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Col 1:29  εις ο και κοπιω αγωνιζομενος κατα την ενεργειαν αυτου την ενεργουμενην εν εμοι εν δυναμει

Is there any good reason why the 'kai' is ommitted in so many modern English translations? For instance, in the first 12 translations listed on biblehub.com, only NASB, KJV, and BLB note it with an 'also'

Looking at the UBS apparatus, it does not appear to be due to a textual variant.

New International Version To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

New Living Translation That's why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within me.

English Standard Version For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Berean Study Bible To this end I labor, striving with all His energy working powerfully within me.

Berean Literal Bible Unto this also I toil, striving according to His energy, working in me in power.

New American Standard Bible For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

King James Bible Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Christian Standard Bible I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me.

Contemporary English Version This is why I work so hard and use the mighty power he gives me.

Good News Translation To get this done I toil and struggle, using the mighty strength which Christ supplies and which is at work in me.

Holman Christian Standard Bible I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.

International Standard Version I work hard and struggle to do this, using the energy that he powerfully provides in me.

  • The Greek, as you say, is not disputed and it seems odd that translations should omit the word. It becomes a matter of opinion in such cases as to why certain translators have chosen what they have chosen, as translators rarely provide commentary information (which they should do, in my own view) regarding the choices they have made. – Nigel J Feb 24 '19 at 4:47
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    @Robb and Nigel J....This is a common issue I see here at Biblical Hermeneutics StackExchange. It's ok, I've been there before my own academic studies and all scholars have been there before their own academic studies in their own time. It seems like everyone needs to take a basic course on general linguistics, as well as Hebrew and Greek without learning how to parse all the verbal charts. A basic course on exegetical fallacies would be helpful as well. Im not saying this in any mean way, but Greek does not work that way---the way you assume it must work. – XegesIs Feb 24 '19 at 14:05
  • Let me clarify : (1) First, all English (and other languages) translations are not created equal. There are various translation philosophies ( as we even seen between the Hebrew OT vs the Greek LXX ) today on translating the Bible. Some translations are formal equivalence and others are dynamic equivalence. Some combine both and some others are paraphrases. The reason is the audience and purpose of the translation: Is it a Study Bible? Is it for reading publicly? Is it for lay readers and beginners? Is it for students and scholars? All this is usually stipulated in the Preface of each. – XegesIs Feb 24 '19 at 14:14
  • Here καί serves a role of an enclitic, just fortifying the meaning, bearing the semantics of the English "exactly", "to wit", "namely", giving the sentence a rhetorical twist: "exactly for this I work and struggle". – Levan Gigineishvili Mar 29 '19 at 21:47
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Approximately 1/3 of the English translations do include the word, usually as "also," the second most common rendering (514 times) of καί.

In his commentary on Colossians 1:29, Heinrich Meyer states:

καί] also, subjoins the κοπιᾶν to the καταγγέλλειν κ.τ.λ., in which he subjects himself also to the former; it is therefore augmentative, in harmony with the climactic progress of the discourse; not a mere equalization of the aim and the striving (de Wette). Neither this καί, nor even the transition to the singular of the verb,—especially since the latter is not emphasized by the addition of an ἐγώ,—can justify the interpretation of Hofmann, according to which εἰς ὅ is, contrary to its position, to be attached to ἀγωνιζόμενος, and κοπιῷ is to mean: “I become weary and faint” (comp. John 4:6; Revelation 2:3, and Düsterdieck in loc.). Paul, who has often impressed upon others the μὴ ἐκκακεῖν, and for himself is certain of being more than conqueror in all things (Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 4:8, et al.), can hardly have borne testimony about himself in this sense, with which, moreover, the ἀγωνίζεσθαι in the strength of Christ is not consistent. In his case, as much as in that of any one, the οὐκ ἐκοπίασας of Revelation 2:3 holds good. 1

Meyer makes two points:

  1. It connects "preach" (1:28) and "toil."
  2. It prevents misunderstanding the phrase as "I become weary and faint."

The point is Paul preaches (1:28) for which (or for this) [Paul] "also" labors:

for which I also am laboring, struggling according to His working being at-work in me with power. (DLNT)

Conclusion
Since the preceding "for which" (εἰς ὅ) points back to Paul's preaching, "also" serves to reinforce (not to make) the connection between preaching and toil. Omitting "also" does not change the meaning:

For this I [also] toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (ESV)

Leaving off "also" does seem to place a greater emphasis on "toil." If a translator saw this, they might choose this as a means to further contrast Paul's work and Christ's working within Paul.


