I have been reading from the TNIV lately, giving it another “shot,” if you will, after hating the 2001 TNIV New Testament release. So I am jumping around to read some of the controversial and difficult texts. I decided to check out 1 Corinthians 11:10. Notice the differences between the translations:
Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. (NASB)
That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. (ESV)
For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. (NRSV)
For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. (NIV)
All of these translations add the words “symbol of” or “sign of” in an effort for clarity (though it is debatable that such offers much clarity). Now look at the TNIV:
It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. (TNIV)
The TNIV is a pretty literal translation of the text. In fact, it is the only one that I can find of the major translations that does not add the words “symbol of” to authority (the NLT adds the word “under” to authority, which reverses the meaning of the text). Whatever we think the covering was for, Paul argues that the covering was “authority on her head.” The Greek word for “authority” is exousia which means “power, right, authority.”
So, good job by the TNIV to drop the words “symbol of” because these words are not in the Greek. Zondervan should be advertising the TNIV as more accurate than the NIV if they want people to try it and buy it.
Also, this is another reason not to be a “translation elitist” declaring that only one translation is good. While I am not a TNIV person at all, 1 Corinthians 11:10 is a place where the TNIV is best of the bunch.