From: John Lochridge (
Date: Sat May 11 1996 - 10:13:12 EDT

At 05:39 PM 5/9/96 -0500, you wrote:
> TO: Kerry Honeycutt
>FROM: Harry J. Harm
>DATE: 9 May 1996
>You asked:
>> My question is this: In reference to the 7th chapter of Romans, the
>> greek word "sarx" is rendered "flesh" in the KJV and the NAS, but
>> "sinful nature" in the NIV. Of the top 101 most used translations
>> of the word in the NIV, only 28 make any reference to sin. The
>> balance refer to the flesh, the body, or the human being in general,
>> usually in a physical context. Can anyone tell me why the NIV would
>> translate a word predominantly used to express a physical state of
>> being in a context laden with reference to the physical into words
>> dealing with the inner, spiritual condition of man? I do
>> understand that the word "sarx" has no exact equal in English, but
>> there must be a better reason that that.
>Louw & Nida in Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on
>Semantic Domains list eight possible meanings for SARX. One meaning
>26.7 has the following:
>26.7 - SARX, SARKOS f: the psychological aspect of human nature; in
> other words, that aspect of human nature which is characterized by
> or reflects typical human reasoning and desires in contrast with
> those aspects of human thought and behavior which relate to God
> and the spiritual life - 'human nature, human aspects, natural,
> human.' ...Some scholars understand the meaning of SARX as being a
> person's 'lower nature' rather than simply 'human nature,' but the
> distinction between lower nature and higher nature seems to be
> primarily one arising out of typical Greek thought rather than out
> of the Semitic background which seems to be so pervasive in the
> use of the term SARX in such contexts in the NT. There are, of
> course, contexts in which SARX does refer to that psychological
> factor in man which serves as a willing instrument of sin and is
> subject to sin.
>Does this shed any light on the subject?
>Harry J. Harm -
> translation consultant to the Choctaw Bible Translation Committee

This *would* explain the different rendering, coupled with the understanding
that there are different translation philosophies involved -- the NASB
tending to a stricter translation as opposed to "dynamic equivalence."

I know that he line between translation and interpretation can become fuzzy
at times. I personally prefer a more literal approach and wish the "sinful
nature" clarification were placed in a footnote. This would allow
clarification of what is meant (or infered) while preserving a literal
translation for detailed study.


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