which makes the most sense?  It is possible that πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν προσευχόμενοι means “always praying for you”, but if it does, then it would have to be idiomatic as Paul wouldn’t be able to pray always.  We use “always” idiomatically all of the time.  Just like we use “all of the time” all of the time (sorry, I couldn’t resist).  I believe that Paul was “always” thanking God while in prayer for the people in Colosse.  In other words, when each time Paul prayed, he thanked God for the church in Colosse.
*Variant Reading Alert!  Notice the “and” in the KJV.  It is not original to the text.  It was added at a later date while the letter was being copied.  People who know me know that I’ve not a fan of the KJV.  I’m not a fan for two reasons: 
  1. When I read english, I want to understand what I read.  I love the 400 year old english, but I would rather read the Bible in today’s english in order to understand it better and quicker without having to use a super decoder ring.
  2. The greek text behind the KJV, the textus receptus (latin for received text), is far inferior to much older manuscripts that are available.  There are thousands of manuscripts out there and the textus receptus is mostly based on a few 12th century documents.  There will be more posts regarding this subject.  
The included “and” doesn’t even make sense in the passage.

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