The Greek word pisteuw is one of the most important, as well as common, words in all of the New Testament. Yet English Bible translators differ on how they translate it. Some translate it as “believe”; others as “have faith”. There are other translation possibilities as well (such as “trust” mentioned by Psalmist in a comment on the first version of this post).
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the healing of Jairus’ daughter. In Luke 8:50, Jesus tells Jairus (in translation):
Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed. (NLT)
Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed. (NIV, TNIV)
As you can see, these two translation wordings are identical other than for how they translate the Greek command, pisteuson. Like the NLT, these translations also use “have faith”: REB, CEV. The following versions use “believe”: KJV; RSV, NRSV, ESV, NASB, ISV, GW, NCV, HCSB.
Which translation of the Greek command do you prefer and why? What factors do you think English translators should take into account when deciding which English word(s) to use to translate the Greek word?
Feel free to register your preference in the new poll in the blog margin, as well as comment on this post.