On Having a “Controlled Mind”

In Good News for Anxious Christians (which I’m enjoying quite a bit) I read the following: 

“It’s no exception when the New International Version (NIV) mistranslates Paul as if he were talking about ‘the mind controlled by the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:6).  That’s typical of the new evangelical theology: it treats our minds like machines, as if we’re not supposed to think but be controlled.  But that is not how the Bible actually talks, for there is no such word as ‘controlled’ in the original Greek.  Translated literally, the passage is about ‘the minding of the Spirit’ or, as the King James Version (KJV) puts it, being ‘spiritually minded.’”  (44)

How do other versions translate Rom. 8:6?  Take a look:

Those which include some kind of control:

NIV – “The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”

TNIV – “The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”

NCV – “If people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, there is death.  But if their thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace.

NLT – “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death.  But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.”

CEV – “If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace.”

Those less inclined to control:

ESV, NRSV – “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

NASB – “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,”

HCSB – “For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.”

NKJV – “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

NET – “For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace.” (includes a textual note stating “The Greek term φρόνημα does not refer to one’s mind, but to one’s outlook or mindset.”)

REB – “Those who live on the level of the old nature have their outlook formed by it, and that spells death; but those who live on the level of the spirit have the spiritual outlook, and that is life and peace.” 

GW – “The corrupt nature’s attitude leads to death. But the spiritual nature’s attitude leads to life and peace.”

Three Catholic Editions:

NAB – “The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.”

Douay-Rheims (Challoner revision) – “For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace.”

New Jerusalem Bible – “And human nature has nothing to look forward to but death, while the Spirit looks forward to life and peace,”

 And from the newest version:

Common English Bible – “The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace.”

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3 thoughts on “On Having a “Controlled Mind”

  1. This looks like a great book. I liked just reading the table of contents. I may mention it on my blog.

    I’ve had Romans 8:5-6 memorized in the NIV for decades and I wasn’t aware of this or I read it in Schreiner’s commentary and forgot it. Thanks.
    Jeff

  2. Pingback: What you don't have to do | Scripture Zealot

  3. Pingback: Switching to the REB? | Scripture Zealot

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