1 Cor 7:35 headache
I’ve been working on my exegesis of 1 Cor 7:32-35 for far too long now and my sanity chip is starting to melt.
A real problem has been the translation of a part of 7:35: ‘avlla. pro.j to. eu;schmon kai. euvpa,redron tw/ kuri,w avperispa,stwj’*
Now, for those of you who know your Greek, ask yourself what syntactical label you would apply to eu;schmon and euvpa,redron. OK. Decided? Now ask yourself the same about avperispa,stwj.
So far so good right? The first two are adjectives, and the last is an adverb.
Well, the only way to make an understandable English translation is to be creative! Actually, I was rather relieved to discover today that even Greek speakers had difficulty following Paul on this one (both P15 and Chrysostom made changes), so when Barrett claimed of this verse: ‘close translation is scarcely possible’, I have to vigorously agree.
A couple of modern attempts I take issue with:
Garland: ‘but [I am saying this] to promote what is seemly and constant before the Lord [that you might live] undistractedly’
Thiselton: ‘but with a view what is appropriate to undistracted devotion to the Lord’
My translation, and I really think it is better: ‘but with a view to promoting that which is appropriate and facilitates undivided devotion to the Lord’. I think the ‘and’ is very important, and makes sense of the general flow of the argument.
*(If you have the Bibleworks Greek font installed you will be able to read this – see my sidebar for a link)