Monday, October 1, 2012

Beloved vs. Dear Friends

This is really random, but I came across this as I was going through 1 Peter 2:11-17 and thought I'd share. 

The NIV (New International Version) reads, 
"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world..."

Compare that to that ESV (English Standard Version), which renders the text as,
"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles..."

What I wanted to point out was the difference between the two translations of the word 'Agaphtoi÷' ('Dear friends' with NIV and 'Beloved' with ESV). There are two reasons why I like the ESV translation (Beloved) much more. First, it is a much more literal translation. We could go much deeper into this first reason, but I figured that I would spare you all from a sub par lesson in Greek. The main reason why I am appreciative of the ESV translation is in its meaning. 

In using the phrase "Beloved", or in other words, "one who is loved", a question that comes to my mind is, loved by who? Peter addressing his readers as "Beloved" points them back to the fact they are loved by God. He is connecting them back to their deep rooted identity found in their uniquely intimate relationship to God. The NIV translation, while having some merit, doesn't really communicate this at all. Rather, when I read the NIV, I get the impression that Peter is writing to a group of long lost friends that he really cares about. This is all fine and dandy. But, given the use of the Greek word 'Agaphtoi÷' throughout the New Testament, it is definitely referring to the readers as "those who are loved of God", or in other words "Beloved". 

If I had to choose between having my identity being someones friend, or beloved of God, I would choose the latter. Add in the lexical use of 'Agaphtoi÷' and it seems to me that the ESV got it right. 

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