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Ὡς δὲ ἐπληροῦτο αὐτῷ τεσσαρακονταετὴς χρόνος, ἀνέβη ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ ἐπισκέψασθαι τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ τοὺς υἱοὺς Ἰσραήλ.

Most translations render καρδίαν as heart but the NASB chose to translate it as quick

Acts 7:54 NASB

54 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.

Acts 7:54 KJV

54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

Acts 7:54 YLT

54 And hearing these things, they were cut to the hearts, and did gnash the teeth at him;

How can we understand this translation?

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  • See Stack Exchange - English Language and Usage - Etymology of Quick as in 'Cut to the Quick'. This is an English idiom and the linked article also refers to 'the quick and the dead'. +1.
    – Nigel J
    Sep 21 '20 at 8:23
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    This is primarily an English language question, and belongs on a different site.
    – Lucian
    Sep 21 '20 at 9:43
  • @Lucian,so you decided to downvote Sep 21 '20 at 10:12
  • Yes. I find downvotes devoid of explanations unconstructive, hence the previous comment.
    – Lucian
    Sep 21 '20 at 10:16
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    @NigelJThank you ,English is not my first language so some things may not be as simply as he imagines.Even when i have asked good questions he is the only one who l downvotes them Sep 21 '20 at 11:34
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The large variation in translations of Acts 7:54 does not concern the word καρδίαν but the word διεπρίοντο. Let me be more specific. Here is my very literal translation of the Greek of the first half of the verse:

Now hearing these things, they were sawn assunder into the heart ...

The word διαπρίω (diaprió) only occurs in Acts 5:33 and 7:54. It is literally, "cut in two" but idiomatically means to "be infuriated" (BDAG). The addition of the phrase ταῖς καρδίαις (in the hearts) intensifies this meaning. Thus, I would translate this verse as:

Now hearing these things, they were infuriated to the core ...

This is precisely the meaning conveyed in most versions:

  • NIV: When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious ...
  • NLT: The Jewish leaders were infuriated ...
  • ESV: Now when they heard these things they were enraged ...
  • BSB: On hearing this, the members of the Sanhedrin were enraged ...
  • CSB: When they heard these things, they were enraged ...
  • CEV: they were angry and furious ...
  • GNT: they became furious ...
  • HCSB: When they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts ...
  • ISV: While they were listening to these things, they became more and more furious ...

Such a meaning, "became furious/enraged" is confirmed by that which follows, "they gnashed their teeth at him" also indicating uncontrolled rage.

We may also see that Acts 5:33, the same word διαπρίω (diaprió) is used with the same meaning of become enraged or very angry with the result of death threats.

A form of this idiom survives into modern English when we say, "beside myself with rage", meaning, I have to be divided into two people to express how angry I am.

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