Talk:John 1-7 (Translated)

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The Gospel According to John

TerryH and Aschlafly have asked me to take charge of the translation of the Gospel of John. For those who do not know me (which is pretty much all of you), here is a brief introduction (I've not yet had time to introduce myself on my User page). I first learned classical Greek back in 1980 in college, where I took an intensive course in Attic Greek. Not too long after that, I expanded that to include Koine (the dialect of the NT) Greek, which is in the Attic family. I have taught introductory courses in Biblical Greek (one year and two year courses) on several occasions, and have continued to study the latest research and thought on Greek translation in the almost 30 years since I first learned the language. I have also had the opportunity to read portions of some of the oldest manuscripts of the NT in existence, including P66, P77, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, and several others (from high resolution photographs of the originals, not the originals themselves). I have kept very abreast of the latest in NT textual research, and I am very well versed in most of the arguments concerning disputed sections of scripture. I have my own opinions on each of these which I will explain in the appropriate places as I reach those sections while translating.

As to this translation, the first three chapters were already completed when I arrived, so I have edited them according to my understanding of the text, and as soon as that is completed, I will begin new translation starting in chapter four. Most of the comments I have made on this page relating to the first chapter were prior to being asked to handle the translation of the rest of the book. Keep in mind that I have spent the majority of my life acting as a translation commentator, rather than a strict translator. In other words, I usually have had the luxury of taking as much space as I need to explain the meaning of the Greek. A translator, however, must be concise and succinct, which places a limitation on my "translation" that is somewhat new to me.

In keeping with my "commentator" tendencies, however, I will keep a running account of my reasoning and the occasional expanded explanation of the text in the Analysis section, as well as on this talk page.

Anyone who has questions about anything I have translated, or comments on the text itself, is encouraged to jump in on the talk page, or on my User page, and express your ideas, information or opinions. This is an open forum for all users, so please feel free to contribute. Keep in mind, however, that I have no interest whatsoever in personal attacks or snide remarks. My comments will always be professional and on the topic, and I ask that all of you do the same. Grace and peace to all of you, and I pray that the Lord uses this to minister to each and every one of you. Michael Back 1:41, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

Wow, that's extremely impressive, Michael. You're a godsend.--Andy Schlafly 16:30, 23 October 2009 (EDT)

Logos = the Word

There is heated debate over this. It's important to capture the full meaning of the word LOGOS especially now 'Words orginal meaning has been diluted. Truth would be a good translation; it would really tie in to John 14:6 and John 18:38 and is very nescessary in these uncertain times. Leaving LOGOS untranslated (as some Bible commentaries do) could also be helpful but a footnote in printed Bibles would be nescessary to avoid confusion. This is the view I take. - Anoymonous

There really shouldn't be much of a debate over using "Truth" or "Word" in John 1:1. In the Greek text, the word logos is used, which refers to something being said. Hence "Word" is better than "Truth". Also, truth in Greek is aletheia, and that word is not in the text.

I do not think word or truth are all that great. Both fail to capture the connotation in λόγος of that which is being spoken of, mandate, law decree. Word is one literal translation of λόγος but without the idiomatic meaning people may or may not actually derive from John 1:1 it's still just a literal translation. Truth does not even weakly refer to that which is being spoken of except to editorialize by making a judgment (calling the mandate a truth, which of course it is but this doesn't capture the meaning of the words in Greek). Word is fine if you want to be a literalist about it because that is literally what λόγος means. But if you want some poetry in a Bible that's accurate and a pleasure to read, you could refer to the λόγος being a causal necessity, mandate, law, etc. because what I take John 1:1 to be saying very beautifully is that God was always there, even at the beginning and that it couldn't have been any other way. Cambrian 11:15, 16 October 2009 (EDT)
This is a fascinating dilemma. The unsigned first comment above fails to address how the term "word" is diluted in modern English. But the second comment above seems to downplay be the strong commonality between λόγος and the modern meaning of Truth. Still, I agree we should search for a better term.--Andy Schlafly 11:23, 16 October 2009 (EDT)
Truth doesn't seem to be an apt term here though, logos as word here is more of a ordering, rational force, which makes sense given the audience that John was writing this gospel for. To translate it as truth doesn't do justice to what logos fully means. Aletheia, a word for truth is a truth of disclosure, something 'exposes' itself to be true to one. Heidegger uses this idea to great effect in his 'Intro to Metaphysics.' Truth for the Greeks wouldn't have been logos. I prefer the translation of logos=reason or ordering force.--Rcgallup 11:39, 16 October 2009 (EDT)
There is no Greek word for "Truth" with a capital "T". "λόγος" is probably the closest substitute John could find. As to "reason" or "ordering force," they seem to lack the spiritual side, which Truth captures better.--Andy Schlafly 11:43, 16 October 2009 (EDT)

I can really see, looking at this whole discussion, why James Moffatt in his translation chose NOT to translate Logos. He simply wrote "In the beginning was the Logos..." However, that's really not a very good solution. I never liked (and still don't like) "Truth" as a translation for Logos. However, I have to admit, "Living Word" is really growing on me! One problem way too many people have when they read "Word" is that they immediately think of a written word, which Logos is clearly not. Thus, the famous Reina-Valera translation in Spanish translates Logos as "el Verbo," the Verb, the active word. But clearly, since Logos is referring to Jesus Christ, "Living Word" really kind of captures the idea that this is a Person, specifically a Person of the Holy Trinity.--Cory Howell 16:11, 22 October 2009 (EDT)

"Living Word" for "λόγος" is really growing on me also. Truth has too much of a harsh edge to it in modern English, while "Living Word" has more of a dynamic, healing quality. Let's go with it!

Multiple gods?

For discussion sake you might want to consider changing the last line in John 1:1 to "and the Word was a god."

Here is some info on this to look over....

6A Jesus—A Godlike One; Divine Joh 1:1—“and the Word was a god (godlike; divine)” Gr., καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος (kai the‧os′ en ho lo′gos) 1808 “and the word was a god” The New Testament, in An

                                    Improved Version, Upon the
                                    Basis of Archbishop Newcome’s
                                    New Translation: With a
                                    Corrected Text, London.

1864 “and a god was the Word” The Emphatic Diaglott (J21,

                                    interlinear reading), by
                                    Benjamin Wilson, New York and

1935 “and the Word was divine” The Bible—An American

                                    Translation, by J. M. P.
                                    Smith and E. J. Goodspeed,

1950 “and the Word was a god” New World Translation of the

                                    Christian Greek Scriptures,

1975 “and a god (or, of a divine Das Evangelium nach

      kind) was the Word”          Johannes, by Siegfried
                                    Schulz,Göttingen, Germany.

1978 “and godlike sort was Das Evangelium nach

      the Logos”                   Johannes,by Johannes

1979 “and a god was the Logos” Das Evangelium nach

                                    Johannes,by Jürgen Becker,
                                    Würzburg, Germany.

These translations use such words as “a god,” “divine” or “godlike” because the Greek word θεός (the‧os′) is a singular predicate noun occurring before the verb and is not preceded by the definite article. This is an anarthrous the‧os′. The God with whom the Word, or Logos, was originally is designated here by the Greek expression ὁ θεός, that is, the‧os′ preceded by the definite article ho. This is an articular the‧os′. Careful translators recognize that the articular construction of the noun points to an identity, a personality, whereas a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb points to a quality about someone. Therefore, John’s statement that the Word or Logos was “a god” or “divine” or “godlike” does not mean that he was the God with whom he was. It merely expresses a certain quality about the Word, or Logos, but it does not identify him as one and the same as God himself. In the Greek text there are many cases of a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb, such as in Mr 6:49; 11:32; Joh 4:19; 6:70; 8:44; 9:17; 10:1, 13, 33; 12:6. In these places translators insert the indefinite article “a” before the predicate noun in order to bring out the quality or characteristic of the subject. Since the indefinite article is inserted before the predicate noun in such texts, with equal justification the indefinite article “a” is inserted before the anarthrous θεός in the predicate of John 1:1 to make it read “a god.” The Sacred Scriptures confirm the correctness of this rendering. In his article “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,” published in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 92, Philadelphia, 1973, p. 85, Philip B. Harner said that such clauses as the one in Joh 1:1, “with an anarthrous predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning. They indicate that the logos has the nature of theos. There is no basis for regarding the predicate theos as definite.” On p. 87 of his article, Harner concluded: “In John 1:1 I think that the qualitative force of the predicate is so prominent that the noun cannot be regarded as definite.” Following is a list of instances in the gospels of Mark and John where various translators have rendered singular anarthrous predicate nouns occurring before the verb with an indefinite article to denote the indefinite and qualitative status of the subject nouns: Scripture Text New World Translation King James Version An American Translation New International Version Revised Standard Version Today’s English Version


6:49  an apparition  a spirit  a ghost  a ghost  a ghost  a ghost
11:32 a prophet  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet  a real prophet  a prophet


4:19  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet
6:70  a slanderer  a devil  an informer  a devil  a devil  a devil
8:44  a manslayer  a murderer  a murderer  a murderer  a murderer  a murderer
8:44  a liar  a liar  a liar  a liar  a liar  a liar
9:17  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet  a prophet
10:1  a thief  a thief  a thief  a thief  a thief  a thief
10:13 a hired man  an hireling  a hired man  a hired hand  a hireling  a hired man
10:33 a man  a man  a mere man  a mere man  a man  a man
12:6  a thief  a thief  a thief  a thief  a thief  a thief
That's an interesting analysis, and we have an open mind about all such suggestions. Thank you. That said, I think the analysis illustrates the pitfalls of overemphasizing linguistic analysis at the expense of context. John was a brilliant man, but not a Greek poet. The context is one God, not multiple gods. Our project is devoted more to extracting original intent than it is to textualism. Textualism is less helpful where, as here, the concepts are more powerful than the language.--Andy Schlafly 17:56, 3 December 2009 (EST)

Just a question: Are you looking at the original intent as it is written in English, such as in the KJV, or from the original text? The original intent would have to be taken from the original text, would it not? That is the argument that I raise. The nuances in any language are the first to be lost when translated. I am merely pointing out that the original intent was to show that Jesus Christ was not God but rather "a god". He was the firstborn of all creation, but he was not "God Almighty" as that would have been Jesus' Father. The Bible itself points out that Satan was the god of this world. He made that quite clear when he offered the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if he would only show an act of worship to him. So I am not talking about multiple gods, but rather one god. It's really quite simple. The Bible tells us that Jesus' sat at the right hand of God. How do you sit by your own right hand?

Yes, the Scriptures sometimes use the term "God" ("Theos") to refer to God the Father - this is how Jesus is called "Son of God." Yet at the same time, He says, "I and the Father are one" - "one" being in the Greek neuter gender, meaning an actual unity, not simply "acting together," or "united in purpose," else He would have used the masculine gender. Therefore, Jesus is God.
This is the uncontrovertable conclusion of both Testaments: "Sh'ma Ysrael YHVH Eloheinu YHVH echad", "Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD, is one." Similarly, "Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD... before Me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after Me... I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you." (Is 43:10-12). And, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well..." (James 2:19)
I believe this is what Andy Schlafly was talking about when he said, "The context is one God, not multiple gods" - in the original texts, as well as many English translations. We presume that the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Gospel is self-consistent and would not have the "original intent" to speak in John 1 of multiple gods when He repeatedly denied multiple gods' existence.
--EvanW 11:12, 4 December 2009 (EST)

Truth or word

While I agree "truth" has too narrow a meaning, at first glance, it may serve the purpose well when explained properly. Sadly, many Christians believe that "word" refers to the Bible itself, rather than the deep concept of logos. Is there a better term than either? Message? DouglasA 22:12, 26 August 2009 (EDT)

