Thursday, March 22, 2012

John 1:3-4; Greek Sentence Issues

Everyone loves John 1:1-5, but there are issues with the sentence structure in the Greek.  While the NT was being written and copied, the text was written scriptura continua or "continuous script".  There were no spaces between words and very little punctuation.  A good example is from one of the oldest copies of John’s Gospel, P66.  The script of P66 looks like this:

Note that there were no verse numbers.  That was added hundreds of years later.  Our problem with this text occurs in verse 3 and verse 4 with ὃ γέγονεν (what has come into being).  It either goes with what precedes it in verse 3, or is the beginning of the next sentence.  Here are the two renderings.
1. All things came into being through him, and apart from him, not one thing came into being which has come into being.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
2. All things came into being through him, and apart from him, not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Which is correct?  Hmmmmm.

2 comments:

  1. Bro. Beatty, once again you put forward a good question. I get a slightly different rendering from this same piece of script.

    All things came into being through him, apart from him not one thing came into being. What has come from HIM? Life and the life was the light of men.

    Of course I think all three renderings tend to say the same thing ~ "God did it if it was done" ~ and of course life is something that was done (created).

    We tend to be a 'word realted to actions' people. We read 'into' what is said based upon tone and visual cues...I think it would have been the same for the writters of the original letters, books, commentaries, prophecies etc. They are men trying to put into words what God has impressed upon them. In some cases it is given word for word, inothers such as this part of John it appears to be a personal commentary based upon a God given vison. I try and put myself in the place of John and then try to get the Holy Ghost to direct me to the right direction. I think you do that too. God bless in the name of the Lord Jesus.

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