2 Peter- translating anthropos

This set of posts on the four translations is not scientific, not even methodical. Rather, they are observations gained when reading each of the four translations, then comparing them. Last night in our devotional reading, my wife and I read 2 Peter 3, using HCSB. I noticed in 3:7 that it used “men,” which triggered me to look at the Greek (ἀνθρώπων, anthropwn, accusative plural).  So I looked at all the occurrences of ἄνθρωπος (anthropos) in 2 Peter, and found only three.

NIV 2011

1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2:16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

3:7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

ESV

1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2:16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

3:7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

HCSB

1:21 because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

2:16 but received a rebuke for his transgression: A donkey that could not talk spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s irrationality.

2 Pet 3:7 But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

GW

1:21 No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God’s direction.

2:16 But he was convicted for his evil. A donkey, which normally can’t talk, spoke with a human voice and wouldn’t allow the prophet to continue his insanity.

3:7 By God’s word, the present heaven and earth are designated to be burned. They are being kept until the day ungodly people will be judged and destroyed.

In 1:21 all four translations offer the same translation “human.” For 1:21 ESV and HCSB translate the word in the traditional way “man” and “men.” NIV 2011 keeps the singular plural distinction, but uses “human” and “humans.” GW uses the plural “humans” in both places.

3:7 raises an interesting perspective. Given the stance of the ESV translation team regarding this topic, it would have been consistent for ESV to translate the last phrase as “ungodly men.” And yet, the translators leave off the translation of ἄνθρωπος (anthropos), so that the adjective “ungodly” assumes the noun function. NIV 2011 follows the ESV in this. GW retains the noun, but translates ἄνθρωπος (anthropos) as “people.” HCSB, on the other hand, translates the last phrase: “ungodly men,” which seems a little unexpected.

NIV 2011 and GW seem consistent within these three verses. ESV moves from one position to the other, whereas, HCSB holds to the more traditional rendering throughout.

About exegete77

disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, and theologian
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One Response to 2 Peter- translating anthropos

  1. John Malchow says:

    GW seems to circumvent the issue of gender without going the he/her, him/she route and is inclusive as human or humanity, which is what I thought anthropos means. At least where this interpretation is understood, it is not necessary to point out the distaff half is included. LOL. John

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