“That make a man an offender for a word,
and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate,
and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.”
The usual LDS use of this expression is in reference to those who take unnecessary offense at others because of something they say that the offended person interprets uncharitably. However, this usage distorts its meaning in Isaiah 29:21. The “word” is something said by a wicked person to get someone else in legal trouble, to rob that person of justice in court. It is not referring to a word used by an innocent person that others use against them or that others claim to find offensive. The following modern translations bring out the sense rather clearly:
- “who by a word make a man out to be an offender” (ESV)
- “those who, with their speech, accuse a person of wrongdoing” (HCSB)
- “those whose mere word condemns a man” (NAB)
- “who cause a person to be indicted by a word” (NASB)
- “those who with a word make a man out to be guilt” (NIV/TNIV)
- “those who incriminate others by their words” (NJB)
- “those who convict the innocent by their false testimony” (NLT)
The popular LDS defensive tactic of throwing up the phrase “offenders for a word” when someone disagrees with their doctrine misuses this text of Scripture.
Edited by Rob Bowman, 22 March 2011 - 01:17 PM.