Lectionary Year B
April 2, 2000
John 3:14-21

Initial Acquaintance/Rough Translation


(JFC) A. COMPARISON OF TRANSLATIONS

This is a comparison of the New Living Translation (1996) (NLT), the New American Standard (Updated - 1995) (NASB), and the New Revised Standard Version (1989) (NRSV).

In verse 14 the NLT identifies the speaker as, “I, the Son of Man must be lifted up . . .” The NASB and the NRSV have, “the Son of Man” without a pronoun.
In the 15th verse the NASB reads, “whoever believes will – in Him have eternal life.” The NLT has, “whoever believes in me will have eternal life.” There the NRSV reads, “whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
The NASB uses the verb “to judge” in verse 17, where the NLT and the NRSV have “to condemn”.
In the 18th verse, the NLT says “There is no judgement awaiting those who trust him” while the NASB reads, “He who believes in him is not judged;” and the NRSV has, “Those who believe in him are not condemned;”.
Then, in verse 19, the NASB seems to try to define or at least explain “judgement” as “that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” The NLT says, “Their judgement is based on this fact: the light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” The NRSV says, “And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”
At the end of the 20th verse, NLT reads, “and they will be punished” while the NASB has, “deeds will be exposed.” And the NRSV, “their deeds may not be exposed.”
In the 21st verse, we read, in the NASB, “But he who practices the truth . . .”, whereas the NLT reads, “But those who do what is right . . .”, and the NRSV, “But those who do what is true . . .” And midway through that verse (21) the NLT adds an adverb to the end of that phrase, “gladly”. NRSV has an adverb, “clearly seen” at that midway point of that verse. Then, at the end of it, NASB says the “deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God”, the NLT has they “are (seen) doing what God wants” and NRSV says the deeds “have been done in God.”

Footnotes – to verse 14, NLT adds, Greek "must be lifted up" where they finish the verse with “up on a pole”.
For verse 15, the NRSV claims that “Some interpreters hold that the quotation concludes with verse 15”. This note is repeated at the end of verse 21.
Also at verse 15, the NASB reads, “Or believes in Him will have eternal life.”
In verses 16 and 18, the NASB notes, “Or unique, only one of His kind."

(JFC) B. TEXTUAL CRITICISM

In verse 15 Papyrus 66, L and a few others would replace "en auto" with "ep auto". That move would make it less personal to believe in, more like believing after or upon from more of a distance, I think is the very subtle difference between the prepositions. So subtle that it hardly seems worth debating. Whichever. Papyrus 63 vid and several uncials and a majority thereof and of others would change it to "eis auton". That alteration, too, makes the believers and the one believed in more separated by time and/or space, again, I think is the difference. Papyrus 75 and some uncials and a few others prefer the Textus Receptus. Well so do I, if a choice is advisable.
Then, later in that verse (15), Papyrus 63 and a majority of others would add "me apoletai" all as in verse 16, between "auto" and "eche". However, Papyri 36, 66 and 75 and many others prefer to go with the received text. So would I.
In verse 16 Papyrus 63 and many additional editors want to add "autou" between "huion" and "ton". Yet, Papyri 66 and 75 and others stay with the text as received, as do I, even if the pronoun might emphasize the source of the gift, God. The message is clear without the addition.
In verse 17, Papyri 5 and 63 vid and a majority of others add, again, "autou" between "huion: and "eis". Nevertheless, Papyri 63 and 75 and others prefer the received text.
Early in verse 18 we find some editors omitting the postpositive "de". However, a vast majority of witnesses, including Papyri 36, 63, 66 and 75 and a majority of others prefer going with the text as received.
Then early in verse 19, Papyrus 66 and a few others would omit the article in "to fos". Although the longer reading might well be more nearly original, the article makes little difference in the meaning of the sentence and so I prefer to omit it, too, rather than retain it.
Thereafter, we find Papyrus 66 wanting to reorder "egapesan hoi anthropoi mallon to skotos". P66 prefers "egapesan mallon hoi anthropoi to skotos". Then, a few others would reorder it to read "hoi anthropoi egapesan to skotos mallon". Of the three, the latter seems more sensible to English language readers, yet, the first, as Textus Receptus, is just as clear to those of us who read at least a little Greek. The second, or first alternative seems least clear from our perspective. I opt to leave it as received.
Lastly in that verse (19), a majority of the constant witnesses as well as several uncials reorder "auton ponera". Such reordering might make the pronoun refer more closely with the works that are called evil and that reordering might change the meaning of the phrase, so, I guess we keep the Textus Receptus, although the meaning might need reordering. We’ll see later, surely.
The last three words in verse 20 get reordered buy Papyrus 75 and some uncials to read "auton ta erga". I think not, at least not necessary for any reason I can detect. Then a majority of the constant witnesses would reorder and add words, so that it would read "ta erga auton hoti ponera estin". That alteration repeats some of the preceding verse, again, I think unnecessarily. Although, the emphasis on the kind of works might be warranted and therefore worthy of considering. Then, too, the longer text might more nearly approach original intent of the Gospel author(s). Still, the text as received is retained by a majority of the constant witnesses.

C. ROUGH TRANSLATION

My Nestle-Aland NTG (1983; should I update?) begins with several spaces but without indenting as for a new paragraph, like this:       14 And just as Moses raised the serpent in the wilderness, likewise to have been lifted up should the son of man, 15 so that all believing in him might have life eternal. 16 For in this way loved the God the cosmos, so that the son [of his] the one and only he gave, so that all believing in him would not be ruined but would have life everlasting. 17 For not did send the God the son [of his] into the cosmos that he should judge the cosmos, but that would be saved the cosmos by him. 18 The believing ones in him not are being judged; but the ones not believing already are being judged, that not having believed in the name of the one and only son of the God. 19 But he is the reason for a judgement that the light has come into the cosmos and loved the men more the darkness than the light; for it was of them evil the works [of them]. 20 For all the ones evil carrying out hate the light and not do they come to the light, so that not being exposed the deeds of them; 21 but the ones doing the truth come to the light, so that it could cause to be seen of them the works so that in God they are being worked.

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