Most translations are essentially along the lines of HCSB:

"According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:"

But NASB adds, using capital letters to indicate the addition:

"Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, EACH OF US IS TO EXERCISE THEM ACCORDINGLY:"

It seems to me that this addition strengthens the tone, i.e. rather than just describing a list of gifts, it becomes almost an imperative command (which I think is correct to say, but possibly not in the text).

What is the basis of the extra text in the NASB for Romans 12:6?

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    Usually all caps in the NASB indicate am OT quotation – user15733 Dec 23 '16 at 4:13
  • Perhaps it differs depending on who printed your NASB? It is also used to indicate addition in mine, i.e. consider verse 10 "BE devoted to one another in brotherly love;" – Jacob Dec 23 '16 at 4:17
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    These words are shown in italics at Biblegateway, not caps: "Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;" From the NASB preface: "ITALICS are used in the text to indicate words which are not found in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek but implied by it." – Bʀɪᴀɴ Dec 23 '16 at 4:58
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    NASB is not the only translation to add the implication, such as the ESV: "let us use them:" – curiousdannii Dec 23 '16 at 7:32
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    In fact so too does the HCSB! It just puts it later in the verse: "If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith;" Almost every translation adds a verb, they just differ on where they put it. – curiousdannii Dec 23 '16 at 7:46

The translators all seems to miss the sense of this passage which is odd because Paul is speaking very plainly. The problem seems to be that translators tend to jump to the idea of μέτρον being a "portion" as if believers each get a slice of pizza. Paul is not speaking of each having a "portion" of faith but rather of each having a "measuring device" of faith as people are wont to compare their slice to the other slices rather than valuing and appreciating the value of their special slice.:

Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants] Romans 12:3 Λέγω γὰρ διὰ τῆς χάριτος τῆς δοθείσης μοι παντὶ τῷ ὄντι ἐν ὑμῖν μὴ ὑπερφρονεῖν παρ' ὃ δεῖ φρονεῖν, ἀλλὰ φρονεῖν εἰς τὸ σωφρονεῖν, ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἐμέρισεν μέτρον πίστεως.

μέτρον, ου, τό (Hom.+; ins, pap, LXX, En, TestSol 15:5; TestAbr A; Test12Patr; GrBar 6:7; ApcMos 13; Sib Or 3, 237; EpArist, Philo; Jos., Ant. 13, 294, C. Ap. 2, 216; Just., 112, 4; Tat. 27, 3; Ath.) gener. **‘that by which anything is measured’.
① an instrument for measuring, measure**
ⓐ of measures of capacity ἐν μέτρῳ μετρεῖν Mt 7:2; Mk 4:24; 1 Cl 13:2b. μέτρῳ μετρεῖν (Maximus Tyr. 32, 9c; 35, 2i) Lk 6:38b; 1 Cl 13:2a; Pol 2:3. W. heaping up of attributes μ. καλὸν πεπιεσμένον σεσαλευμένον ὑπερεκχυννόμενον good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over Lk 6:38a. In imagery: πληροῦν τὸ μ. τινός fill up a measure that someone else has partly filled Mt 23:32.
ⓑ of linear measure Rv 21:15. μέτρον ἀνθρώπου, ὅ ἐστιν ἀγγέλου a human measure, used also by angels vs. 17.
② the result of measuring, quantity, number
ⓐ lit. τὰ μ. τῶν τῆς ἡμέρας δρόμων φυλάσσειν keep the measure of its daily courses Dg 7:2.
ⓑ fig. (Maximus Tyr. 40, 3c ὑγείας μ.; Alex. Aphr., Quaest. 3, 12 II/2 p. 102, 2 μ. τῆς ἀληθείας; Ath. 32, 2 δικαιοσύνης μ.; 33, 1 μ. ἐπιθυμίας ἡ παιδοποιία) ὡς ὁ θεὸς ἐμέρισεν μέτρον πίστεως as God has apportioned the measure of faith Ro 12:3 (CCranfield, NTS 8, ’62, 345–51: Christ is the measure of faith). ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις κατὰ τὸ μ. τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ grace was given to each one according to the measure (of it) that Christ gave Eph 4:7. κατὰ τὸ μ. τοῦ κανόνος οὗ ἐμέρισεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεὸς μέτρου according to the measure of the limit (=within the limits) which God has apportioned us (as a measure) (s. B-D-F §294, 5; Rob. 719) 2 Cor 10:13. κατʼ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους according to the functioning capacity of each individual part Eph 4:16 (ἐν μ. as Synes., Ep. 12 p. 171c). καταντᾶν εἰς μ. ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ attain to the measure of mature age (or stature of the fullness) of Christ vs. 13 (s. ἡλικία 2a and cp. μ. ἡλικίας Plut., Mor. 113d; μ. ἥβης Il. 11, 225; Od. 11, 317).—οὐκ ἐκ μέτρου J 3:34, an expr. not found elsewh. in the Gk. language, must mean in its context not from a measure, without (using a) measure (the opp. is ἐν μέτρῳ Ezk 4:11, 16; Jdth 7:21).—DELG. M-M. TW. Sv.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 644). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

