Should it be "the faith" in Ephesians 2:8?



I have been reading on your web site and find it very informative.

Just wanted to share a few things. I have been comparing various Bible translations. And of course I see there is problems with many of them.

I bought a very interesting Bible named the "The Everlasting Gospel" by Hugo McCord, Th.D. and published by Freed-Hardeman University.

I purchased a Bible called the "English Study Bible" New Testament with notes by Harold Littrell B.A M.A MTh. Th.D. I would not say this translation is 100% perfect because I think the author may be a little wrong on some of his thinking. But when it comes to a Bible that is tranlated in modern English, I have no problem with reading it. Littrell has made a attempt to translate his study Bible as perfect to the Greek words and meaning there is. That is the claim any way.

I would say Littrell is out there on his own. Because for one he translates the verse Ephesians 2:8 "For in grace you all have been saved, through the faith; and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God." Throughout his translation he insist that "the faith" is the correct wording. And that "the faith" = the gospel -- where faith = belief. Many other passage he has "the faith" and not faith in the verse by itself.

When I go to the Greek Text, Scrivener's Textus Receptus, he is correct. Correct that all the Bibles from KJV to the NIV have omitted the article (tes) "the" in many verses. His claim is that the verse Ephesians 2:8 reads like this: gar chariti este sesosmenoi dia tes pisteos. Literally and word for word; For in (or by) grace you have been saved through the faith" (or the gospel, the good message).

I was a stauch defender of the NIV until I started to look at the NIV, the Littrell Bible, and others. Then when I looked at the Greek I would have to agree that Littrell may be the best Bible translation I own.

Kind regards; God bless; Thank you for your great web site.


Hugo McCord has done several translations and has a good reputation. I'm not familiar with Harold Littrell's work. One man translations are not often held in esteem because personal bias is too easily written into the text. Not that there are not good individual translations, but the problem of bias must always be considered.

The reason for the lack of a "the" in Ephesians 2:8 is two-fold: One is that the rules for articles in Greek are quite a bit different from those in English. "The" is used where we might find it odd; for example, it can appear before a name to indicate it is a name, or it appears before the subject of a predicate nominative to indicate which noun is the subject. "Greek often includes the article with abstract nouns such as "the Truth," although English does not normally use the article." [William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, p. 39]. Thus, the translation of "the faith" or "faith" does vary because "faith" is an abstract noun.

A second problem is that "the" (tes) does not appear in all the texts. Texts 06D (corrected), 018K, 020L, and the Byzantine family of text have the "the." Texts 01ℵ, 03B, 06D (original), 025P, and 33 all do not include the "the."