Monday, 9 March 2015

Saved or being saved?

Click on photograph to enlarge
Our friend Dr Gray wisely (at least as far as this tweet is concerned) does not commit himself further than to ask the question. A Baptist preacher who comments on this tweet takes it a lot further, charging some with taking the birth out of the new birth and making it a process. 

The KJV translators did not pluck their words out of nowhere. They were not given to them by inspiration as they were given to the original pen men who were moved by the Holy Spirit. The KJV translators studied the Hebrew and the Greek, consulted among themselves etc., and gave us our excellent Protestant translation of God's word, just as the Geneva Bible translators and Tyndale had done before them. 

Getting back to 1 Corinthians 1:18, the long and the short of it is, that the Greek tense of the words translated in our AV "are saved" is what is known as the present passive participle which denotes an ongoing process.  Other places where it appears includes the following: 

Luke 4:15  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. 
Luke 21:12 ...delivering you up to the synagogues...
John 1:38 They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) ...
John 8:4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act
John 13:22  Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. 

Philippians 3:10 ...the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 

In Hebrews 11:37, it actually appears 3 times in relation to the persecuted people of God:

being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 

Robertson uses the phrase present passive participle 102 times in his Word Pictures and obviously I cannot go through them all. I note, however, the following:

Often the AV translators went for the English words that clearly denoted an ongoing matter. Usually words ending in -ing as in Luke 21:12 above or often with the word "being" (another --ing word). Sometimes they used -ed words. Examples:

2 Corinthians 7:5 ...but we were troubled on every side;
Ephesians 4:4 ..tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...

I noticed that Mr Spurgeon preached on this text. He preferred the Revised Version reading, but (it appears) only on the basis that it renders the Greek word "logos" (as it appears in both sets of texts) as "word" rather than "preaching."  I quote:-
First, then, we speak Upon “THE WORD OF THE CROSS.” borrow the term from the Revised Version, which runs thus: — “The word of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness, but unto us who are being saved it is the power of God.” This is, to my mind, an accurate translation. The original is not “the preaching of the cross,” but “the word of the cross.”
He does not touch, at this point in the sermon, on whether or not he agrees or disagrees with the rendering "being saved". Later on in the sermon he lights upon it, only to say:
"We have been delivered, also, from the power of Satan. That evil prince has great power over men, and once we were led captive at his will. Even  now he attacks us, but we overcome him through the blood of the Lamb. We are also daily delivered from self and from the world, and from all things that would enthral us. We are being saved; yea, we are saved. Every  day a saving force is operating upon us to set us free from the thraldom of  corruption. This we feel and know."

He expresses no dissatisfaction with the rendering. He quotes both and makes a double application centering mainly on the present. In his notes in his "Devotional Bible" (based on the AV) Spurgeon sheds no further light on the controversy.

If we are using the AV as the sole standard of how the present passive participle should be translated, then we see the AV men themselves expressed it both ways.  An interesting one then for those who think there is conflict here would be to reconcile where our AV translators use the word "being" in relation to our justification: 

Rom 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 

Is justification an act of God's free grace and therefore rooted in the past i.e. at that moment we believed or is it an ongoing matter? 

It is interesting that the AV didn't render the words in 1 Corinthians 1:18 "but unto us who were saved.The only use in the entire Bible of the phrase "were saved" is in relation to a historical reference to Noah's family and the flood (1 Peter 3:20) 

FTR: I make no pretense to be a Greek scholar. I learned some basic stuff at Bible College 30 years ago. 

Click on photograph to enlarge


No comments:

Post a Comment

All are welcome to comment here provided that the usual principles of Christian comment e.g. politeness etc. are observed.