Acts 26:28 KJB - “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, ALMOST THOU PERSUADEST ME TO BE A CHRISTIAN.”
NIV (ESV) - “ And Agrippa said to Paul, DO YOU THINK THAT IN SUCH A SHORT TIME YOU CAN PERSUADE ME TO BE A CHRISTIAN?”
NASB - "Agrippa replied to Paul, “IN A SHORT TIME you WILL persuade me to become a Christian.”
There are literally hundreds of examples of where the Bible Babble Buffet versions are translating from the same texts, either in Hebrew or Greek, and yet they come up with entirely different meanings.
See my comparative study article Bible Babble Buffet Versions Part One for many examples -
People who tell us that we need a variety of translations in order to get a better sense of the meaning of a passage are ALWAYS people who do not believe that ANY Bible in any language is the infallible words of God.
The Multi-Versionists are usually people who have not done much in the way of comparative studies of the different Bible Babble versions that are out there to realize there are hundreds of verses that have totally different meanings in the various translations.
Acts 26:28 is just one more in a very long list of verses that have very different meanings, and all derived from the scholars and experts who have “gone to the original languages”.
In Acts 26 the apostle Paul is giving his defense and testimony of how he was converted to faith in the risen Christ while on the road to Damascus to hunt down and persecute Christians.
Paul knows that king Agrippa was aware of many of the events that he related concerning Jesus Christ, and we read in verse 27 “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.”
Then in Acts 26:28 we read “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, ALMOST THOU PERSUADEST ME TO BE A CHRISTIAN.”
There are two significant textual variations here in Acts 26:28 between the Traditional Reformation text and that of the Vatican/UBS/Nestle-Aland Critical text, but these variants are generally overlooked by the modern versions.
The Traditional text for “Then Agrippa SAID unto Paul, almost thou persuadest me TO BE a Christian” is ο δε αγριππας προς τον παυλον εφη εν ολιγω με πειθεις χριστιανον γενεσθαι
The first variant is the verb “SAID” - εφη. This verb is present in the Majority of all manuscripts and the TR. However Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus omit the verb altogether. But the UBS/Nestle-Aland/Vatican Critical text doesn’t even tell you about this variant in their footnotes. And most of these modern versions just go ahead and put the verb IN their translations anyway.
The second textual variant is the word for “to be”, used in the phrase “TO BE a Christian.” This verb is γενεσθαι. Again, this is the reading of the Majority of all Greek manuscripts as well as the Textus Receptus, the Old Latin ar, c, dem, e, gig, p, ph, ro, s, and w. It is also the reading of the Syriac Peshitta, Harclean, Armenian, Georgian and Slavonic ancient versions, as well as the Latin Vulgate.
However the Critical text has an absurd reading here, which not even the modern versions that follow it translate literally; Or if they do, they have to add a bunch of other words to the text in order to have it make some kind of sense. They usually paraphrase the verse.
The Vatican Critical text (Westcott-Hort/UBS) reads: ο δε αγριππας προς τον παυλον εν ολιγω με πειθεις χριστιανον ποιησαι. This would literally be translated as “And Agrippa to Paul, Almost you persuade me TO MAKE (TO DO) a Christian.
The verb used here at the end is ποιησαι and this verb means “TO MAKE, or TO DO”. It does NOT mean “to become” or “to be”. Even the online NASB footnotes that their critical text LITERALLY reads “to make’.
It is used hundreds of times in the King James Bible and is never translated as “to be” or “to become”, simply because that is not what the word means.
The NASB complete concordance shows that they have translated this verb - poyeo - as “do, did, done” 184 times and as “make” 66 times, but as “BECOME” only ONE time (and that one time is here in Acts 26:28) and never as “to be”.
The NIV 1982 complete Concordance shows they have translated the verb poyeo as “do, did, does” 299 times and as “made, make” 61 times, but as “to be” only twice.
By the way, there are NO texts anywhere on this earth that have the words found in the NIV paraphrase. The Capitalized words here are simply not there in any text. They just made them up. “DO YOU THINK THAT in SUCH a short TIME you CAN persuade me to be a Christian?”
Not even the UBS/Nestle-Aland/Vatican text has this verse in it as a question, but as a statement of fact. The difference can be seen in the punctuation. If it is a statement, the sentence ends with a period. (.) But if it is a question, as in the previous verse - “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?”, then the verse ends in what looks like a semi-colon (;) And that is what you will see if you actually look at the UBS/Nestle Greek text. It is a statement; not a question.
The first English bible to make this verse a Question instead of a Statement was the liberal RSV of 1946 and since then it has been turned into a question by most of the Critical text versions like the NRSV, ESV, NIV, NET, Holman, etc. But it remains a Statement in the Reformation bibles and even in some Critical text versions like the NASB.
Agreeing with the King James Bible where king Agrippa says to Paul “ALMOST THOU PERSUADEST ME TO BE A CHRISTIAN.”, or that have the same meaning, are the following Bible translations - Coverdale 1535, Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587 - “Almost thou perswadest me to become a Christian.”, Mace N.T. 1729, Whiston’s N.T. 1745, John Wesley’s translation 1755 - “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”, Worsley Version 1770, Living Oracles 1835, Darby 1890, RV 1881, Young’s 1898, the ASV 1901, Rotherham’s Emphasized bible 1902 - “Almost, art thou persuading, me, to become a, Christian!”, New King James Version 1982, The Word of Yah 1993, KJV 21st Century Version 1994, Third Millennium Bible 1998, Last Days Bible 1999, the Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), The Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible 2011 and The Revised Geneva Translation 2019.
