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#Gospel of John

Life is spiritual. Your physical existence doesn’t contribute to that life. The words that I have spoken to you are spiritual. They are life.
John 6:63 | GOD’S WORD® Translation (GWT)
The Holy Bible, GOD’S WORD® Translation Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations. All rights reserved.

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I’m not sure if there is special meaning here, or if the author of the Gospel of John had bad grammar, but for the second time I’ve run into a case where the writer has used two subjects for one verb.

I ran into this problem in John 1:1 which created the translation: “In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God, [and God was Reason].”

I wrote another essay about this which can be found here:

In verse 14 we have: Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο.

Here we have λόγος (logos) which I translate as reason, and σὰρξ (sarx) meaning flesh. Both of these words are inflected in their subject (nominative) forms. This makes a translation of “And Reason became flesh,” and “and flesh became Reason,” equally valid translations.

In verse one I let this sort of construction stand as a syllogism, but in that case I also didn’t see it as having a large effect on the traditional meaning of the passage. “Flesh became Reason and Reason became flesh.” I don’t even know what this means but that is what the author wrote.    

Now for my full translation of the verse:

14. And Reason became flesh [and flesh became Reason], and he dwelt among us, and we saw for ourselves the glory of him, glory as of the only child of the father, full of grace and truth.

I also wanted to point out that the word I translated as “among” normally means “in”. The phrase “among us” is ἐν ἡμῖν (en hēmin), and my first pass at translation had been “and he dwelt in us” I figured this didn’t make the most sense, and after a careful reading of my lexicon I did find justification to translate “in” as “among.”

But my translation could have gone:

14. And Reason became flesh [and flesh became Reason], and he dwelt in us, and we saw for ourselves the glory of him, glory as of the only child of the father, full of grace and truth.

Which may make the translation, “and flesh became Reason” have a more important double meaning.  Especially since ἡμῖν (hēmin) can mean “with us” on its own without the preposition ἐν (en).

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“Do you love me?”

I have a confession to make. I am not a great lover of John’s Gospel. I find that the Christology is so high that at times Jesus becomes unrelatable. This chapter, however, is one of the saving graces in the Gospel. It reminds me that while Jesus is divine, he is still human, and nowhere is Jesus more human than in the selection of his disciples. The disciples are at best misfits at worse backstabbers. Jesus might not be the first person you’d hire for a human resource manager. Still, it is this quality that makes Jesus so appealing to me. He’s willing to take a chance on these misfits and entrusts them with the future of his message.

In the same way, Jesus calls us with each of our faults, and asks us the same question he puts to Peter: “do you love me?” He already knows the answer but asks because it allows us to know that by asking us this question, Jesus is not just expressing his love for us. He is also displaying his trust in us. While we might not always go where we want in life or do what seems best, we can do so knowing that Jesus loves us and is with us, no matter what our faults or failings might be.  

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18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
John 3:18-20 | Authorized King James Version (AKJV)
The Holy Bible: Authorized King James Version; Cambridge University Press, the Crown’s patentee in the UK. All rights reserved.

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 | New Revised Standard Version Anglicised (NRSVA)
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

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τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἐμὰ τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούουσιν, κἀγὼ γινώσκω αὐτά, καὶ ἀκολουθοῦσίν μοι,

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27 | Novum Testamentum Graece (Tischendorf)
Novum Testamentum Graece (The New Testament in Greek) is an edition of the New Testament in its original Koine Greek, forming the basis of most modern Bible translations.

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So I’ve continued working on my translation project of the Gospel of John, alternating between translation work, and going through my old Greek textbook to fill in what I’ve forgotten of the grammar. 

At this point I’m four verses in, and it’s time for another essay, due to some interesting grammatical bits that have cropped up in John 1:3-4.

My full translation thus far is:

1 In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God, [and God was Reason]. 

2 This was in the beginning with God. 

3 All things came into being though the same, but apart from the same not one thing came into being.

4 Which having come into being by him was the means of life, and the means of life was the light of humankind.

The most notable changes appear in verse 4, but part of this is derived from how verse 3 appears in the Greek transcription I’ve been working from.

The Greek is as follows:

3πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν

4ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων:

My translation relies on the punctuation in the transcription. At this time I should note none of the oldest manuscripts have punctuation. The placement of periods, commas, and so forth were added centuries later, and they were probably placed according to the traditional way a monk (or other copyist) understood the text at the time a copy with punctuation was made.

The punctuation in the Greek above is the most common form I can find online, but I have seen a few different options, and it’s really not clear which tradition is closest to the intention of the author. (so much for death of the author in this essay) 

It should also be noted that the numbering of the verses was added even later than the punctuation.  

