apostle, apostles

The Greek term that is translated as “apostle(s)” in English is (back-) translated in the following ways:

cast lots

    The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “casting” or “drawing lots” in English is often translated with a specific idiom, such as “to take out bamboo slips” — 掣 籤 chè qiān (in most Chinese Bibles), “each to pick-up which is-written (i.e. small sticks inscribed with characters and used as slots)” (Batak Toba), a term for divination by means of reed stalks (Toraja-Sa’dan).

    In some cases a cultural equivalent is not available, or it is felt to be unsuitable in this situation, e.g. in Ekari where “to spin acorns” has the connotation of gambling, one may have to state the fact without mentioning the means, e.g. “it came to him,” (source for this and all above: Reiling / Swellengrebel). In Shipibo-Conibo there was no equivalent for “casting lots” so the translation for Mark 15:24 is descriptive: “they shook little things to decide what each one should take” (source: Nida 1952, p. 47).

    Other solutions include:

    • Purari: “throw shells” (source: David Clark)
    • Kwara’ae (in Acts 1:26) “they played something like dice to find out who of the two God chose (God revealed his will that way)” (source: Carl Gross)
    • Navajo: “draw straws”
    • Yatzachi Zapotec “raffle”
    • Chol “choose by a game” (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
    • Chichimeca-Jonaz: “threw one or two little hard things that had a sign…to see which person it would be”
    • Kekchí: “tried with luck
    • Lalana Chinantec: “there were little things they played with that made evident who it would be who would be lucky”
    • Chuj: “entered luck upon them”
    • Ayutla Mixtec: “put out luck” (Source for this and five above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)
    • Lacandon: “play with small stones in order to see who was going to win” (source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

    In North Alaskan Inupiatun a term for “gambling” is used. The same Inupiatun term is also used in Esther 3:7, “though there winning and losing is not in view, but rather choosing by chance” (source: Robert Bascom)

    The stand-alone term that is translated “lots” in English is translated as “two pieces of potsherd” in Highland Totonac. (Source: Ronald D. Olson in Notes on Translation January, 1968, p. 15ff.)

complete verse (Acts 1:26)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 1:26:

  • Uma: “After they prayed, they threw lots as their decision-maker [lit., thing that makes straight/clear]. The one pointed-out by this decision-maker of theirs was Matias. So he was lifted becoming an apostle of Lord Yesus so that they were a complete twelve as in the beginning.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “After that, they drew lots and the name of Mattiyas was drawn. So he was added to the eleven men/persons whom Isa had commissioned.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And when they had finished praying, they cast lots for the two, and the one who was chosen was Matthias, and he was made one of the apostles just like those eleven.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Then they drew-lots, and Matias was drawn, and he joined the eleven apostles.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “After they had prayed, they then drew lots. Matias was chosen, therefore he joined the eleven disciples.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)