Philippians 2:12 - frequently misquoted?

Yesterday I heard the following quote: “Work out your faith with fear and trembling.” I had remembered the verse as “work out your *salvation *with fear and trembling.” I got online today to check and fond something weird.

  1. Every translation I can find (RSV, NIV, NAB, KJV, D-R, etc) uses the word “salvation.”

  2. According to a concordance I found, the Greek word is “sōtēria” which means salvation.

  3. Googling “work out your faith with fear and trembling” gives almost as many hits as “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” 23,100 for the former; 26,900 for the latter.

Can anyone explain this? Is there a popular version of the Bible that translates it as “faith” - and if so is there a legitimate reason for doing so, or are lots of people making a mistake? Have you heard it said that way, and from whom?

Mike:

This is an interesting question as it shows how popular sayings can be derived from the Bible, though not in an exact manner. I have many resources available and cannot find one mention of this word being translated as faith. I’ve looked through 14 diffent translations, all of which claim the word is salvation not faith. The Greek word itself is used 45 times in most popular translations, none of them as faith. Linguistically I cannot answer where the word “faith” comes in other than it being a popular mis-nomer. It is kind of like calling a pencil a “lead” pencil when in fact it is composed of graphite and clay, not lead.

[quote=Catholic_Mike] Yesterday I heard the following quote: “Work out your faith with fear and trembling.” I had remembered the verse as “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” I got online today to check and fond something weird.
[/quote]

I would ask whoever made the statement what their source is for the quote (what version are they quoting from). If it’s a version you’ve already checked, I would correct this person (in Christian love) so they will no longer misquote the Sacred Scriptures.

**Since when is Google an official interpretation of Sacred Scripture?

Yes there are over 35,000+ Protestant denominations in the US alone, not counting agnostics and atheists, so any one can start a ‘church’ and misquote and incorrectly interpret Sacred Scripture.**

Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark

[quote=Mark77] Yes there are over 35,000+ Protestant denominations in the US alone, not counting agnostics and atheists, so any one can start a ‘church’ and misquote and incorrectly interpret Sacred Scripture.
[/quote]

Once more I need to challenge this claim! What is your source for this information? I have heard this claim many times, and the only referrence I’ve ever been given is the World Christian Encyclopedia (world-wide, not restricted to the US). If you would take the time to examine this source, you will find these are “Christian” denominations (and “Christian” is used very loosely, as evidenced by the inclusion of many Mormon, Jehovahs Witnesses, etc… denominations). More than 2/3rds of the total “denominations” are “non-denominational” denominations. What I find most interesting is that, among these denominations, there are 781 Orthodox Catholic denominations, and 242 Roman Catholic denominations. This would suggest that either denominations are being counted in a way that you would not accept for your own church, or your church is more fragmented than you want to admit.

I would suggest that either you provide your source for this claim, stop making this claim, or be prepared to explain which of the 242 Roman Catholic (or 781 Orthodox Catholic) denominations is the “One True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”.

I apologize for going off topic here, but Mark77 brought this up, and I felt I just had to correct this very common error.

On an on-topic note - I agree with Mark77 that Google is not an official interpreter of Sacred Scripture (I would say the same is true of Wikipedia).

Mike I have never seen this rendered as “faith” either. It is interesting to note that the word sōtēria is a derivative of the word sōtēr, which means “deliverer.” sōtēr, it turns out, is also a derivitive word, coming from the word sōzō, which means to save, deliver, or protect.

Context alone seems to point to the notion of deliverance or being delivered from, which is not “faith” but more properly, salvation. I agree with the other posters; the text containing the word faith is incorrect.

No one said it was. Google is, though, a good indication of what people are reading and writing online, so it can be used to demonstrate that many people - or at least, people with web pages that are frequently viewed and linked to - are using “faith” rather than “salvation” in quoting this verse. That left me wondering why this mistake is so widespread. If there is really no major Bible translation that uses the word “faith” in that verse, I’m further wondering if its just a random error or if it says something about the beliefs of those who are misquoting it. Maybe there are people with Protestantism who, with sola fide as a starting point, associate salvation and faith so strongly that they begin to think of them as synonymous. Further, if a person believes that salvation is by faith alone, happens at a single point in time in a person’s life, and is guaranteed thereafter - it seems to me that this verse might fit better if it did say “faith” rather than “salvation.” I’m not trying to smear Protestants. I’m just wondering whether a misquoting of Phil 2:12 might be a red flag that might prompt a Catholic apologist to take note and think “ok, I know what point I’d like to have this person consider next.”

In support of this statement, for exhibit A, I give you, “Money is the root of all evil”.

Maybe its based on the false assumption that one simply needs to have faith in order to be saved. In that scenario, faith = salvation. Among the evangelicals in my neck of the woods, Southeast Texas (or Central Bible Belt, if you will), the two words seem to be interchangeable. I mean, how many times have you heard the phrase first coined by Martin Luther, “By Faith alone are you saved”?

Great point, NotWorthy, as this is a perfect example of a mis-quotation that absolutely changes the meaning of the original:

*10 For the **desire of money *is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:10

Something I find interesting about this topic is 1 Peter 1:9 which as I understand it is telling us that the goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls.

Morgan

bringyou.to/apologetics/a120.htm
bringyou.to/apologetics/a106.htm

The “non-denominational churches” are indeed their own “denominations” simply because: 1) they are administratively separated from any other group; 2) quite often, their are odd nuances in each one’s theology, depending on who the pastor is (and thus, many groups will split off from these non-denominational sects, often over doctrine, often over worship style).

The Rites of the Catholic Church are nevertheless united 100% in theology and ecclesiastical government. They are simply different cultural and/or liturgical expressions of the same, ONE Church.

Sadly, the Protestant sects (even those who call themselves “evangelical”) have to appeal to the very Sacred Scriptures the Catholics composed, compiled and canonized. Why trust some man’s interpretation and follow that? Erasmus made the comment that the self-proclaimed reformers show that the Church Fathers and those up until the time of the Protestant splits must really have been ignorant and stupid to have let the “true meaning” of Scripture elude them for soooooooooooooo long.

The bible is true when it is interperted correctly. When it is not interperted corectly it is meerly the word of man. try using “Biblical evidence for catholics” from lighthouse catholic media.

Nice work–thank you for sharing-
Thanks so much for this

It IS a misqotation. It is misqouted to line up with the “once saved always saved” sola fide doctrine. This is presuming Gods grace will save you despite any apostacy pride or offense and is contradictory to scripture and is a gateway into many sins.

=Catholic_Mike;5692914]Yesterday I heard the following quote: “Work out your faith with fear and trembling.” I had remembered the verse as “work out your *salvation *with fear and trembling.” I got online today to check and fond something weird.

  1. Every translation I can find (RSV, NIV, NAB, KJV, D-R, etc) uses the word “salvation.”
  1. According to a concordance I found, the Greek word is “sōtēria” which means salvation.
  1. Googling “work out your faith with fear and trembling” gives almost as many hits as “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” 23,100 for the former; 26,900 for the latter.

Can anyone explain this? Is there a popular version of the Bible that translates it as “faith” - and if so is there a legitimate reason for doing so, or are lots of people making a mistake? Have you heard it said that way, and from whom?

You did good:thumbsup:

The reason is simple.

If they can’t defend their position only a few options remain.

Become Catholic

Change what the Bible says to suit your needs

Pretend not to understand the Bible

Or simply Ignore what it says.

James Chapter TWO is another example on the same issue.

Love and prayers,

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.