I'm not a Greek scholar, but λογος, as I understand it, had an enormous range of implications in first century Greek, deeply rooted in a Greek culture which held all reality to be logical and ordered, and flowing from logic and order. While truth is being used now, I think we would be hard pressed to find a single word which encompasses all the meaning and implications of λογος. The question we must ask ourselves, is how much of the beauty of the first passage(s) of John are we willing sacrifice to give a completely accurate translation? If we don't care at all for the prose, perhaps John 1:1 might better read, "In the beginning was truth, reason, wisdom, and harmony, and all this was with God for this is what God is." A suggestion. JacobB 17:10, 1 October 2009 (EDT)
Whoops, sorry for putting the comment Re 1:9 in the wrong place. Feel free to just delete it if you want. --MarkGall 17:28, 1 October 2009 (EDT)
The more foundational question that needs to be decided here is whether this is going to be a dynamic paraphrase, or a strict translation. In other words, are we attempting to relate what the Greek actually SAYS, or are we attempting to explain what we believe it MEANS? If this is a strict translation, then using "truth" in John 1:1 is not an option, as the word "aletheia" does not appear in that verse. Like it or not, we are stuck with legitimate translations of logos: "word, message, reason, communication, thought, etc." If, however, this is more of a dynamic paraphrase, then we are not restricted by what the Greek actually says, and are free to use whatever words we need to "explain" what the Greek means. In that case, we can describe the force and meaning of logos in our "translation." As it stands right now, this is something of an odd cross between a translation and a paraphrase. So we need a philosophy of translation that goes beyond "conservative" and guides us in how strict or loose we are allowed to be in this re-translation. That alone would settle many of these translation disputes. Michael Back
We're doing a "thought-for-thought" translation. That's not a paraphrase, but that's not tied down by literalism either.
That said, I'm not entirely comfortable with "truth", as it has harsh connotations that are contrary to forgiveness. "Word" does have advantages, but it is so diluted. This debate may continue on.--Andy Schlafly 22:06, 15 October 2009 (EDT)
Commenting further on this, an imprecision is introduced in the Greek when John chose the best word available to him for what he wanted to say (which would not necessarily be perfect), and then on the English side we have dictionaries for translating that word which become quickly out of date as meanings shift. The meaning of "word" today is not the same as 20 years ago, and certainly not the same as 400 years ago. Today "word" makes one think of one solitary word that someone might type into a computer or send on twitter or texting. Pre-computers, "word" didn't mean that in English, and 400 years ago it probably had an entirely different connotation.
A collaborative, wiki-based approach is very sell suited to reducing and eliminating these imprecisions, as many people can analyze both the Greek and the English in an effort to communicate the original intent.--Andy Schlafly 19:32, 17 October 2009 (EDT)
I've been struggling with this for quite some time (long before I learned of this project). The fundamental problem here is that English simply does not have a word that comes anywhere close to the way John is using logos in this context. His usage directly challenged the Greek concept of logos (by making it PERSONAL - the logos itself created, and was both WITH God and WAS God), meaning that he was, in effect, giving it a brand new meaning BASED upon the Greek definition. So here is what we have: the logos starts as a Greek term referring to all that can be thought and communicated, and was, in ideal form, equated with "the contents, thoughts and communications of a god." The idea being that any true thing that could be learned, communicated, acted upon, written, or discovered, the gods already knew. John took this one step further with "ο λογος ην προς τον θεον," which is a nonsense statement. How could the logos NOT be with (or in agreement with) god if it is in his mind? But John repeats this in verse two, making it clear that this was no accident. THEN he goes one step further and makes it clear he intends for this logos to be taken personally by the use of houtos in verse two, and by attributing creation directly to the logos in verse three. This logos was much more than the logos of the Greeks, it was ALIVE and POWERFUL in its own right. Further, it somehow was both GOD and WITH God at the same time. Then John slams the lid on his new definition with verse 14, where the logos becomes FLESH (sarx). Absolutely IMPOSSIBLE according to the Greek understanding of this word. Likewise, impossible to relate with any current word in the English dictionary. So, there is no possible way that we will ever find an English word that can relate what John meant with logos. The most we can ever hope for is a rough approximation that might capture a hint of what logos is. Every suggestion will be lacking in some way. Traditionally, logos has been translated with "word," which was ALWAYS lacking, and is even more so now, for all the reasons we have seen. But frankly, "word" is no worse than "message," "Truth," "logic," "reason," or any other option, all for different reasons, of course.
With all of this in mind, I have opted for a different "combination" translation. This mixes the traditional translation with John's radical new concept of a living, personal logos. I believe it solves the problems presented by modern understandings of the meaning of "word" while preserving John's core intent, will be an interesting take for new believers, and keeping it recognizable to those who have been in the faith for a long time. It is not perfect by any means (as I said, I do not believe there is a perfect choice), but I would like all of you who are reading and participating in this to take a few days and dwell on it. I'm not claiming that this settles the discussion; far from it, I hope it moves it forward. My suggestion is "living Word." Michael Back 8:01, 17 October 2009 (EDT)
I like "living Word" very, very much. That may well be the optimal choice.
In the meantime I stumbled across John 17:17, where he says: "ἁγίασον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ: ὁ λόγος ὁ σὸς ἀλήθειά ἐστιν." This seems to support the "Truth" interpretation of "λόγος". Most translate the second half as "your word is the truth," but I wonder if a more straightforward translation would be "your truth is the word." The latter translation would serve as John's own redefinition of "λόγος" as "Truth".--Andy Schlafly 20:18, 17 October 2009 (EDT)
The best translation here would be "Your word is Truth" (since you could give aletheia the article and still preserve the subject-predicate identification), keeping in mind that the absence of the article here does NOT mean "a lesser truth." "Your truth is the word" is not an option for the following reason: In a predicate phrase where one noun has the article and the other does not, the subject is the noun with the article, and the predicate is the noun without the article. The word order in John 17:17 is more or less neutral word order, with no particular emphasis.
John 1:1, for example, reads "θεος ην ο λογος," and since logos has the article while theos does not, it can only be translated "the Living Word was God," not "God was the Living Word." The order reversal is to place extra emphasis on "God" so that no one thinks it means "a god," while making it subtly distinct from "ton theon" in the previous clause. Thus, this construction says that the logos is THEOS (the emphasis tells us the logos is FULLY God), but is somehow different from "ton theon" (the Father). By giving the article to logos without giving it to theos, logos is preserved as the subject and theos can be moved forward for emphasis. BTW, if both nouns have the article, the rule is that the first one is the subject and the second is the predicate.
Manipulating word order and the articles in John 1:1 would lead to subtly different meanings of that last clause:
ο λογος ο θεος ην = The Living word is The God (Jesus and the Father are the SAME individual - Sabellianism)
ο λογος θεος ην = Although not manditory, this one "could" be interpreted as "The Living Word was a god." (less than the Father - Arianism)
However, θεος ην ο λογος in the context of the first two clauses can ONLY mean that the Living Word, Jesus, is fully and completely God, but is somehow different from the Father (thus, the Trinity). Michael Back 12:33, 18 October 2009 (EDT)
Wow, thanks for the insights. I'll change John 17:17 back as you say.--Andy Schlafly 07:59, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

After reading what Michael Back had to say about the logos, and doing some research, I have to wonder if John's is a gospel or a philosophical tract. Saying that John took the Greek concept of the logos, challenged it, and gave it a new meaning, would make it seem like a philosophical tract. All the attempts here to define logos mirrors a very old discourse. From reading Karl Jaspers' discussion of Heraclitus in his book on the great philosophers, logos "can neither be translated into any other term nor defined as a concept". "Logos can signify: word, discourse, content of discourse, meaning; reason, truth; law; even Being." Edward Hussey in his book on the Presocratics, states that by the time Heraclitus (b. 540 BC) really began using logos in his philosophy, "the sense of 'reason' or 'reasoning' appears to be well established" for the meaning of logos. And it would seem that logos was used in reference to "divine law" or the law of the universe. It also appears that the logos was the means by which God - since the mid sixth century BC, perhaps starting with Xenophanes, the idea of one God became known, from which the idea of the logos originated - brought order to the kosmos. The Stoics defined the logos in the same way. And for Philo, the logos "denotes the Thought of God expressed in a form that is, at least indirectly, accessible to men and knowable by them". (From Ronald Williamson's book on Philo, p. 105) So if John extended the meaning of logos, then this was in a long line of philosophers who struggled with the term and its meaning. If John then applied his understanding of the logos to Jesus, then we would have to wonder if equating the logos with Jesus is a true depiction, or a representation of his philosophizing. - Danielitld

LOL. Very good observations. And my answer is that it was BOTH a philosophical tract and a gospel, which is what the gospel has to be when it enters a new culture. The topics he directly tackles (and his tendency to explain Jewish customs) shows that John wrote his gospel specifically aimed at a Gentile/Greek audience, and that he understood he would have to address some fundamental Greek philosophical ideas in order for them to truly understand and believe the gospel. Of course, the genius of his work is that as a whole, it was just a radically challenging to Jewish philosophical and theological ideas as it was to those of the Greeks.
As for the logos, John was using a concept the Greeks had that the Jews didn't even have to help the Greeks better understand who and what Jesus was. Is this EXACTLY who Jesus is? Given that it is a human concept, I highly doubt it. It could be the closest we humans can come, or it could simply be the best concept the Greek language has to offer. Ultimately, this is about communication, and this explanation would help Greeks grasp who Jesus was a little better, but it would only be marginally helpful to Jews (as it is only marginally helpful to most Americans). So asking if this was "a true depiction or just John philosophizing" is missing the point. This is the closest Greek concept to what what the eternal God who became flesh really is that their culture had to offer. In another culture, a completely different philosophical or religious concept might better help them understand God. The truth is that ALL human concepts fall woefully short of capturing the full essence of who God is, so human approximations (like logos) are all we have. Michael Back 2:29, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
Wow, thanks for the insightful analysis. I like the use of "Living Word" as it is, but wonder if it is a bit too repetitious (three times in the first sentence). Would some variety help, as in:
In the beginning was the Living Word, and this Word was with God, and this Truth was God.
I only suggest this as way of possibly sparking further improvements in this all-important sentence.--Andy Schlafly 16:48, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
Better yet for λογος: In the beginning was the Living Word, and its logic was with God, and this Truth was God.
By using three different terms for λογος, repetition is avoided and the meaning is more completely conveyed. This also comports with the redefinition of λογος in John 17:17.--Andy Schlafly 22:56, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
I respect your interest in improving this verse, but there are several reasons I do not think it is in our interest to attempt to improve on the KJV translation. First, the verse has become idiomatic in the English language. It's a pure classic, and it very much adequately conveys the idea of logos and provides a rich use of logos in the verse. Second, attempting to avoid repetition in a verse that uses the same word in the same sense (as I read it in Greek) is wrong. Logos simply does not convincingly translate to logic, living word, or truth. There is no possessive to the object of was in the second stanza. It's not in the Greek. Logos does not translate to living word either - it means literally assertion, gesture, or statement. Neither does logos translate to truth - it only refers to the product of the power of speech, resolution, conditioning, or commanding and does not editorialize the significance of the message. So I think the best translation is as the KJV found it because it leaves the English speaking reader with a richness inherent in the ambiguity of the meaning of logos, which is inherent in that word in English, and conveys the poetry and whatever the poetic conceit is (is it almost like alliteration but when you use the same word multiple times?) in the Greek. The beauty of the use of logos in this verse is that it conveys something entirely different than something as simple as truth, living word, or logic. God literally made the motivating gesture of the universe. Thus, in the beginning was that which always was and always will be - it is and was God's gesture of creation. It was with God. It was God. God is the beginning and the end. It's elementary. Cambrian 00:30, 24 October 2009 (EDT)
We'll see what others say, but I don't find either your first or second point logical. Idioms and the meaning of words change over 400 years. Just because a Greek word is used repetitively, it does not mean the English translation is identical in every context. The context does matter.--Andy Schlafly 00:38, 24 October 2009 (EDT)
I agree that idioms and meanings change over the years, but I believe that the important focus is translating the words of the Bible as they are written into language that is consistent with the meanings that the authors of those words intended and would have understood. If a idiom presents itself as sensible to our understanding as 21st century Americans, that says nothing about the meaning ascribed to the idiom by a 1st century Jew writing in Greek. I respectfully disagree with your objections to my thoughts. Cambrian 01:03, 24 October 2009 (EDT)
I just realized that I am not being as helpful as I could: my suggestion is merely that the term logos should be translated consistently throughout the verse and that its meaning is best captured by a word or phrase that speaks to the creative gesture that God made in the Beginning. I would propose: "In the beginning was God's will, and God's will was with God, and God's will was God." Cambrian 01:14, 24 October 2009 (EDT)


The entire purpose of verse two is emphasis, and some of that is lost in this translation. "All this" is not the best translation to relate the force of "houtos" in this construction. In verse 2 "houtos" is serving as an emphatic form of "autos," placing extra emphasis on "this SAME individual..." The purpose here is to emphasize the personal nature of the logos in verse one. "This same one," or even "this very same one" or something like that would be better. As it stands now, "all this" does exactly the opposite of what the Greek is attempting to relate: it DE-PERSONALIZES the logos from verse one, which is actually a more "liberal" approach to this verse. Michael Back 12:08, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

You're a genius, Mback! Changed as suggested.--Andy Schlafly 22:09, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


P66 has "outen" (nothing) in this verse while P75 has "oute hen" (not one thing), which is simply a more emphatic form of "outen." Our translation suggests we are going with the Greek in P75 (wise choice, given that p66 has 5 times as many copy errors as p75), and if that is the case, we should keep the emphatic nature of the words found there. "Not one thing" or "not one single thing" relates the emphatic force of the Greek much better than "no thing." The repetition of "ginomai" is also a function of emphasis, but, again, depending on how strict we are going to be, we probably can get away with dropping the last "that has been made" in this verse, as this translation does. Michael Back 12:21, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

Mback, you're obviously brilliant, knowledgeable and meticulous. I made your change here but please feel free to edit any of the translations directly yourself, along with your highly informative comments!--Andy Schlafly 22:13, 15 October 2009 (EDT)
Wow. I am humbled and honored by your words and confidence. I promise you that anything I do will be done prayerfully and with full consideration to the thoughts and ideas of everyone contributing. Thank you, sir. Michael Back 8:25, 16 October 2009 (EDT)


I don't see any reason why we can't do a better job of distinguishing between "dzoe" and "bios." How about something like, "He was the source of real life..." or "Real life was found only in Him, and ..."? Michael Back 12:43, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


While this verse definitely has many different modern translations, "snuff it out" is an idiom, not a defined "dictionary" word. That phrase gives this a strong "Message paraphrase" feel, as opposed to a more scholarly, exacting translation. Is that what we want? I have no problem with idioms, but in a strict translation, you usually limit the use of idioms in English to places where idioms occur in the Greek (which, admittedly, is fairly common). Michael Back 12:52, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

Interesting point. Thanks. I'll check out your other suggestions also.--Andy Schlafly 12:34, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


Note that the use of "houtos" in this verse is similar to how John uses it in verse two. John uses it as a more emphatic form of "autos," emphasizing that "this SAME John who was just mentioned in the previous sentence" is the one being referenced here. Michael Back 1:16, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


"Animates" is not a good translation of photidzo, but it is a marginally adequate paraphrase, if we are OK with the fact that it changes the flow of John's argument. Strictly speaking, in modern English "animates" references "giving life to" or "bringing to life." The problem is that our translation takes the REVERSE meaning of verse four, which tells us that the real life He had within Him gave light to men. The current translation of this verse reverses that, and says the light from Him gives life. We could argue that this is still a true statement, but being a true statement, and being an accurate translation of the verse is not the same thing. Reversing the statement of verse four is NOT what the Greek is intending here. This verse is a follow up to the previous verses contrasting light with darkness, and photidzo specifically is "to enlighten, to bring into the light, to illuminate, to shine a light upon." The point of this verse is supposed to be that the true light brings us out of darkness, NOT that it gives us life. There is a difference between translating a verse into an English statement that just happens to be true, versus translating it into an English statement that actually relates what the verse SAYS, and is also true. Michael Back 1:55, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

1:1 and 1:14

Using "Truth" for λογος in 1:1 but then "spirit" in 1:14 is not theologically sound. In the KJV, we have "the Word was God ... and the Word was made flesh" which indisputably places Jesus as being God. Changing from "Truth" to "spirit" breaks that link between the two and can mislead readers into a sub-Arian interpretation where Jesus is the son and messenger of God rather than being God Incarnate in human form.

