Wednesday, November 03, 2010


I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--
This is Galatians 1:6 in NIV2011
It is the most interesting change from the NIV/TNIV which I have seen so far. It is also different from other translations I have available.

Is it an accurate rendering?


Donna said...

Hi David, I can't see that it's a textual variant. I assume they think that "called" should have some sort of direct object and that "to live" seems pretty reasonable (and fits with the immediately following context). I'd be interested to see, now, how they translated other "called" passages.

David McKay said...

Hi Donna. I wasn't suggesting it was a textual variant, but a different way of translating the verse.

Doug Moo graciously sent me this reply, and has given me permission to quote it:
Doug Moo

If I may, let me quote from my forthcoming commentary on Galatians:

Paul's description of what the Galatians were being tempted to apostasize from is significant for the direction of his argument in the letter: "the one who called you in in the grace of Christ."

"The one who called" (τοῦ καλέσαντος, tou kalesantos) is, of course, God the Father (always the subject of the verb καλέω in Paul). But particularly significant is Paul's addition: that God has called them "to live in the grace of Christ" (on the question of whether "Christ" should be included, see the additional note).

Our translation "to live in" represents the Greek preposition ἐν (en). This preposition is usually taken here to indicate means ("by"; see NASB; NAB; HCSB; NET; NLT; Longenecker 1990: 15) or "sphere" ("in"; see RSV; NRSV; ESV; NKJV; NJB; Betz 1979: 48; Schlier 1989: 37; Fee 2007: 228; Schütz 1975: 117).

But a comparison with similar contructions in Paul favors our translation (see NIV); and it fits the argument of the letter very well. Of course God has called the Galatians "in" and "through" the grace of Christ. But Paul's point here is to remind the Galatians that God called them to continue to live, to remain in the grace associated with the decisive, epoch-changing Christ event (see also Ribberbos 1953: 47; Fung 1988: 44).

FN: Paul uses ἐν with καλέω seven times, and at least three of these seem to have this "pregnant" sense: note especially the alternation in 1 Thess. 4:7 between ἐπί and ἐν, both apparently in the sense of "destination": οὐ γὰρ ἐκάλεσεν ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ ἀλλ᾽ ἐν ἁγιασμῷ: "for God has not called us to live in uncleanness but to live in holiness"; and also1 Cor. 7:15: ἐν δὲ εἰρήνῃ κέκληκεν ὑμᾶς ὁ θεός: "God has called you 'to live in' peace"; Eph. 4:4: ἐκλήθητε ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν: "you have been called into one hope when you were called"; and possibly Col. 3:15: εἰς ἣν καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι: "to which [peace] you were called 'as'/'in'/'to become' one body".

Three other occurrences clearly indicate "sphere": Rom. 9:7 ("in Isaac"); 1 Cor. 7:18 ("in a circumcised state"); 7:24 ("in which state"). Paul can, of course, use other prepositions to indicate the ideas of agency or destination: Gal. 1:15 καλέσας διὰ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ("called [me] through his grace"); 1 Cor. 1:9: δι᾽ οὗ ἐκλήθητε εἰς κοινωνίαν τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ("though whom you were called into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord"); Gal 5:13: ἐπ᾽ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἐκλήθητε ("you were called to be free"); 1 Thess. 2:12: τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ καλοῦντος ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ βασιλείαν καὶ δόξαν ("the God who has called you into his own kingdom and glory"); 2 Thess. 2:14: εἰς ὃ [καὶ] ἐκάλεσεν ὑμᾶς διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἡμῶν ("for which purpose he called you through our gospel"); 1 Tim. 6:12: εἰς ἣν ἐκλήθης ("into which you were called").

Donna said...

Thanks for that David, that's a very interesting reply. Cheers, Donna