Fair Is Fair

Ok, I caught the NAS adding some interpretation into its translation at a place (Prov. 26:5) where the NIV (and TNIV) were more literal:

NAS Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes.

NIV Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

Yes, the TNIV was more literal than the NAS in the particular phrase I’m focusing on, but look what it did with the gender-neutral third-person singular masculine pronoun:

TNIV Answer fools according to their folly, or they will be wise in their own eyes.

I don’t like changing the number like that. I would honestly be afraid to do such a thing.

For good measure, here are the other major translations I use in BibleWorks:

ESV Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

KJV Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

NET Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own estimation.

CSB Answer a fool according to his foolishness, or he’ll become wise in his own eyes.

NLT Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.

NKJ Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.

LXX: αλλα αποκρινου αφρονι κατα την αφροσυνην αυτου ινα μη φαινηται σοφος παρ εαυτω

Next up: a post on this verse and the preceding one, a famous pair.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

Leave a Reply