He's saying, for example, if your gift is teaching, don't measure your teaching gift by comparing it to others who lack the gift and thus imagine (overestimate) yourself better than others. Rather, measure by how accurate you are. If giving, measure by how free your giving is from "strings". And so on.

He speaks of the same subject here:

2Co 10:12  For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.  2Co 10:13  But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.  2Co 10:14  For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:  2Co 10:15  Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,  2Co 10:16  To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.  2Co 10:17  But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.  2Co 10:18  For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

KJV unless otherwise noted.

For the added text in translation of the ESV and NASB, there appears to be an accommodation made for the uninspired punctuation versus the actual text starting in v. 4:

καθάπερ γὰρ ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι πολλὰ μέλη ἔχομεν, τὰ δὲ μέλη πάντα οὐ τὴν αὐτὴν ἔχει πρᾶξιν, οὕτως οἱ πολλοὶ ἓν σῶμά ἐσμεν ἐν Χριστῷ, τὸ δὲ καθ' εἷς ἀλλήλων μέλη. ἔχοντες δὲ χαρίσματα κατὰ τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσαν ἡμῖν διάφορα, εἴτε προφητείαν κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς πίστεως,

Romans 12:4-6 (ESV) 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

Romans 12:4-6 (NASB) 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;

I would submit that the flow makes the translation addition unnecessary by punctuating differently, and the meaning is in tact, as follows:

4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function. 5 So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another, 6 having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

Honestly, I think the ESV and NASB are inferior in this instance because of this significant dynamic equivalency addition.

  • " ... there appears to be an accomodation made for the uninspired punctuation" - What exactly is "uninspired punctuation"? How does it differ from "inspired punctuation"? – user33515 May 14 at 13:54
  • What is your understanding of the term 'dynamic equivalence', please ? – Nigel J May 14 at 14:46
  • user33515 I used the terminology of "uninspired punctuation" to point out that punctuation is not a part of the original inspired documents. In this context, there is no "inspired punctuation." Perhaps better wording on my part would be "...punctuation, which is not a part of the inspired text of Scripture." – Cary May 15 at 15:36
  • My understanding of the term "dynamic equivalence" is any translation of original text that attempts to provide expanded, conceptual translation glosses versus a more "word for word" approach. I realize this would involve a continuum, whereby all translations probably fit this definition at some level. For example, the NASB attempts to match an English word or phrase with the underlying Greek word, whereas the NIV attempts to use a more conceptual translation of the Greek text to English. A bit ironic for the NASB here, in light of its "word for word" reputation. – Cary May 15 at 15:43
  • Welcome to the forum, Cary. Be sure to support all of your assertions though. In addition to the wording already mentioned, can you show how the two translations you cited are "inferior" in this case? I would note that one can make a case that a word-for-word translation is inferior because languages have nuances. For example, agápe, éros, philía, and storgē in Greek are all translated literally as "love" in English, which by blurring the distinction would indeed be an inferior. Best wishes, – Dieter Jun 1 at 2:57

The NASB has:


This clause is the NASB's translation from the Greek ... εἴτε προφητείαν κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς πίστεως the source of which was Eberhard Nestle's Novum Testamentum Graece; the 23rd edition in the 1971 original NASB, and the 26th in the 1995 revision.

The phrase you refer to "EACH OF US IS TO EXERCISE THEM ACCORDINGLY" is the NASB's translation of the Greek word "εἴτε" which is typically rendered "whether" (G1535).

Not all English bibles use Nestle's Novum Testamentum Graece as the Greek source so some Greek sources have minor variants .

But of the ones that do (ESV, NIV, NJB, JNT, DRA, etc) the translators have opted not to give εἴτε the additional emphasis the editors of the NASB have by sticking to its conventional word-meaning (whether).

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    As noted in the comments, almost all translations (including at least ESV, NIV) add some sort of finite verb (but see NRSV). This is not a textual issue but a matter of (potential) ellipsis in Greek and cues in the larger semantic context about indicative vs. volitional. – Susan Dec 27 '16 at 5:08

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