Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Textual Notes on 1 John 2:7

One of my joys has been teaching my children NT Greek on Fridays. We have been working through Watson Mills’ Greek grammar over the past two years. Near the end of the book, we began some simple translations from 1 John and have been working on 1 John 2:7-10. It’s been great to point out to the kids, “You are reading the Bible in the original language!!!”

The children have also been , of necessity, learning about issues in text and translation. An example came when they translated 1 John 2:7 (Mills uses the modern critical Greek text) and compared translations. There are two key textual issues in this verse. First, the traditional text begins “Brethren [adelphoi]”, while the modern text reads, “Beloved [agapetoi].” Second, the prepositional phrase “from the beginning [ap arches]” appears twice in the traditional text, while the second occurrence is omitted in the modern text.

So, we can compare the NKJV (traditional text) with the NIV (modern text):

NKJ 1 John 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.

NIV 1 John 2:7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.

It has been great to see the children begin to ask questions and unlock answers about how God has preserved his Word and what is involved in translating the Bible.


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