SOM-14 Understanding Jesus: Gospel of JohnThis class will examine how Filipinos view Jesus Christ and how that view can be reconciled with the biblical presentation of who Jesus is. How can I bring a biblical understanding of Christ into my ministry?
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 1 SOM-14 Signs in John’s Gospel “John always refers to Jesus’ miracles as “signs,” a word emphasizing the significance of the action rather than the marvel.”1 These signs are more than significant in that John does not use the word “miracle” to describe. John consistently refers to Jesus’ mighty works as “signs.” A miracle underscores power and is generally received with awe. A sign is revelatory, disclosing something from God, something hidden before. The signs are not merely acts of power and might, they unveil that God is at work in Jesus and indeed is present in him. This is an essential affirmation for John, and it moves to the center of what he affirms about Jesus. Jesus is not merely a man; he is more, he conveys the presence of God in the world (John 1:14).2 Signs and Wonders in the OT “… the reference is almost always to the leading of the people out of Egypt by Moses and to the special circumstances under which the people stood up to the passage of the Red Sea and in all of which God proved Himself to be the Almighty and showed Israel to be His chosen people.”3 “At the same time, however, the shmeion which Jesus does show that the age of Moses is not just repeated in Him; it is surpassed in Him as He Himself in His person and what He brings infinitely surpasses Moses, J 1:17. … they make it apparent for all to see that Jesus is in fact more than a new Moses, for Jesus acts as God, and therein He shows Himself to be the Son of God.”4 So whenever we read the word shmeion in John we need to think back to the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. John is telling us that Jesus is identifies with that action through his performance of these signs. What John also shows us, however, is that Jesus is not just like Moses; rather he is greater than Moses and thus worthy of greater respect. 1 Leon Morris, Commentary on John, in International Bible Society, The NIV Study Bible, ed. Kenneth Barker (Grand Rapids, MI: The Zondervan Corporation, 1985). 2 Gary Burge in Michael Carpenter, New Conversation @ Matthews Table, April 14, 2009, http://www.shapevine.com/pg/blog/michaelcarpenter/read/10668/new-‐conversation-‐matthews-‐table (accessed August 10, 2010). 3 Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, SEMEION, Vol. 7, in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Friedrich, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, 200-‐261 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971), 216. 4 Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, SEMEION, Vol. 7, in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Friedrich, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, 200-‐261 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971), 257.
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 2 The purpose of the signs is “to convince people that the Christ, the Son of God, is Jesus.” So how do these signs “breed faith in Jesus?”5 1. The Sign of Turning the Water into Wine [John 2:1-‐11] a. 2:11 “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” i. What did this reveal about Jesus? ii. Signifies the “replacement of the old purifications by the wine of the kingdom of God…”6 2. The Sign of The Healing of the Nobleman’s Son [John 4:46-‐54] a. 4:48 “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” b. 4:54 “This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.” 3. The Sign of Feeding a Huge Crowd [John 6:1-‐15] a. 6:2 “And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.” b. 6:14 “Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” 4. The Sign of Walking on the Water [John 6:16-‐29] a. 6:26 “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” i. Jesus is saying they should be looking at the significance of the signs he is performing rather than the effect those signs have on their own personal lives. “Something really great is happening here but you are only concerned about yourselves!” Does this speak to our tendency to focus on what God can do for us rather than on what God is doing for the world? 5. The Sign of The Healing of a Man Born Blind [John 9:1-‐41] a. 9:16 “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.” i. Some didn’t recognise the signs because they misunderstood his actions. 6. The Sign of Raising Lazarus from the Dead [John 11:1-‐48] a. 11:47 “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.” 5 D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), 167. 6 C.H. Dodd, Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge: University Press, 1953), 297, in D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), 166.
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 3 i. The ultimate in compromise! Even though we know these are signs that prove Jesus is from God, if we let God do his will, we will lose out on all that we have going for us here. 1. Shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the love of God as well as a lack of dependence upon him. They thought the life they had on earth was better than the life in the Kingdom of God. They forgot about that I guess. 7. The Sign of Being raised from the Dead Himself [John 2:18-‐19] a. 2:18 “Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?” b. Signifies “… the replacement of … the old temple by the new in the risen Lord …”7 8. The Sign of the New Birth [John 3:1-‐21] a. 3:2 “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” b. Signifies “… an exposition of new birth for new creation …”8 2:23 “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.” Note the juxtaposition of the “Passover” and the “Signs” Jesus performed. 6:30 “They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?” 7:31 “And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?” 10:41 “And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.” 12:18 “For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.” 12:37 “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:” 20:30 “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:” 7 C.H. Dodd, Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge: University Press, 1953), 297 in D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), 166. 8 C.H. Dodd, Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge: University Press, 1953), 297 in D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), 166.
