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Worship in the ALT


The following e-mail is commenting on the Analytical-Literal Translation (ALT). The e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.


>Dear Gary,

I have recently found your web page and sincerely applaud your efforts.

But, I have been looking at your translations of Greek words for "worship" and have noticed a few inconsistencies. Perhaps these notes will help you.

First, the Greek proskuneo is translated (by my count) "bow" 37 times, "bow before [or, worshipped]" 4 times, and "worship" 13 times. My references say the meaning is to bow before or literally "to kiss the hand toward."

I would suggest that "bow" or some version of it be used in all cases. In Matthew 4:9,10 and Luke 4:7,8 Satan is telling Jesus to bow to him. Perhaps you could use "bow [fig., worship]" in these cases.

In John 12:20, Acts 8:27; 24:11 and Revelation 11:1 the word is used in a sense similar to "I am going to proskuneo in Jerusalem." These are a bit more confusing, but the same thing could be used here.<

The best meaning overall seems to be "to prostrate oneself before someone to worship or pay reverence to that person." Both the idea of the body position (casting oneself face down on the ground) and the intent of the action (to worship or to reverence someone), are present in the word. So the best translation to capture both ideas would be "prostrate himself in worship before" or "prostrate himself in reverence before." The difficulty will be deciding if "worship" or "reverence" is the intended sense of the prostrating.

I could just use "prostrate himself before." But, without the idea of "reverence" or "worship" being added, the intended meaning of the action could be lost. In ancient times, prostrating oneself before God or royalty was commonly done, but today such an action is not generally seen, at least in western societies. So I will use "in worship" or "in reverence" as context dictates.

>I John 4:20-24, the translation "bow" does not seem to convey the message of Jesus. That is, putting "bow" in goes like this:

4:20 "Our fathers bowed in this mountain, and _you*_ say, 'In Jerusalem is the place where it is necessary to be bowing.'"
4:21 Jesus says to her, "Woman, be believing Me, that an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you* bow to the Father.
4:22 "_You*_ are bowing to what you* do not know; we are bowing to what we know, because the salvation is from the Jews.
4:23 "However, an hour is coming, and now is, when the true bowers will bow to the Father in spirit and truth, for indeed, the Father is seeking such to be bowing to Him.
4:24 "God [is] as to His essence Spirit, and the ones bowing Him, it is necessary to be bowing in spirit and truth."

Perhaps here you could put "worshipped [lit. bowed and through 4:24]" and leave the rest as you have done. (side note, check your spelling of worshipped. "worshiped?")<

The best rendering here is "prostrate yourselves in worship." Admittedly, it does get a little tedious using this rendering throughout the passage, but I do want to be as accurate as possible.

As for "worshiped" vs. "worshipped," my Webster’s dictionary gives both possible translations. In fact, as I am writing this in MS Word, neither spelling was marked as being misspelled. YLT used the double "p." However, I used the single "p" when I wrote a form of the word. And the single "p" seems to be the spelling used in more modern versions. So I will try to be consistent in using the single "p" throughout.

>Secondly, the word eusebes, meaning "show piety" only occurs twice, Acts 17:23 "worship" and I Timothy 5:4 "show piety." I would suggest the I Timothy rendering in both cases.<

Good suggestion. However, the NAS95 has "practice piety" in 1Tim 5:4. And I like that rendering a little better. And it does fit in both contexts.

>Thirdly, the word threskeia, meaning "ceremonial observance" is rendered "worship" in Acts 26:5 and Colossians 2:18, but as "religion" in James 1:26,27. Perhaps "religion" or "religious" would be best in all three places.

"Religion" would work in Acts 26:5, but for Col 2:18, "religious worship" would be the only rendering that makes sense. And it is the meaning given in Liddell and Scott’s lexicon.

>Fourth, the word sebomai, meaning "to fall back before" is rendered as "worship" eight times, but Acts 13:43 & 50 use "devout." Perhaps the proselytes and women of the city could be described with "devout [lit., worshipping].<

My lexicons are giving me "worship" as the primary meaning, even Liddell and Scott. And for the use as an adjective "God-worshiping" seems to predominate. So I’ll go with these translations.

>One other word that I was led to is therapeuo, meaning "to serve menially, or to heal." It is rendered as both "healed" and "served." Many times, it describes Jesus action of healing the sick, blind, lepers, etc. Since our Lord said that he "came not to be served, but to serve," would not the rendering "served [lit., healed] show the "flavor" of the Greek better? I still need to search this one out more, but would appreciate your comments.<

The verse you are referring to is Matt 20:28. There the verb is diakoneo. As for the word you are referring to, this is a case of a word having more than one meaning. It can mean "to serve" or "to heal," depending on context. So it is really not necessary nor desirable to translate it the same throughout. Consistency is important, but so is recognizing that a word can have more than one meaning.

>I pray that you will consider these notes, even though I am not a trained Greek scholar. I do want to help in this endeavor so that it will be the best it can be, to the glory of God.

With much encouragement to you in Him,
Tim
1/20/2000<

Thank you for the suggestions. They are mostly very good, and I have made changes because of your suggestions.

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