Apokalypsis on Steroids – Asia

Bob, The one constant in all of these translations is the mention of Asia. As we know, much of prophecy pertains to geography, rather than the ethnicity of the people who live there.

Let’s take a look, then, at the topic of Asia and how it is presented in the various translations.

Asia.

If you noticed one of the translations used “Roman Asia“. In the text it just says “the Asia“. This, frankly, brings up one of the topics about correct translations. In this instance, how should this be translated for proper understanding? Why? Because today the word Asia is looked on as including Japan, China, etc. and that is not what is being mentioned here. Let me give you a quote here from a translator who tried to get it right by presenting the English as close to the Greek as he could get to in his day.

“THE LAW OF LOCATION

Every word in the original should have its own English equivalent.

If no two words are precisely alike in meaning in the original, it should not be necessary to prove that accuracy demands that each Greek word be supplied with a distinct English equivalent. This, however, cannot be successfully done without a comprehensive system. It is not sufficient that we have the same number of different words in each vocabulary. Each English word should be the one which comes nearest to covering the same domain of thought as the original, and more particularly, sustains the same relation to the other words of the language.

To make this clearer, we will compare the world of thought to the surface of the earth, and the words to the geographical and political divisions. There is, indeed, a signal instance — the ancient province of Asia — which shows how confusing it is to use geographical names in English which do not correspond with those in the Greek. Asia now includes a vast continent, and the English reader, unless warned, must get the idea that the entire territory of Asiatic Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Siam, India, Persia, Arabia, Palestine, and Asia Minor are included. So we have translated it ‘the province of Asia’, for only a small part of the present Asia Minor is meant. In precisely the same way it is misleading to translate a general term for one that is specific.

Carrying out our figure, we will call this the Law of Location. If the geographer must not confound England with New Zealand, the lexicographer should not confuse yea and nay, (A.V., I Cor. 4:3, 6:8), or pour out and fill (A.V., Rev. 14:10, 18:6).

But such accidents are rare and easily avoided. It is when two words are similar in meaning that the danger is greatest. Great Britain covers three countries but there are times when it is most important to distinguish between England, Scotland and Wales. Similarly, though all are sin, it is of the highest value to discriminate between injustice and transgression and offense.

This is practically impossible when one of them, offense, is rendered sin (Eph. 1:7), trespass (Eph. 2:1), which is practically the same as transgression, as well as the usual word offense. The translators were restrained from rendering it sin in the first verse of the second of Ephesians by the immediate presence of the word sin. In the vocabulary method of the Concordant Version this restraint is always present, and debars it from following their example and lapse into sin in the fifth verse.”

The above quote goes a bit beyond just “Asia”, but I think the extra info is important in understanding translation as it applies to the Scriptures.

The point being, use the correct word, or only add a word when and only when it makes sure the reader does not come to a wrong conclusion, as in thinking Asia means China, Japan, etc.

On to the next question or comment.

Author: Bob Petry

Student of the Bible since 1953. And am still learning.