Romans 4:18

Saturday, May 13, 2006

During class, there was a short discussion on how ελπιδα επ ελπιδι is to be translated. To me it is quite an interesting phrase construction and description of Abraham's faith: that even though he knows that he and Sara are dead as far as their progeny is concerned (v.17), even when there is no reason for hope, Abraham kept on hoping (NLT 2004), that he will become the father of many nations as promised by God. (The lecturer commented that the 2nd edition of the New Living Translation is very well done. I guess it's time I upgrade my 1996 copy?)

This serves as a reminder to me that even when all hope is gone (not even seems gone but is gone), we can hope against hope that God will eternally be faithful in his love and his purpose; in fact even if we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself (2Tim 2:13).

Such is our God. We do not lose heart. We hope. We trust.



ος παρ ελπιδα επ ελπιδι επιστευσεν
(hos gar elpida ep elpidi episteusen)
Who in hope against hope have faith (my translation)

ALT: Who against hope believed in hope

Amplified: [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith

ASV: Who in hope believed against hope

BBE: Who without reason for hope, in faith went on hoping

CEV: And when it all seemed hopeless, Abraham still had faith in God


CUV-T: 他 在 無 可 指 望 的 時 候 ,因 信 仍 有 指 望

(ta1 zai4 wu2 ke3/4 zhi3wang5 de* shi2hou5 , yin1 xin4 reng2 you3/4 zhi3wang5)

Darby: Who against hope believed in hope

ESV: In hope he believed against hope

GW: When there was nothing left to hope for, Abraham still hoped and believed

IBIS: Abraham terus saja berharap dan percaya meskipun tidak ada harapan lagi

(Abraham kept on hoping and believing eventhough there is no more hope)

ISV: Hoping in spite of hopeless circumstances

ITB: Sebab sekalipun tidak ada dasar untuk berharap, namun Abraham berharap juga dan percaya

(Eventhough there is no basis for hope, yet Abraham also hoped and believed)

KJV: Who against hope believed in hope

LITV: He against hope believed in hope

MKJV: For he who beyond hope believed on hope

MSG: When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway

Murdock: And without hope, he confided in the hope

NASB: In hope against hope he believed

NET: Against hope Abraham believed in hope

NIrV: When there was no reason for hope, Abraham believed because he had hope

NIV: Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed

NLT 1996: When God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, Abraham believed him

NLT 2004: Even when there is no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping

RV: Who in hope believed against hope

Webster: Who against hope believed with hope

WNT: Under utterly hopeless circumstances he hopefully believed

Wycliffe: Which Abraham against hope believed into hope

YLT: Who, against hope in hope did believe

Maeghan

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7 comment(s)

  1. Hi Chloe,
    Many thanks! :) (And I am still in the midst of editing it ... hehe) Yes, God bless you too!

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  2. It's interesting to think of the approaches to meaning in this verse. The translations that say hope against hope are harder for me to picture than for instance one that says when all "reasons" for hope were gone, he still believed. Or he in faith still hoped even though the reason for hope was gone (I'm paraphrasing now b/c I can't see them from here :) )

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  3. Yes, I had problems trying to understand "hope against hope" too - which made me list down all the translation I could find to better understand it. And we need both - literal and paraphrased translations - to help me delve into the richness of the Word of God.

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  4. Maeghan,

    Thanks for sharing your class. (It is like taking seminary for free!).

    I really have to say, that I like the ISV translation the best

    ISV: Hoping in spite of hopeless circumstances

    I don't know if it the most accurate, but it is without question to most eloquent.

    God bless
    Doug

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  5. Doug,
    It is like taking seminary for free!
    It is good to share :) In fact, my church is paying for my fees and books - we started what we call a William Horley Education Fund last year. William Horley was the Methodist missionary who help start our church in Kuala Lumpur.

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  6. Doug,
    ISV: Hoping in spite of hopeless circumstances
    I don't know if it the most accurate, but it is without question to most eloquent.


    Language is so unique and dynamic - one word in one language may require several words in another to explain it. So they could all in total be accurate after all, yeah? The tower of babel, eh?

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