I had gone and purchased a new bible recently because my old one was worn and had fallen apart. The only thing that always concerns me when it comes to purchasing an updated bible are the translations. The wording may not seem important to some, but when it comes down to the sake of interpretation, wording usually plays a big part in helping the reader to comprehend the message the author was trying to omit.
I have found a few errors in the updated New International Version (NIV) of the bible and the following errors, I have corrected, as followed (I am beginning with the book of John because it holds the most important message in the New Testament (NT):
* John 1:5- 'The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.'
The original reading should have remained the same because it is more accurate, which used to be, 'The light shines in darkness but the darkness has not understood it.' The reason is because the updated reading implies that the darkness is expected to overpower the light but this is wrong. The struggle of the darkness with the light in the original reading implies that the foolishness of the blind cannot comprehend wisdom. But those who do understand it, would then be considered as those crossing over from darkness into the light because the darkness represents ignorance and the light represents having been educated with wisdom. The updated version takes the reader away from the main point of the verse and only keeps them focusing on the literal concept of darkness vs the light and that concept is wrong.
* John 1:3- 'Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.'
This verse is confusing and the reading implies that without the Word, nothing was made that's already been made. If nothing was made without him, then how can it have been made? It should have been written much simpler for the reader to understand, like this, "Through him all things were made; there was nothing that was made that was not made through him.' This gives the reader a better understanding that the verse basically implies that anything that was not created through the Word, didn't exist at all; and anything that did exist, was because it was made through him.
* John 1:12- 'Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God..'
This reading has remained the same but it actually should read, 'Yet to all who did receive him (the author is referring to the receiving of the "Word", not the physical person of Jesus), to those who believed (dropping the rest wording of the verse 'in his name') he gave the right to become children of God..'
The verse that includes 'to those who believed in his name' contradicts Christ's own words when he gave this charge to the disbelievers in John 10:38 '..."even though you do not believe me, believe the works..." because it is evident that the author wants the reader to understand, it is not the messenger that is important, but the message he was sent to give mankind and Christ's own words wanted to make that clear to the non believers in John 10:38.
* John 1:20- 'He did not fail to confess but to confess freely, "I am not the Messiah."
Original wording used to be "I am not the Christ." and should have remained the same. The reason being is because the translation of Christ is 'Savior' and the translation of the Messiah is 'Annointed One', they mean two different things. Messiah is anyone who is 'Annointed by God' and both the Jews and Muslims even understand that the term Messiah can refer to prophets as well and according to the author of the Gospel of John, John the Babtist is indeed a prophet. So, for an educated religious reader to read John the Baptist claiming he is not an Annointed One, can confuse an educated religious reader to wonder why he is claiming that he is not a prophet. But for John the Baptist to claim he is not the Christ lets the educated religious reader understand that John is indeed a prophet but he is simply isn't the 'Savior', and they can understand the difference. When John the Baptist denied he was 'the Prophet' in the following verses after denying to be the Christ, he is denying that he is Elisha, for that's who they were referring to when they asked him if he was 'the Prophet' after asking him if he was Elijah. But John the Baptist wouldn't deny that he is A prophet even though he is not THE prophet, that's the difference in the following verses.
* John 1:34- '"I have seen and I testify that this is God's Chosen One."'
The updated wording actually broadens the various ways this passage could be interpreted, as far as trying to understand the author's description of who Christ really is, instead of narrowing Christ's description. The older versions used to read "I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God." This too does not exactly help the reader understand the author's intent in trying to help the reader understand who or what the Christ is.
To refer to Jesus as being a "Chosen One" takes away the idea that he always was and gives the reader the impression that God had a number of individuals to choose from but He chose Jesus. But in the beginning of the book of John, the author makes it very clear that Christ was NOT Chosen but always WAS appointed before the world began. God could not CHOOSE if He did not have other options to choose from since "NOTHING was made that was NOT made through him" (John 1:3) therefore, Christ was not Chosen because he was the only thing that existed before anything else was created, including mankind. Therefore, he was Appointed, not Chosen, to accurately parallel the author of Proverb's claim of Wisdom's own words "I was Appointed from Eternity" (Prov 8:23).
So, in order to make the verse read completely accurate, John 1:34 should be written more like this, "I have seen and testify that this is God's Appointed One." or "I have seen and testify that this is the one and only Appointed One of God." That will help the reader understand the author's purpose for depicting Jesus as being the only genuine one of the highest authority, not someone who is randomly picked and "chosen". It narrows the number of ways this passage can be interpreted, to draw a more definitive picture of who and what Jesus really is.
* John 2:23- 'Now while he was in Jerusalem, at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.'
Again, as I explained earlier regarding John 1:12, for it to be written ..'many people believed in his name.' takes the reader away from the purpose for his deeds and causes them to believe that the miracles was to make people worship Jesus. Jesus himself disregarded the importance of the non believers to believe him, but only stressed the importance that they at least believed in God's WORKS. The author of John wants the reader to reflect on each passage to allow them to find the answers hidden between the lines, sort of speak. So, the verse should be written more so like this, 'many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in God.' because the sole purpose for Jesus's miracles was not to turn all mankind to him but to draw all of their focus to himself in order to turn them to God. His purpose was to turn the hearts of the children to the Father, not to the Son. "The Son does his father's work in order to gather the flock to return the sheep to his Father." Such was the concept of all the four gospels. Jesus was not gathering sheep for himself, as he always claimed he was gathering the sheep for God. This is why wording is important when it comes to displaying the message the author was trying to deliver in the book of John. Incorrect wording can guide a reader to misunderstand the true purpose for the gospel and when the wording causes the reader to misunderstand the main point of the story, the book becomes useless and is not used for the purpose in which it was written.
