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Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

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Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby CoxRox » Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:25 pm

Hi guys, may I trouble you for some help on understanding the exact (well as exact as possible) meaning of this verse in Greek: 1 Tim 4:10

εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα, ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν ἐπὶ θεῷ ζῶντι, ὅς ἐστιν σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων μάλιστα πιστῶν.

I don't know any Greek so I'm trying to determine if the verse towards the end is saying: '...who is the saviour of all men, especially those who believe' (which most English translations seem to translate it as) or if it can be translated: '..who is a Savior of all sorts of men, especially of faithful ones'?

I much appreciate anyone's help in this matter. :D
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Re: Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:39 pm

Do you mean whether πιστός can have either a passive sense ("to be trusted/believed") or an active sense ("who trusts/believes")? Then yes. In fact, isn't "faithful" in English pretty much the same thing, having both an active and a passive sense? That's why I'm not entirely sure what difference you're making in your alternate translation.

Or do you mean, whether πιστός here is being used without any reference to God or anything similar, so "faithful in general" rather than "faithful to God"? I don't think that's a strictly grammatical question, but my reading is that in the context here, πιστός does refer to the community of believers.
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Re: Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby Bert » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:40 am

CoxRox wrote:.......I'm trying to determine if the verse towards the end is saying: '...who is the saviour of all men, especially those who believe' (which most English translations seem to translate it as) or if it can be translated: '..who is a Savior of all sorts of men, especially of faithful ones'?

I much appreciate anyone's help in this matter. :D

I'm with Modus on the meaning of μάλιστα πιστῶν but there is one more difference between your two English sentences. All men versus all sorts of men. In some contexts πάντων does indeed mean all sorts but here plain and simple all makes good sense; more sense than all sorts in my view.
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Re: Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby annis » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:00 pm

CoxRox wrote:I don't know any Greek


Well, since this is the Greek and Latin learning forum, and since "all sorts of" is a dangerous translation of πᾶς in contemporary English (i.e., usually means "a lot of" not actually "all of" in casual speech), I'm going to make a radical suggestion — stop. Pause a year or so in your linguistically focused theological speculation to, you know, learn Greek. :) It's not that bad, and you have Textkit to help you.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Re: Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby CoxRox » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:05 pm

The slight difference in the two translations may not seem much to be bothered about but the two translations can be saying entirely different things. The most common translation '..saviour of all men' seems to be saying that 'all' men are going to be saved (as well as believers), whereas '..saviour of all kinds of men' seems to be implying that 'some' men are going to be saved. The second translation is from the New World Translation, which I'm led to believe is not a reliable transaltion of the Bible.

I know it's cheeky of me coming on here and asking these questions. To be honest, this is the tip of the iceberg! I'm seriously thinking about studying NT Greek but my memory is not very good now and I don't know if I'd cope with it. What would you recommend as a idiot's beginner's guide to NT Greek, so I could test my memory and see if I can pick it up? :?
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Re: Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby Bert » Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:33 pm

CoxRox wrote:The slight difference in the two translations may not seem much to be bothered about but the two translations can be saying entirely different things. The most common translation '..saviour of all men' seems to be saying that 'all' men are going to be saved (as well as believers), whereas '..saviour of all kinds of men' seems to be implying that 'some' men are going to be saved. The second translation is from the New World Translation, which I'm led to believe is not a reliable transaltion of the Bible.

I know it's cheeky of me coming on here and asking these questions. To be honest, this is the tip of the iceberg! I'm seriously thinking about studying NT Greek but my memory is not very good now and I don't know if I'd cope with it. What would you recommend as a idiot's beginner's guide to NT Greek, so I could test my memory and see if I can pick it up? :?
I don't think you can solve this by trying different interpretations on πᾶς but different ways of being saviour. If it is the same salvation this verse doesn't make sense. If salvation means for instance only eternal life and heaven this verse would be saying; He will bring everyone to heaven, especially believers. Doesn't make much sense. How about; He will bring all sorts of people to heaven, especially believers. Doesn't make sense either. Are believers one of the "all sorts?" Who are the other sorts whom he would bring to heaven?
As to a way to start learning NT Greek; Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek is nice. It is wordy but that is great if you are trying to learn without a teacher. It is easier to stay motivated with this book than with some others.
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Re: Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby CoxRox » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:34 am

Thanks for your suggestions Bert. When I was studying for A level German I found the 'Teach Yourself German' very good. (I did the exam in one year instead of two and got a B). I used it a bit for O level French as well. I've noticed that they do one for NT Greek: what do you think: http://www.hoddereducation.co.uk/Title/ ... dition.htm

:D
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Re: Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby mingshey » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:18 am

CoxRox wrote: all sorts of men
I much appreciate anyone's help in this matter. :D


There's a dedicated word for "all sorts of" : παντοῖος .
So if "of all sorts of men" was meant there, it would rather say "παντοίων ἀνθρώπων".
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Re: Help needed to understand proper Greek translation.

Postby CoxRox » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:24 pm

Thanks mingshey, that is interesting......

Did you see my question on 'aionios' : viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9602&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

I would appreciate any feedback you had on this word. :D
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