Monday, September 20, 2010

John 14:3-7, A Promise of Knowing

3 καὶ ἐὰν πορευθῶ καὶ ἑτοιμάσω τόπον ὑμῖν, πάλιν ἔρχομαι καὶ παραλήμψομαι ὑμᾶς πρὸς ἐμαυτόν, ἵνα ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἦτε.  4 καὶ ὅπου [ἐγὼ] ὑπάγω οἴδατε τὴν ὁδόν. 
5 Λέγει αὐτῷ Θωμᾶς· κύριε, οὐκ οἴδαμεν ποῦ ὑπάγεις· πῶς δυνάμεθα τὴν ὁδὸν εἰδέναι;  6 λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι᾿ ἐμοῦ.  7 εἰ ἐγνώκατέ με, καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου γνώσεσθε. καὶ ἀπ᾿ ἄρτι γινώσκετε αὐτὸν καὶ ἑωράκατε αὐτόν. 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am also coming again to receive you to myself, so that where I am, you also may be.  And you know the way to where I am going.
Thomas says to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going.  How are we able to know the way?”  Jesus says to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the father except through me.  If you have known me, you will know my father also.  And from now on, you know him and have seen him.” John 14:3-7
This is a continuation blog on John 14.  I was reading this in the greek yesterday and and realized that there was a big time variant reading in verse 7.  If you are using the KJV or even some modern translations, you may see something like this below.
From the TC (Textus Receptus)
7 εἰ ἐγνώκειτέ με, καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου ἐγνώκειτε ἄν· καὶ ἀπ᾿ ἄρτι γινώσκετε αὐτόν, καὶ ἑωράκατε αὐτόν.
If you would have known me, you would have known my father also.  And from now on, you know him and have seen him. John 14:7 TR
I’ve placed the two verbs in bold so that you can see the difference.  So I guess the big question is, “Why was the passage changed?”  Well, we can come up with many reasons, but it probably was altered by a scribe in order to “improve” the reading.  Some scribes had a tendency to try to “improve” the text so that it would read better and possibly line up with other text (from other author’s) or the original author’s theology.  It is possible that this passage was being paralleled with John 8:19.
Ἰωάννην 8·19 ἔλεγον οὖν αὐτῷ· ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ πατήρ σου; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς· οὔτε ἐμὲ οἴδατε οὔτε τὸν πατέρα μου· εἰ ἐμὲ ᾔδειτε, καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου ἂν ᾔδειτε
Therefore they [the Pharisees] were saying to him, “Who is your father?”  Jesus answered, “You neither know me, nor my father.  If you would have known me, you would have known my father also.”  John 8:19
You can see how this passage reads like the variant reading from the TR in 14:7.    The big difference here is that the greek verb for “to know” is different here than the verb used in 14:7.  Another difference it that Jesus is saying this to the Pharisees in 8:19 and not his disciples.  Now an argument can be made that the disciples could also fit into the Pharisee camp of unbelief, but I do not accept that.  The disciples may not have known fully who Jesus was at this time, but they knew enough to have followed him for three years and to still be with him.  So the argument for the TR reading fails to reach the mark on textual grounds as well as common sense grounds, not to mention that many Biblical scholars believe the same way as well.
Jesus was giving the disciples a promise that they would know the father as they know him; personally.  That actually happened on the Day of Pentecost when the Church was birthed.  He was not telling them that they had known nothing about him.  They may not have “grasped” the whole idea of who Jesus was, but that was soon to change just three days later on a Sunday morning.  On that day, it would become abundantly clear who Jesus was.

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