Re: NIV translation of Romans 12:1

Stephen C. Carlson (
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 07:30:32 -0400

At 02:08 9/24/96 EDT, KULIKOVSKY, Andrew wrote:
>I am currently studying Romans 12 and I noted the NIV's unusual
>rendering of the word LOGIKA as 'spiritual'.
>I don't understand why the committee decided on this rendering.
>The footnote gives the more traditional rendering 'reasonable'.
>The NIV is usually very good in its choices of renderings (and is
>my first choice for a translation) but I think this maybe one of those
>instances of (dare I say) not so good judgement.
>Can anybody share any light on the 'spiritual' rendering?
>Is there a good reason for it?

I was wondering the same thing myself this past Sunday, but in my
NASB. There is a discussion of this in BAGD, and the term LOGIKOS
has been a favorite of Greek philosophers since Aristotle, and often
the Hellenistic Jewish philopher Philo). The basic idea can be found
in BAGD's citation of Epictetus, a contemporary of the NT, that (I'm
quoting BAGD) "the singing of hymns is the religious service of man,
as a LOGIKOS = a being endowed with reason." The distinction between
'man and beast' has been attributed to rationality or spirituality,
and these concepts can be merged and co-identified.

Another instance of LOGIKOS with this meaning may be 1Pt2:2 (so NIV,
but not NASB): TO LOGIKON ADOLON GALA = "pure spiritual milk". The
note in BAGD states that LOGIKOS as well as meaning "spiritual" may
mean "metaphorical" in contrast to "literal."

LOGIKOS and related terms (esp. LOGOS) are a set of words that were
borrowed from their Hellenistic philosophical context and transferred
to Christianity. A thorough understanding of both the source and
destination contexts is crucial. Suffice it to say that the NIV is
not idiosyncratic in its rendering -- it is in company with BAGD and
the NASB.

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                   : Poetry speaks of aspirations,              : and songs chant the words. :               -- Shujing 2.35