Tagged for Ephesians 4:7

Mike has tagged me for a translation of Ephesians 4:7.

    ἑνὶ δὲ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ

It seems fairly straightforward,

    But to each one of us grace has been given according to the portion given by Christ.

Here is an excerpt from Mike’s post,

    Most translations go with something like:

    But the grace was given to each one of you according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

    This last phrase is a genitive nightmare. And the following translations more or less give the same rendering: ISV, NASB95, NRSV, HCSB, KJV, NET, ESV.

    The NIV and TNIV were the only ones different:

    But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

I would like to add a few more translations,

    Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The Message

    Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. CEV

    Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. GNB

    Each of us has been given his gift, his due portion of Christ’s bounty NEB

So the question here seems to be whether the second phrase is simply “the portion Christ has given” or “according to the portion of Christ’s generosity”. Is generosity intended to be emphasized in this verse? I don’t really think so. In fact, the “measure” is explained in verse 13 – the full stature of Christ. Not that this isn’t generosity, but I think the sense is that Christ wants us to be adults, that is the full stature.

There are a couple of approaches then,

    But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift ESV, NASB

    But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it TNIV, NIV

In my opinion, the shift in tense in the (T)NIV is more accurate. Tenses do not agree across languages and should not be made to. The word order is better in the (T)NIV, but the ESV reproduces the second reference to “gift”. The problem with my translation is that it repeats “given” but so does the Greek although in different forms. I understand why the (T)NIV did what it did,

    But to each one of us grace has been given according to the portion given by Christ. (mine)

    or

    But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it TNIV, NIV

Well, mine is more literal, but the (T)NIV reads more smoothly. I hope that helps, Mike.

9 thoughts on “Tagged for Ephesians 4:7

  1. mike aubrey says:

    Thanks, Suzanne, I follow your/(T)NIV’s interpretation in my translation.

    I appreciate the validation. It seemed to me that leaving the “of’s” in the translation caused more confusion than necessary.

    mike

  2. Tim says:

    “On each one of us God’s favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ alloted it.” –New Jerusalem Bible

  3. Suzanne McCarthy says:

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks that is great. The same meaning but different English vocabulary. A fresh approach.

  4. exegete77 says:

    Or GW:

    “God’s favor has been given to each of us. It was measured out to us by Christ who gave it.”

  5. lingamish says:

    I prefer “favor” to “grace” as well although I think this might be a “special ability” sense of “grace.”

  6. J. K. Gayle says:

    This is great fun, to read your translations!

    I’m with Exegete77 and Lingamish on favoring “favor” to “grace.” Try reading χάρις in Esther in LXX as “grace” and you’ll see why.

  7. Tim says:

    Suzanne,

    Thanks for the comment. I enjoy reading this blog and analyzing the different perspectives on Scriptural issues from the various readers. As a Catholic, I also appreciate the posts and discussions, since many of them mirror some of the main translation issues that come up in my Church.

    God Bless!

  8. Suzanne McCarthy says:

    Hi Tim,

    It will be great to hear more from a Catholic perspective. Sometimes I am awfully narrow in my themes, but like to hear what others have to say.

  9. Dan Sindlinger says:

    This is how I conveyed the idea in The Better Life Bible:

    “God gave people various abilities to help others follow God’s advice. The goal is to follow it as well as Jesus did, …”

    Dan

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