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 4 I AM Formula Jesus uses a very significant phrase repeatedly throughout John. In is significant to note that this phrase is exclusively used on the lips of Jesus in John. This phrase, however, is meaningless unless we understand Exodus 3:14, where God gives his name to Moses at the burning bush. Ex 3:14 – God answered Moses, "I Am Who I Am (YHWH). This is what you must say to the people of Israel: I Am (YHWH) has sent me to you." Table 1 The Seven "I AM" Statements of Jesus in John Verse I AM the … He who … Response 6:35,4 bread of life “… comes to me will “The Jews began to grumble about 1, never be hungry, & he him … ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of 48,51 who believes in me will Joseph, whose father & mother we never be thirsty” know?” “everyone who looks to “The Jews began to argue sharply the Son & believes in him among themselves, “How can this shall have eternal life …” man give us his flesh to eat?” “a man may eat & never “This is a hard teaching. Who can die.” accept it? … his disciples were “If anyone eats of this grumbling about this … ‘does this bread, he will live offend you?’” forever.” “many of his disciples turned back & no longer followed him.” “‘Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe & know that you are the Holy One of God.’” 8:12 light of the “… follows me will never “The Pharisees challenged him, (9:5)9 world walk in darkness, but will ‘Your testimony is not valid.’” have the light of life.” 10:7,9 gate for the “… enters through me will “At these words the Jews were sheep be saved.” again divided.” [Is Jesus Demon-‐ possessed or not?] 10:11, good shepherd “I know my sheep & my “At these words the Jews were 14 sheep know me.” “There again divided.” [Is Jesus Demon-‐ will be one flock & one possessed or not?] shepherd.” 11:25 resurrection & “… believes in my will “I believe you are the Christ, the 9 These two “light of the world” statements gird the whole discussion of Jesus’ authority that climax in his unreserved declaration to be “I AM.” That Jesus was understood to be claiming to be the YHWH of Ex 3:14 is evidenced by the fact the Jews immediately sought to stone him.
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 5 the life live, even though he dies.” Son of God, who was to come into the world.” 14:6 way, the truth, & “No one comes to the “Lord, show us the Father & that the life Father except through will be enough for us.” me.” 15:1,5 true vine “If a man remains in me & [no response recorded] I in him, he will bear much fruit.” Table 2 The Other "I AM" statements of Jesus in John Verse Statement Kausap Response 4:26 “I who speak to you Woman at the well “Come, see a man who told me am he.” everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 6:20 “It is I; don’t be Disciples in boat Then they were willing to take afraid” him into the boat [after having been too terrified before]. 8:24 “If you do not People; Pharisees; Jews; “Who are you?” believe that I am …” 8:28 “… then you will People; Pharisees; Jews; “Even as he spoke, many put know that I am …” their faith in him.” 8:58 “before Abraham the Jews who had “They picked up stones to stone was, I am!” believed him him …” 13:19 “I am he.”10 Disciples & Apostles “Jesus was troubled in spirit.” 18:5,6 “I am he.” 11 Judas, soldiers, priests, “… they drew back & fell to the Pharisees ground.” 18:8 “I am he.” Judas, soldiers, priests, “Peter … struck the High priest’s Pharisees servant, cutting off his right ear.” “The soldiers … arrested Him.” 1. Moses • What John shows us is that Jesus is not just like Moses; rather he is greater than Moses & thus worthy of greater respect. 2. Abraham • Jews: We are saved because of Abraham. • Jesus: You are saved because of Me! 10 This would be proven by the fact that Jesus knew he would be betrayed. 11 v6 is merely a quotation of v5 that lets us know the reaction of Judas and of the soldiers, priests, and Pharisees to Jesus’ statement.
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 6 3. Father “In John’s Gospel apostellein (apostellein) is used by Jesus when his concern is to ground His authority in that of God as the One who is responsible for His words and works and who guarantees their right and truth. On the other hand, He uses the formula o pemqav me (ho pempsas me pater) to affirm the participation of God in his work in the actio of his sending.” 4. Me The final theme of John is “Me.” So what does all of this mean for you and me? In order to understand that, we need to look at a traditional model of how the church relates to mission: Notice that is is very church centered. It also almost seems like God has to join what the church is doing rather than the church joining what God is doing. God is almost limited to doing what the church does. The church saves; the church gives blessings; the church grows; and the church transforms the world. Something seems to be backwards about this! Another option sees mission as coming from God himself: He is not dependent upon the church nor is he limited by the church in what he does in his mission! God is the one who sends the Son, the Spirit AND the church on HIS mission. “Our missionary activities are only authentic insofar as they reflect participation in the mission of God.”