I agree completely. Whatever word we use for "logos" in verse 1 HAS to be used here. John's phrasing in this verse is NOT just to make a vague comment about "the spirit" becoming flesh (which is actually a very liberal, new age way of looking at this verse), but rather, specifically that the logos of verse 1, who is both "with" God and "is" God, became flesh. It is my understanding that a conservative translation would emphasize the "incarnate God" aspect of Jesus' birth, as opposed to de-emphasizing it, which is what this translation currently does. Michael Back 2:07, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

1:14 I've thought for a long time that "dwelt" is kind of archaic, and doesn't really capture the meaning of the Greek, which is something along the lines of "pitched His tent" or "built His tabernacle." How about at least something like "made His home among us" or even the slightly more earthy "pitched His tent among us"?--Cory Howell 15:56, 22 October 2009 (EDT)

That's not a bad idea. The word literally means "spread a tabernacle, pitch a tent, to tabernacle, to tent." John is the only person who uses this word in the NT, as it appears here, then in Revelation 7:15; 12:12; 13:6; and a really interesting one: Revelation 21:3 - "And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them...", which is an interesting parallel to John 1:14. I kind of like "made His home among us." Let me think about it. Michael Back 12:13, 23 October 2009 (EDT)


Translating "lambano" as "benefited" is certainly unusual, but can only be considered "appropriate" if our translation guidelines are "very, very loose paraphrase." Lambano never has the meaning of "benefits" anywhere in the New Testament. Is the EFFECT of "receiving" beneficial? Absolutely. But the "effect" of the word and the "meaning" of the word are not the same thing. Michael Back 2:27, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


Using "spoken of" for "exegeomai" is a very surface translation of what this word relates, and has the effect of narrowing the force of this verse. Exegeomai is a much stronger word which is more about "unfolding" or "laying out in detail." It actually relates the idea of presenting something with great depth and breadth, a richer, fuller, more detailed explanation; it is not just "speaking about" something, but more carries the idea of "explaining" that thing. "Explained," or "unfolded" or even "thoroughly presented" would related the idea of this word better in this context. Michael Back 2:38, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


"Testimony" is a MUCH, MUCH better translation of "marturia" than "record." Excellent choice here. Michael Back 2:49, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


Just as a note here, this is one of the verses that Muslims use to claim that the New Testament foretells the coming of Mohamed. They believe that all references to "that prophet" or "the prophet" are prophesies about the expected FINAL prophet who would set everyone straight: Mohamed. The thing to note here is that John was not denying being a specific prophet, he was actually denying being a prophet of any kind. Whether through humility or because he had a different ministry, John chose NOT to classify himself as a prophet, something that is re-enforced in verse 25 where we render the same Greek construction as "another prophet." Since this seems to be more of a paraphrase than a strict translation, it really would relate the meaning of this verse better to say simply "another prophet" here, as we do in verse 25. Michael Back 2:59, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


Euthuno means "straight, straightened out", not "clear." The idea is NOT about removing obstacles in the path, but rather, that the path have no turns or side routes. In other words, "there is only ONE path that leads to God, and it has no turns or curves" (which is very much the conservative message, is it not?). While it is true that the Hebrew uses the words "clear" and "smooth" here, this is actually from the Septuagint, which uses "euthus," the substantive form of euthuno, meaning "straight." In other words, John doesn't just quote the OT, by quoting the Septuagint, he uses a quote that actually relates the INTENT or MEANING of the Hebrew. If John believes that was a good choice, I think we should stick with his selection, and translate the Greek found in this verse, NOT the Hebrew found in Isaiah 40:3. This shows that the struggle between "strict translation" and "paraphrase" is a very old one. The translators of the Septuagint actually used a mild Greek paraphrase of the Hebrew in translating Isaiah 40:3, and John gives added authority to the wise choice of that paraphrase by choosing their wording (as opposed to a direct and stricter translation of the Hebrew) for his quotation.

Additionally, I think the ending phrase "just as the prophet Isaiah was" is not quite as clear as it could be. This choice makes the force of the verse be: I am a voice in the wilderness . . . just like Isaiah was. This is true, but it kind of loses the point that this is not just something Isaiah did, but is, in fact, a QUOTATION from Isaiah. Michael Back 3:22, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


This is a fairly minor point, but this verse does not say those questioning "were Pharisees," it says, εκ των φαρισαιων; that is, they were "from the Pharisees." The implication is that the pharisees themselves were too cowardly to come in person, so they sent others, probably students or servants, to do the questioning for them. I think that is a point worth preserving here. Michael Back 7:35, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


Both this translation and the KJV lose the startling and contrasting points that John is making here. The Greek is closer to "he is the one coming after me who existed prior to me..." (ος εμπροσθεν μου γεγονεν). John was actually pointing toward the eternal nature of the one coming after him, kind of in line with "before Abraham was, I am." While it is obvious that God is above him, the point is that this is not just "some random guy who is above me," but rather, this person is, in fact, the eternal God in physical form. "Existed before me" or some equivalent phrase would be more accurate, and would be more in line with the startling, worldview altering point (at least to Jews) that John is making here. Michael Back 7:58, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


Excellent point on the meaning of "airo." A possible solution to this would be "takes away the sinful burden..." or "takes away the burden of sin..." or maybe a more subtle "lifts and carries away the sin..." Any of these would capture at least a little of this extra force found in the Greek. Michael Back 8:16, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


Again, John's statement here is closer to "after me comes a man who existed prior to me, because he was before me," which is a very emphatic way of pointing to the pre-existence of Christ, particularly as the last phrase uses "protos," which strictly speaking tells us that John is saying Christ "came first, before me." A strong, emphatic statement. Michael Back 8:28, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


The tense is wrong here. It is NOT present tense ("I do not know..."), but pluperfect (past completed - "I had not known..."). The construction used here means "I had not (before this very moment) known who He was...". An acceptable translation would be, "I did not know who he was...," but placing this in the present tense completely misses what the Greek is saying. Eido is something of a surface kind of knowing and seeing, thus it is, in this context, about identity, not a deeper kind of "knowing him personally." The point here is that John was preparing the way for one who would take away our sins, but until this very moment, he did not know the exact identity of that man.

Also, in contrast with eido, phaneroo is more "revealed, unveiled, made publicly known," so translating both words with the same English word kind of misses what is going on here. The second half of this sentence is a purpose clause, showing the REASON that John came baptizing. This entire intent of this sentence is more like this: "I did not know who he was, but despite that, I have come to baptize people with water so that He could be revealed to Israel" (and yes, reversing the order of the clauses in this kind of purpose clause for clarity is completely legitimate). Michael Back 9:59, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

John, of course, had to know something of Jesus, enough for him to make his declaration (John 1:26) and to fear baptizing Jesus, saying that John ought to be baptized instead. The knowledge which John admits to not having, as explained by the Pulpit Commentary, is the knowledge of the Son of God in his Glorious Power. Pulpit Commentary: "He [John] knew more than enough to induce him to say, "I have need to be baptized of thee." Godet imagines that, since baptism was preceded by confession, John found that the confession made by Jesus was of such a lofty, saintly, God-like type of repudiation of sin, as that John himself had never attained to. This representation fails from attributing to John the function of a sacerdotal confessor of later days, and is out of harmony altogether with the meaning and potency of our Lord's confession of the sin of the whole of that human nature which he had taken upon himself. The knowledge which John had of Jesus was as nothing to the blaze of light which burst upon him when he realized the idea that Jesus was the Son of God. The "I knew him not" of this verse was a subsequent reflection of the Baptist when the sublime humility, the dovelike sweetness, and the spiritual might of Jesus were revealed to him. A blind man who had received his sight during the hours of darkness might imagine, when he saw the reflected glory of the moon or morning star in the eye of dawn, that he knew the nature and had felt the glory of light; but amidst the splendours of sunrise or of noon he might justly say, "I knew it not" (compare the language of Paul, Philippians 3:10, and of this same evangelist, Revelation 1:17. See Archdeacon Farrar's 'Life of Christ,' vol. 1:117; my 'John the Baptist,' p. 315)".

Great points, but John the Baptist was a different John.--Andy Schlafly (talk) 16:49, September 2, 2021 (EDT)


Same tense and construction as 1:31, but here translated in the correct tense (I did not know...). Eido used in this context really does mean "I did not know who he was..." as opposed to "I did not know him personally...", and that subtle distinction should probably be preserved in the translation. After all, John knew Jesus, His God and creator, in His spirit, which is why he recognized God in the flesh standing before him. What John did not know was the identity of the man who was God in the flesh.

Redefining the Holy Spirit as the Divine Guardian is a questionable move for several reasons. First, the Greek literally says "Holy Spirit," and I find the idea of renaming a member of the Trinity completely distasteful. Second, Holy Spirit is NOT a title that has been largely redefined by our culture, so there is no need to redefine it - everyone knows that one part of the Trinity is called the "Holy Spirit." Third, it places a narrow description (guardian) upon the Holy Spirit that simply fails to even come close to all that the Holy Spirit does. Finally, it is a phrase that sounds VERY new age, and would be gladly and wholeheartedly welcomed by the eastern religion/new age element of our culture. We should not be trying to make Christianity easier to ignore because it uses new age terminology (and thus is just "another" way to god), but rather, more distinct and separate from the ideas and titles of false religions. Calling the Holy Spirit by a different name because we are not happy with what the Bible actually says is NOT a conservative thing to do; that simply smacks of liberalism in the extreme.Michael Back 10:16, 15 October 2009 (EDT)


I would like to suggest here that for clarity, we give BOTH the common transliteration and the translation of "petros": " shall be called Cephas or Peter (the Rock)." For those who are new to scripture, that would just bring some clarity as to where the name "Peter" came from. Michael Back 10:31, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

John 2:1

Would 2:1 be a little clearer if it were changed to something along the lines of 'A few days later...'? I took 'third day' to mean either the third day of the week or, possibly, the 3rd day after 1:51.

Your suggestion is a good one, but I'm reluctant to remove information that is in the Greek. But certainly the reference to the third day could be clarified in some way for the reader, and I encourage you to do so by editing it.--Andy Schlafly 11:11, 5 October 2009 (EDT)
I slid this down so it falls under the heading for 2:1, and fits more chronologically. I apologize if this is not allowed by a non-administrator. Michael Back 2:02, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

Doesn't "the third day" mean "two days later" instead of "three days later" because of the custom of counting inclusively? See for details.

Your point is an excellent one, not because of your site, but because Christ rose on the "third day" (which was two days after Friday).--Andy Schlafly 22:08, 7 October 2009 (EDT)


It is not actually the Greek of this sentence that reveals their faith was superficial, but Jesus' reaction to their "faith" that is illuminating. Jesus understood that their faith was fleeting and transitory, which by definition means it was superficial. Michael Back 2:02, 19 October 2009 (EDT)


The Greek word translated "understood" in V24 and "knew" in V25 is "ginosko," and is deeper than just "knowing"; it means, "to perceive, to understand, to know absolutely." The point here is that Jesus was sinless and innocent, but He was NOT naive. He understood the fickleness and evil that men were capable of, no matter what they "confessed" to believe. A simple "confession of faith" did not equal true believer, and did not mean the faith was sincere. The word translated "believed" in verse 23 and "confidence" in verse 24 is pisteuo, which is the standard word in the NT for "to believe in, to have faith in." In verse 24 the construction indicates more of it's root meaning of "complete confidence, totally sure." They expressed faith in Him, but He had no confidence in them.Michael Back 3:00, 19 October 2009 (EDT)


Calling Nicodemus an "ανθρωπος εκ των φαρισαιων" (man from the pharisees), rather than just calling him a "pharisee" outright is another way of indicating that Nicodemus was different from most Pharisees. He might have agreed with much of their beliefs, but he was not really LIKE them, particularly in terms of his sincerity and devotion to God.Michael Back 3:19, 19 October 2009 (EDT)

The term "Pharisee" seems overused in English translations. Few realize the significance, or what was meant by it. How about "intellectual" for some of these references?--Andy Schlafly 16:25, 19 October 2009 (EDT)
That is not a bad idea, given our cultural understanding of "intellectual," but for now I am sticking with Pharisee for purely historical reasons relating to the fact that Israeli religious thought was divided in to two major (Pharisee and Saducee) and a few minor (such as Essene and Zealot) divisions. The differences in the doctrines of these sects really does play an important role in what is happening at times (such as when Paul realizes he is being judged by a mixed group of Pharisees and Saducees, and uses their primary doctrinal dispute to cause an immediate division within those judging him). Distinguishing between these two groups in particular is important often enough that there is no real way around preserving them, particularly if we want to keep some portions of the text understandable.Michael Back 1:51, 20 October 2009 (EDT)


Again, we see that when John wants to put emphasis on "this very same individual (as the previous verse)" he uses "houtos" (just as he did in 1:2).Michael Back 3:25, 19 October 2009 (EDT)


"αμην αμην" at the start of a quote ("truly, truly" here and again in verse 5 and 11) is a Jewish idiom (originating from the Hebrew and moving into the Greek via the Aramaic) that serves as a strong admonition to pay VERY close attention to what is about to be said. It is kind of like: "if you don't hear anything else, hear this..." or "pay VERY close attention to what I am about to say," or as Matthew Quigley (from the movie "Quigley Down Under") might say, "this is for sure and for certain...". It is worth noting that Jesus used this idiom THREE times in his conversation with Nicodemus, a pattern later repeated when speaking in the presence of opponents (John chapters 5, 6, and 8) and with His disciples at the last supper (chapter 13). Michael Back 3:41, 19 October 2009 (EDT)

anothen: From above or again

According to Strong's Concordance, anothen means from above; from the first, or anew. Anothen comes from ano, which means upward or on the top. According to Strong's, the only verses anothen is translated as again is at John 3:3 and 3:7, and at Galatians 4:9. In Galatians 4:9, Paul asked them why they are turning back to "weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?" (NIV Interlinear) But most of the time, when anothen is translated in the KJV, it is translated as "from above". In John 3:31, the KJV reads "He that cometh from above is above all". At John 19:11, Jesus, facing Pilate, tells Pilate that he has no power over him unless it comes "from above". At James 1:17, we are told that every gift and every good comes down "from above". And at James 3:15, we are told that earthly wisdom does not come "from above". From these examples, we can see that anothen has been translated both as "again" and as "from above". But looking back at John 3:3 and 3:7, especially in light of John 3:31 and the two verse from James, it really would appear that Jesus means for anothen to mean "from above". Nicodemus could just be dense and/or boorish. Or he could also simply not understand what Jesus is saying, as his response seems to show: "How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born?" (v. 3:4/ NIV Interlinear) Nicodemus is obviously taking anothen to mean "again", while Jesus means "from above". - Danielitld

Which is more or less the point I made in the analysis of John 3:3. Clearly Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus was talking about, either spiritually or linguistically, thus his assumption that Jesus used anothen in the sense of "again." It is interesting that Jesus did not correct Nicodemus' linguistic error, but actually skipped right over it and went straight to the issue of spiritual birth. Jesus never was interested in word games, and seemed to operate from the assumption that people would not understand what He was talking about (particularly illustrated by His surprise when someone DID understand His point), thus His habit of NOT explaining Himself when people misunderstood him. Very interesting indeed. Michael Back 12:21, 20 October 2009 (EDT)


It is common to interpret "born of water" to mean "physical birth," meaning, unless someone has a physical birth and then a spiritual birth, they cannot enter the kingdom of God. The problem is that the construction indicates that if EITHER one is missing, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. So if either one can be missing, then the "born from water" could be the part that is missing. This would mean that physical birth is a necessity of salvation, which could be interpreted to mean that an unborn child that dies in the womb (and thus, has not been truly "born of water") is doomed to hell. It is much more likely that Jesus is using "water" as it is usually used in scripture: as a symbol of spiritual cleansing, which causes this to parallel what Jesus did for us. His death paid the penalty for our sin (water - cleansing) and His resurrection gave us new life (spirit - life). We need BOTH cleansing and new life to enter the kingdom of God; one or the other alone will not cut it.Michael Back 4:05, 19 October 2009 (EDT)


Many translations render this verse "For God loved the world SO MUCH that . . . ", but that is incorrect. οὕτω does not indicate the DEGREE of something, but the MEANS or METHOD of something. So this verse is not telling us HOW MUCH God loved the world, but rather, the WAY God SHOWED His love for the world: by sending His only Son to die so that we could gain eternal life. In other words, agape is demonstrated by what you DO, not by how you FEEL, and God is the ultimate example of agape. No one's life is changed by how you FEEL about them, their life is changed by what you DO about it.

