Legacy Study Bible subtleties

It’s been a while since I’ve been on Sanityville. So hello, again.

So I’ve been a long time reader of the NASB, and when the 2020 update came out I was disappointed to say the least. Of course many of my friends rejoiced in knowing that Master’s Seminary had secured the rights to the NASB to seemingly preserve its faithful service.

I was a little skeptical only because I am familiar with the general attitudes some at Master’s have towards the larger reformed faith. I wondered how it might play out, even subtly.

While conversing with a friend about infant baptism I brought up 1 Corinthians 7:14.

1 Corinthians 7:14 (NASB)
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

But out of curiosity, since my friend currently attends a church of the MacArthur stripe, I looked at the Legacy Study Bible translation.

“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. For otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.”

(1 Corinthians 7:14 LSB)

At first something seemed off but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then ah ha! It’s the semicolon. It’s gone. They’ve taken something that was previously one sentence, and made it two.

It’s a subtle change and maybe not very significant to many, but if it was unimportant, why change it?

I have my suspicions why, but do you think I’m just reading into it too much.

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NASB’s usage of the semicolon is non-standard, to say the least. Typically one doesn’t use a semicolon between two fully-predicated clauses that are joined by a conjunction (in this case “For”). NASB does it all the time. Personally I find it annoying and distracting.

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It’s a simple syllogism that requires one sentence. Let me restate it for clarity.

If the unbelieving husband were not sanctified by his believing wife, and the unbelieving wife not sanctified by her believing husband, then neither would your children be sanctified.

But, declares Paul, your children are sanctified.

In what way are they sanctified?

In the same way that an unbelieving husband and an unbelieving wife are sanctified by their respective believing spouses.

Separating the conclusion concerning children from the sentence concerning husbands and wives leaves Paul’s syllogism without a proper then statement.

If it requires one sentence, then it needs a comma, not a semicolon. One should not use a semicolon before a clause that begins with a conjunction (in this case “for”). The “for” in the final clause is pointing directly backwards at the prior clause. A comma would make the connection slightly tighter than the period, but it’s impossible to exegete the final clause without reference to the prior clauses, for the “for” simply demands it.

Given that the New Testament was written without punctuation at all, proper exegesis is going to require reference to something other than punctuation. That’s not to say that punctuation isn’t important (I noticed at least four non-standard uses of the NASB semicolon in my Bible reading this morning), but you are getting to some pretty fine distinctions of translator preference. Now, perhaps this is, in fact, an Anabaptist Plot, but I’d like to see if they generally switched NASB misused semicolons to commas or to periods before I made a judgment.

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I’m not seeing it, personally. The “for” is what makes it clear. Can you totally mess up meanings with punctuation? Yes. But I don’t see two different meanings here. I can still only find one interpretation. The syllogism didn’t change, in my reading.

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What would the different meaning be? Just that someone could quote the “for otherwise…” out of context as its own sentence?

I am willing to accept that I may be reading too much into it by way of their reasoning for it.

I also am willing to accept that punctuation is interpretive since they didn’t use it in the original language.

But I do not understand how taking the major premise of a hypothetical syllogism and breaking it into two makes more interpretive sense.

Grammatically, we know a comma separates items of a list and semicolons connect related clauses.

So my question is are they related in meaning and are they not all parts of the major premise?

This isn’t all commas are used for. From thesaurus.com:

Joining independent clauses
A comma can be used to join two or more independent clauses together. If we use a comma this way, we follow it with a coordinating conjunction (for, as, nor, but, or, yet, so) before introducing the next independent clause. For example,

  • I love dogs, and dogs love me.
  • He wanted to be a sailor, but he couldn’t swim.

From Grammarly:

…semicolons are not interchangeable with commas or periods. Instead, they’re somewhere in between: stronger than a comma but not quite as divisive as a period.

You can use a semicolon to join two closely related independent clauses. Let’s put that another way. The group of words that comes before the semicolon should form a complete sentence, the group of words that comes after the semicolon should form a complete sentence, and the two sentences should share a close, logical connection.

Yes, but not just any two closely-related independent clauses can be joined with a semicolon. If the second clause begins with a conjunction (and, for, but, etc.), you may not use a semicolon. NASB violates this rule prolifically.

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Use Semicolons With Conjunctive Adverbs

When you have a conjunctive adverb linking two independent clauses, you should use a semicolon. Some common conjunctive adverbs include *moreover, nevertheless, however, otherwise, therefore, then, finally, likewise,*and consequently.

And with regards to the verse in question, “ho” the Greek for “for” does not appear in the original language preceding “otherwise” as it does at the beginning of the sentence.