Saturday, April 7, 2012

One Little Word

I have been reading Ivan Panin's numeric translation of the New Testament recently. Today I was reading Acts 16, and a word in verse 17 caught my attention. The word was "a..": 
Acts 16:17 The same following after :Paul and us cried out, saying, These :men are bondmen of the Most High :God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation. (Panin)
(Before I go on, I should tell you that Panin was concerned that his translation be as accurate as possible, so when the Greek used a "the" which would not be grammatically acceptable in English, he inserted a colon [:] in its place. In this verse, you see this before "Paul," "men," and "God.")

Now I can go on. I noticed the "a" near the end of the verse. In many translations, including King James, "the" is used instead of "a." I looked at the passage in my Greek Interlinear Version and in Young's Literal Translation, and found that they were in agreement with Panin, so his is not a unique translation.

You may be wondering what that small difference makes. Maybe not much, but I have been puzzled WHY Paul was so bothered by the (supposed) testimony to the truth from the mouth of the girl. Here is the passage, in King James, so you will know the context:
Act 16:16  And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 
Act 16:17  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 
Act 16:18  And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.  
It is true that Paul was a servant of the Most High God, and that he was showing the way of salvation, so why was he "grieved?"

I remember an explanation which focused on the spirit of divination which possessed the girl (v 16), saying that was his reason for grief, and that may be true. But the use of "a" in this context, instead of "the," turns a true statement into a lie: Paul was not showing the people "a" way of salvation (one of several), but "THE" way of salvation (the only one).

I am glad God showed me the answer to my question, and revealed (again) how easily the truth can be turned into a lie. All it takes is one little word.


  1. Hallelujah Dimple!!! How marvellous are the Revelations of our LORD regarding His Truth and His Word!!! Yes...I agree that is the answer! Thank you for sharing!!! ♥♥♥

  2. Dimple, in answer to your comment...HE IS OUR LORD of Heaven and earth! :) ♥♥♥


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