Bow or Worship?

by Sean Finnegan

How should translators render the word προκσυνέω (proskuneo) into English? Since this word has a range of meanings from bowing as a sign of respect to worshiping God, translators sometimes decide what English words to use based more on their theological presuppositions than the grammar or textual context. For example, some translations (mostly those done by evangelicals) employ the language of worship when proskuneo is done to Jesus but then interpret the term as a respectful gesture when done to others. This, I suggest, is another smoking gun of translation bias.

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