After God spoke long ago 1 in various portions 2 and in various ways 3 to our ancestors 4 through the prophets,
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.
Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries.
In times past the word of God came to our fathers through the prophets, in different parts and in different ways;
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets,
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
who at sundry times
in divers manners
in time past
unto the fathers
|NET © [draft] ITL|
in various portions
in various ways
to our ancestors
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Or “spoke formerly.”
2 tn Or “parts.” The idea is that God’s previous revelation came in many parts and was therefore fragmentary or partial (L&N 63.19), in comparison with the final and complete revelation contained in God’s Son. However, some interpret πολυμερῶς (polumerw") in Heb 1:1 to mean “on many different occasions” and would thus translate “many times” (L&N 67.11). This is the option followed by the NIV: “at many times and in various ways.” Finally, this word is also understood to refer to the different manners in which something may be done, and would then be translated “in many different ways” (L&N 89.81). In this last case, the two words πολυμερῶς and πολυτρόπως (polutropw") mutually reinforce one another (“in many and various ways,” NRSV).
3 tn These two phrases are emphasized in Greek by being placed at the beginning of the sentence and by alliteration.
4 tn Grk “to the fathers.”