I recently shared in a discussion with a faithful Christian brother about Paul's words in I Corinthians 11. In I Cor. 11:23-26, the English Standard Version (ESV) records these words:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for [footnote] you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.The "footnote" which I added in brackets is important because it states that "some manuscripts" contain the words "broken for". I will discuss more about the importance of this footnote in part 2 of this series of posts.
Let's now compare the ESV with the New King James Version (NKJV). The words are recorded as follows:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till he comes.
Which is it? Did Jesus say "This is my body for you" or did he say "Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you"?
In Luke's gospel, the Word of Jesus are also different from what Paul records concerning the institution of the Lord's Supper (but they read the same between the NKJV and ESV). Luke 22:19-20 (ESV) records Jesus' words as follows:
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for out for you is the new covenant in my blood."
So now, from the historical perspective of English translations, we have three possible statements of Jesus: First, he said "this is my body for you" with no reference to his body being "broken" or "given"; second, he did indeed say "broken for you", not "given"; and third, he did indeed say "given for you", not "broken".
- Which one is it?
- Which of the two translations contains the "better" reading?
- Why are there three different options from which to choose?
- Why did the ESV translators choose a different reading than the NKJV?