Many Modern Versions are just paraphrases that end up with different meanings. Some make it a Statement; others make it a Question. And others still make it an Exclamation!
And, as I previously said, it’s not even a question in the UBS/Nestle-Aland Critical Greek text. Almost all of them ADD words, OMIT words, REARRANGE words and PARAPHRASE - often rather badly.
NASB 1995 - “Agrippa replied to Paul, In a short time you will persuade me to become [c] a Christian.” (Footnote: Literally “make”)
New Life Version 1969 - “In this short time you have almost proven to me that I should become a Christian!”
Weymouth’s N.T. 1912 says - "In brief, YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST to persuade me to become a Christian."
Goodspeed 1923 - "You ARE IN A HURRY (NOT in text) to persuade me AND make a Christian OF ME! (NOT in text)
Godbey’s translation of 1902 retained the Critical text variant reading poyeo (to make) but he had to change several things and NOT translate parts of the verse and he ADDED words to have it end up making sense.
His translation says: “WITH little PERSUASION (NOT in text) thou dost persuade THYSELF (NOT in text) TO MAKE ME a Christian. (changes the whole word order to come up with this meaning). -εν ολιγω με πειθεις χριστιανον ποιησαι.
J.B. Phillips 1962 - “MUCH MORE OF THIS, Paul,” returned Agrippa, “AND YOU WILL BE MAKING me a Christian!”
Catholic St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 - “At this, Agrippa SAID, A little more, Paul, and you will make a Christian out of me!” (Rearranges word order, paraphrases and makes it an Exclamation)
Catholic New Jerusalem bible 1985 - “At this Agrippa SAID to Paul, A little more, and YOUR ARGUMENTS WOULD make a Christian out of me.” (Same thing)
Living Bible 1971 - “WITH TRIVIAL PROOFS LIKE THESE YOU EXPECT me to become a Christian?”
Worldwide English N.T. 1998 - “YOU ARE TRYING to make me a Christian RIGHT AWAY.” (Total paraphrase)
The Message 2002 - “KEEP THIS UP MUCH LONGER and you’ll make a Christian out of me!”
Common English Bible 2011 - “ARE YOU TRYING (NOT in text) to convince me that, in SUCH a short TIME, YOU’VE MADE ME a Christian?” (Total paraphrase)
Holman Standard 2009 - “Then Agrippa SAID to Paul, ARE YOU GOING to persuade me to become a Christian SO EASILY?”
Dan Wallace’s NET version 2006 - “Agrippa SAID to Paul, “In such a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian?”
The Voice 2012 - “PAUL, HAVE YOU SO quickly MOVED ON FROM DEFENDING YOURSELF TO TRYING to persuade me to become a Christian?”
The NIV English text makes it a question, reading: “DO YOU THINK THAT (NOT in any text) in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
But the NIV Spanish version - La Nueva Versión Internacional 1998 - makes it a statement - “Un poco más y me convences a hacerme cristiano—le dijo Agripa.” = “A little more and you convince me to become a Christian.”
It’s getting to where they don’t even care what the text says. They just make a verse read however they want it to. And nobody seriously believes that ANY of these modern versions “written the way we talk” IS the inerrant and 100% true words of God.
Some Bible Commentators
Adam Clarke - “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian - Εν ολιγῳ με πειθεις ΧριϚιανον γενεσθαι . This declaration was almost the necessary consequence of the apostle‘s reasoning, and Agrippa‘s faith. If he believed the prophets, see Acts 26:22, Acts 26:23, and believed that Paul‘s application of their words to Christ Jesus was correct, he must acknowledge the truth of the Christian religion; but he might choose whether he would embrace and confess this truth, or not. However, the sudden appeal to his religious faith extorts from him the declaration, Thou hast nearly persuaded me to embrace Christianity. How it could have entered into the mind of any man, who carefully considered the circumstances of the case, to suppose that these words of Agrippa are spoken ironically, is to me unaccountable. Every circumstance in the case proves them to have been the genuine effusion of a heart persuaded of the truth; and only prevented from fully acknowledging it by secular considerations.”
C.H. Spurgeon’s Verse Expositions of the Bible - “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. A great deal of effort has been put forth to prove that Agrippa did not say anything of the kind, but that he was only laughing at Paul when he ironically said, “Are you going to make me a Christian so easily as this?” If so, the reply of Paul was singularly inappropriate; but taking Agrippa’s words to be as they appear here, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian,” Paul’s answer can be well understood.”
John Calvin - “Seeing Agrippa did mean that he was almost made a Christian in a small time, Paul addeth that he doth desire that as well he as his companions might rise from small beginnings, and profit more and more.”
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown - “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian — Most modern interpreters think the ordinary translation inadmissible, and take the meaning to be, “Thou thinkest to make me with little persuasion (or small trouble) a Christian” - but I am not to be so easily turned. But the apostle‘s reply can scarcely suit any but the sense given in our authorized version, which is that adopted by Chrysostom and some of the best scholars since.”
John Gill - “almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian; to profess faith in Jesus as the Messiah, to embrace his doctrine, and submit to his ordinances, which is to be a Christian, at least externally: and when he says "almost", or "in a little", his meaning is, that within a little, or very near, he was of being persuaded to embrace Christianity.”
The King James Bible is right, as always. It is God’s infallible Book. Don’t settle for a fake "bible" version that nobody believes is God’s inerrant words.
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