Is there subordination language in the NASB?

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Do you have any examples, or examples from other translations, you are looking for?

The ESV of John 14:10 says Jesus doesn't speak of his own authority, where the Greek better reads, as in earlier editions of the NASB, "of himself." As Rachel Miller pointed out,


They do not translate it “on his/my own authority” in the 300+ other occurrences of heautou/emautoú.

In all of the other occurrences, heautou/emautoú is translated as “himself, herself, itself” etc. For example in Luke 14:27:

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29 ESV (italics mine)

 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
That's what I figured you were looking for, but I just wanted to make sure. I looked through all instances in the Gospels of ἐμαυτοῦ and did not find any "authority" language in any of the editions of the NASB (1977, 1995, and 2020).

I am no ESV sycophant. However, I will say that it does not appear to me that the examples Green provides from it on her blog are subordinationist (the Study Bible notes are a different story). Either way, I would caution against using Miller as an authority in this area. As I am sure you know, she has a strong enough beef with the writings and teachings of men like Wayne Grudem that, in my opinion, it very clearly compromises her ability to give a fair and balanced analysis of this particular matter. In short, I think she is simply too prejudiced and has too much of a clear agenda to be reliable. For one thing, her saying "all of the other occurrences, heautou/emautoú is translated as 'himself, herself, itself'" is simply an error. The ESV—following its textual predecessor, the RSV, in all but one case—translates this pronoun similarly in many other places. For another, the ESV is far from the first translation to translate these pronouns in such a way.

I have written about this more extensively here, with several citations from heavy-hitting Reformed interpreters here. I think they are worth noting. Again, I am not making an argument for the ESV, but I personally believe the charge that the translation itself (again, aside from study notes, which are not part of the translation) is subordinationist is not convincing.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Either way, I would caution against using Miller as an authority in this area. As I am sure you know, she has a strong enough beef with the writings and teachings of men like Wayne Grudem that, in my opinion, it very clearly compromises her ability to give a fair and balanced analysis of this particular matter. In short, I think she is simply too prejudiced and has too much of a clear agenda to be reliable. For one thing, her saying "all of the other occurrences, heautou/emautoú is translated as 'himself, herself, itself'" is simply an error.

I understand. In terms of full disclosure, I share (or exceed) her hostility towards subordinationism in the Trinity.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
For what it's worth, the BDAG notes the following:

ⓒ freq. used w. prep. ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ of my own accord, on my own authority J 5:30; 7:17, 28; 8:28, 42; 14:10; of my own free will 10:18. ἐξ ἐμαυτοῦ on my own authority 12:49. εἰς ἐμαυτόν for εἰς ἐμέ 1 Cor 4:6. ἐν ἐμαυτῷ to myself Hv 1, 2, 1; 3, 1, 5; 4, 1, 4. περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ J 8:14, 18; Ac 24:10. πρὸς ἐμαυτόν J 12:32; 14:3; with me (Aristoph., Ran. 53) Phlm 13. ὑπὲρ ἐμαυτοῦ 2 Cor 12:5. ὑπʼ ἐμαυτόν under my authority Mt 8:9; Lk 7:8.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 321). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Note that the BDAG points out that when the word is used in the prepositional statement ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ that it is rendered as "of my own accord" or "on my own authority".

Not defending any study notes I haven't read, but I think this is a case where a person with very little Greek knowledge is asserting some sort of "singe use" of a word and ignoring idioms or other uses of how the word is used.

You can see it as saying, in essence, that Christ or the Spirit don't "stand apart" or are in merely their "own counsel" but they are in accord with the Father

I think a lot more work would need to be done to prove that the translators were "infected" by ESS in the words they used to communicate ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
For what it's worth, the BDAG notes the following:



Note that the BDAG points out that when the word is used in the prepositional statement ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ that it is rendered as "of my own accord" or "on my own authority".

Not defending any study notes I haven't read, but I think this is a case where a person with very little Greek knowledge is asserting some sort of "singe use" of a word and ignoring idioms or other uses of how the word is used.

You can see it as saying, in essence, that Christ or the Spirit don't "stand apart" or are in merely their "own counsel" but they are in accord with the Father

I think a lot more work would need to be done to prove that the translators were "infected" by ESS in the words they used to communicate ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ.

