Translations of 1Cor 16:1-6

During recent months, I’ve been involved in 1Corinthians as a translation project, along with a group of others whose Greek skills are far better than mine.  As part of this program, a short description of which may be found at http://coffeewithpaul.com/gnt3/ (scroll down to #3 under “More Information”), study partners work on both a “literal” and a “paraphrase” or “idiomatic” translation and receive feedback both in a live presentation and via e-mail.  As I’m able, I become somewhat familiar with other translators’ texts, and I learn along the way, but this is the third time I’ve tried my hand; 16:1-6 was my text this time.  [My first text was 4:1-5 (one blogpost here); my second was 11:23-26 (which I may post soon).]

Below I’m offering my translations of 16:1-6.  If you have questions or comments, I’m all ears.  “Why did you translate _____ instead of _____ or ______?”  “Why did you go in X direction with Y phrase?”  I may or may not have a good answer to your question, but I’ll appreciate the question, just the same.

One difficulty I had with this text—and there were many—was the very use of the word “collection” when Paul is clearly not recommending a weekly collection of funds into a common treasury.  An eventual bringing-together of the stored funds is in view in v2, but I’ve opted for “scare quotes” in the idiomatic translation of v1.

Should you want to compare my renderings with more reputable but less salient 🙂  English translations, here’s one place to go (opens a 2nd window).

LITERAL

1 Now, about the for-the-saints collection . . . as I instructed the Galatian churches, so also you should all do:   2 On the first [day] of the week, each of you should put aside [money], storing it, according to how well things are going,[1] so that no collections[2] need occur when I get there. 3 Then, whenever I arrive, I will send the approved ones [3] with letters so they may convey the gift to Jerusalem; 4 and, if my going is advisable,[4] as well, it’s with me they’ll go.

5 And I will come to you when I’ve passed through Macedonia[5]—and I will pass through Macedonia—6 and I will perhaps remain with you or even spend the winter there, so that you might send me on my way to wherever I should go.

PARAPHRASE

1 Now, getting to the matter of the “collection” for the ones who’ve been made holy . . . all of you, please do follow the same directions that I gave the Galatian churches:

2 On the first day of the week, each one, put some money aside—saving it up (according to your financial prosperity)—so a focused collection effort as such shouldn’t be necessary when I get there.

3 Then, when I do show up, I will send these you’ve approved, commissioning the combined gift onward to Jerusalem with my endorsements. 4 If at that point my also traveling seems to be a good idea, well, then we’ll all go together.

5 And I will visit you in conjunction with my journey through Macedonia—yes, I’ll definitely be going through there—6 and I might stay a long while with you, up to and including wintering there, so that you can send me on my way wherever I go next.

[1] εὐοδῶται | euodōtai—traditionally, “how you are being prospered” or some such. BDAG offers, “. . . in our lit. only the pass. is used, and not literally ‘be led along a good road.’” The word (used only 3x in the NT: here, Rom. 1:10, and 3John 2) appears to suggest how things are going financially, i.e., how one is prospering. The NRSV goes a bit further with “whatever extra you earn,” and some have suggested allusion to any recent business deals. These translations leave the particular reference open here, rather speaking to a general sense of “how things have been going.”

[2] λογειαι | logeiaiL-N suggests a verbal meaning for this plural noun (a word used only in 1Cor 16 in the NT): “the act of collecting contributions, especially those involving voluntary response.” Other lexicographers have pointed out the distinction between this “collection” on the one hand and the Jewish tithe for Levites on the other. Found primarily in inscriptions and papyri, λογειαι has connotations of being voluntary (i.e., no “taxation” sense) and for “religious purposes.” This plural would seem to have a different shade of meaning than the singular λογεία in 16:1. I read the 16:1 instance as a nonstandard or special-sense use of “collection”—perhaps with the “scare quotes” I have included in the paraphrase—since Paul goes on in v2 to prescribe individual action. At some point, v3, the individual reserves are come together in some sort of collected whole.

[3] Greek texts differ in where a comma is inserted to segment the passage. The resultant question is whether the words διʼ ἐπιστολῶν | di’ epistolōn go with the verb πέμψω | pempsō or with the verb δοκιμάσητε | dokimasēte. That is to say, the comma-less Greek text does not clarify whether the Corinthians are writing approval letters or Paul is writing letters to send with them to Jerusalem. To an extent, my translations leave this question open.

[4] Or, fitting, worthwhile, or valuable.

[5] Lit., Μακεδονίαν | Makedonian. English convention has been to render the kappa with a c.

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