Church going people are familiar with the traditional “I will make you fishers of men” translation of Mark 1:17b. Many translations read this way, including the KJV, RSV, NASB, and NIV.
Here is the verse in the Common English Bible:
“Come, follow me,” he said, “and I'll show you how to fish for people.”
When the translators of the CEB came to this verse, they had the choice of following other modern translations (in the tradition of Tyndale) or producing a fresh reading. In contemporary English, it is important to communicate that Jesus was not speaking of evangelizing just males. How to render the Greek anthropon, a form of anthropoß, “a man,” is one issue. Also, “fishers” is a bit of an archaic term. And, “make” sounds like Jesus will force his disciples to fish.
The NLT translators tried to make this verse more understandable: “Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
The CEB takes one more step toward readability when it does not follow the original word order. (“and said to them Jesus come after me and I will make you to become fishers of men,” p. 138, The NASB Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Alfred Marshall.) One additional step in translation is the use of the contraction, “I'll,” to make the passage readable to contemporary English readers.
One aspect of this rendering that bothers me is the translation of poihsw umaß genesqai. Marshall (see above) renders this, “I will make you to become.” The word poiew is a primary word, “to make, do.” (NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible) For me, saying Jesus will “show” them, just doesn't seem to convey the sense of the original. Perhaps something like “cause,” at least for me, seems to be closer to the original meaning. “I will cause you to become...”
What do you think? How would you translate Mark 1:17?
I am taking part in a blog tour of the Common English Bible. I'll be blogging more about this Bible as the days go by.
You can see the blogs of others taking part of this tour here: http://CommonEnglishBible.com/CEB/blogtour
I received a complimentary copy of the CEB from its publisher for the purpose of this blog tour.