  1. Heinrich Meyer's New Testament Commentary
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  • Wow, I did not see that coming. Very interesting and cogent answer. +1 – Ruminator Apr 29 '19 at 2:06
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I encourage everyone that has not learned general linguistics, some Hebrew and Greek to invest 2019 into basic courses on linguistics, Hebrew and Greek. There are so many free courses and low-priced books out there on the Internet today, that it's unbelievable. But, there is also unreliable information. I highly recommend that you all read highly reputable, recognized scholarship. That doesn't mean that it's all flawless and that they never contradict each other, but that it's recognized scholarship. Go check Logos.com. These kinds of questions are easily answered by reading through a very small introduction to Hebrew and Greek grammar, which includes the usage of the "kai" conjunction.

First, I recommend that you all start using biblegateway.com. In there, you can put the passage in question and then you can click (just below the translation) on " Colossians 1:29 in all English translations." It will then list almost, if not all, English translations and revisions in existence. It's astonishing that people heavily continue to use the KJV and its editions and revisions, and barely mention or reference more up-to-date and more reliable translations such as the ESV, ISV, NET and LEB.

Second, I recommend that you all start taking advantage of the NET Bible and its translation notes. Yes, the NET Bible is free online and it includes translation notes by the translators. It's not flawless, but it's scholarly and extremely useful.

Third, I am not a grammarian ( although I've done 1 full year of Hebrew and Greek grammar, including summer time ), so I cannot myself explain in detail how the "kai" conjunction is used in the NT and outside the NT. Therefore, let me simply make some references here that should answer your question...The simple answer is that the "kai" conjunction is not always necessary to translate, and it's sometimes not even translated in certain other passages even by supposed "literal" translations such as the KJV. Also, "kai" can variously mean different things, it does not always mean "and" ( this is the impression you give us ).

There are dozens of really excellent Greek grammarians out there, some being Dr. David Alan Black, Buist Fanning, Steven E. Runge, Prof. Stanley E. Porter, Prof. Emeritus Chrys C. Cargounis, and others. There is another one : Dr. Daniel B. Wallace. He " founded the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) to utilize emerging technologies to preserve and study Greek New Testament manuscripts. " Please, look for Dr. Daniel B. Wallace if ever you want to know something about greek or about NT Greek Manuscripts.

http://www.csntm.org/About/WhoWeAre

https://danielbwallace.com/cv/

https://danielbwallace.com/about/

https://danielbwallace.com/2012/10/08/fifteen-myths-about-bible-translation/

Now, let me quote Dr. Daniel B. Wallace in one of his grammars:

On Ephesians 1:1, he says:

It is probable that here the Greek conjunction “and” has the meaning of “namely.” It serves the purpose of explication and may therefore occasionally be omitted in translation if its intent is preserved

Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 282.

On 1 Cor. 2.10, Dr. Wallace shows that "kai" should not be translated "and", but "even" (i.e., "kai" --> "even"):

     τὸ πνεῦμα πάντα ἐραυνᾷ, καὶ τὰ βάθη τοῦ θεοῦ
     the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God

Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 671.

...And there are many more examples where "kai" is used in various ways, either because of the Koine Greek language itself or because of the author himself, to produce different kinds of conjunctions and some are not translatable.

Just one last citation from another grammarian, Dr. David Alan Black:

iii. Greek does not have a conjunction meaning “both.” Instead, καί is used, as in εἰμὶ καὶ υἱὸς καὶ δοῦλος, “I am both a son and a servant.” καί may also be used adverbially, in which case it is translated “also” or “even.” Compare Matt 10:30: “But even [καὶ] the hairs of your head are all numbered.”

David Alan Black, Learn to Read New Testament Greek (3rd ed.; Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2009), 31.

Translation philosophies or methodologies:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_and_formal_equivalence#Bible_translation https://blog.logoscdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/image00-620x250.png https://blog.logos.com/2016/05/bible-translation-best-good-ones/

Conclusion

The conjunction kai for this particular translation of this verse is not necessary. If you've done Greek, or you are a Greek grammarian or a translator, you may have your preferences, but it's not correct to insist that omitting the "kai" in any particular translation of this verse is wrong. It just isn't.

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  • This answer needs a conclusion. It seems like a reasonable argument that kai is used here in the sense of "namely" rather than "also". This makes more sense of the context and, if that is the case, it's easy to see why English translations would leave the word out for the sake of clarity. If that's your view, I'd suggest adding a conclusion making that point to your post. Also, the sources you post to gain some exposure to biblical languages are helpful, but might be better put in a comment so your answer is more clear. – P. TJ Mar 26 '19 at 17:50
  • The conclusion is that the Kai is not necessary for the translation of this particular verse. – XegesIs Mar 29 '19 at 21:29

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