Scripture translation is fascinating. Especially in the Old Testament. Here’s a great example, Psalm 36:2:
New American Standard:
For it flatters him in his own eyes
Concerning the discovery of his iniquity and the hatred of it.
For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
New International Version:
In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
The NAS seems to be saying that people flatter themselves even when it comes to their sin and how much they hate it.
The KJV seems to say people flatter themselves until they see their sin so much that they hate it.
The NIV seems to say people flatter themselves so much it’s impossible for them to see their sin.
They each seem to say something different. So, who is right?
Each translation starts with a different subject doing the flattering. The NAS goes with “it,” the KJV with “he,” and the NIV goes with “they.”
I believe the proper pronoun should be “it” as the NAS has it. The pronoun should tie back to the previous verse. “Transgression” is what is speaking. It would seem verse 2 is saying that “it,” transgression, is saying something flattering.
Transgression lies when it tries to convince you that it’s no big deal. There is no fear of God. If it doesn’t bother me, it shouldn’t bother God, sort of reasoning.
If He did fear God, the transgressor would see how hateful his transgression is. But he doesn’t fear God, so he doesn’t see his sin as bad. He and his sin that isn’t all that bad, flatters the transgressor.
In essence all three verses are making the same point, even if they seem to come at it differently: A diminished view of God leads to a diminished view of sin and vice versa.
Once you see God for who He is; you will see your sin for what it is.
Or, you may be confronted to see your sin and just how awful you are, which may also lead to a higher view of who God is.
Either way, watch out for a light view of sin! It will warp your theology.