God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations

What Happens to Prophecies in the New Testament?

What happens to prophecies in the New Testament?

The obvious answer is that they come true, but I think a more careful look shows otherwise.

Matthew 1:18-22 / Isaiah 7:14

As an example of a prophecy apparently coming true, we might consider the first chapter of Matthew. The text starting around Matthew 1:18 deals with the virgin birth of Jesus, fulfilling the prophecy of virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14. The text even reads (Matthew 1:22; NRSV), “All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet.”

John 19:24 / Psalm 22:18

Similarly, according to John 19:24, the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ tunic to fulfill the prophecy of Psalm 22:18, “…and for my clothing they cast lots.” (Matthew 27:35 has the same account, but not all manuscripts have the direct reference to Psalms there.)

Fulfillment of Prophecy

Both of these seem to be cases of prophecies coming true.

But the Greek word in each case is plirow. And while “fulfill” is one common translation of that verb, I don’t think it’s accurate.
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October 19, 2010 Posted by | translation practice, translation theory | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments