"Keep under my body" or "Beat my body" in 1 Corinthians 9:27?
"αλλ υπωπιαζω μου το σωμα" is translated, "But I keep under my body" in the KJV. Paul is saying that he demotes ("keep under") his body as an act of spiritual discipline. The NKJV, NASB, and ESV give the same sense as the KJV and say, "But I discipline my body." Some translations, however, translate "υπωπιαζω" with words with harsher connotations. The NIV says, "beat my body." The RSV says, "pommel my body." These translations give the idea that Paul physically abused his body in such a way that is consistent with the Catholic doctrine of penance. However, "υπωπιαζω" does not have to be translated with words with such harsh connotations. "υπωπιαζω" is used in one other place in scripture in Luke 18:5. Here, the NIV reads, "yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!" The RSV reads, " yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming." The underlined words are translated from "υπωπιαζη," the same word as the one in 1 Corinthians 9:27 but in the subjunctive mood. In this story of the unjust judge, the judge is not fearing that the woman would come to him and "beat" or "pommel" him. It would be inconceivable that a woman would physically "beat" or "pommel" a judge in this situation. Thus the NIV and RSV both translate "υπωπιαζη" as "wear...out." Since the translators of the NIV and RSV were capable of understanding "υπωπιαζη" as referring to a non-physical act of inconveniencing someone, we must wonder why they felt inclined to translate "υπωπιαζω" in 1 Corinthians 9:27 as a physical act of beating or pommeling. The KJV as well as the NKJV, NASB, and ESV translate "υπωπιαζω" in accordance with its usage in Luke 18:5 and avoid translating it in a way that could justify the Catholic doctrine of penance.
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