By N. B. Hardeman The evidence from external sources regarding Jesus is indeed meager, but there are reasons for such. At the time he lived, the world was absorbed in military greatness. Only heroes and heroines on the field of battle attracted attention. Worldly glory and deeds of earthly valor were worthy to mention, but moral force and spiritual achievements were passed into obscurity. The weapons used by Christ and his disciples were not carnal. He had no great armies, clad in brilliant uniforms, bearing aloft his unfurled banners. He had no great political powers or men of wealth to sing his praise. He was from a despised town and lived among the poorest of earth, and hence, why should a historian take notice of one so humble?
It has been hard for me to get back into the groove of writing regularly after taking a nice vacation. I have been playing catch up in my life and I am trying to get my writing juices flowing again for Christian Monthly Standard. When I was studying for a new sermon series on 2 Peter, I found that there was a wide variation of translations of 2 Peter 1:1.
To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (NRSV)
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: (TNIV)
I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. (NLT)
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (NKJV)
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (ESV)
To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. (HCSB)
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: (NASB)
Notice that the NRSV, (T)NIV, NLT, and NKJV translate in a way to emphasize the value of the faith we have received. That is part of the picture. I personally do not like the rendering of “precious faith” because, while accurate, can be easily misunderstood to mean that the faith one has received is precious. While it is true that faith is valuable, this does not seem to be the exact point that Peter is making. Scholars point out that the Greek word isotimos describes having a faith of equal honor and equal privilege. The point is that the faith we have grants to us the same blessings, honor, and privileges as the apostles. The ESV and HCSB do a great job in capturing that meaning with “equal standing” and “equal privilege,” respectively. I think kudos ought to be given to the HCSB because, in my opinion, it captures the value of our faith as being the equal privilege and blessings we have through Jesus.
I thought the NASB translation was curious and odd. The rendering, “a faith of the same kind as ours” does not seem to properly capture the idea at all. The NASB seems to emphasize the quality of the faith, while the other translations emphasize the honor, value, and privilege of the faith we have received. I think it is another example of the NASB coming up short.