Gorillas In The Midst

14 Mar

Recently I checked out the NIV 2010 version of Luke 17.21, which is one of my favorite lines from the gospels:

Luke 17.21

21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

Wait, what? In your midst? It seems like the translators are trying to weasel out of the original intention of the phrase, which was that the kingdom of god had already come. Originally it said “the kingdom of god is inside you [guys]”, an idea which seems to have been expanded by gThomas 3. Since our extant version of gThomas is in Coptic (Egyptian using Greek letters), I can't check to see if they share the same word. The W-H Greek of Lk 17.21 reads like this:

21ουδε ερουσιν ιδου ωδε η εκει ιδου γαρ η βασιλεια του θεου εντος υμων εστιν

The offending word is εντος, which means “inside”. The only other time it is used in the NT is at Matt 23.26:

Matt 23.26

26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

26φαρισαιε τυφλε! καθαρισον πρωτον το εντος του ποτηριου [και της παροψιδος] ινα γενηται και το εκτος αυτου καθαρον

Obviously, it would be grammatically questionable (to say the least) to translate εντος here as “midst”. Here Matt also demonstrates εντος's natural antonym, εκτος (outside). Off the top of my head, another time where “midst” is used is in the KJV of Mark 7.31, where Jesus travels from Tyre to Sidon and the “midst” of the Ten Cities. Since the KJV is basically a translation of Latin, it wouldn't be apt to use its W-H rendition to compare passages. 

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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in apologetics, greek


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