Beyond the eyes of your heart

Posted: 2nd January 2009 by ElShaddai Edwards in Faith & Theology, Uncategorized

I was just reading with interest Robert’s recent summary of the changes between the HCSB 1st Edition and 2nd Edition in the book of Ephesians. One change in particular jumped out at me:

1st Edition 2nd Edition
1:18 [I pray] that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 1:18 [I pray] that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints,

We are all (overly) familiar with the phrase “open the eyes of my heart” from contemporary praise and worship music. In this verse, the phrase from the HCSB FE is found in translations ranging from the NASB to the NIV. The underlying Greek is: ophthalmos hymōn dianoia. Literally, “the eyes of your understanding” (cf. KJV) or “the eyes of your mind” (cf. Jerusalem Bible). So the new HCSB is perhaps moving in a more literal direction rather than more idiomatic, with “perception” as their optimally equivalent translation of ophthalmos (the eyes of the mind”).

In some ways, this makes the entire verse a little more consistent, drawing together “perception”, “mind”, “enlightened” and “know” all as descriptions of a rational reader. The metaphorical “eyes” and “heart” are put aside, losing the emotional reference in English, as well as the image of “inward eyes” (REB) that are “flooded with light” (NLT), allowing the person to see the hope and share of their eternal inheritance.

So… is “the hope of his calling” to be seen in our hearts or known in our minds? Where does hope reside in English?

  1. John Hobbins says:

    The interesting thing about “eyes of your heart” is, as you say, the expression is less literal in the sense of substituting “heart” for “perception.” But the benefits of the 1st edition dynamic equivalent are:

    (1) concordance with expressions throughout OT in which “heart” is the seat of the intellect = mental perception

    (2) the power of metaphor to connect with other texts and with us existentially

  2. Greg says:

    So… is “the hope of his calling” to be seen in our hearts or known in our minds? Where does hope reside in English?

    I think that “heart” in the OT often referred to the whole being, not just emotional or rational. Maybe our English intrinsically draws a line? Agreeing with John above, I think the use of heart plays down the false dichotomy between the two- heart being opened so that we may understand…

  3. Iris says:

    “Perception of your mind,” is too narrow for “eyes of your heart,” in my opinion. “Heart” in the English understanding includes emotions as well as the rational “mind.” So this change does not impress me — too limiting to readers.
    One of the problems I see in translations is this “limiting” of the meaning of a word from Greek to English. I have discovered in my Greek studies that the language often includes many words, while in English the translators must use only one for a particular word. This is a very good example of such a limitation. While the translation is not technically “wrong,” it limits the understanding instead of enhancing it.

  4. Iris, I think that is the basic issue that I have with the HCSB. Overall I think it is a great translation but for some reason as you stated “…it limits the understanding instead of enhancing…” various words and usage.

  5. Iris: “Perception of your mind,” is too narrow for “eyes of your heart,” in my opinion. “Heart” in the English understanding includes emotions as well as the rational “mind.”

    @All: But does ophthalmos hymōn dianoia include “emotions as well as the rational ‘mind'”? The literal “translation” – at least by Strongs – is the eyes of the mind of your understanding or somesuch rendering. Does the Greek include reference to the seat of emotion (as the heart is in English) or just thought?

    I want to try and avoid mixing up critiquing the translation accuracy vs. the translation change from the First Edition to the Second Edition. E.g. is “the eyes of your heart” even an accurate translation of the Greek? I honestly don’t know.

    If the idea is the internal awareness of our mental faculties, I’m not sure that “the heart” is equivalent in English idiom. Would the Greek have been recognized as concordant “with expressions throughout OT in which ‘heart’ is the seat of the intellect = mental perception”, as John put it? Or is there a separate Greek context that applies here, or both?

  6. Iris says:

    Thanks for being so thorough here. I will have to take some time to research this for I don’t know if “the eyes of your heart” really did include the emotions. I will check my sources and get back to you when I can. Maybe others who are reading know about this and will comment.

  7. Iris says:

    I asked my Greek instructor to comment here and instead he put it on my email. So I am attempting to copy it here. Fr. Robert Hackendorf is an Anglican (AMiA) Priest with his undergrad degree from Wheaton in ancient languages. He has two Masters’ (one from Fuller) as well. His reply is lengthy, but I think it will help. It has helped me.

