chrysologus400 (chrysologus400 ) wrote in koine ,

John 3:1-24

As a follow-up to my last Gk. post, I happily present this translation of John 3:1-24.

I would also like to say that I have edited several parts of my previous translation in my personal LJ, marking changes in bold. My original, inferior translation can still be found in the koine community. I shall follow this procedure in the future when editing translations which I have posted to both LJs.

Now there was a man from the Pharisees whose name was Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs which you do, unless God is with that person." Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I tell you, unless one is born from above, one cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can an adult be born? Can one go into one's mother's womb a second time and be born?" Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I tell you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, one cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it wills and you hear it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. It is the same way for everyone born of the Spirit." Nicodemus answered and said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered and said to him, "You are a teacher of Israel and you do not know these things? Amen, amen, I tell you that we speak what we know and testify to what we have seen, but you do not accept our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you did not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has gone up into heaven except him who came down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but may have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world may be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned, but the one who does not believe has already been condemned, because that one has not believed in the name of God's only Son. And this is the judgment, that the light came into the world and human beings loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil. For everyone who does evil things hates the light and does not come to the light, so that one's works may not be exposed. but the one who does what is true comes to the light, so that that one's works may be shown to have been done in God.

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea and he remained there with them and was baptizing.

And John was baptizing in the Aenon near Salim, because there was a lot of water there, and people were coming and being baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison.


This translation is the first one that I've done where one can really find things in the Gk. text that cannot be conveyed in the Eng.

For example, in a class I taught on the Bible at my church over the summer, there was one man whose hobby horse seemed to be debating "Protestants" (fundamentalists, I think) about what John 3:7 says. He insisted that it says "You must be born from above" and, according to him, they insisted that it says "You must be born again." I'm not sure why this mattered, honestly, but I was able to explain to him that the Gk. adverb "anothen" means both "from above" and "again." Most modern translators and exegetes believe that Jesus meant "from above" (because later he says that you must be born from the Spirit) but that Nicodemus misunderstood it as "again" (and so asked if one could enter the womb a second time). This sort of misunderstanding is common in John.

Secondly, one must note that the word "pneuma" means both "spirit" and "wind," hence Jesus' referring to "the wind blows where it wills" to explain those born of the Spirit. A related issue is when to capitalize "spirit," especially in the phrase "what is born of the Spirit is spirit." I capitalized the former Spirit because I take it to be a reference to the Holy Spirit.

Thirdly, the "you" of the later part of the story is plural, to contrast with "we." Jesus speaks on behalf of the Xians of the evangelist's day and has Nicodemus speak on behalf of the Jews of his day. This rhetorical anachronism is utilized in John but not in the Synoptics.

Lastly, there is the perennial issue of where to end quotations in John since the narrator speaks in the same fashion as he has Jesus speak. I stopped the quotation after the Son of Man reference, because otherwise Jesus keeps speaking in the third person, whereas it is typical for him to speak in the third person when calling himself the Son of Man.

x-posted to my personal LJ
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