1

1 Cor. 14:1 in the NASB reads:

"Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy."


The Greek word used here for "desire" is "Διώκετε," a present - active - imperative - second person - plural verb that only has three other occurrences in the New Testament. This specific occurrence is unique in that the translators of the NASB add the modifier "earnestly" in front of our verb.

Is there a particular reason why the translators have added the word "earnestly" in this verse?

5
  • 1
    ζηλοῦτε is the Greek word for which the NASB has given "earnestly desire". It means to "covet", which implies a strong desire. – enegue Oct 12 '18 at 5:54
  • "Διώκετε" is the word translated "Pursue" in the NASB. The words "earnestly desire" are translating ζηλόω which, given the context is well rendered by the two words "earnestly desire". Personally I would render it something like "Pursue love and be eager for the spiritual gifts but mostly that you may prophesy". But it is common to have a single word in the source language be represented by two or more words in the target language. Not a problem. – Ruminator Oct 12 '18 at 12:36
  • >25.76 ζηλόωa; ζηλεύω: to be deeply committed to something, with the implication of accompanying desire—‘to be earnest, to set one’s heart on, to be completely intent upon.’ Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 297). New York: United Bible Societies. – Perry Webb Oct 12 '18 at 21:09
  • >25.77 ζηλωτήςa, οῦ m: one who is deeply committed to something and therefore zealous—‘enthusiast, zealous person.’ ζηλωτὴς ὑπάρχων τοῦ θεοῦ καθὼς πάντες ὑμεῖς ἐστε σήμερον ‘being deeply committed to God even as all of you are today’ Ac 22:3. Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 297). New York: United Bible Societies. – Perry Webb Oct 12 '18 at 21:10
  • > zeal \ˈzēl\ noun [Middle English zele, from Late Latin zelus, from Greek zēlos] 14th century: eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something: FERVOR Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. – Perry Webb Oct 12 '18 at 21:23
1

In fact, the Greek word here translated "earnestly desire" is the verb "zeloo" occurs a total of 11 times in the NT (Acts 7:9, 17:5, 1 Cor 12:31, 13:4, 14:1, 2 Cor 11:2, Gal 4:17, 18, James 4:2).

The text at this point is no different in the Byzantine/Majority text vs NA28 and USB5.

According to BDAG the verb means (for this text), "be positively and intensely interested in something, strive, desire, exert oneself earnestly, be dedicated."

Therefore, I believe the translators have made a good choice for the translation at this point with the phrase, "earnestly desire".

[Note: Διώκετε is the Greek word/verb behind "persue", not earnestly desire.]

4
  • Actually, BDAG provides 2 main usages. Acts 7:9 (and others) do not use the usage whose gloss you quoted but its opposite. LSJ has multiple glosses: logeion.uchicago.edu/%CE%B6%CE%B7%CE%BB%CF%8C%CF%89 So "according to BDAG the verb means x" is patently false. If you cited your sources then that would be obvious to the readers. Instead, readers will be misled. Can you see why showing your sources is required? – Ruminator Oct 12 '18 at 7:10
  • The English words that transliterate the Greek verb are zeal, zealous, etc. – Perry Webb Oct 12 '18 at 7:53
  • @PerryWebb Please actually confer with a lexicon rather than speaking from hunches: logeion.uchicago.edu/%CE%B6%CE%B7%CE%BB%CF%8C%CF%89 – Ruminator Oct 12 '18 at 12:27
  • I agree with @Perry Webb - the Greek word "zeloo" has arrived in English as zeal and zealous. – user25930 Oct 12 '18 at 19:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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