Sunday, August 16, 2020

My Review about the New Testament Pinoy Version

We understand that there is no perfect English translation. Yet, adding words which are not in the original texts does not make us different from the scribes who added comments not mentioned by the Bible’s authors. The warning from Revelation 22:18 relates to scribes who committed intentional errors in the manuscripts. 

One of the best New Testament scholars who gave value to this statement is Dr. Bruce Metzger.

Let us read his commentary in his book, Breaking the Code – Understanding the Book of Revelation, on page 106:

“When books were copied by hand, scribes would occasionally add comments of their own or leave out words they thought were unsuitable. John therefore includes at the end of his book a solemn warning (similar to that found in Deut. 4:2; 12:32) declaring that nothing should be added or deleted, for the very good reason that it is a revelation from God (22:18-19).”

Some say, “regardless of the translation, it is important to read the Bible.”

The comment is correct if it was made by serious Bible students. They study scriptures and compare various translations of the Hebrew and Greek Bibles (These contain original Bible texts). Can all people do this? Of course not. You need guidance from the Catholic Church if you are just an ordinary person. If we believe that any translation is all right, we will accept everything like the King James Version which contains many texts and passages not in the ancient manuscripts like:

  • Matthew 17:21
  • Matthew 18:11
  • Matthew 23:14
  • Mark 7:16
  • Mark 11:26
  • Mark 15:28
  • Luke 17:36
  • John 5:4
  • Acts 8:37
  • Acts 15:34
  • Acts 24:6–8
  • Acts 28:29
  • Romans 16:24

"..the King James Version, based on the Textus Receptus, have all these extra verses, phrases, and words. Those who read the King James Version (also the New King James Version) are reading a "leavened" version---that is, it is a text with thousand of extra words...In short, the additions were the result of scribal gap-filling wherein scribes added words as they read and copied a text. The sources for the additions came from their own minds, other gospels, other scriptures, and oral traditions" (A Commentary on Textual Additions to the New Testament, Philip W. Comfort, Kregel Academic (December 27, 2017), pp. 7-8)

It’s important to read the Bible. But I would always urge people to read the most accurate available translation.

The NRSV or New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, these do not contain verses mentioned above.

Here are the passages from the New Testament  Pinoy Version with negative reactions from readers:

1.) Galatians 1:6, “SOBRANG NA-SHOCK AKO SA INYO. Ang dali n’yo namang tinalikuran ang Diyos. Imagine, SOBRANG BAIT N’YA at pinadala n’ya si Christ sa atin. Ang Diyos mismo ang pumili sa inyo, tapos ngayon, INE-ENTERTAIN n’yo ang ibang Gospel?”

2.) Galatians 3:3, “MGA BOBO BA TALAGA KAYO? Nasimulan n’yo ngang maranasan ang kapangyarihan ng Holy Spirit sa buhay n’yo, tapos ngayon, aasa kayo sa sarili niyong lakas?!“

3.) Mark 15:18, Tapos, PINAGTRIPAN NILA SI JESUS. Sinaluduhan nila s’ya at sinabi, ‘Mabuhay ang hari ng mga Jews!’ Hinampas nila ng stick ang ulo ni Jesus at dinuraan siya.”

4.) Luke 22:58-59, AFTER ILANG MINUTES, may nakapansin ulit kay Peter at sinabi sa kanya, ‘Isa ka sa mga kasamahan nila.’ Pero sumagot si Peter, “Hindi po ako ‘yun, sir!” After one hour, MAY LALAKING NAG-INSIST, “Sure ako, kasama ni Jesus ang taong ito, kasi taga-Galilea din sya.”

5.) Sumagot si Jesus, "Yung bibigyan ko ng piraso ng tinapay na SINAWSAW KO SA SAUCE, sya yun." So kumuha sya ng kapirasong tinapay, SINAWSAW ITO SA SAUCE at binigay kay Judas na anak ni Simon Iscariot. (John 13:26)

Here are my comments for said passages:

1.)  This is a very colloquial rendition of Galatians 1:6, and breaks up the period into several short sentences.  “Shocked’ renders θαυμάζω, which is more “amazed.” “SOBRANG BAIT N’YA” renders ἐν χάριτι; “handpicked” renders καλέσαντος.  The translation dispenses with some vocabulary familiar to us: He was so good that he sent Christ to us. God handpicked you” translates τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς ἐν χάριτι [Χριστοῦ].  Note the textual problem. Χριστοῦ  is widely attested, but missing in some early witnesses and it sits there awkwardly.  Without it, the phrase would be rendered. “who graciously called us,”  with the ἐν χάριτι phrase, which lacks an article, being construed adverbially. The presence of Χριστοῦ, which might yield the translation “who called you by the grace of Christ” leads the translators to introduce “that he sent Christ to us” in order to explain the “grace” or “goodness” of God.

2.) “BOBO,” is colloquial. The Greek word used in Galatians 3:1 is ἀνόητοι (anoētoi).

There are two meanings according to the Concise GREEK-ENGLISH DICTIONARY of the NEW TESTAMENT. These are “foolish” and “ignorant.”

