Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Different English translations translate this verse (1 Thessalonians 1:4) as follows:

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (KJV)
knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. (NKJV)
knowing your election, brothers loved by God. (HCSB)
knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; (NASB)

What is the most accurate translation? Who made the election? Election of what?

NOTE: I'm looking for an answer free of assumptions of theological systems.

share|improve this question
1  
You're not going to be able to find an answer to this free of assumptions of theological systems. The meaning is vague enough you can make it mean their choice of God or God's choice of them. The answer completely depends of your presuppositions. –  david brainerd Jul 22 at 3:48

1 Answer 1

1 Thessalonians 1:4 - Stephanus Textus Receptus 1550 εἰδότες ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ θεοῦ τὴν ἐκλογὴν ὑμῶν

Knowing | brothers | beloved | by/of | God | the | election | of you

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (KJV)
Here we see in the King James that the First Three Words match to the Greek. Next it says "your election" the Greek does support this by saying "the election of you".

Next it says "of God" the Greek does support this.

Without knowing the Greek there is possibility of misreading this verse into believing that the one doing the electing is the person, and the one being elected is God.

knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. (NKJV)
Here we see in the New King James that the first word matches to the Greek. Next it says "beloved brethern" now in English the word "beloved" is an adjective. So in English placing the adjective before the noun "brethern" is sound sentence structure. However the Greek word for "beloved" is a verb. So although the "brethern are loved" because it is saying "beloved brethern". The perspective of being "loved by God" is not as easily seen. Next it says "your election" the Greek does support this by saying "the election of you". Next it says "by God" the Greek does support this. Looking between the KJV and the NKJV we can see that they fixed possibility of misreading, clearly God is doing the election as the Greek supports.

knowing your election, brothers loved by God. (HCSB)
Here the the election is what is "knowing" which the Greek does support because the verb "knowing" is in the Nominative Case, and the "Election" is in the Accusative Case meaning it is the Subject that the Nominatives Apply to. We see that it does point out "your election" which is correct. And also "Brother loved by God". However missing is the doing the election of. This translation does not show that "being loved by God" does the election.

knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; (NASB)
Here we see all "knowing, brethren beloved by God" as directly in relation to the Greek. And also answers the questions "Who does the election?" and "Who is being elected?". However being elected has been simplified to a choice. Which does have a feel of a bit of a removal of the honor we really are given. The [meaning] to the word (ἐκλογὴν) is "divine selection". So as "choice" does satisfy the textual need I do wish they could have added or kept the value.

Which is the Most Correct?
From a position of saying which translation "more correctly" defines what the Greek is trying to say. From the choices that have been given it is the (NASB).

Who is being Elected?
The Brethern that are so loved by God.

Who made the Election?
God is the one who divinely selects.

Election of What?
Into God's divine selection.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.