Gratia plena or highly favoured

O.K. another question from a newbe.

So the Vulgate says “gratia plena” and the NAB says “highly favoured daughter.”

I know that the NAB claims to be a more direct translation of the original languages. Of course doctrine is not effected by either term BUT the terms seem to carry FOR ME personally different meanings. When I think “full of grace” a sinless nature flows from this for how can one have sin if one is full of grace.

Protestants probably wonder about this also so which term really is a more authentic translation of the Hebrew or the Aramaic or whatever it was. I would think only a bible scholar could answer this. Again, I know that either term would have no effect on docrine I am curious.

Actually the DRV has:
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

The DRV is a more accurate translation then the NAB.

But is this objectively true- that the DRV is more accurate than the NAB? Or is it thought to be more accurate because it gives a translation more consistent with traditional Catholic thought?

It explains the approach taken as well as the source. I have always been told that the DRV is a word for word translation from the Latin Vulgate…the introduction seems to confirm that. You can google plenty of other sources.

This does provide some additional information to me, however, I know that there were biblical scholars involved with the translation of the NAB and I certainly believe that those involved in this translation would have done their best to faithfully translate the text.

I do feel, however, that the NAB is a very “dry” read and I prefer the diction of the New Jerusalem Bible (I have not read the DRV although I am sure this has to be a more enjoyable read than the NAB. I don’t think, though, that this “dryness” of the NAB is a sign of an inferior translation.

What do the experts say? And I mean the experts who are objective in regards to the issue- who don’t really care which version or translation is more accurate. I know the KJB is an awful translation when viewed by the experts.

The Greek word is kecharitomene, which I believe is a perfect passive participle meaning “graced.”

You may want to see:

or, from Catholic Answers:

Both of these have some linguistic stuff in addition to the doctrinal considerations.

The main difference, as I understand it, is that the DRV is a word for word translation from the Vulgate where as the NAB was more concerned with translating the “ideas”.

Personally, I use the RSV 2CE as well as the DRV.

The NAB (actually, there are several versions floating around) is a dynamic-equivalence type translation from the original languages.

Scholars almost exclusively use the RSV, although some have sadly begun to use the NRSV.

I use the RSV 2CE as well. Probably the only thing that really bothers be about it is that it always translates “Amen” as “Truly” instead of rendering it as “Amen.” Not a big deal, though.

I just googled “most accurate bible translation” and the top 10 were all protestant and anti-catholic sites. LOL.

O.K. this is good to hear because “full of grace” sounds so much better than "highly favored daughter."
Given Mary’s place of prominence I would have thought that the priests involved in the translation would have chosen “full of grace.” Mind you, I do not believe in the conspiracy theories that the Church was trying to be “protestantized.”

What do you guys think of the New Jerusalem Bible? I just bought one and I like it- especially since Tolkien was involved in the translation. :slight_smile:

Gratia means “grace”. It also means “favor with others”. Plena means “full of”. I’m not sure there really are any other meanings for “plena”. Gratia plena means full of grace. It also means “full of favor with others” (in this case, God is the “other” in which Mary is full of favor with).

“Highly favored one”, as found in the NAB is not exactly a wrong translation- it is only a partial translation. People argue that the NAB uses original sources- but I’m not sure I like it- the Vulgate, whether original or not, is most certainly an authoritative source. Also, the NAB reads more like a magazine than a Bible. The English language is a beautiful language, and I believe God’s word should be translated into English using the most beautiful style possible without making it too hard to read.

When Gabriel appears to Mary, the first words he says to her are “Chaire, kecharitomene!” Caire, kecaritomene!]. Chaire (which means both “rejoice” and “hail”) is the salutation, like the word “hello” in “hello, Cathy!” The word that follows, kecharitomene, is the direct address. In the previous example, the name “Cathy” is the direct address. A direct address is usually a name or title (or pronoun taking the place of a name or title) which represents the identity of the person being spoken to. Gabriel identifies Mary with a single term: not the name “Mary,” but the word kecharitomene.
Here, a common translation problem occurs. Gabriel only uses one word to refer to Mary, but most English translations do not. One particularly bad translation renders kecharitomene as “highly favored daughter.” Kecharitomene is extended from one word to three. The direct address in the translation is “daughter,” a word which does not appear in the Greek at all (as will be shown below). “Daughter” is then modified with a relevant word. This doesn’t really do kecharitomene justice. The same is true of translations which make the direct address “you” or “one” and modify it with adjectives or appositive phrases.


The root word is charitoo caritow], which means “to grace, favor.” On this much, it seems, all agree. All the common English translations of the word therefore, regardless of whether the translators are Catholic or Protestant, use some form of “grace” or “favor” in them.


The prefix on charitoo is ke, signifying that the word is in the perfect tense. This indicates a present state which is the result of a completed past action. The action which brought about the state in which Mary is, in other words, was completed before Gabriel’s greeting. Gabriel is viewing the finished results.

This tense seems difficult to render in English, especially with one word, as Gabriel uses. The translator does not only want to indicate that the past action is complete, but also that there is a continuing state as a result. Allowing for more than one word, an example of the tense in English might be “you are certified to teach.” “Are” indicates a present state, “certified” shows that the state is the result of a completed past action.


The suffix on charitoo, mene, makes this a passive participle. “Passive” means that the action is performed on the subject, in this case Mary, by another agent. The verb is “grace” and the implied subject is Mary. The passive usage means that “someone graced Mary,” rather than “Mary graced.” Most theologians would probably accept the assumption that the implied “someone” is God. “Participle,” in this case, means that the word has properties of both a verb and a noun. This makes sense in light of what has already been said about direct address. A direct address is a noun or pronoun, but “to grace” is a verb. Kecharitomene has verb and noun properties.

In the footnotes in the Ryrie Study Bible KJV, published by Moody Press, Charles Ryrie says the highly favoured=filled with grace. Dr. Ryrie and Moody Press are as Protestant as one can get, and they get the meaning of the translation right. Basically, the meaning is the same, irregardless of which words are used, as explained by the Protestants.:slight_smile:

Thanks everyone,

It is good to know that perhaps the Protestants have not “messed” with this translation. It makes me nervous when I ponder the issue that perhaps some may shape the translation of the Bible to fit a specific doctrine.

Duly noted. Would you care to take a guess a what the actual Aramaic words that were used in order for Luke to use “Caire, kecaritomene[FONT=Arial][size=2]”?[/size][/FONT]

Unfortunately Protestants have messed with the translations to fit their own beliefs.

“Free Gift” is a prime example.

Actually, that expression is in Catholic Bibles too. Here’s Romans 5:15 from the NJB. “There is no comparison between the free gift and the offence. If death came to many through the offence of one man, how much greater an effect the grace of God has had, coming to so many and so plentifully as a free gift through the one man Jesus Christ!”


New Jerusalem Bible. Here’s a link.

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