I grant what you are saying, but given that the editors openly pushed ESS and misread a number of theologians on the point, it's one of those things that you can't not see.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I grant what you are saying, but given that the editors openly pushed ESS and misread a number of theologians on the point, it's one of those things that you can't not see.
I'm not defending the translation, per se, but it may not be a slam dunk case that ESS was surreptitiously inserted. Like any translation, it should be tested against the original Greek and there is a good case that an alternative rendering is better. I'm not arguing for the "on my own authority" reading, but there is even a way to understand that prepositional phrase in a manner that communicates that Christ (or the Holy Spirit) is not just "doing his own thing". The emphasis in the text is the unity of the Persons. A good exegesis would focus upon this aspect and not run afield to notions of eternal subordination.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I'm not defending the translation, per se, but it may not be a slam dunk case that ESS was surreptitiously inserted. Like any translation, it should be tested against the original Greek and there is a good case that an alternative rendering is better. I'm not arguing for the "on my own authority" reading, but there is even a way to understand that prepositional phrase in a manner that communicates that Christ (or the Holy Spirit) is not just "doing his own thing". The emphasis in the text is the unity of the Persons. A good exegesis would focus upon this aspect and not run afield to notions of eternal subordination.

If any other theologian did this, I would grant what you are saying. Even someone like Norman Geisler, who nominally defended EFS (though if you read what he wrote, I don't think he really thought it through), and if Geisler, not Grudem, were in charge, I would probably grant it as an innocent translation. Geisler wasn't necessarily pushing an agenda.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
If any other theologian did this, I would grant what you are saying. Even someone like Norman Geisler, who nominally defended EFS (though if you read what he wrote, I don't think he really thought it through), and if Geisler, not Grudem, were in charge, I would probably grant it as an innocent translation. Geisler wasn't necessarily pushing an agenda.
That's an insinuation of motive for which the burden of proof would lie on the accuser. Given that there's a good case to be made for the ESV's translation choice in this particular passage, and that by your own admission you would accept this without question from someone not-Grudem, wouldn't it be best to choose better evidence to present to the court?

To use a crude analogy, it's tantamount to questioning the statement "2+2=4" because Hitler said it.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
That's an insinuation of motive for which the burden of proof would lie on the accuser. Given that there's a good case to be made for the ESV's translation choice in this particular passage, and that by your own admission you would accept this without question from someone not-Grudem, wouldn't it be best to choose better evidence to present to the court?

To use a crude analogy, it's tantamount to questioning the statement "2+2=4" because Hitler said it.

I am not saying it is logically wrong. That would be a genetic fallacy. I am saying the people who updated it have a specific doctrine of God and the update conveniently matches that doctrine of God.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Do any of the various editions of the NASB have subordination language in them (either gender or Trinitarian)?
Bible Gateway has the 1995 and 2020 editions of the NASB. Bible Hub has those as well as the 1977. The NT, Psalms, and Proverbs of the Legacy Standard Bible (the "MacArthur revision") are available online, with the OT slated to follow this fall.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
I am not saying it is logically wrong. That would be a genetic fallacy. I am saying the people who updated it have a specific doctrine of God and the update conveniently matches that doctrine of God.
Except that there's other plausible warrant for that translation, so we're back to guessing at motive. So many heresies are rooted in proof texts that are isolated from the whole council of Scripture, so there will always be verses that, when correctly translated, appear to feed into a certain heresy.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
To put a finer point on what I'm trying to say, I'm not in any way defending ESS. I'm only trying to make a couple of points:

1. BDAG didn't provide "on my own authority" to suit a theological agenda.
2. Even if one were to render the prepositional phrase "on my own authority" in that context it would make sense even for a person who thinks ESS is heterodox. The notion communicated isn't "I don't really have authority here but am under the authority of another". Rather, the notion is more like: "my own authority isn't standing in some way opposed to the Father. I and the Father, we are one."
3. Even the rendering "on my own accord" is the same idea. "I'm not doing anything unique here to me. I and the Father we are one."

The issue for me isn't the translation. I suppose someone might be able to figure out if someone on the translation committee was trying to promote ESS or EFS and preferred that translation. It wouldn't change the fact that someone who thinks those ideas are dumb to make the same choice.

Underlying the blog article is the notion that we scarcely need people trained to translate and read the original languages and that the Scriptures should be able to be read by someone with no theological training. If, for instance, we followed the advice of the blog author and just woodenly chose the same word every time the word eautou occurs, regardless of context or prepositional use, then we could all "escape" heterodox thinking.

The KJV is a faithful translation but that hasn't stopped heretics and other unstable men from twisting it to their (and others') destruction.

Thus, I'm not much interested in arguing over whether there was a hidden agenda. I'm no fan of Grudem or other ESS advocates and I don't read them. I'm responding to the article and it's a syntactically and exegetically amateurish. I certainly wouldn't want to make that argument to ESS advocates who know anything about exegesis and hermeneutics. It's a very weak argument and I'd want to provide a stronger case to demonstrate the errors.
 
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