PerryDox

Biblical truth standing on its spiritual head to get our eternal attention.

Acts 2:3-4 – NASB vs. HCSB vs. ESV

Acts 2:3-4 NASB  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  (4)  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Acts 2:3-4 HCSB  And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  (4)  Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.

Acts 2:3-4 ESV  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  (4)  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Both the HCSB and the ESV revert back to the KJV and have the fires divided, whereas the NASB has the fire distributed among the apostles (or whoever all was in the room). But the most controversial aspect of the HCSB is of course their choice of translation, “different languages” instead of tongues. Contextually I have no problem with this translation, nor do I theologically (2:8). The “tongues” were human languages (v.11). Some consider this an interpretive translation that should be left up to the reader. My concern is the loss of narrative imagery. Again, words are more than words; they are part of the fabric of the story. They tell the story not just by their definitions, but by their visual and aural connections. Missing with the HCSB is the visual and verbal link between the “tongues” (glossa) of fire and the “tongues” (glossa) being spoken by the apostles which shows the divine connection between the fire and languages. If the Holy Spirit had wanted to, the word for language/dialektos (v.8) could have been used. See also Acts 10:46.


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