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 7 So if Jesus sends us “as the Father has sent him,” let’s look at “Sent” words in the Bible to see Jesus’ & our mission. “Sent” words in John apostellw Apostello: The Commission27x in John John 1:6,19,24; 3:17,28,34; 4:38; 5:33,36,38; 6:29,57; 7:29,32; 8:42; 9:7; 10:36; 11:3,42; 17:3,8,18,21,23,25; 18:24; 20:21 Pempw Pempo: The Sending32x in John John 5:37; 6:38-‐40,44; 7:16,18,28,33; 8:16,18,26,29; 9:4; 12:44,45,49; 13:16,20; 14:24,26; 15:21,26; 16:5,7; 20:21 “In John’s Gospel apostellein is used by Jesus when his concern is to ground His authority in that of God as the One who is responsible for His words and works and who guarantees their right and truth. On the other hand, He uses the formula o pemqav me (pater) to affirm the participation of God in his work in the actio of his sending.” The Johannine Great Commission Jesus’ prayer … “As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (17:18). … Jesus’ commission “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (20:21). “Jesus … made his mission the model of ours, saying ‘as the Father sent me, so I send you.’ Therefore our understanding of the church’s mission must be deduced from our understanding of the Son’s.”12 John 14:12 "I can guarantee this truth: Those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing. They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father. 12 John R.W. Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1975), 23.
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 8 John 4:1-42 – Exposition This is a practice in Hermeneutics. Our assignment is to understand what John 4 is all about (The Woman at the Well). 1. Please read the story in John 4:1-‐42 and use our interpretive method, COMCA, on it. 2. Then read the explanation below. Context. Before we begin the process of interpreting John 4, we need to see its context within the Gospel of John. What events have happened in the first three chapters that will help us understand the fourth? Are there any concepts or ideas that John uses here that can be explained by chapters 1-‐3? Conversely, are there any answers in chapter 4 for questions raised in chapters 1-‐3? W5 (Who, What, Why, Where, & When) 1. Who are the people mentioned in the story? This story mentions many different people including the Lord/Jesus, Pharisees, John, disciples, Samaritan woman, Jews & Samaritans (as groups of people), God, 5 husbands (+ 1 not-‐yet husband), Father, Messiah (Christ), & the people of the city. 2. Where does the story take place? The story takes place on the road from Jerusalem to Galilee, in a village of Samaria named Sychar, near the well Jacob had given to his son Joseph (see on vv. 5-‐6, below). 3. When does the story take place? The story takes place sometime after the first Passover of Jesus’ official ministry (2:13). Jesus is on his way back to Galilee. 4. What is happening in the story? He travels through Samaria & meets a woman with whom he has a conversation. The result is that not only the woman becomes saved, the whole town becomes saved as well. 5. What words does John use that have significance in his writings? Truth, Father, water, living water, food, the world, witness. We will look at some of these words during the explanation, below. Explanation. 1 Now when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making & baptizing more disciples than John …”
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 9 4 “He had to pass through Samaria.” Samaria is between Jerusalem & Galilee. There were two roads to take, one crossed the Jordan & travelled north on the eastern side of the river. The other went straight through Samaria. Jesus wanted to leave Judea in a hurry (see on v. 1, above) & so he chose the most direct route possible. “It was about the sixth hour.” “There came a woman of Samaria to draw water.” The sixth hour was about 12:00 PM (noon). In a country that is desert, it is strange to see someone working in the hot sun. Why was she going to the well at this time? “Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." This statement seems simple enough – here is a man, tired after walking a long way in the desert. He sees a well & wants a drink. But why does he have to ask a stranger? Doesn’t he have a group of disciples who can help him? Where are they? 8 “For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.” Certainly an important task but perhaps they forgot something else. “The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ The woman has an interesting response to Jesus’ request. Remember that this is the first time that John has told us about Samaritans – up to this point we have heard nothing about them. So how do we know what the problem is? The answer is to look at the context of the verse in order to see what it means. The first thing that we notice is the next line: “For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” According to Carson, the proper translation of this verse should instead be, “Jews do not use dishes Samaritans have used.” This reminds us of the Jewish customs as described in the Torah, regarding cleanliness. Some things make Jews unclean & God commands them to stay away from them. There is no further information given in the immediate context, so let’s look in the rest of the Bible for the answer. Samaritans: Origins 2 Kings 17:24-‐41 tells about an interesting event in the life of Israel. As you know, the kingdom of Israel was divided after the death of Solomon into Israel & Judah. The capital of Israel was located in Samaria. Throughout the entire history of Israel there were no good kings – all were evil & did evil in the eyes of God. Because of this, God sent the Assyrian army to carry Israel off into captivity. After carrying them off, the Assyrian king resettled the land with people from other countries – Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, & Sepharvaim. Verse 25 tells us that these new settlers did not fear the LORD & so the LORD punished
