Saturday, September 04, 2010
Translation Note: John 1:34
Image: The Jordan River
A few weeks ago, in our midweek meeting at CRBC going verse by verse through the book of John, we came across an interesting translation question relating to John 1:34.
The verse reads: And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God (AV).
The main question we pondered in this verse is that of the speaker. Who is speaking? Is it John the Baptist, continuing a quotation that begins in v. 32 with the introduction, “And John bare record, saying….”
Or, does John the Baptist’s speech end in v. 33? In this case, the declaration in v. 34 would come from John the Apostle. He is prone to such interjections (cf. John 20:30-31; 21:24-25).
Modern translations generally assume that v. 34 is a continuation of John the Baptist’s speech and indicate so by including it without quotation marks. Compare:
“And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” NKJV
“I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” NIV
“And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” ESV
Older translations like the Geneva and AV, however, do not add punctuation. The reader is thus left to ponder the identity of the speaker. Is it John the Baptist or John the Apostle?