Now with that explanation, you may notice that at the end of verse 3 there is a period that separates the last two words from the rest of the verse. This is odd because that would mean ὃ γέγονεν (ho gegonen) is part of the sentence that is largely in verse 4. These two words on their own mean “which having been made,” or, “which having come into being”. 

The word γέγονεν (gegonen) is just the verb to make, become, or come into being, with completed aspect. (The concept of completed aspect another essay, but is the source of the word “having” in my translation).

Now I was not able to find the historical reason the verses were divided this way, but what I can tell you is that the punctuation is older than the verses.

The King James Bible is probably the most influential English translation since many translations I looked at for comparison had a simulare translation of the verses in question. 

The King James translation is as follows:

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

It appears the phrase, “that was made.” at the end of verse 3 was the translation of  ὃ γέγονεν (ho gegonen) the two words which should be translated with the next sentence according to the punctuation.

Now there is some justification in moving the punctuation around, but the King James translation shaves off some of the grammar from the Greek to make it fit the way its translation works.

I also wanted to give thanks to Bill Watson, who pointed out to me that the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) devids the sentences up the way I am in my translation.

OK time for a shift in topic. 

The above explanation is the reason for my translation of verse 4 as:  Which having come into being in him was life…

But if you were paying attention you may have noticed I didn’t translate it that way when I gave my translation at the beginning of the essay. I made two other changes that represent their own can of worms.

The first one is the change of the word “in,” to “by,” in my translation. The Greek for this was ἐν αὐτῷ (en auto). This is normally translated “in him”, however when in some cases grammar used here is idiomatically used to indicate the means by which something happens. This is still an idiom that is sometimes seen in English, most commonly in christian idioms, such as the sentiment “justified in Christ,” which when unpacked means, justified by Christ, or by his sacrifice. 

Because that idiom was common in Greek, and shows up in christian English idioms I feel relatively justified making that translation.

The second major change is the difference in the word “life” and, “the means of life”.   The word used in the Greek here is ζωὴ (zoe). This can be translated as life, but that isn’t its most common meaning. The normal word for life in Greek is βίος (bios) which you will recognize as the source of the word biology.

 Ζωὴ (zoe) on the other hand is more often means livelihood, or sustenance, most literally “what allows you to live,” or “the means of life.”  I don’t really know if this is what was meant by the author, but I felt like it made more sense given the context of the other translation changes.  

There you have it, my justification for the translation:

3 All things came into being though the same, but apart from the same not one thing came into being.

4 Which having come into being by him was the means of life, and the means of life was the light of humankind.

I’m more than happy to give further explanations if people have questions.

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I am the grapevine, you are the branches. The one abiding in Me and I in him— this one bears much fruit. Because apart from Me, you can do nothing.
John 15:5 | Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)
Disciples’ Literal New Testament: Serving Modern Disciples by More Fully Reflecting the Writing Style of the Ancient Disciples, Copyright © 2011 Michael J. Magill. All Rights Reserved. Published by Reyma Publishing

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I have a really esoteric question, and I’m hoping a random tumbr reader might either know the answer or be able to point me in a direction for figuring out the answer.

I’ve been doing an amituer translation of John 1:3-4 from Greek into English and I ran into something strange in these verses.

The Greek is:

3πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν

4ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων:

You will note that near the end of verse 3 is the the beginning of the next sentence.

The way the punctuation works ὃ γέγονεν should belong with the sentence in verse 4.

Does anyone know why that is grouped with verse 3 as written above and why it isn’t

4 ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων:

When I compair the Greek with my KJV I can see that the KJV has forced ὃ γέγονεν to be part of sentence in verse 3 despite the punctuation.

Moving it to the beginning of the sentence it looks like it should be part of significantly changes the translation and the grammar of verse 4.

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“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35)
“I am the true vine” (John 15:1)
“I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7)
“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11)
“I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25)
“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)
“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)

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Neal Samudre
The Bible says we will go through hard times. It doesn’t guarantee instant happiness. Fortunately, Jesus says we will not be orphans in the world either (John 14:18). He sends the Holy Spirit to be with us. And as we live in the Spirit, we experience His fruit, which is joy (Galatians 5:22). Joy is not automatic for the Christian. It is something we have to continually lean into.
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Méditation Biblique : Jean 20,24-29, Jésus et Thomas

“After the Holy Week, the brothers had the idea to continue  to publish online, every week, a short bible reflection. For this week, the meditation (in French, with subtitles) is John 20:24-29 - the encounter between the Risen Christ and Thomas“

Subtitles are available in:





Portuguese (Portuguese)


Spanish (Castilian)

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