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 10 them. In the end, the people adopted some of the religious practices of Israel & blended them with their own religious practices, resulting in a religious mess. Of course all of this meant that there was a big gap between the Jews & the Samaritans. 10 “Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, & who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, & he would have given you living water." Given the difficult relationship that Jews & Samaritans have with one another, we are surprised that Jesus is even talking with “one of them.” Why? Notice that he does not respond to the woman’s statement of surprise – he simply continues on by talking about a different kind of water. What new kind of water is he talking about? This is the first indication we have the Jesus is looking for something more than a drink. How is it different from what the woman can give him? Is Jesus really thirsty or is he using the situation to help the woman? What is his purpose in talking with the woman? 11 “The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, & the well is deep; where do you get that living water? The woman has a right to be surprised because the well is indeed deep – almost 50 metres! Here is a man who has no bucket & had just asked someone else for a drink saying that the water he can get will give her life? How can he do that? Notice that she still assumes he is talking about real water that comes from Jacob’s well. Is he? Let’s see. 12 “Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, & drank from it himself, & his sons, & his cattle?" Can you do better than our father Jacob who had to dig for 50 m before reaching water? Here the reason for mentioning the place & name of the well in such detail (see on vv. 5-‐6, above). 13 “Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again …” The fact that the woman was out there getting water is proof of that. But how is Jesus’ water different? 14 “… but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus’ water is more than well water, it is more than spring water. It is water that leads to eternal life. We finally see that Jesus is talking about spiritual water, & not just drinking water. 15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." Does she really understand what Jesus is saying? Or does she think that he is talking about real water that she can drink & won’t have to fetch any more? Is Jesus talking about something different?
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 11 16-17 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, & come here." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, & he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly." How does this relate to water? Or is Jesus really talking about satisfaction? The water from Jacob’s well never satisfies because you always have to return to drink some more. The woman is not living a satisfied life – she is always looking for another man to spend it with. By asking this question, Jesus is telling her that her search is over – he has the very thing she has been looking for. 19-24 “The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; & you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, & now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit & truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, & those who worship him must worship in spirit & truth.” Here we see that the woman finally gets the point – Jesus is a holy man who is talking about things of God. She then begins by stating some of the differences of their beliefs. Why? Does she want to reject his message? I don’t think so. Rather she may be saying that she is unworthy to receive the water Jesus is offering because her religious practices are different. Jesus says that is not important. It is not important where you worship. What is important is how you worship. 19 “… on this mountain …” Mount Gerizim, mentioned in Genesis 12:7-‐8; 33:20 & Deuteronomy 11:29; 27:12 as a place where the people of Israel would be blessed. Apparently the Samaritans were using it as their centre of worship, since they weren’t allowed to use the Temple in Jerusalem (cf. Ezra 4:1-‐3). 25-26 “The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” Jesus is not in the habit of telling people that he is the Messiah, or Christ. 27 “Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, ‘What do you wish?’ or, ‘Why are you talking with her?’” 28 “So the woman left her water jar, & went away into the city, & said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" They went out of the city & were coming to him.” The woman, seeing that her needs have been met, tells the people of the village to go & see him because he can also help them.
