Why are there random italic words in my Bible?


So what is with these random italics in passages? Example: "And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness." It's everywhere. Random words emphasized for what reason? This one: "Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap." Why is it written like that?


When you are translating from one language to another, you can't get word-for-word translations. Sometimes you have to stick in extra words to make it read correctly in the target language. Without them, the text could be confusing or imply the wrong thing in the target language.

Yet, there is always the hazard that you inserted the wrong extra words. So the authors of some translations opted to mark the inserted words with italics when they thought the words were significant insertions.

Usually, it doesn't make much difference, but there are a few times when you realize that the inserted word might be distracting from the real meaning. As an example, "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?" They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground" (John 18:4-6). The "he" in "I am he" is added to the text. Yet, its presence makes the reaction of the group falling to the ground appear odd. Few people fall down. when someone says, "I am he." But if you realize that Jesus literally said, "I Am" (as in the name of God), then the reaction of the crowd makes more sense.

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