Glazing Over Toxic Donuts

posted by Jeffrey on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 9:07 AM

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There are times in life when I find myself stumbling upon rare treasures that I knew not even existed. Sitting here writing last night's post was one of those times. I had referred to a passage in John chapter 14 for some specific words of Jesus, but what you didn't see was what happened as I read on.

Allow me to paste some of the text here:

...Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."

9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15"If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."...

Towards the end of verse 17, you see a superscript "c" after the phrase, "will be". That superscript lead me to the bottom of the page to see this footnote, "Some early manuscripts 'and is'"!!! What? How can the translators just glaze over such a fork in the road?!?! The difference in whatever manuscript was used here and the early manuscripts alluded to is whether or not the Holy Spirit was already abiding in ("and is") the disciples and the modern, more widely accepted interpretation of that the Spirit did not yet abide in them and the disciples lacked something they needed ("will be").

No big deal? Quite the contrary! If the text is really supposed to read "and is", then that means the Spirit, i.e. the life of Christ, was already in the disciples, which means it's already in ALL humans. That's a HUGE difference from the modern teachings of, "I have Jesus in me, you need Jesus in you...".

FYI, I found from one source that the reason for this discrepancy is that the early Greek manuscripts did not mark accents. The word for "will be" and "and is" is apparently the same word in Greek, only with different accents. Here is the reason given for translating it the "will be" way, "The reading chosen for the text seems to fit the context better." That is obviously an educated way of saying, "we guessed." It is also men basically saying, "based on our biases and theologies we've constructed around the whole of Scripture, this translation seems to fit best with the way we presently see things..."

Oh my.

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Blogger Jim said...

hey jeffrey you're right, that's huge. i've discovered other cases where the "translation" is more of an interpretation, which is dragging in someone else's bias or conditioning. i guess that's why Jesus said we need the Spirit to guide us into all truth. jim

July 25, 2006 2:22 PM

Blogger Sam Davidson said...

GREAT POST! Thanks for recognizing the human MALE effort than went into putting the Bible together. There is clearly an angle and a bias to some of this.

July 26, 2006 6:50 AM


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