It should be noted that the phrase "whoever believes in Him should not perish" is not expressing a wish (as in, "if all goes well, this SHOULD work"), but rather, as the result phrase in a purpose clause, is stating a fact that WILL happen if the conditional (believe in Jesus) is met.Michael Back 1:12, 20 October 2009 (EDT)


The last clause indicates that God gave the Holy Spirit to Jesus without measure, but I am reluctant to change all Greek negatives into positives, as they do not always mean the same thing. "Do not do to others what you don't want done to you" does not mean the same thing as "Do to others what you want done to you." Michael Back 12:36, 23 October 2009 (EDT)


The two oldest copies of John, P66 and P75, as well as three of the four oldest full bibles found so far (Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and Ephraemi Rescriptus) all have "Lord" at the beginning of this verse. Of the earliest witnesses, only Sinaiticus has "Jesus" here. Based on this, we are going with "Lord." Michael Back 1:17, 23 October 2009 (EDT)


The word used here, συγχράομαι, is an extreme word that includes any kind of interaction, communication, or contact. She is so used to being shunned by Jews that the very fact that Jesus even acknowledged her presence, much less actually spoke to her, not to mention asking her for some of her water, challenges everything she has come to expect out of life, and completely rocks her world. Isn't it interesting how a few simple words, the slightest courtesy, can have such a strong response in those who are used to being hurt and discarded by others? Jesus did this kind of thing all the time (here He does it with a simple request for water, earlier, in his conversation with Nicodemus, He did it with a simple statement about new birth). Don't ever let the assumptions or expectations of culture stand in the way of speaking the gentle, loving Truth of the gospel. Michael Back 2:07, 23 October 2009 (EDT)


I fascinates me how Jesus never let personal discomfort (hunger, thirst, exhaustion) hinder Him from using the circumstances around Him to teach spiritual truths. That is both amazing selflessness and very good self discipline. A good lesson for me.


This is actually a purpose clause ("hina" plus subjunctive), yet I've never seen any version that translated it that way. Part of the reason is that it is difficult to translate the way the construction is used in this verse into English. The construction of this sentence places the entire predicate ("doing the will of the one who sent me and completing His work") in the purpose clause. The problem is that there is nothing prior to the purpose clause ("I did this" IN ORDER TO "accomplish that"), indicating that He is giving the purpose of His life, not of one particular action. In other words, "my food" does not just mean "this is what nourishes me," but more accurately, "this is the purpose of my life, this is my reason for living." Difficult to catch and translate into English, but very clear in the Greek. I have tried to illustrate this construction by adding "dedicating my life to", which is technically a translation of the construction, not of any particular words.

That's a fascinating analysis, and your solution is an excellent one. I'll think if there is any way to suggest an improvement on the English to fully reflect the purpose clause.--Andy Schlafly 22:33, 31 October 2009 (EDT)


Based on the textual evidence, it is very likely that the end of verse 3 and all of verse 4 are not original, however, based on the information in the rest of the chapter, it is also very likely that they are an accurate description of the belief of the people from that era. It was likely added by later correctors to reduce the confusion of those who did not understand what the crippled man was referencing when he spoke of the agitating water, and how someone else always made it in before he did. So the information it contains is very likely TRUE, but it is also very likely that John did not include that explanation originally, and it was added later for clarification. If it was added, that happened relatively early, as it is found in Alexandrinus, which most scholars now believe dates from somewhere in the mid fourth century (roughly 350 AD), possibly between 25 and 50 years after Sinaiticus (often dated to around 325 AD - or roughly the time of the Council of Nicaea).


Any suggestions for an alternative to "perceived"?

Discerned, comprehended, grasped? 'Grasped' would be a very frank and emphazied translation, which fits perfectly with Christ's tone and the Conservative translation we need to make. It also emphasizes the importance of holding (grasping) to God to understand Him. We have seen God but we haven't held on to Him, He is right under our noses but we haven't grasped His preciousness.This goes on with the whole theme of the Gospel of John, how Jesus came to His own but His own received Him not, because they couldn't grasp Him, and (in the case of the Pharisees, lawyers, and scribes), just refused to. No one understood Him.

Aramaic solution to "Logos" controversy?

I think that the way out into the open clear might be through the pass of the Aramaic understanding:

The Hebrew text of Scriptures is very clear in visualizing the God of Israel in physical terms, even if meant to be understood metaphorically. But the Aramaic Jewish translations of the Hebrew Scriptures (Torah/ Targum Onkelos) will not allow it to be so presented, but will rather speak around it (paraphrase) or use an intermediary word between the physical description and God. In the Hebrew text of Genesis 32, Jacob is wrestling with "a man" but after the bout, Jacob says, in the original Hebrew text, "I have seen God face to face and my life has been saved". In the Aramaic translation, however, Jacob is made to say, " I have seen the angel of God face to face and my life has been saved". At times, the intermediary word is actually the word "Word" - in Aramaic, Memra (the root is Aleph, Mem, Resh as in the Hebrew word 'Omer). Again, whereas the Hebrew text (Gen. 3:8) has it, "They (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden", the Aramaic has it, "they heard the sound of the Memra (Word) of the LORD God walking about in the garden" Apparently, walking about in the garden conjured up too much of rustling of leaves and bushes to take figuratively, and so it was the "Memra" of the Lord God that was heard and not the LORD God Himself. This is the pattern in other places in Genesis. An Orthodox Jew, Prof. David Flusser of the Hebrew University (now deceased), notes that it is to this mindset that we owe our understanding of John 1:1 and not to Philo and the Alexandrian "logos" philosophy. "In the beginning was the Word (Memra) and the Word (Memra) was with God.. and the Word (Memra) was God. John 1:1, Flusser maitains, is meant to rip away the distinction between God and the Memra, so assiduously held to by contemporary Judaism, and so declare that they, the Memra and God, are in reality one, ...and this One has, indeed, come down and has become flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. John, in his epistle, would later say in wonderment, " Whom we have handled, we have touched and held Him."

In this view, the Word (Memr'a) is used, not to "mediate" God (or the knowledge of God) to man, but to say that God, needing no mediator, has Himself come down to us and incarnate, in the flesh, has made himself known. How to translate? Not easy as "Memr'a" is being purposely used as a literary device to destroy its former use of keeping God at an untoubable and unknowable distance. A weak comparison but the only one coming to me now " O.k. (to a blind person wanting to know what I look like but too shy to feel my face), so don't touch my face, just touch this hanky (which I put on my face) and feel around," Sounds pretty weak now, come to think of it, but Aramaic Judaism was very "shy" on anthropomorphizing God, and John, too polite to refute directly was nevertheless insistant on what was the truth, and so his way of taking what they believed and pressing on the face of Jesus so that they could touch and feel. This fits into recent (in decades) work that places John into 1st century time (by Dead Sea Scrolls terminology and language) and rediscovering the corpus of Aramaic literature (with its linguistic connections to John) in the first century context - all giving credence to the Gospel of John having "apologetic" force in 1st century Judaism. Perhaps this is the accurate way to translate John 1:1 into English. It is accurate, but who can bear it? "In the beginning was the "Concealing Word" of God, and this Word was with God, and that Word was in actuality God Himself and thus has become the Revealing Word...and He became man Bert Schlossberg 20:05, 1 November 2009 (EST)

A decent explanation, but not a great translation. Your suggestion crosses over into translation commentary (i.e. transitioning from "concealing word" to "revealing word"), rather than strict idiomatic translation, and would better serve as a footnote on John 1:1 than a translation of the verse. I also think that while this gospel certainly would impact Jews, the evidence through out John's gospel points to it having been written with Greeks in mind, not Jews (unlike Matthew, for example). Thus, the secret to truly understanding what John was saying is unlikely to be found in Aramaic language parallels or Jewish thought. Greeks would have no knowledge of this Aramaic/Jewish explanation, and would be very unlikely to have made any of these connections.
I do not dispute anything you say about the Jewish mind, and their understanding of God and of memr'a, I simply point out that this gospel was clearly written in Greek to Greek speaking gentiles, not to Jews, so the secret to a more accurate translation of John's words in 1:1 is not going to be found in Jewish understanding. Michael Back 2:12, November 2, 2009 (EST)

Michael, no question that the Gospel of John was written in Greek. Do you think that there is any indication of "Jewish interest" within John to warrant consideration that it was written to Hellenized and Greek speaking Jews (or with these Jews in mind), of which, I understand, there were considerable numbers, both within the Church (Book of the Acts) and without? I saya this because a Greek understanding Hellenized yet conversanbt with the Judaism, both Aramaic and Hebrew did exist and they could be the "target population" as well as the Gentile for the Gospel of John. Cyrus Gordon hs shown that in the time of the Philistines, one of the 5 Greek tribes of the Peoples of the Sea, Greek also invaded the Hebrew language, such as "seren" instead of "melekh" (king) for ruiler of the 5 Greek city states of Canaan - "seren" coming from the Greek Tyranos (Tyrant), cov'a the philiistine head gear coming in as "hat" in Hebrew, etc. Likewise, in the 1sst century, there were Greek proselytes [who became Rabbis with their followers), and Greek words invaded Hebrew and Aramaic like "nomos" (law, reulatoru principle)) becoming "nimusiin" (manners), as well as the skillful use of Greek in the Midrashic Targums (Bereshit Rabba)- the Midrash sees father and son somehow both participating in the sacrifice to be, even by implication and hint. The Bible - Isaac: "BEHOLD, THE FIRE AND THE WOOD, BUT WHERE IS THE LAMB OF SACRIFICE?" (the Hebrew word for "lamb is 'seh') Abraham: "GOD WILL SEE TO THE LAMB OF SACRIFICE, MY SON." (here be it noted that the Greek word for "you" is "se"(accusative case) sounding exactly like the Hebrew word for "lamb"). So the Midrash adds in the mind of Abraham "And if God will not provide a lamb (Hebrew - seh) for the sacrifice, then it is you(Greek - se), Thou are that sacrifice, my son!" I think from all this that Dr. Flusser may be right. There were a szeable number of hellenized Greek Jews both in an out of the Church that would have well understood John 1:1 according to the Aramic understanding presented above. [User:BertSchlossberg|Bert Schlossberg]] 03:40, 2 November 2009 (EST)

About Flusser p Schlossberg 09:54, 2 November 2009 (EST)

This discussion of the logos is certainly becoming fascinating. When I consider the difficulty we have had coming to terms with it, and the difficulty many have had with it, I began to wonder if the use of the term logos was an unfortunate event thrust upon us initially by Heraclitus. As Karl Jaspers pointed out, not even Heraclitus explicitly defined it, while Edward Hussey stated that he "end[ed] with a central difficulty that leaves things more mysterious than before". Philo, Ronald Williamson tells us, used the term logos "very frequently", but "partly because the ideas it was used to express are difficult and complex ones, and partly because Philo's own thought is also profound and complex, it is difficult to give a clear and coherent statement of Philo's thought in this area". Williamson even adds parenthetically "if indeed it can be said that he had a single Logos doctrine". In stating that "one god there is", Xenophanes reasoned that it was "contrary to divine law" that gods should be ruled by another god since it was contradictory that "gods should have masters". (Hussey, p. 13-14) But in attempting to imagine how the one god interacts with and brings order to the world, did the Greeks simply replace "the gods" with the logos? If that is the case, then why should we give the logos any more credence then we would "the gods"?

That said, John's use of the term logos would certainly have been familiar to his Greek-speaking audience. When Jesus said that we must be born "from above", someone familiar with Stoicism, like Marcus Aurelius, could well have responded with "what is born of the earth to the earth returns; but what is born from above, to heaven returns". But John's gospel would not have said too much unfamiliar to a Jewish audience, either. Frank Kermode in his essay on John's gospel in The Literary Guide to the Bible, mentions the times that John alluded to Scriptural texts without acknowledging them. References to sheep and shepherds, Kermode writes, are derived from Ezekiel 34, "but John does not say so, preferring to work the allusions into a highly developed parable . . in which Jesus himself is (ego eimi) shepherd . ." The parable of the vine in John 15 "is adapted without acknowledgment from Psalm 80". As Bert Schlossberg said, such unacknowledged allusions may have been noticed by a Gentile who was interested in Judaism. But a Jew would no doubt notice it. Similarly, such a Gentile and a Jew would have noticed a similarity between Philo's use of the term logos, and John's.

