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King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Darby Bible Translation

For God is not [a God] of disorder but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints.

In https://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/14-33.htm, only 5 out of 28 versions have "the author" in this verse. They are King James Bible, New King James Version, King James 2000 Bible, American King James Version, and Webster's Bible Translation.

The word "author" is not in the Greek original. How did KJB justify the addition of "the author" into 1 Corinthians 14:33?

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    May I say there's some irony that this particular verse has some confusion associated with it. ;-) Aug 3, 2020 at 23:02
  • The word "author" is not in the Greek original. - Neither are countless other words, inserted elsewhere, in italics, in the KJV.
    – Lucian
    Aug 4, 2020 at 6:24

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The greek text of 1 Cor 14:33a is

οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἀκαταστασίας ὁ Θεὸς ἀλλὰ εἰρήνης ...

The text for this section is undisputed. This is very literally:

For He is not of disorder, the God, but of peace ...

In slightly better English:

For God is not the God of disorder but of peace ...

Almost all versions have something very similar to this. The KJV has decided on an interpretive translation here by adding the words, "the author" (in italics) to show that the words are added and not in the Greek text. This translation of the KJV at this point is unfortunate as it subtlety changes the sense.

The original Greek simply says that God is not the God of disorder, vs, God is not the author of disorder/confusion. The distinction is important as it says that God is in His very nature orderly.

It was this notion of God being an orderly God that began the modern scientific revolution in the 16th century - all of the early scientific pioneers were Christian such as Galileo, Copernicus, Kelper, Newton, etc. That is, they sought scientific laws because they believed that the Creator was an orderly God.

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  • Yes. 'Author' is only the instigator. 'Not God of confusion' implies 'Not ruling over a confused situation'. +1.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 4, 2020 at 7:37
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When it comes to the King James Bible, it's important to recall that translation used the Textus Receptus, which is to say the text Erasmus compiled in the 16th century. Modern scholarship uses a wider and better set of manuscripts to avoid scribal errors. Still, the Greek text used by King James' scholars does not include "the author". Of course, I should have know that since the convention is to use a different font face for added words:

Where as the necessity of the sentence required anything to be added (for such is the grace and propriety of the Hebrew and Greek tongues, that it cannot but either by circumlocution, or by adding the verb, or some word, be understood of them that are not well-practised therein), we have put it in the text with another kind of letter.—Preface to the 1st edition of the Geneva Bible

The other reason a translation might include extra words is that, in English at least, there is desire to follow the phrasing of previous translations. This is frequently mentioned in the translators' note found the the front of many volumes. As it turns out, the Geneva Bible from 1560 renders 1 Corinthians 14:33:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as we see in all ye Churches of the Saints.

Tyndale also felt the need to include another noun:

For God is not causer of stryfe: but of peace as he is in all other congregacions of the saynctes.

Even modern translations include some other English word to help make the translation clear:

for God is not characterized by disorder but by peace.—NET Bible

Indeed, looking an interlinear Bible shows the problem:

not for is of confusion a God but of peace

Note that the ESV adds "God" before "is". The Greek word ἐστιν just means "is". We need some extra word to to make the English work here. My guess is that the KJB followed the lead of the Geneva Bible in this case. But there are other ways to solve the translation problem.

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    Young's Literal also does as you say : for God is not `a God' of tumult,
    – Nigel J
    Aug 4, 2020 at 7:35

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