NRSV uses “foolish.” The Greek word, ἀνόητοι can also be read in Luke 24:25 Jesus used it with his two disciples. καὶ αὐτὸς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς · Ὦ ἀνόητοι καὶ βραδεῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ τοῦ πιστεύειν ἐπὶ πᾶσιν οἷς ἐλάλησαν οἱ προφῆται ·

Now, think about the CONTEXT (not simply the word).

St. Paul describes the Galatians as foolish and asks them rhetorical questions to contemplate on their past and present lives. If they started well with the Spirit (Galatians 3:3) and continue experiencing the Spirit in their lives (Galatians 3:5), they are foolish by believing in another discourse that concludes by subjecting them to the law.

So Foolish is correct. They are doing something they should not be doing. νοος means “mind, thought.” ἀ-νόητος means “no thought, not thinking, not thought-out.”

St. Paul means they’re not thinking. So “foolish” is much better. “Stupid” connotes emotionally exasperated.

3.) “PINAGTRIPAN,” is an incorrect translation. “They began to greet/address him.” I looked at the immediately preceding and following verses, because dynamically equivalent translations sometimes change the sentence order slightly, but I don’t see anything in either vv. 17 or 19 that would explain those words, “PINAGTRIPAN NILA SI JESUS.”

There is nothing in the Greek that supports that. ἤρξαντο ἀσπάζεσθαι αὐτόν is simply “they began to greet (or “salute”) him.

4.) “AFTER ILANG MINUTES,” seems fine to me. The Greek is indefinite, meaning “after a little while” and doesn’t specify a precise length of time. When I hear an expression like “after ilang minutes” I really don’t have any better idea how long a speaker has in mind. I probably don’t imagine it being more than an hour, since the word “minutes” is used. But, in context, it is unlikely that St. Peter’s three accusers spoke with hour-long intervals in between.


The word for man is Anthropos, not Aner, which could be just a generic for person. In American English, we can use “man” virtually as an exclamation: “Man, I am tired,” I could say to my wife Bernaditte without necessarily calling her a man. It’s interesting that the New American Bible (Revised Edition) reads “My friend, I am not.” And I doubt the individual was St. Peter’s friend at all, but that is a somewhat polite form of address, especially when you are about to contradict someone and want to soften the blow a little. The New International Version leaves ἄνθρωπος untranslated, but adds an exclamation mark for the emphasis that ἄνθρωπος would have created. As for ἕτερος that is even vaguer, referring just to “another” person with gender unspecified. It’s interesting that these come in Luke’s version; might it have been that the tradition he inherited from those who passed it on to him did not include enough specificity for him to make the identifications more precisely so he used the generic masculine in each case? At any rate, I wouldn’t use either of those expressions to create a dogmatic case that the questioner had to be male or “lalaki.”

5.) There is no explicit reference to “sauce” here. I assume the translators import the word to make a sensible expression in Tagalog of the somewhat compact Greek phrasing.  The Greek ἀκεῖνος ἐστιν ᾧ ἐγὼ βάξω τὸ ξωμίον καὶ δώσω αὐτῷ is literally “The one to whom I will dip and give the morsel (or piece of bread) is the one.”  A reader might reasonably want to know where the morsel is to be dipped. The same issue is involved in the following phrase. A first-century (or twenty-first century) Jerusalemite would know that it would be dipped in the ground chick peas, the hummus, or in the vegetable mix, the tachina. A note to the translation might explain that.  I suppose the translators assumed that “sauce” would be a reasonable generic description of where the “dipping” would occur.  It would be interesting to know if Tagalog speakers would use their word for “sauce” for something like a hummus paste or a salad mixture.  How does the literal translation sound in Tagalog?


I consulted Fr. Brian Daley, S.J. ( Catherine F. Huisking professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame) before doing the review if the imprimatur of the bishop ensures that the Bible translation cannot be questioned. 

The Imprimatur (which means: “Let it be printed”) is simply an official grant of permission by a Catholic bishop to a publisher, to publish a book that deals with the Catholic faith. It’s supposed to mean: as far as I can see, this contains nothing opposed to Catholic faith or morals. Every bishop is supposed to have people on his staff who are experts in Scripture, theology, etc., who read through book manuscripts and advise him on whether a new book is worth approving in this way or not.I should have said: no bishop, speaking by himself, is infallible. When all the bishops speak in unity in their role as the maintainers of the Apostolic teaching - say, in an ecumenical council - they speak infallibly.

An imprimatur is supposed to be a certification from a bishop that a published work has no major errors in doctrine, that are at odds with Church teaching. It normally isn’t meant to deal with the question of whether a Bible translation is adequate.

Catholic Church Bible scholars endorse the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition and New American Bible Revised Edition. Both the USA and Canadian Bishop Conferences officially endorsed the NRSVCE as the Catholic Bible and for use in the Liturgy.

Another good translation is the Catholic New American Bible: Revised Edition, the recent (2011) translation by the Catholic Biblical Association of America.

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