Seeing how the LXX translated the "word" of God in the Hebrew text as the logos of God prompted Philo to use the term as well, according to Williamson. But Philo would have also been aware that the idea of the logos mirrored the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God had many of the same "attributes and functions" as the logos of God, as found in the Hebrew text at Psalm 104:24, and Proverbs 3:19. But it was also in Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon where the qualities of Wisdom could be compared with the logos. In the Wisdom of Solomon we read that Wisdom is the "fashioner of all things"; "the breath of the power of God". (7:22, 24-25) But what made the logos win out over wisdom was most likely that logos is masculine, while wisdom - sophia - is feminine, making it "much more useful because of its masculinity to both Jewish and Christian writers in the first century AD" - according to Williamson (p. 104-5) If John was one of those first century writers so influenced, then it is easy to see how his reading of the Wisdom of Solomon 9:15 - substituting logos for wisdom - could have influenced his gospel: "For a perishable body weighs down the soul, And its earthly tent burdens the thoughtful mind". In his gospel, verse 1:14, John wrote that the logos became flesh, and "pitched its tent" among us. John may have been communicating to both a Greek and Jewish audience in terms that they would understand. But he was also deeply influenced by both the Greek and Jewish world in which he lived, and which helped shape his gospel. - Danielitld

Dear Daniel, Michael, Andy, and whatever other good angels are listening in to this most recent conversation, all this goes to show that whatever good will come from these discussions to issue forth in benefit to the Conservative translation, great good is coming out anyway in the discussion itself. I will ask your opinions concerning what I will present that to me decides the case for translating the Greek "logos" of out text with the understanding that it means what is simply posited and echoed in many of the translations - "Word", (but this word being understood in its Aramaic dress "Memr'a" with its usage as spoken about above (that is not to say that I know how to put it succinctly in idiomatic English!) Here is what I would say in support of what I have just said. It is clear to me that what "informs" John 1:1 is Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning was the Word (as I would put it)" must have been written by an author (human) who has had resounding in the inner ears of his head, the mighty words of the beginning of our faith, In the beginning God created". Certainly what follows in that first Chapter of Genesis over and over, in the making of all, is "and God said", "and God said" and "God said" Each of these "sayings" bears the adumbrations of "Memr'a". And just as certainly the Son, having come and shall come again, is known in the New Testament as the "Word of God" - and for good reason!. And just as certainly does the N.T. Epistles, and you can review them in your mind, see the Son as the One, and the vehicle by which the created universe came into existance - He is the "God said" of Genesis. All this latter, together with the Genesis 1. -Gospel of John 1. literary "conjunction", decides it for me that "logos" is to be translated as "Word" and that understood as the Memr'a. I believe that is what was in John's mind, and I believe that his readership among the Aramaic biblically imbued Hellenistic Jews, of which there were, within and without the Church, would have understood him, and understood the audacity of it all that the Almighty God Himself, ripping away all guise intended to obscure and hold Him at arms length, would have come down, taken flesh, and rustled around among us. But if there were none of these people around, If John would have uttered what was in his mind by himself in the confines of his bedroom, I think that John would have said it anyway. That's how real progress is made in this turgid world of ours!Bert Schlossberg 01:50, 3 November 2009 (EST)

While I am not convinced that Memr'a truly captures the meaning of logos as John intended it, I very much like your vivid and strikingly visual description. You definitely match the poet's eye with the scholar's pen. Keep it up. I truly believe the Lord will use this skill of yours to minister to many people. Just for clarification, my suggestion, "living word" is an attempt to incorporate the traditional translation, "word," with John's clear intent to do the very thing you are describing: to illustrate that the logos is much, much more than just a concept, philosophy, idea, or character trait, but is living, powerful, and is, in fact, God. Having said that, I would be fine with either "Living Word" or "Word," as I have no problems with the traditional translation (because, frankly, there simply is no English word that can accurately relate what logos means to an English speaking audience). I have long ago made peace with the simple fact that human language is inadequate to truly capture or describe our God. Michael Back 2:57, November 3, 2009 (EST)

Thank you, Michael, from you, as I have come to know you in your good words on this page, that certainly is a compliment. What are we both doing up this late?!Bert Schlossberg 03:15, 3 November 2009 (EST)

I have just read through all that has been said about the logos on this page, and giving up, just for the moment, however much it hurts me, my deep commitment to the Memr'a, and helping along to do that is what I see a striving to incorporate in translation the notion that logos, as John uses it, must embody the personal, I want to offer a new translation for logos. It is "utterance" - "In the beginning was the Utterance, and the Utterance was with God, and the Utterance was God...and the Utterance became flesh and lived among us". And here I run for cover to peer out and see what will come of this?Bert Schlossberg 22:56, 4 November 2009 (EST)

Have I mentioned that I just LOVE your posts? You can be sure, my friend, that there will be no hostile fire from this direction. Here is the question that I have: Is "utterance" a term that we would use in modern English, or is it kind of archaic? This is NOT a rhetorical question, but something that I would really like to discuss with you. And here's why - The translation instructions I have been given are to make the translation as accurate as possible while expressing it in modern American idiomatic English. In other words, if this event had taken place today, in modern America, how would each of the people involved have expressed their points in modern English? The bottom line being that we need to use a vocabulary that SOUNDS like the kind of words a modern English speaking person would use. Those who read this translation need to be comfortable and familiar with the vocabulary we use. And I'm not sure I have ever used "utterance" in normal conversation before. So what do you think? Michael Back 2:25, November 9, 2009 (EST)
As you say, I think "utterance" is a fascinating suggestion, but its modern connotations are unattractive.
John's work was a scholarly work. He's describing the cosmos as well as spirituality, perhaps. What do you think of translating "logos" as "order"?--Andy Schlafly 14:52, 9 November 2009 (EST)

Thank you, again, Michael. Well, I agree with both of you. "Utterance" will not fill the bill for Today's English. Andy, "Order" may bring to mind "arrangement" and so would not be good - "In the beginning was the Arrangement, and the ..."? But there is another meaning of "Order", if people would think that way, and interestingly enough, the Arabic develops it from "word" in a sort of logical and Semitic way. It is the word for command. In Arabic, the word for "command" is derived from the general Semitic word for "Word" - Aleph. Meme, Resh. I suppose that the one who gives the word is the one who commands. The conept of "Order" in English is related to "command", and an order is a command, and that ladies and gentlemen, is the arrangement for the day! So, how does this sound, "In the beginning was the Command, and the Command was with God, and the Command was God". To tell you the truth, I have my doubtsBert Schlossberg 11:43, 10 November 2009 (EST)

That does add a new perspective, doesn't it? But I was thinking of "order" in terms of physical laws, the opposite of disorder. Perhaps the closest word would be "perfection" or "perfect order": "In the beginning there was perfect order, and the perfection was with God, and the perfection was God."--Andy Schlafly 12:49, 10 November 2009 (EST)

Thinking.Bert Schlossberg 04:02, 11 November 2009 (EST)

Translating logos as "perfect order" makes be think that perfect order is God, meaning that what we mean by God is perfect order. It seems to take away Person aspect of Logos and makes Logos into an impersonal law of governence. I know that this need not be logically (there's a "logos" in this word), but that is the effect on me. So, so far, I can't think of anything better than translating Logos as Word (with an annotation to it).Bert Schlossberg 03:08, 13 November 2009 (EST)

I think we've stumbled into another fascinating problem: even at one point in time, terms mean different things to different people! To someone who majored in the classics, "perfect order" would be clunky and unattractive. To someone who majored in engineering or physics, "perfect order" would be welcome and attractive. You're right it is a bit impersonal, but is it more impersonal than "word"?

By itself it is not more impersonal than "word" (by the way, It would be nice to know to whom I am speaking. You forgot to sign - makes it moe personal). But for the Bible reader, for the one who knows the whole story, "word" probably is personal as His name is called "the Word of God". Probably! Bert Schlossberg 00:14, 14 November 2009 (EST)

Issue with translation of John 4:53

The current translation of "ὥρα" is "hour", but I feel that the context suggests that it should be "time" or "moment" in order to obtain greater precision. An hour has no significance here; the speaker wants to know if the illness was cured at the moment Jesus said it was. Using "hour" (and also "about") seems to introduce an imprecision that is not suggested by the context. Thanks for considering this.--Andy Schlafly 21:54, 28 November 2009 (EST)

I hope everyone had a nice holiday. I did. Mr. Schlafly, I don't know about imprecision so much as the KJV is needlessly wordy. 52 and 53 are merely saying that the rich man asked his servants what time his son's fever broke and learned that it was the same time that Jesus said "your son is alive." So "time" is a very good translation. - Cameron Cambrian 14:10, 29 November 2009 (EST)
I agree, though I think the second reference could be "moment rather than time. E.g., in popular discourse, "What time did you hear the news? That was at the same moment that I heard it!"--Andy Schlafly 14:33, 29 November 2009 (EST)
  • Romans, Greeks and Jews used unequal hours, i.e., they divided the time between sunrise and sundown into twelve periods, the lengths of which differing from day to day
  • But the length of the hours changed by the location, too, as sunset and sunrise depend on latitude and longitude
  • Jesus was in Galilee - and the son in Capernaum. Midday in these two places differs by a couple of minutes, as do sunrise and sunset. So, the seventh hour in Capernaum actually started a few minutes before the seventh hour in Galilee!
  • Using "hour" (and also "about") seems to introduce an imprecision that is not suggested by the context. It seems to be the other way round: using "time" or "moment" would create a false impression of precision.

AugustO 10:01, 11 March 2011 (EST)

You're correct that the translation should be improved to better reflect the original meaning. Would you like to do so?--Andy Schlafly 11:30, 11 March 2011 (EST)
  • I changed the text to the same hour (along the lines of the KJB)
  • an important note: Jesus doesn't state the the healing of the son happens in the same instant as he spoke to the man, it's the nobleman who realizes the coincidence. Therefore, the sign could have happened:
  1. instantaneously
  2. with the speed of light - in harmony with the theory of relativity
  3. with the speed of sound - Jesu word reaches the son and he is healed
AugustO 09:59, 18 March 2011 (EDT)
I explained at Talk:Counterexamples to Relativity that the Bible is about what God did, not what God could have done! AugustO 10:40, 19 March 2011 (EDT)
There is no "about" here, as in "it happened about 1 pm". The original states it happened "at" such-and-such hour, not "about", not "around". Karajou 10:51, 19 March 2011 (EDT)
The word here is "at", from the Greek ἐν ("en") meaning "a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest." In short, the phrase gives the sentence an exact time in which the incident took place. Karajou 11:00, 19 March 2011 (EDT)

You may be spot on the meaning of ἐν, but I'm afraid that you are still wrong:
  • The time of the sign in Capernaum is stated by the servants, in Cana by the nobleman - it isn't the Lord who states that there is an event which happened simulaneously in two different places.
  • So, the exact time could be only as accurate as their measurement. And how did the nobleman and his servants measure the time of the day? It was common to judge the time by the length and/or position of your shadow. But perhaps he had a sundial in view. Have you seen antic sundials? Usually, the scales indicate only the hours, very seldomn half hours.
  • Using a phrase like exact time - or even at 1 o'clock p.m. - is anachronistic, it infers an exactness of time measurement which wasn't existing in the first century. A similar anachronism is used by critics of the Bible when they claim that 1 Kings 7:23 (And he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.) implies that pi equals 3. But Huram - a mortal - made the sea, and it is measured as exactly as possible, i.e., up to half a cubit. Equally, the hours of the day a given as precisely as possible, at best up to a couple of minutes (only noon was sometimes measured more precisely...)
  • In John 11:9 we read: Jesus answered, "There are twelve hours in the day, right?" (John_8-14_(Translated)#Chapter 11). This is true - as the time of daylight was separated into twelve sections. The length of these hours varied by the time of the year and the longitude and latitude of the place, adding further complications when trying to get an exact point of time.
I hope that these elaborations help you to see that even if you are correct grammatically, you are wrong factually! An antic's writer's statement it happened at the seventh hour means in our modern language it happened around 1 p.m. So, I'll change the translation to my version, again.
But there is a little bit more to this, as this sign is used at Counterexamples to Relativity:
  • To be able to differ between a event which happened simultaneously in Cana and Capernaum (distance perhaps 90km) and a sign which happened at the speed of light, the time measurement had to be ridiculously accurate: up to .0004 seconds! Impossible to achieve for mere men at this time! Remember that Galileo sixteen centuries later still used his heartbeat to measure small periods of time.
AugustO 12:41, 21 March 2011 (EDT)
The application of the word "at" in both English and Greek applies here; this is confirmed in both the KJV and the Textus Receptus with Strong's numbers. There is no single word or phrase in this verse referring even remotely to the term "about." So, it is very clear from the narrative that the writer meant the healing happened at that hour; the witnesses who are part of that writing said the healing happened at that hour, and anything else that says otherwise is nothing more than a private interpretation meant to water-down the Gospel or change its meaning outright. Karajou 15:05, 21 March 2011 (EDT)
About is a common meaning of ἐν. But let's have a look at the whole verse: ἐπύθετο οὖν τὴν ὥραν παρ’ αὐτῶν ἐν ᾗ κομψότερον ἔσχεν εἶπαν οὖν αὐτῷ ὅτι ἐχθὲς ὥραν ἑβδόμην ἀφῆκεν αὐτὸν ὁ πυρετός.
The nobleman asked for for the hour at which the fever broke (ὥραν ἐν ᾗ). Here you find the accusative of ὥρα - as this is the object of the sentence, the preposition at (ἐν) reigning the dative (ᾗ). The servants don't say: yesterday at the seventh hour (ἐχθὲς ἐν ὥρᾷ ἑβδόμῳ), but yesterday the seventh hour (ἐχθὲς ὥραν ἑβδόμην). Generally, the use of the accusative indicates a duration in time. That make sense:
  • even though the fever left abruptly, it's hard to spot its sudden absence
  • as I elaborated earlier, time measurements were difficult to perform for the said reasons.
Sola scriptura (and Strong's concordance) isn't enough for an adequate translation of the Bible: you have to have some knowledge about the time and the circumstances. My favorite examples for this are 1 Kings 7 - and John 11:9 (Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world.) Using our concepts of days and hours, this doesn't make any sense, you have to understand the antic concept of time-keeping.
Or do you think that 1 King 7 implies that pi equals 3, or John 11:9 that we have 720 minutes of daylight each day?
AugustO 12:50, 22 March 2011 (EDT)
August, the original meaning of the verses are clear, and the translation should best represent that original meaning. The fever did leave abruptly -- as fevers sometimes do -- at the same moment that the faith cured him. In my research, I did not find "about" to be the meaning of "ἐν", and such a translation would not reflect the obvious meaning of the verses.--Andy Schlafly 23:08, 22 March 2011 (EDT)
August, the original meaning of the verses are clear, and the translation should best represent that original meaning.
Indeed, the original meaning of the verses is clear: the seventh month of year is July 1st - July 31st, the seventh day (or - if you prefer - the first day) of a week is Sunday - all of it between Saturday and Monday. The seventh hour of a day (according to Greeks, Romans and Hebrews) started at noon and ended 40-80 minutes later, depending on the season and the place. To indicate something as precise as 1 o'clock p.m., an antic writer would have used a phrase like: at the end of the seventh hour or even at the beginning of the eighth hour.
As a translator shouldn't morph a date like in July into on July, 31st, he shouldn't introduce a precision which isn't there in the original text: equally at the seventh hour is not 1 o'clock p.m. If we wish for a modern form, something like about 1 p.m. seems to be adequate.
AugustO 11:50, 23 March 2011 (EDT)
And that justifies you adding a word which subtly changes the meaning of the verse? A word that's not even there? A word that you think should be there? NO. Karajou 13:50, 23 March 2011 (EDT)
Thanks for the unblock.
And that justifies you adding a word which subtly changes the meaning of the verse?
Often, there is no one-to-one correspondence of words when doing a translation. Have a look at a French translation of an English text: the word count will be considerably increased
But I deny that this word (about) subtly changes the meaning of the verse: until today - and with the CBP as perhaps the only exception - the antic time specification of the n-th hour is understood to describe a period of time, not a point in time.
The eminent scholars who contributed to the King James Bible had no problem with this concept, at it was still in use in their time. For them, the phrase o'clock was a quite recent invention.
The idea of two events of infinitesimal duration happening at the same point in time is a new notion, introduced by the CBP. IMO, it's a mistaken idea - and I will try to elaborate my thoughts on this matter.
I hope we'll engage in a salutary discussion
AugustO 13:08, 26 March 2011 (EDT)

... in the same moment...