The Gospel of John is the most important book in the New Testament. The accuracy of the translations and wording is crucial in this gospel because this book solely relies on guiding people to God and unveils the true purpose for Christ's coming into the world while the other gospels focuses only on the worldly and physical aspects of Christ. The Gospel of John is strictly a spiritual book. Its purpose was to take the reader away from the worldly aspects of God and to make them stop seeing God with their physical eyes and teach them to see the real God, who can only be seen by the eyes of the spirit, which is only found in the heart of every individual. If a man cannot see God with their heart, they will never see God at all and that's why the Gospel of John was written. And it is why it should be highly regarded as the most important book of the New Testament.
The language in which the author writes this gospel is Insight. This book was meant to teach readers to be insightful and focus not on the actual verse or the words themself but to cause them to look deeper into the passage, to search for meaning in order to find Understanding. But when the wording is changed and does not go according to the way the book was originally written and loses its purpose, it also completely loses its worth. It is supposed to remain a profound book because the Understanding it provides drives deep into a man's bones, that it touches his soul and opens his heart's eyes.. The book was meant to teach men to open the eyes of their own spirit so that they can truly see God. No one can see God unless they possess the gift of Understanding and that's precisely what the gospel of John offers the reader.
I find it especially disturbing that out of all the books, the gospel of John was changed to be written in a way to teach the reader to continue to worship physical appearances of God by causing them to focus on Jesus's character and his deeds in the world and the importance of his name. All of these things are just the mere surface or a veil over the true aspects of Christ. The original author helped the reader understand that the journey he was taking the reader on, was a spiritual journey. Passages after passages, he tries to pull the reader away from perceiving God's message with a worldly mind but tries to guide him to perceive it with his heart. For instance, in the passage that tells of Christ's interaction with Nicodemus, Christ said to him, "The flesh gives birth to flesh, but the spirit gives birth to spirit.. you must be born again." (John 3:5-6) and also in John 6:63, when Christ himself clearly says "..THE FLESH COUNTS FOR NOTHING." The author is trying to knock on the reader's brain to get them to stop focusing on physical things and to stop perceiving Christ as a physical person who concerned himself with physical things because everything he was sent to do concerned only the SPIRIT OF MEN, not their physical bodies. Therefore, as I read the updated version of the Bible, I am going to continue to help point out the errors in the edited versions to help guide people to understand it the way it used to be understood, the way it was meant to be understood.
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I see where you are coming from and your concern. It is a concern of many. However I think you need to be careful when you say this is what it should say. I noticed you are taking aim at the NIV, the version some critics call the nearly inspired version. What version was your old Bible that are you correcting the language too?
Have you ever looked at this website that show versions side by side http://biblehub.com/john/3-16.htm
Have you ever used the English Standard Version of the Bible?
Dear Visitor, thank you for the feedback. I wasn't implying that Jesus never came in the flesh nor was I belittling the importance of him as a person. He was a real person. From what I gathered from each of the four gospels (maybe it's just my own perception) was that they each possess a main focus on a specific aspect of Jesus. The gospel of Matthew surrounded on his teachings, the gospel of Mark surrounded on his deeds, and the gospel of Luke surrounded on his life, all of which focus on the physical aspects of Christ. There is a reason why the four gospels were placed in the order found in the New Testament. The first three gospels focus on the physical person of Jesus so that they educate the reader about him when he was in the flesh in the world. But the gospel of John was about his Spirit, which is why it is the most important gospel out of the four. It focuses on the deep things of God and takes the reader away from the physical being of Jesus to get to know his Spirit, the same Spirit of God. I do apologize if my wording might cause people such as yourself to take it the wrong way, but I just wanted to stress that there was no need for the revisions to keep the reader focused on the physical aspects of Jesus in the gospel of John since there are 3 other gospels that do that from various aspects. Thank you for reading.
Dear J L.D,
I found your article very helpful and was reminded that we do need to take the words of scripture seriously. Good translations do matter when we are getting down to details. The Jehovah's Witnesses translation of John 1:1 teaches that Jesus 'was a god' not 'was God' Paraphrases like the MESSAGE can be very helpful, but sometimes they can miss important details.
BUT, we also need to take care when we write about and interpret the scriptures. Something you wrote in the last paragraph could be taken the wrong way. I quote, "..stop focusing on physical things and to stop perceiving Christ as a physical person who concerns Himself with physical things"
As I am sure you know, John wanted to help us to see that Jesus was far more than a man; and yet He also went to great pains to refute an early form of Gnosticism which tried to teach that Jesus didn't really come in the flesh - because the flesh was evil. But John 1:14 says "The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us." Also, 1 John 4:2 says, "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God."
Scripture makes a clear distinction between our physical flesh and the fleshly life.