At the excellent ReNew Conference last week, jointly organised by Reform and the Anglican Mission in England, one of the speakers candidly admitted that he had been guilty of 'selfish ambition and vain conceit' in not having attended a Reform conference for ten years.
This striking admission prompted your curate to much-needed reflection and self-examination around Paul's instruction to Christians in the verse the speaker alluded to - Philippians 2v3:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (NIV).The RSV, which cc turned to on returning from ReNew, leaves out the 'vain'. It translates the Greek word kenodoxia simply as 'conceit' whereas the NIV uses the two words to translate it.
In this case, the extra word would appear to be crucial. 'Vain' in this context is not tautologous. The prefix keno derived from the adjective kenos, meaning 'vain' as in empty or pointless, adds a vital dimension to our understanding of Paul's command, for the Bible surely teaches that our fallen human arrogance is literally 'in vain'. It is empty, pointless, and spiritually fruitless.
Does not Paul's use of kenodoxia here point to the gospel reality that, as we rid our minds and hearts of our sense of entitlement to be promoted over others and by God's grace turn ourselves towards loving Him and our fellow believers in the Lord Jesus, we become substantial as opposed to spiritually vacuous people? Is it not true to say in the light of kenodoxia that 'vainglory' is literally a waste of space in the Body of Christ?
So, in his own journey of repentance cc is very thankful for the extra word in the NIV translation.
Saving child care professionals from having to convey malicious falsehoods appeared on ConservativeHome.