My objections to the translations: 1. A time specification like seventh hour described a period of time, not a point of time. Or - as Jérome Carcôpino put it in his book Daily Life in Ancient Rome (La vie Quotidienne à Rome à l’Apogée de l’Empire):

While our hours each comprise a uniform sixty minutes of sixty seconds each, and each hour is definitely separated from the succeeding by the fugitive moment at which it strikes, the lack of division inside the Roman hour meant that each of them stretched over the whole interval of time between the preceding hour and the hour which followed; and this hour interval instead of being of fixed duration was perpetually elastic, now longer, now shorter, from one end of the year to the other, and on any given day the duration of the day hours was opposed to the length of the night hours.

2. Even the measurement up to an hour was often controversial. Again Jérome Carcôpino:

If anyone asked the time, he was certain to receive several different answers at once for, as Seneca asserts, it was impossible at Rome to be sure of the exact hour; and it was easier to get the philosophers to agree among themselves than the clocks: "horam non possum certam tibi dicere: facilius inter philosophos guam inter horologia convenit" Time at Rome was never more than approximate. Time was perpetually fluid or, if the expression is preferred, contradictory.  :::(Seneca was a coeval of Jesus Christ, so his observations are quite relevant!

So, saying that the two events happened at the same moment rather than within the same hour introduces a precision into the translation which isn't there in the original - it's more than just subtly changing the meaning of the verse.

For the record: I do not doubt that the healing could have happened at the same time as Jesus said your son lives. But the verse doesn't show that Jesus Christ chose to do it this way. Perhaps He humored us by observing the speed of light, perhaps not.

We find here a gap - but we aren't allowed to fill such gaps with ideas of our own.

And which answer would you (Karajou, Aschlafly) give to a kid in Sunday School who asks: How do the servants knew that it was 1 o'clock?

AugustO 11:56, 29 March 2011 (EDT)

August, can you propose an alternative explanation for how the healing power of Jesus was transferred? One that is more likely than action at a distance? I don't understand how or why His power would necessarily need to "travel", per se. It may be precision not in the text itself, but one that is the most logical. BradB 18:13, 29 March 2011 (EDT)
Right. The entire point of the account is that it happened at the same moment, as in the tearing of the veil upon Jesus's passing, as described in Matthew.--Andy Schlafly 12:16, 30 March 2011 (EDT)

  • Sorry for the delay - over the last week I had great difficulties to reach Conservapedia.
  • Andy and Brad, you seem to agree that: It may be precision not in the text itself, but one that is the most logical. That's my point: As it is not in the text itself, it shoudln't be in the translation. It's an inference, and therefore it belong into the commentaries. (A guide to reading and interpreting the translation could be an interesting follow-up project for Conservapedia...)
  • Andy, I'm rather interested in your answer to the following questions - I have asked the before elsewhere, but you haven't found time to reply yet.
  1. which answer would you give to a kid in Sunday School who asks: How do the servants knew that it was 1 o'clock?
  2. you wrote: The instantaneous healing is central to the purpose of the event. and the point of the story is that it happened at the same moment. How so? Why has the healing to be spontaneous, when the creation of the world took six days?
AugustO 09:43, 5 April 2011 (EDT)

Qui tacet, consentire videtur

After ten days, there is still no counter-argument to my objections though I raised the topic on the talk page of the interested party, too. In fact, the difficulties of time keeping weren't addressed at all, and none of my questions was answered. Therefore I will go back to my preferred version of the translation. AugustO 10:33, 16 April 2011 (EDT)

I, too, have been busy, but the resulting silence does not imply consent.
The time is precise: at the "seventh hour," which is measured from sunrise. There is no imprecision there; it is not "about 1pm."--Andy Schlafly 16:01, 16 April 2011 (EDT)
Just repeating your statement while ignoring everything which was said above does not bolster your position. We both agree that the text can be translated as at the seventh hour, but we disagree on the on the meaning of this phrase. May I summarize our dialogue so far (at least as I see it):
Aschlafly: The time is precise: at the "seventh hour," which is measured from sunrise. There is no imprecision there; it is not "about 1pm."
Points in favor: Points against:
  • Sundials existed thousands of years before Christ, and people had lots of time to calibrate them and read them with great precision.
  • Such a precision needs a precision in time-keeping which just didn't exist in the first century A.D.
AugustO: "at the seventh hour" is by itself an imprecise statement: it means sometimes during the time from the beginning of the seventh hour and the end of the seventh hour
Points in favor: Points against:
  • Seneca's statement on time measurement in Rome in the first century A.D.: it is impossible at Rome to be sure of the exact hour; and it is easier to get the philosophers to agree among themselves than the clocks
  • Jérome Carcôpino's description of time keeping in the Roman Empire: While our hours each comprise a uniform sixty minutes of sixty seconds each, and each hour is definitely separated from the succeeding by the fugitive moment at which it strikes, the lack of division inside the Roman hour meant that each of them stretched over the whole interval of time between the preceding hour and the hour which followed; and this hour interval instead of being of fixed duration was perpetually elastic, now longer, now shorter, from one end of the year to the other, and on any given day the duration of the day hours was opposed to the length of the night hours.
I hope you find the time to substantiate your statement - and perhaps to answer to the questions I have repeatedly asked, namely:

(John 4:52) Which answer would you give to a kid in Sunday School who asks: How did the servants knew that it was 1 o'clock?

People could tell time 2000 years ago. In fact, people could tell time 5000 years ago. A sundial is one obvious way; there may have been others too.--Andy Schlafly 15:33, 17 April 2011 (EDT)

Indeed, they could. But not very exactly. For sundials in the first century, an error margin of 10 minutes was all too common. (cf. Karlheinz Schaldach: Römische Sonnenuhren, Verlag Harry Deutsch, 2001) AugustO 11:02, 30 April 2011 (EDT)

(John 4:46-54) You wrote: The instantaneous healing is central to the purpose of the event. and the point of the story is that it happened at the same moment. How so? Why had the healing to be spontaneous, when the creation of the world took six days?

No specific element of the creation took six days. There was no delay between "let there be light," and the appearance of light, for example.--Andy Schlafly 15:33, 17 April 2011 (EDT)

(Matthew 27:51) At Bible Translation Issues, no. 17, you wrote: The word "behold" appears frequently in the KJV but lacks a modern equivalent. Is there a strategy for this dealing with this concept? Possibilities include "rejoice", "observe", "listen", "note that", and ignoring it altogether (which modern versions often do). Here, you omit the nuance at the moment which you used in Matthew 27:51. I checked a couple of dictionaries and failed to find at the moment as a translation of ἰδού. Where did you find it?

As with any Greek word lacking an English equivalent, the translation of ἰδού requires examining the context in which it was used in order to translate it. Search on: ἰδού "at that moment" , and you'll see there are 20,000 references on the internet.--Andy Schlafly 15:33, 17 April 2011 (EDT)

When I first read this argument, I thought you were joking! Obviously you havn't read what I wrote at Talk:Matthew_20-28_(Translated)#ἰδού (... ἰδού and wow: 100,000 hits ...). Well, this explains why you erased the source-tag there without introducing a proper source. I'll reinsert it, again. Anyway, when trying to use google - counts as an argument, one should at least peek at the results. I looked up the top-10 (non-Conservapedia) results. Clearly you didn't do so, or you would have found a list similar to this one:
  1. the backyard professor: "at that moment" isn't there as a translation of a Greek verse, but appears in an unreleted sentence in the sidebar: He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter who was listening leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little four year old girl voice, 'Mom, what is butt dust?'
  2. A Question of When: The Temple Veil An interesting blog entry, arguing that the NRSV get's it wrong: (The NRSV does indeed read “at that moment,” but this is a superfluous addition to the original Greek, which reads ιδου — which is not at all a measure of time, but rather it is a verb in the imperative, meaning behold or lo. Young’s Literal, which was more painstaking in its care not to add anything, does not add this “at this moment,” which is not in the Bible. What is there, ιδου, suggests a simultaneous occurrence or one that is a direct result (he died and behold! this happened). So far, so same.)
  3. Christian Israel "at that moment" appears as a translation of ἐξαυτῆς, not of ἰδού.
  4. Prophecy Felloswhip a discussion of the actual verse, but with the conclusion that "at that moment" is not a viable translation for ἰδού...
  5., Luke 2 "at that moment" appears as a translation of καὶ αὐτὴ τῇ ὥρᾳ - "and at this very hour", while we read - concerning another verse: "The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this statement has not been translated."
  6. Rev. Patrick There are some verses translated, but "at that moment" appears independently in the sentence: In Orthodox theology, the Transfiguration is not only a feast in honour of Christ, but a feast of the Holy Trinity, for all three Persons of the Trinity are present at that moment
  7. Mass Readings for Palm Sunday "at that moment" is used to translate εὐθέως
  8. Was the temple curtain torn before, or at the moment of, Jesus’ death? "'Matthew doesn’t say “At that moment, the curtain…”. He says “And, behold (Kai idou), the curtain…”.** So nothing in the actual words of Scripture implies an ordering of these events. The loud cry and final breath might have occurred before, during or after the rending of the veil and all of the Gospel words would be consistent with the events."
  9. Net Bible The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1)., while "at that moment" is used to translate ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ
  10. SciptureText Acts 11:11 Again, "at that moment" is used as a translation of ἐξαυτῆς while ἰδού is translated as "lo", "behold" - or simply left out.
So, none of these works as a reference for your claim. Aschlafy, I understand that you have not much time at hand. But it should have been obvious from the beginning that an appeal to a google ranking has no place in a serious project like this translation. To make me stating the obvious (here) is bad enough. Getting me to make it blatantly obvious (as I have done above) is a waste of my time. Please remember that an argument is not only about participation, but about contribution!

AugustO 10:53, 18 April 2011 (EDT)

(Matthew 27:51) The New International Version starts the verse with At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn.., but this at that moment seems to be a translation of the leading καὶ (in fact of the string of καὶ-καὶ-καὶ), while ἰδού is dropped from the sentence altogether - as you observed rightly in Bible Translation Issues. Isn't it a little bit unsettling that this crucial nuance of ἰδού is used in CBP's translation for the first and only time in Matthew 27:51, a verse which is used later on in Counterexamples to Relativity?

AugustO 12:49, 17 April 2011 (EDT)
August, translations don't simply erase words. What the KJV translates as "behold" can properly be translated as "at that moment" in modern English, depending on context. And the context is crystal clear that the two events happened at the same time ... otherwise one would expect some description of a delay.
At one point someone asked you what the physical mechanism would be if there were a delay. Could you answer that question?--Andy Schlafly 11:42, 30 April 2011 (EDT)

  • August, translations don't simply erase words. They most certainly do! Have a look at no. 9 of your google-search for ἰδού and at this moment: "The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this statement has not been translated." It's a very common procedure, as there are many words in Greek texts which feel superfluous to us. Partly, they make up for the missing punctuation: where the Greeks used ἰδού, we would perhaps insert just an exclamation mark...
  • What the KJV translates as "behold" can properly be translated as "at that moment" in modern English, depending on context. You keep repeating this conviction of yours. But besides from the entertaining Google search above (which I've shown to be absolutely unconvincing: please read the section above!), you have not given a single scholarly source which shows that there is any translator who shares your conviction.
  • And the context is crystal clear that the two events happened at the same time ... otherwise one would expect some description of a delay. A delay of a couple minutes could not have been spotted by the parties involved (i.e., the Roman nobleman and his servants)! So how could there be a description?
  • At one point someone asked you what the physical mechanism would be if there were a delay. Could you answer that question? You seem to refer to BrandB's questions above, i.e.,
August, can you propose an alternative explanation for how the healing power of Jesus was transferred? One that is more likely than action at a distance? I don't understand how or why His power would necessarily need to "travel", per se. It may be precision not in the text itself, but one that is the most logical.
No, I don't know whether the Lord chose to act instantaneously, or whether there was a (short) delay. And I think that such a question should be answered after translating the verse, as we don't want to fit the translation to our explanations or expectations!
AugustO 11:36, 2 May 2011 (EDT)

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

Read it aloud: That's pure beauty. Look at the parallel structure of Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος and then καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος (which puts God and the beginning in the same place), while we have a chiasmus in the middle.

The translated verse lacks these artistic qualities:

In the beginning was the Truth; its Word was with God; its Perfection was God.

At the very least it should be

In the beginning was the Truth and its Word was with God and God was its Perfection.

But both times God just seems to be an aspect of the Truth, just a part of the beginning...

Is there anybody besides the translator who thinks that the sentence above is at least as meaningful and beautiful as the verse:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

AugustO 16:20, 20 November 2011 (EST)

Strange change of perspective

For God so loved us that He gave His Only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

In the gospel of John, the first person is used only in direct speech (see John 3:2 etc.). What you are doing is known as breaking the fourth wall: suddenly you are including us, the reader, together with the narrator who otherwise tells the story. To do so in a translation seems to be wrong, that's something for an explanatory interpretation.