    “There are several issues coming to play here:
    1. Textual/Critical
    What is the text saying?

    There are two basic readings (each with multiple variations) of this verse: one group uses τους οφθαλμους της καρδιας (or something similar, the key word being η καρδια, heart) – examples of this reading include Tischendorf 8th ed., Westcott & Hort, Nestle Aland. Another variation reads τους οφθαλμους της διανοιας (or something similar, the key word being της διανοιας, mind, understanding, attitude.) This reading is supported by Stephanus’ Textus Receptus, as well as most other editions of the TR, but not most editions of the “majority text” nor the received text of the Greek Orthodox Church, which also read καρδιας.

    Most modern scholars support καρδιας over διανοιας as the better reading. The KJV follows the TR at this point, whereas most modern translations follow the critical text.

    I support καρδιας as the more likely reading, since it is both the majority reading and the reading favored by the critical text.

    2. Lexical/Semantic

    What does the word kardia mean?

    The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) has a long article on the use of the word “heart” in both the OT and NT. Essentially, the ISBE says that “heart” refers to the Inner or Psychical Life, which includes emotions, will or volition, intellectual activity, perception or knowledge. Alternatively, it can also refer to the “center of ethical or religious life.”

    It is tempting to render kardia as something like “inner-most being”.

    3. Contextual/Exegetical

    How does Paul use kardia in Ephesians?

    1:18 is the first of nine references to kardia in Ephesians (counting the compound tender-hearted in 4:32): (using the NASB)

    Ephesians 1:18
    I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

    Ephesians 3:13
    Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.

    Ephesians 3:17
    so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

    Ephesians 4:18
    being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

    Ephesians 4:32

    Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

    Ephesians 5:19
    speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

    Ephesians 6:5
    Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;

    Ephesians 6:6
    not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

    Ephesians 6:22
    I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.

    A cursory survey of these passages support the idea that Paul’s use of kardia and its derivatives implies a broad range of meanings for the word. Sometimes the word is used to imply the seat of emotions, other times intellect and understanding, other times will /volition, perhaps even the seat of ethical/religious living.

    I think this brief investigation would tend to argue against the translation of the second edition of the HCSB, on both textual and exegetical grounds.

    Since the use of the word “heart” in both OT and NT conveys a broad range of possible meanings, I would argue that it is best to translated kardia simply as “heart”, since any other translation I can think of arguably over-limits the range of viable meanings of the word in this verse.”

    Fr. Bob does not have a blog at this time. I have encouraged him to begin.

  8. Iris – wow! Thanks to you and thank you to Fr. Hackendorf for his detailed response.

    1. Given what we know about the HCSB project originally starting life as a new translation of the TR before switching to the Majority Text, this is a very curious decision. I’ve noted many places where the HCSB footnotes the TR alternative – it’s as if they’re trying to play to the TR (KJV) and MT (NIV) folks at the same time.

    2. Here is the ISBE article on “heart”.

    3. It’s good to have confirmation that the Greek can mean both emotion and intellect, though I’m still not convinced that “heart” is the right word in English for all situations. I tend to think that our modern culture has overcooked the emotional meaning when using “heart”, but I don’t have an alternative right now.

  9. Joe says:

    Our enlightenment, understanding, perception is not something I can attribute to emotions. We can know the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints by reading and studying the word of God, not by some emotional experience. I think I am OK with this change for now 🙂

  10. Joe – yes, that was my response as well and is still at the heart (!) of my question about which meaning (καρδιας or διανοιας) Paul intended here.

  11. […] use the following example since it’s one that ElShaddai was writing about in relation to the HCSB 2nd edition […]

  12. Iris says:

    Joe, I am not referring to “an emotional experience,” but instead the involvement of the total person in the word “heart.” It is possible through the Word to be able to perceive things in the Spirit that involve the emotions. Without the “emotions” piece, the perception will not be complete.

    Emotional experiences through the Word in the Holy Spirit can at times release us into perceptions that we had not seen nor understood in the Word with our minds. This is possible in the mind of Christ. So emotional experiences can be very healthy in our walk. However, always having to have an experience lends itself to gross immaturity and a faulty walk. Being open to all things the Holy Spirit would like to show us through the Word will blend the emotions and the mind into growth and a profitable walk in the Spirit.