Bible verse differences?

Hi, everyone. While browsing in another forum thread, I saw this verse from Luke 13:3:

. " I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. " Luke 13:3

I don’t know the version. So I went to Bible Hub and put in a search for that particular verse and this is what it came up with:

I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

As I was looking at all the versions on that page I realized that the first one was from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Why is there such a difference?



The Douay-Rheims on has this for Luke 13:3


3 “I tell you it is not so; you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent.”


Not sure why Bible Hub would be different from New Advent, but you can see that this is the same as what you saw in the other versions.



The Greek:

, ἀλλʼ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε πάντες ὁμοίως ἀπολεῖσθε.

English translation:

But unless not you repent you will all as well perish

I’m seeing Douay-Rheims-Challoner, which is a translation from the Vulgate, as

“No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.”

Here’s the Latin from the Vulgate:

“Non, dico vobis: sed nisi poenitentiam habueritis, omnes similiter peribitis.”

“habueritis” is being read as 2nd person future perfect active indicative.

New Advent seems to be using the Monsignor Knox translation at present. It isn’t a translation from the Vulgate, as far as I know, but rather comes from the Greek:

“I tell you it is not so; you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent.”

I have noticed that the Douay-Rheims bible uses the word ‘penance’ in place of the word ‘repent’ many places. There’s a big difference between the meaning of the two words!

The answer is because of the sources of the two translations.

The DR is a translation of the Latin Vulgate which as the word “paenitentia” rendering the Greek “metanoete”. Of course, translating “paenitentia” into English naturally comes across as “penance”. Because of the DR’s source, “penance” is the only acceptable option.

But most modern Bible versions translate directly from the Greek, in which “metanoeo”, which, literally, means a “change of nous”, where a “nous” is one’s orientation or attitude towards something. “nous” is something like “mind” when used in the phrase “change my mind”, i.e. one’s attitude towards something, concept or object. So a “metanoia” is a complete change of orientation, attitude.

If the original “nous” was something wrong, e.g. sinful, then to “meta-nous” literally means to turn away from the wrong “nous”, in other words, to repent. Because of its strong reference to one’s interior disposition (i.e. “nous”), the word carries with it a call to full conversion. For translations made directly from the Greek, “repent” is the most suitable verb.

Regardless, any translation, be it Latin or English will never carry the full force of the original.

The Douay-Rheims is a literal sort of translation of the Latin Vulgate often termed “formal equivalence,” meaning that it strives to retain Latin forms more or less word-for-word when they are rendered into English. The Latin translation for “repent” is usually the two-word form poenitentiam agere, so it is necessary for the Douay-Rheims to render it “do penance” to be formally equivalent to Latin. One exception is Mark 1:15 where the single-word verb poenitemini is used.

The problem is that for many English speakers, the phrase “do penance,” brings to mind the “penance” assigned by a priest after confession (e.g. “say three Hail Marys”), or physical mortifications. Biblically speaking, this is not always wrong, as in the example of Matthew 11:21 (“Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida: for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done penance [repented] in sackcloth and ashes”). However, when we speak of the sacrament of penance, the word “penance” does not refer to what is enjoined upon the penitent to do afterward, but to the repentance of the penitent. The phrase poenitentiam agere should be understood to have “repent” as its primary meaning.

“Lewis and Short” lists some examples of the phrase in Classical literature before the Vulgate.

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