AugustO 02:13, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

Your objection seems nitpicky. "God so loved us" captures the original meaning better, and more concisely, than "God so loved the world," or "God so loved the people of the world."--Andy Schlafly 09:40, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
Frankly, there is nothing nitpicky about this: the translation "God so loved us" is strange and plainly wrong. You are introducing us in this gospel for the first time, changing completely the point of view of the narration. It's hard to overemphasize who wrong the kind of editorializing is.
Of course you are correct to state in a sermon based on this text that "God so loved us", but what you are doing to this verse has nothing to do with translation.
AugustO 09:49, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
The KJV does not use quotation marks - because English hadn't developed them yet. Should we avoid it today? Of course not.
John is clearly talking about "us", but the Greek style had not developed that improvement in writing style, to the point of using awkward constructs to avoid any first-person reference. Using "world" instead of "us" today adds too much distortion than can be justified.--Andy Schlafly 10:25, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
What are you talking about? Quotation marks? John could have said: "Οὕτω γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ Θεὸς ἡμᾶς..." But he didn't. Why? Because it would have been inconsistent with the rest of the gospel. As inconsistent as your translation. Who is the we you are talking about? Again, you are changing the position of the narrator of the gospel, you make him one of us, while John took care to report the events impersonally. You are rewriting the gospel!
The Greeks most certainly knew how to use first-person references: the epistles are full of them! Greek literature take many forms, and John wrote a report, not an editorial.
AugustO 12:15, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
John didn't use quotation marks. Do you oppose a modern translation using quotation marks in the Gospel of John?--Andy Schlafly 12:59, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

This situation isn't like the use of quotation marks at all. The Greeks certainly had the word "us". But John didn't use "us", he used κόσμον, or Kosmos, which is so remarkably similar to our modern word "cosmos" that there should be no confusion over the fact that it doesn't mean "us". PeterRyan 15:11, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

"κόσμον" is best translated today as the universal "us" - as proven by the extremely popular song, "we are the world."--Andy Schlafly 15:14, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
But "we are the world" isn't a translation, it is a metaphor. If John wanted to say "us", he would have said "us" (not to mention August's great points about the sudden change in perspective). "For God so loved us" is outside of any standard translation, completely contradicts the tone John was using, and frankly, sounds bad when you drop it in to the chapter. The change is so jarring, it destroys the lyrical flow that has made this verse such an oft quoted phrase.
But, to be honest, I know this translation is going to stand, because you have your mind made up that every single Biblical translation thus far is some environmentalist conspiracy, and best-of-the-public be darned if they disagree. But I want to be on record as saying that this translation is wrong, self-serving, and only moves the focus away from the glory of Jesus Christ and on to the petty political squabbles of the secular world. PeterRyan 15:18, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
κόσμος does mean "the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family" according to Strong's - the same thing that the modern "us" means. The Greek word for "us" in John's time would have been interpreted more narrowly than what he intended. John meant everyone, so he used κόσμος, which is what "us" means to listeners today.
No word is a perfect expression of the intended meaning. In English today, "us" is closer to John's meaning than "world", which has an overly materialistic connotation today.--Andy Schlafly 15:33, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

Would you support, then, the translation of John 17:18 to "As You sent Me into us, I have sent them into us."? Same word there.
I could get behind a translation to "men" or "the inhabitants of earth" as a translation for this, because that's what John was saying with "the world". God loves EVERYONE in the world, and so gave his Only Son. To use "Us", however, makes it sound like John is saying "Me, you, and them". Which he's not. He means everyone. For example, if I said "My parents really love us", would that mean they love everyone in the world, or me (PeterRyan), you (Aschlafly), and them (whoever else we have been talking about)? PeterRyan 15:41, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

  • I'm not against using punctuation - and I'm not per se against quotation marks. But I appreciate my Einheitsübersetzung which doesn't use them. In my opinion this helps with some more ambiguous parts like this one. Is Christ still speaking, or is it just a general statement?
  • Aschlafly, in your favor I assumed that you took this as a kind of general statement. But John doesn't use the first person until we have direct speech. This is a deliberate choice, please compare his style with the beginning of the Iliad or the Odyssey
  • If you take this as a part of Christ's speech, your translation becomes nonsensical: does Jesus include Himself in this we? Shouldn't He use you? But then it seems to be only about Nicodemus...
  • John 3:11: ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι How does this fit into your statement that the Greek style had not developed that improvement in writing style, to the point of using awkward constructs to avoid any first-person reference.?
AugustO 16:08, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
(edit conflict) A translation approach of "same word, same translation" in every context would result in departures from original meaning. "Get" is not translated today into the same word every time in French (which lacks the same word). The translation depends on the real meaning of the word in English, which varies among "understand", "fetch", "receive", etc.
"men" doesn't work for "κόσμον" in John 3:16, because "men" would exclude most of the world's population. Translating "κόσμον" as "the inhabitants of earth" is better, but is verbose and clumsy, and raises the false implication non-human inhabitants. "Us" conveys the original meaning best among the alternatives. As to your analogy, the expectation would be that God would love all His creation, but individuals as subjects would not carry that same expectation.--Andy Schlafly 16:13, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
One suggestion might be to use "humanity," and thereby avoid the potential misreading of "us" as implying the existence of a "them" whom God did not love while maintaining a focus away from a broad reading of passage that would mistakenly have it take on an environmentalist tone.MattyD 16:15, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

Romans 5:5: ἡ δὲ ἐλπὶς οὐ καταισχύνει, ὅτι ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκκέχυται ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου τοῦ δοθέντος ἡμῖν. Isn't it f fantastic how fast the Greek language improved its writing style and doesn't need any longer awkward constructs to avoid any first-person reference? Aschlafy, you are seeming to make things up! AugustO 16:22, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

A better suggestion might be to use "the world". (a) It's been used for thousands of years, (b) it is the most literally translation, (c) it doesn't destroy the beautiful lyrical prose of John's writing, (d) everyone already knows that it means that God loves all His children, and (e) the only reason not to use it is as a comeback to some perceived political offense. PeterRyan 16:25, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
I respectfully disagree:
(a) "It's been used for thousands of years" - the KJV is barely 400 years ago. English has not even existed for thousands of years.
(b) "it is the most literally translation" - Strongs provides alternative literal translations that are no less legitimate than "world".
(c) "it doesn't destroy the beautiful lyrical prose of John's writing" - "us" is even more beautiful than "world".
(d) "everyone already knows that it means that God loves all His children" - most of the world is not even Christian, so I doubt this claim is true.
(e)"the only reason not to use it is as a comeback to some perceived political offense" - that's not only one reason for using "us". A stronger reason is because it is more compelling for non-Christians and less educated, an audience John surely wanted to feel the spiritual tug of this verse.--Andy Schlafly 16:47, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

Aschlafly, quick question, please answer: who is speaking this sentence - is it a part of Christ's speach? CBP's quotation marks would indicate this.... And please, have a look at my comments above. AugustO 16:55, 22 September 2012 (EDT)

Here are my clarifications -
(a) The Vulgate, one of the earliest Bibles, used "mundum", which is consistently translated as "the world". I guess my statement was unclear - sorry about that.
(b) Strongs doesn't provide "us". Translating it as "us" is not translating; it is editorializing.
(c) If you have 100 people say the following aloud..."For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" and "For God so loved us that Have gave His only begotten Son", I bet 90+ would think the first sounds better.
(d) God gave His Son for everyone. Not "us". I would argue that "us" build a wall against non-Christians.
(e) The reason you gave when you changed it was to avoid "false environmentalist overtones".
So, the question now...the best of the public thinks this translation is wrong. How do we go about changing it back? PeterRyan 17:08, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
In reply to AugustO, I never meant to suggest that John 3:16 was a quote. I was arguing in a general way against excessive rigidity in translating. Conveying original meaning most effectively should be the guide, and the modern use of quotation marks generally illustrates that preferred approach.
In reply to Peter:
(a) I don't see the relevance of resorting to the Latin, which may likewise use "world" to mean "everyone".
(b) Strongs does not require "world", and does use phrases equivalent to a literary "us".
(c) Comparing "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" to "For God so loved us that He gave His only Son," I'd say the latter sounds better and is more compelling, albeit less familiar.
(d) Does "us" builds a wall against non-Christians? I don't see how, especially given the absurdity of God not initially loving everyone.
(e) The reason I gave when I changed it was to avoid "false environmentalist overtones" - yes, merely as the most concise edit summary I could think of at the time. It was not my inspiration for the change, which was watching a video of Tim Tebow preaching to prisoners and imagining their puzzlement at the use of the term materialistic term "world" rather than "us".
In response to your final comment, I don't think we have a representative sample of the best of the public yet.--Andy Schlafly 18:13, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
In recognition of the comments above, and in deference to how John never used the first person, perhaps it should be translated as "God so loved you that he sent his only Son."--Andy Schlafly 19:41, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
This is a gospel, not an epistle where such a statement could be expected.
And the translation is especially bad when reading John 3:11-12: it sounds as only Nicodemus is addressed. Really, you should take a look at the context when you start to "translate"! AugustO 23:47, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
The "you" works even though Nicodemus is the audience. The remainder of John 3:16 makes clear that the "you" is broader than merely Nicodemus.
The bottom line is this: "For God so loved you that He gave His only Son" is obviously a more effective statement, and Jesus surely made the most effective statement possible.--Andy Schlafly 01:20, 23 September 2012 (EDT)
You seem to say now that this is a part of Christ's speech, so it is a quote (I never meant to suggest that John 3:16 was a quote). Don't you think that John gave the best possible rendition of Christ's original Aramaic words?
If John had agreed with you, he could have written: Οὕτω γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ Θεὸς ὑμᾶς
You find phrases telling us that God loves us in the epistles - which predate the gospel of John. See e.g., 2 Thessalonians 2:16 (Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶν, ὁ ἀγαπήσας ἡμᾶς)
You are right that this verse is abused by many. But you can't stop this abuse by deliberately mistranslating this verse, disregarding the rest of the gospel. That is just a form of lying.
You are beginning to write your own good book, filled with verses you think to be the most effective. And you declare that some of the most powerful writers of mankind weren't able to think of your formulations, because their language lacked this capability? The examples in the epistles show that you are wrong.
AugustO 04:25, 23 September 2012 (EDT)


John 3:16 cannot be seen without context: it is part of Jesus Christ's answer in John 3:5 - John 3:21 to a single man, Nicodemus, whom He addresses at the beginning of this lengthy quote ("Truly, truly, I say to you,.."). Using "us" (not "Us"!) instead of κόσμον shows that the context has been ignored in the "translation". But "You" for κόσμον is equally bad:

  • it is misleading for the reader, who thinks that Nicodemus is addressed
  • it is absolutely without precedence and against the style of John that Jesus Christ addresses a public which isn't there (see my statement about the fourth wall above). Addressing the public happens in Greek mythological texts, and John certainly didn't want to get the gospel confused with one of those!
  • If Jesus Christ had phrased His answer to Nicodemus as Aschlafly would prefer, this He could have done without any problem in Greek - as the examples of the epistles show.

Therefore "For God so loved you that He gave His only Son" is not part of a valid translation, though it may have its value in a sermon. I change it back and I advice Aschlafly to read the whole of John 3 (and perhaps Rev 22) before editing this sentence again. Thank you. AugustO 12:29, 23 September 2012 (EDT)

Aschlafly, I see you changed John 3:16 to your version, again. That indicates that you have read neither John 3 nor Rev 22 in context. The KJV is valid since hundred of years and is still used by millions of men, as great scholars created it using wisdom and knowledge. Your version, filled by your insights which are not comprehensible by any outsider, will last for a couple of years at best and may be used in your household only. You are bending the God's word into the shape of your weltanschauung, and the self-assuredness with which you are doing this can only be explained not by wisdom and knowledge, but the lack of them. AugustO 01:36, 25 September 2012 (EDT)

Addressing Aschlafly's points one by one

  • Your objection seems nitpicky.
This is a repeated critique for my objections - and I repeat my answer to it: We are dealing with the Holy Bible, so we should be painstakingly meticulous. Being nitpicky is certainly preferable over being reckless.
  • "God so loved us" captures the original meaning better, and more concisely, than "God so loved the world," or "God so loved the people of the world."
If you know what us means (mankind), you are right. The problem here: it's not the way John phrases things: you are already in the realms of exegesis and have left the process of translating.
  • The KJV does not use quotation marks - because English hadn't developed them yet. Should we avoid it today? Of course not.
At first I thought that this one of these spurious remarks like "do you deny that 2+2=4" which tend to make a compelling argument only in the mind of the questioner. Than I thought that this was a clever reflection on the context of the verse: it can be seen as part of a quotation. Your later comment made it clear that sadly I have to assume the first and not the second scenario.
  • John is clearly talking about "us", but the Greek style had not developed that improvement in writing style, to the point of using awkward constructs to avoid any first-person reference. Using "world" instead of "us" today adds too much distortion than can be justified
Examples of the epistles - which were written previous to this gospel - show that this is untrue.
  • "κόσμον" is best translated today as the universal "us" - as proven by the extremely popular song, "we are the world."
The we in the extremely popular song does make sense as this song is a kind of sing-along and presented generally by a choir: a totally different setting than in John 3!
  • κόσμος does mean "the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family" according to Strong's - the same thing that the modern "us" means. The Greek word for "us" in John's time would have been interpreted more narrowly than what he intended. John meant everyone, so he used κόσμος, which is what "us" means to listeners today.
So now you are translating the translation? It supports the impression that the CBP is merely a paraphrasing of the KJB.
  • No word is a perfect expression of the intended meaning. In English today, "us" is closer to John's meaning than "world", which has an overly materialistic connotation today.
But "us" has several different meanings which don'f fit here: the strongest that it tends to mean me and a couple of people around me
  • A translation approach of "same word, same translation" in every context would result in departures from original meaning. "Get" is not translated today into the same word every time in French (which lacks the same word). The translation depends on the real meaning of the word in English, which varies among "understand", "fetch", "receive", etc.
There is a difference between the the grades of ambiguity of "get" and κόσμος! And while "same word, same translation" doesn't work in every context, it helps to understand the usage and meaning of words to look up the way they are used in various occasions before you try to translate them!
  • "men" doesn't work for "κόσμον" in John 3:16, because "men" would exclude most of the world's population. Translating "κόσμον" as "the inhabitants of earth" is better, but is verbose and clumsy, and raises the false implication non-human inhabitants. "Us" conveys the original meaning best among the alternatives. As to your analogy, the expectation would be that God would love all His creation, but individuals as subjects would not carry that same expectation.
What about mankind?
  • In reply to AugustO, I never meant to suggest that John 3:16 was a quote. I was arguing in a general way against excessive rigidity in translating. Conveying original meaning most effectively should be the guide, and the modern use of quotation marks generally illustrates that preferred approach.
See above.
  • In recognition of the comments above, and in deference to how John never used the first person, perhaps it should be translated as "God so loved you that he sent his only Son."
There is a general shyness at Conservapedia to admit errors, and sysops seem to think that such an admission undermines their authority. But making errors is human and inevitable in such a great undertaking like a translation of the Bible. In fact it should be the advantage of this wiki-based procedure to have a process of trial and error. On one young sysop's page I read: "I believe in being bold, a habit I learned to cherish at Wikipedia. But I also believe in correcting my mistakes. " If this weren't just an empty claim, but a maxim of our actions, it would be very helpful. But until then, the slight change of "us" to "you" is quite an achievement.
  • The "you" works even though Nicodemus is the audience. The remainder of John 3:16 makes clear that the "you" is broader than merely Nicodemus.
But does it work well? I doubt it.
  • The bottom line is this: "For God so loved you that He gave His only Son" is obviously a more effective statement, and Jesus surely made the most effective statement possible.
I'm cringing each times you are using the word obviously: generally it is followed by some insight only you have and which is totally obscure to the rest of us. It may be effective - and perhaps the whole gospel would be more effective if it addressed the reader in each sentence, explaining what it meant in great detail. But that's not the way it was written. Jesus may not have followed your concepts of effectivity.

