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Old 07-19-2008, 02:20 PM
Steven Avery Steven Avery is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 462

Hi Folks,

Matthew 28:19-20
Go ye therefore,
and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

This research I find quite interesting, and am following up a bit more. Mostly I was curious to learn how such a mistranslation as "make disciples" can get entrenched among the modernists.

One thing that came to the fore is that a later modern (not original) King James Bible margin note helped bring forth the confusion. Apparently that footnote was placed in 1800's (way before Scrivener though) perhaps Matthew would know who added margin notes that actually 'stuck' in 18th century or 19th century King James Bible editions. Generally you have seen me very sympathetic to the King James Bible 1611 notes (not scripture, yet often showing great insight and skill and expertise). Based on this new example, that simpatico may dissolve when it comes to the after-1611 margin notes.

Now I have a few new tidbits to share. The first one will show that we are not the only ones to realize that 'make disciples' is a dubious, even unacceptable, translational license. Just a couple of years ago, in one Lutheran denomination a few dozen (seminary-trained folks, with all the Greek-isms) folks actually put out a public statement in some depth on precisely this point. They had to feel very strongly to actually highlight simply the one verse of ultra-dubious translation. Whether the overall motivation and understanding of the Committee with the signers to the emphatic letter is perfect or good or bad or mixed in all the details of why they are highlighting this verse is not really the main issue (your degree of 'sovereign grace' doctrinal priority will be one element in your degree of doctrinal agreement). Generally their ideas dovetail well with the King James Bible defenders on the forum. Mostly, first, I want to simply show their understanding of the verse grammatically and translationally. So I will simply post it here, with a little bold added.

Those interested will find the whole page of interest, please note this is an extract.

Clarifying the Mission of WELS

3) in only one place in Scripture does the Savior appear to give responsibility to his people for the results of the gospel’s work, telling his followers, “Go and make disciples of all nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19); and

4) the word in the original Greek that is translated as “make disciples” is “matheteusate,” a verb form used nowhere else in the New Testament; and

5) the precise meaning of that word, “matheteusate,” is open to debate and varied interpretation, even among faithful scholars in our own circles; and

6) according to the principle of letting Scripture interpret Scripture, it would be most proper for this voicing of the Savior’s Great Commission to be understood and translated in a manner consistent with other voicings of that commission as noted above (and as was done by Dr. Luther and by the King James Version, where“matheteusate” is translated as “teach”); and

7) instead, in the New International Version and several other modern translations (e.g. RSV, TEV, GWN), the word “matheteusate” is translated as “make disciples”—a translation that neither literally reflects the structure of the Greek nor is consistent with the rest of Scripture; and

8) while it may be possible for the translation “make disciples” to be rightly understood, it may also be argued that the translation invites misinterpretation, and may even open a door to a misunderstanding of the doctrine of conversion since it can appear to make man at least partly responsible for the conversion process; and

... most open to misunderstanding and misapplication .... a questionable translation


Thanks .