Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Word of the day: Besonnenheit

I first came across the lovely German word Besonnenheit in the German version of 2 Timothy1.7. Sich besinnen has something about taking time out, about coming to oneself, controlling oneself, thinking before acting, perhaps even praying before acting.
The same biblical Greek σωφρονισμου is rendered variously into English as self-discipline, good judgement, sobriety, sound mind and rather surprisingly but beautifully and intriguingly in the Darby translation as wise discretion. Perhaps because I am naturally neither wise nor discreet I particularly like that.
So may God's Spirit truly blow a hurricane of wise discretion on those who this day feel impelled to mindless, undisciplined and ill-judged violence against their fellow human beings. I think of the Protestant sister from Rwanda I interpreted for last week, of women in Liberia struggling to bring up families after having limbs hacked off, of the terrible "domestic" violence our churches and societies so easily cover up.


International Standard Version (©2008)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love, and self-discipline.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
God didn't give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment.
American Standard Version
For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.
Bible in Basic English
For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.
Douay-Rheims Bible
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of sobriety.
Darby Bible Translation
For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power, and of love, and of wise discretion.
English Revised Version
For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.
Webster's Bible Translation
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Weymouth New Testament
For the Spirit which God has given us is not a spirit of cowardice, but one of power and of love and of sound judgement.
World English Bible
For God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.
Young's Literal Translation
for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind;

2 Comments:

Rachel said...

Thank you for this - beautiful and uplifting.

love Rachel at Re vis.e Re form

Tom Zeifler said...

I first came across this verse when it was the "Jahreslosung" (verse for the year) in East Germany in 1984: "Gott hat uns nicht einen Geist der Verzagtheit gegeben, sondern den Geist der Kraft, der Liebe und der Besonnenheit." It resonanted then at a time of fear as nuclear missiles were deployed in East and West, and peace initiatives in East Germany were being repressed by the state.