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 12 31-33 “Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." So the disciples said to one another, "Has any one brought him food?" Just as the woman doesn’t understand what Jesus is saying, so also his disciples don’t understand. 34-38 “Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, & to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes, & see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, & gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower & reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows & another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, & you have entered into their labor." Jesus closely connects his story of the food with the work of the kingdom of God. His lesson is that each person has a role to fill in the harvest of souls from the world. Some sow & others reap. Perhaps he is teaching his disciples that it is not important whether they are great preachers, or great teachers, or great evangelists – the one who plants the seed is just as important as the one who harvests the fruit – all they need to do is their role. 39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." The concept of witness is not new in John’s Gospel. In the prologue alone we see four references to the idea of John being a witness. The word is used another tewnty-‐eight (28) times in John, ten (10) times in the Epistles, & three (3) & times in Revelation. The concept is this: people experience the goodness of Jesus & in turn tell others about that. Those others are then able to approach Jesus for salvation. 40-41 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; & he stayed there two days.” This shows that the conflict between the Jews & the Samaritans broke down when the Samaritans saw that God really wanted them to be saved as well. 41-42 “And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, & we know that this is indeed…” Just as John was not the answer to the problems of the world, so also the woman was not the answer to the problems of the city. Instead, the people themselves were able to meet & learn from the answer – Jesus Christ himself! “… the Savior of the world." While John uses this title only once in his writings, the concept of “the world” is common in John. It occurs fifty-‐eight (58) times in the Gospel, eighteen (18) times in the Epistles, & three (3) times in the Revelation. The most famous usage is perhaps John 3:16, which says
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 13 that God loved “the world.” In the modern day this statement may not seem all that strange. However, in the context in which Jesus uses it in John 3:16 is shows that God is not only interested in Jews, he is interested in all people, regardless of their ethnic background. In the present passage, the Samaritans use the phrase to show their understanding that although there is a large separation between them & the Jews, God still cares for them & desires their salvation. Textual Criticism – John 5:1-7 In your readings for this past week you may have noticed that the NIV does not include John 5:3b-‐4 with the rest of the passage. Rather, it places those verses in a footnote and says, “Some less important manuscripts ….” What does this mean? Why is it not included in NIV but included in KJV/AV? The passage in full reads as follows (The italicised portions are included in the NIV footnote): 1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralysed – and they waited for the moving of the waters. 4 From time to time and angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-‐eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Imagine, if you will, your job as a Bible translator. Since your goal is to faithfully translate the word of God, you collect together all the copies, or manuscripts, of the Bible that you have. You also realise that since there were no Xerox machines for most of the history of the Bible, the copies you have will be handwritten. Scribes throughout the years will have painstakingly copied these handwritten copies. While the scribes were very good at their jobs, sometimes problems would arise, as follows: 1. Typographical errors would be made. 2. Notes or verses would be added to make the Bible easier to understand. 3. Words that the scribes thought wrong would be “corrected.” a. Eg. “Gusto ko ang tubig” would be changed to “Gusto ko ng tubig” because it is more grammatically correct. However, it is also correct to use ang rather than ng, depending on the situation. Keeping all this in mind, you would want to find the oldest manuscripts you could to make sure that these copying mistakes would be eliminated. Imagine, then , after a few years, someone found some more manuscripts, that were older, and that were sometimes
Understanding Jesus: John Signs in John’s Gospel 14 different from the ones you used before. What would you do? Did you know that this is what really happened? During the translation of the Bible into the King James Version (Authorised Version), the translators had a lot of manuscripts available to them. However, since the translation of the KJV in 1611, Bible scholars have discovered more manuscripts, some of them older than those used by the KJV. These “newly discovered” manuscripts form the basis for the NIV. The difficulty arises when manuscripts do not agree on what a verse says. Here is a summary of what the ancient texts say about John 5:3b-‐4. Texts without John 5: 3b-4 Texts with John 5:4 Name Date (Approx.) Name Date (Approx.) p66 AD 100-‐299 A AD 400-‐599 p75 AD 200-‐299 C3 AD 400-‐599 a AD 300-‐399 K AD 1000-‐1099 B AD 300-‐399 L AD 900-‐999 C* AD 400-‐499 Xcomm AD 1000-‐1099 D AD 400-‐599 D AD 1000-‐1099 Wsupp AD 400-‐499 Q AD 1000-‐1099 0125 AD 400-‐499 Y AD 900-‐1099 atbp. 063 AD 1000-‐1099 078 AD 1000-‐1099 atbp. Notice that the manuscripts that include 5:3b-‐4 are much older than the texts that omit it. What this chart does not tell you is that among those manuscripts that include these verses, there is a lot of disagreement. Some include all of it, others include different parts of it. Some include it but have “*” around it so that we know there is something unique about it – namely, that it may not be original. The translators of the NIV chose to omit the verse based on the evidence from the various manuscripts. So, what does this mean for you, the Bible teacher who doesn’t read Greek? Can the Bible be trusted? The answer is, “Yes!” It can be trusted because there are people who work very hard making sure that the Bible we have in front of us is as close as possible to what the original writers wrote so many years ago. So, what do you do when someone asks you about it? 1. Explain the process a little bit. 2. Look to see if the verse teaches a major point of doctrine or theology. 3. Don’t base your theology upon questionable verses.