Sunday, October 28, 2012

Interesting Translation of Hebrews 10:24-25

"Let us keep one another in mind, always ready with incitements to charity and to acts of piety, not abandoning, as some do, our common assembly, but encouraging one another; all the more, as you see the great day drawing nearer."

This is the translation of Hebrews 10:24-25 from the Knox Bible (the translator is not, as some might suppose, Alan Knox).

I'm not suggesting that this is the best translation, but I do think it has some strengths. The language is colorful, giving the verse a sense of action. The word "incitements" in particular is striking. I also enjoy the choice of "to charity and to acts of piety." These words bring a real-world feel to what is often translated as "to love and good works." Finally, the use of "common assembly" is more interesting then simply saying "meeting together."

This appears to be an example where the work of one translator is superior to the work of a translation committee. Although I generally prefer the work of a group, an individual may be able to occasionally employ more diverse and striking language that a committee would avoid.

What do you think of this particular translation of 10:24-25?


Chris Jefferies said...

I think the translation is slightly old-fashioned and rather formal. Knox was a Roman Catholic scholar writing in the 1920s and it's written accordingly.

I quite like the Knox version, but it's important to remember it's a translation of a translation as Knox worked from the Latin Vulgate version rather than direct from the Greek.

It's interesting to load the Knox version in Bible Gateway and then use the drop down box to view other versions for comparison.

They all say essentially the same thing, or course - but in such richly varied ways.

Thanks for getting us all thinking about Bible versions!

Eric said...


I agree that Knox's primary use of the Vulgate is problematic. I'm sure it must lead to numerous verses that are a bit off the mark. I haven't read much of his translation overall.

In these two verses, however, I think he hits the mark well. I like the action in the words he has chosen.

We truly are blessed as English speakers to have so many good translations.

Aussie John said...


I like his words,but it depends on how "our common assembly" is understood. Traditionalists of all brand names use the term for their regular Sunday silent sittings.

I think Knox was following Justin Martyrs lead: “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly … Jesus Christ on the same day rose from the dead”

Eric said...


Agreed. "Our common assembly" has sadly taken on many varying meanings. I'm not sure what Knox meant, but at least it leaves open the possibility of participatory meetings.

An example of a poor translation comes from the HCSB. It says, "And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." The poor part is the term "worship meetings." The translators no doubt were thinking of worship services.

Alan Knox said...

I like that "Knox" was said so many time in this post and in the comments that followed...


Eric said...


"Knox" does have a reforming sound to it!