AugustO 09:44, 26 September 2012 (EDT)

Obvious Error

The Greek wording often translated as "Son of Man" is better translated as "Christ, Son of God"


  • often translated: no, Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου is always translated as son of man! Man is not God!
  • Where does Jesus refer to himself in the Gospel of John as Christ or Son of God?
  • Son of God redirects to Jesus Christ, not to a discussion of this term.

--AugustO 00:56, 22 June 2014 (EDT)

(Andy, you wanted to link to Son of Man, I suppose.) --AugustO 01:26, 22 June 2014 (EDT)


Verse John 6:53 reads in the original εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν μὴ φάγητε τὴν σάρκα τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πίητε αὐτοῦ τὸ αἷμα, οὐκ ἔχετε ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς. This includes the phrase ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου, literally the son of the man, as υἱός, οῦ, ὁ means son (or possibly descendant), and ἄνθρωπος, ου, ὁ man, human, mankind. While we may stretch the meaning of λόγος to include abstract concepts beside the literal word, there is no way for ἄνθρωπος to imply the meaning of God. Yet Jesus Christs uses this phrase many times in the New Testament to speak about himself. Theologically, this is an interest question - and an opener for many debates. But as a translation, the case is closed: Jesus Christ calls himself time and time again the son of man.

How could we justify to translate this phrase as Son of God?

  • Jesus Christ could have misspoken, and he really wanted to say Son of God
  • John erred, he really wanted to write ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ

Both justifications are preposterous. Therefore, I will revert Andy's erroneous translation. --AugustO 15:47, 22 June 2014 (EDT)

υἱὸς means "Son of God" in this context (and in John's usage in his Epistle), while ἀνθρώπου means "human being." So, translated literally, the phrase "υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου" means "Son of God, His human being." I'll update the Son of Man entry accordingly now.--Andy Schlafly 16:36, 22 June 2014 (EDT)
  • The first error: the phrase always used with the leading article
  • Second: τοὺ ἀνθρώπου is genitive. You can't translate it as an apposition to ὁ υἱὸς
  • Third: Even if we add in our mind of God each time we hear Jesus Christ using the word son, that's not what he said. You are editing, interpreting, not translating!
--AugustO 16:45, 22 June 2014 (EDT)

υἱὸς means "Son of God" in this context (and in John's usage in his Epistle) That seems to be wrong, too: it's not about John's usage, it is about how Jesus Christ used the phrase. And in the gospel, he described himself time and time again as the son of man and not as the Son, and especially not as the Son of God. In the epistles, John makes it clear that He is the Son of God, and he does so not by using the word υἱὸς its own. As Jesus Christ uses the word, υἱὸς means son, descendant. You are trying to crowbar a later insight in this word: that's bad translating - and bad theology. --AugustO 17:11, 22 June 2014 (EDT)

"human being" (ἀνθρώπου) does modify "son" (υἱὸς), but that does not mean it should be translated as "son of a human being" or "son of man." Instead, it means that the "son" is of God, but that son is a human being. Hence "Son of God, a human being" is the English that is closest to the original meaning.--Andy Schlafly 19:47, 22 June 2014 (EDT)
If you prefer, we could attach significance to the "ὁ" and translate the phrase as "the Son, a human being." But "the Son" means "Son of God."--Andy Schlafly 20:03, 22 June 2014 (EDT)

  • But "the Son" means "Son of God." No, it just implies "Son of God". It does so in the Greek, and therefore it should do so in the translation. A commentary is the right place to stress this implication, but editorializing "of God" into the "translation" shifts the whole narrative: Jesus Christ isn't declaring proudly time and time again that he is the "Son of God" - an announcement which would have let to drastic reactions by the religious elites of the time. So, a reader of the CBP gets a totally wrong idea of what has happened.
  • "human being" (ἀνθρώπου) does modify "son" (υἱὸς), but that does not mean it should be translated as "son of a human being" or "son of man." Instead, it means that the "son" is of God, but that son is a human being. Hence "Son of God, a human being" is the English that is closest to the original meaning. *LOL* this kind of arguments would make you flunk any Greek class! "The Son, a human" would be something like υἱὸς ὁ ἄνθρωπος, similar to the well-known phrase "God the Son", Θεός ὁ υἱός.
  • Jesus Christ listener heard that he described himself as "Son of Man", not less, not more. They understood, that he was the Son of God, but this took an insight. A modern reader should get the same insight, and should not be forced on his path by words Jesus Christ  d i d  n o t  u t t e r.

--AugustO 06:09, 23 June 2014 (EDT)

A literal translation would be "the Son, a human being." It would not be properly translated as "the Son of man," a nonsensical phrase in English. Your claim that the Greek for "the Son, a human being" would read "υἱὸς ὁ ἄνθρωπος" doesn't wash, because that Greek phrase would be translated as "Son the man" or "Son the human being," falsely implying in English there was another son who was not a human being. Rather, the Greek clarifies that the Son IS a human being, and hence "the Son, a human being" in English.--Andy Schlafly 15:21, 23 June 2014 (EDT)
Andy, have you forgotten (or have you never learned) that τοὺ is the genitive of ὁ? So your argument against (ὁ)υἱὸς ὁ ἄνθρωπος would be applicable in the same way to ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου, leading to "The Son, the human being" falsely implying in English there was another son who was not a human being. Luckily, the usage of the definitive article in Greek is a little bit more complicated, which holds true for both cases!
"the Son, a human being" is not a literal translation. It's just a wrong translation. Literal translations of ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου include "the Son of a/the human being", "the Son of the man" or "the Son of Man".
Have you tried to discuss your novel approach to the Greek genitive with some scholars of Biblical Greek? Perhaps you have a former teacher. When you study theology in Germany, you have to learn Greek, Hebrew and Latin - perhaps your pastor (or priest) knows (and likes) Greek?
--AugustO 16:47, 23 June 2014 (EDT)
A better translation of the τοὺ ____ is as a common followed by "a ____": ", a ____" The comma in English does what the τοὺ does without punctuation in Greek.
No one would have crucified Jesus if he merely called himself the "Son of Man." He was crucified for call himself "the Son [of God], a human being."--Andy Schlafly 16:53, 23 June 2014 (EDT)
  • @PetyrB: you write in the edit-comment "OK, we should note that this translation differs from other Bible transnationals, but also explain why it is the accurate translation)" Could you please explain, why it is the accurate translation? At the moment, I regard it as a mistranslation!
  • @Aschlafly: you write "A better translation of the τοὺ ____ is as a common followed by "a ____": ", a ____" The comma in English does what the τοὺ does without punctuation in Greek." Do you have any scholarly sources that a genitive like this one should be translated that way? Could you add further - valid! - examples? As I just said, I think this is a mistranslation, but perhaps, you have some convincing instances of such a translation?

--AugustO 11:26, 26 June 2014 (EDT)

"Could you please explain, why it is the accurate translation?" It's already been done by Aschlafly; see this very talk page. I don't want to resort to bad faith accusations, but I think we have a case here of argumentum ad nauseam. - PetyrB 11:36, 26 June 2014 (EDT)
Sorry, it has been claimed. Why do you think this claim is correct? Where are the precedents for such a translation of a genitive? Without precedent, it's just an invention... And btw: the link lists ASV, BBE, CEB, CJB, RHE, ESV, GW, GNT, HNV, CSB, KJV, LEB, NAS, NCV, NIRV, NIV, NKJV, NRS, RSV, DBY, MSG, WBT, TMB, TNIV, WNT, WEB, WYC, and YLT. These are all major English versions - and a couple of minor ones! --AugustO 11:41, 26 June 2014 (EDT)
What makes a certain Bible translations a "major" one? The fact that the liberal academe gushes all over it? - PetyrB 11:45, 26 June 2014 (EDT)
See, e.g. Conservapedia's article on Bible translations. Or ask a church-going friend. --AugustO 11:49, 26 June 2014 (EDT)
I'm currently living in a country at the 10/40 window (but I can't divulge too much info about this for security reasons), my main church-going friends are other foreigner residents in this country and local citizens with whom we worship at a house church. I can assure you that none of the translations you mentioned are used by us during service. - PetyrB 11:53, 26 June 2014 (EDT)
  • How fascinating. You should write an article about the 10/40 window.
  • Assuming that you are using an English translation, which one is it? How do you like it? How does it translate John 6:53? If it is read by a great number of people, you should add it to the according list at Bible translations.
  • Until then, I'm convinced that the list above covers all major translations, which are also listed in Conservapedia's article. It certainly includes those translations with the greatest number of printed Bibles.
--AugustO 16:02, 26 June 2014 (EDT)
  • PetyrB, you write "You're using a language which deliberately tries to suggest that CBP is wrong". No, I think, that the translation is wrong. I've the knowledge to back up my opinion. But I'm stressing only the point that the CBP's translation is new and unique. Everything else - i.e., the implication that this is an accepted - or at least embattled - view would be a disservice to the reader. So. please, don't reverse my edit, and stop discussing this subject in edit-comments, but try to do so on this talk-page. Thanks. --AugustO 16:32, 26 June 2014 (EDT)
This is a reply to what you wrote on my talk page: When we started the House Church, the foreign residents in the country (such as myself) used several different translations of the Bible in several different languages due to our varied national origins. As time went by, we managed to improve our grasp of the local language and we are now using the same Bible translation used by the local brothers who worship with us. I'm very sorry that I can't tell you what it is, but you probably already know that countries in the 10/40 window (I definitely should write an article about that subject) are often hostile to the Gospel, so I can't reveal too much of my personal information online.
Since I'm already bringing this up, the Bible translation used in our Church does not translate "υἱός ἄνθρωπος" as "Son of Man". It uses wording very similar to those Aschlafly chose in his making of the CBP. I asked a local brother who is fluent in English about his thoughts regarding the CBP's translation that we are discussing. He said that if he had to translate into English the words in his Bible that have been translated from ""υἱός ἄνθρωπος", he would have probably used wording similar to those found in the CBP. I didn't want to use this information in our debate since I knew I wouldn't be able to tell what is the language of the Bible translation used in my church, but since you asked me I'm telling you. - PetyrB 13:18, 28 June 2014 (EDT)
What a fascinating tale. I hope you will be able to divulge the details sometimes in the future.
My statement that the listed translations include all major English versions stands - and a similar statement about the translation is true for the major French and German ones, too. You can imagine how surprised I am that someone preempted Andrew Schlafly's insight, albeit in a translation in another language.
--AugustO 15:56, 28 June 2014 (EDT)
"You can imagine how surprised I am that someone preempted Andrew Schlafly's insight, albeit in a translation in another language." When you really come to think about it this isn't very surprising. Most missionaries in non-Christian countries are commissioned by Churches with a conservative outlook, as liberal churches have for the most part foregone The Great Commission. Since emerging Christian communities in the third world are largely the result of efforts invested by theologically conservative churches, I don't find it surprising that Bible translators outside the western world have independently reached the same kind of translations as those produced by similar minded individuals in western countries. - PetyrB 16:24, 28 June 2014 (EDT)

The use of "perfection" to translate the first occurrence of λόγος works well with the repeated references to perfection in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where Jesus explained more

Andy, let me try to sort this out:

  • You translate λόγος in the first verse in three ways (perfection - logic - truth), and you use these words in a rather arbitrary order.
  • Then you state, that "the use of "perfection" to translate the first occurrence of λόγος works well with the repeated references to perfection in the Epistle to the Hebrews"
  • But in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the word λόγος is used a couple of times, and you never translate it as perfection.
  • OTOH, you "translate" λόγος as truth in Hebrews 6:1...
  • In the Epistle, other expressions are used to describe being perfect or perfection in Greek, such as τελειόω or τελειότης (maturity).
  • τελειότης is not used in John 1:1

For me, this is just absurd, and another example how you bend the "translation" to fit your insights. --AugustO 17:13, 23 July 2014 (EDT)

In Henry George Liddell's and Robert Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (edition of 1996), pp 1057-1059 are dedicated to λόγος. There are quite a few possible meanings, but "perfection" - or something similar - isn't there! It is save to say that no Greek reader of the first centuries thought about "perfection" when he saw λόγος! Andy, I'm afraid, you are making things up. --AugustO 15:07, 19 June 2015 (EDT)

Perfection is more of a modern term of logic and science. Its usage here is not the same as its meaning in Hebrews, where it is used to reflect a completion rather than a logical state.--Andy Schlafly 15:16, 19 June 2015 (EDT)
the point is: "perfection" isn't used here - you are inventing scripture, creating a Bible in your image, twisting words until their origin isn't recognizable. --AugustO 15:19, 19 June 2015 (EDT)
"logos" 'does' have a meaning equivalent to a logical perfection. There is no other Greek word to convey that meaning.--Andy Schlafly 15:22, 19 June 2015 (EDT)
For the Greek readers of that time it is utterly insignificant that in today's English "logical" may mean correct. There are other words in Greek to convey the idea of perfections, such as τελειότης
And please, quote a scholarly source stating that "λόγος does have a meaning equivalent to a logical perfection". At the moment, we have Liddell and Scott (and for good measure Lampe's Patristic Greek Lexicon) against your imagination. --AugustO 15:30, 19 June 2015 (EDT)
τελειότης means completeness, as in maturity. That is not the same as logical perfection. "logos" is the Greek term for logical perfection.--Andy Schlafly 15:33, 19 June 2015 (EDT)
You seem to be the only man in Christendom who thinks that "logos" is the Greek term for logical perfection. Please, show us your sources! Or is it one of these insights?--AugustO 15:48, 19 June 2015 (EDT)
What you mean is not λόγος, but the derived λογική! --AugustO 15:54, 19 June 2015 (EDT)

The Greek word is λόγος (logos), which has a wide variety of profound meanings, but its primary meaning is logic (as in truth).

The primary meaning of λόγος is neither logic nor truth. And no one (other than a confused pupil with little Greek) has ever used λόγος in the sense of logic.

Andy, you know that this sentence is wrong, therefore this statement is a lie. --AugustO 01:37, 20 June 2015 (EDT)

Why the traditional rendition of 1:1 makes sense

It is believed according to church history that the Fourth Gospel was written after Revelation was penned—John the Apostle wrote Revelation cir. 95–96 A.D. on the island of Patmos while exiled, and subsequently wrote his Gospel in Ephesus cir. 97 A.D. after release from exile. In his vision of the Second Coming, John witnessed the Jewish Messiah's name as The Word of God (Revelation 19:13), and thus begins his Gospel account with "the Word." John remembered Jesus Christ referring to Himself the beginning and the end (Rev. 22:13), and so by divine inspiration he begun the final canonical Gospel with "in the beginning was the Word." —LT Rev. 22:13 Wednesday, 22:55, November 21, 2023 (EST)