Luke 23:33 Calvary or The Skull?
There are some Bible critics who tell us that the King James Bible is wrong for translating the Greek word κρανιον as "Calvary" instead of "the Skull".
I am not saying that "the skull" is wrong. The purpose of this little study is to show that "Calvary" is NOT wrong, as some Bible critics (none of whom actually believe that ANY Bible in any language is inerrant) claim.
KJB - “And when they were come to the place, which is called CALVARY, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.”
The word translated as CALVARY in the King James Bible and as The Skull in such versions as the NASB, NIV, ESV, NET, Catholic Douay Version 1950, St. Joseph NAB 1970, Catholic New Jerusalem bible 1985 and the Jehovah Witness NWT is κρανιον or Kranion.
You will notice that the versions that have “the skull” also did not transliterate the word, but gave it an English translation.
Both “Calvary” and “the Skull” are translations.
The NASB, which says “The Skull” also footnotes - “In Latin Calvarius; or Calvary”
In Matthew 27:33 we have the same place referred to in the Hebrew tongue and there it is called “GOLGOTHA, that is to say, a place of a skull.”
“And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull” - Matthew 27:33
Well, guess what the Latin word Calvary means? You got it. It comes from the word calvaria and it means “a bare skull”. That is what Calvary means!
Though the English NIV has “The Skull” yet the Spanish La Nueva Versión Internacional reads: “Cuando llegaron al lugar llamado la CALAVERA”.
So too does the Spanish Reina Valera. And the Portuguese Almeida bible 2009 reads similar with: “Quando chegaram ao lugar chamado CAVEIRA”
The word kranion is found 4 times in the New Testament and three of the four times the KJB translated it as “a skull”.
We see this in Matthew 27:33 “that is to say, a place of a SKULL.”,
Mark 15:22 - “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.”
and in John 19:17 - “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha.”
Not only does the KJB have the word CALVARY in Luke 23:33, but so too doe the following Bible translations - Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1524, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1557 to 1599, Douay-Rheims 1582, The Beza N.T. 1599, the Mace N.T. 1729, the Worsley N.T. 1770, the Haweis N.T. 1795, the Thomson Translation 1808, Webster Bible 1833, the Living Oracles N.T. 1835, The Longman Version 1841, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Revised N.T. 1862, The Revised English Bible 1877, The Clarke N.T. 1913, the New Life Version 1969, the NKJV 1982, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, Worldwide English N.T. 1998, The Third Millennium Bible 1998, God’s First Truth 1999, The Tomson N.T. 2002, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, The Complete Apostle’s Bible 2005, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, The Conservative Bible 2010, The English Majority Text New Testament 2013, and The New Matthew Bible 2016 -“they came to a place that is called CALVARY, there they crucified him”
There is absolutely nothing wrong at all about translating this word as CALVARY, since the meaning of this word itself is “a bare skull”.
The KJB is always right. Get used to it.
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