John 3:36

John 3:36 in the NABRE reads:

" Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him."

The KJV, NKJV, HCSB and DR translate the 2nd verb as disbelief/does not believe while the ESV, NABRE, RSV translate it similar to the NABRE

The NASB uses “does not obey”, but has “believe” in the footnote.

But they all translate the first verb as believe. Why is this? It really does change the meaning of the verse. (I don’t know Greek at all BTW)

NIV uses “rejects” for the 2nd verb and I actually like that the best

“Believe” and “does not believe” would be most accurate. The root word is πίστις which really translates more directly as faith. So I suppose a more literal translation would say “Whoever has faith in the Son has life eternal, but who has un-faith will not see life.”

maybe it even depends on what greek text you use…In John 3:36, mine uses ἀπείθεια, which translates to: unwillingness or refusal to comply with the demands of some authority—‘to disobey, disobedience.’

Interesting - so it could be a variation in the manuscripts rather than the translation

Could be…I think that is why, while the literal sense of scripture is important, that we are also to consider the spiritual sense…from a moral or anagogical standpoint as the Catechism tells us. The lessons coming from the spiritual sense are not necessarily dictated by the preciseness of a word or two in a translation.


Long story short, there are 2 general groups of manuscripts. The vastly larger group reads one way, the smaller but older group reads a different way (in places). Some Christians hold the one group as authoritative and accurate, some hold the other group. (Most don’t know the difference)

Is this the TR vs the Vatican one I can’t spell ?

Also, I thought the RSV was a revision of the KJV and thus based on the TR, but they translate differently.

(Because this could be a charged topic for some, I am going to try to keep this fair to both sides)

Yes, the larger newer group is commonly referred to/contains the Textus Receptus (TR). The other group is much smaller, but is led by Codex Vaticanus (also sometimes called Codex 'B) and Codex Sinaiticus (also called Aleph [First Hebrew letter]).

As far as I know, there is not one full complete manuscript of the OT and NT. What we have are thousands of pieces; some are nearly comprehensive (missing only a few books) while others are just 1 or two books.

The two groups contradict each other in numerous places. Most of the contradictions are minor (spelling/grammatical stuff); but there are some that can, and have, been used to promote radical (Mainline Protestants and Catholics would both call ‘heresy’) beliefs. Not all of the differences rise to the level of heresy, though; many of them are like the one you pointed out that makes you go :hmmm::hmmm:.

Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are both dated to have come from the 400s; most manuscripts that read similar to them are from around that time, but there aren’t many. This family is also referred to as Alexandrian.

The Textus Receptus family comes much later, maybe 1000-1200. They are far more numerous than the other family. This family is also called Byzantine or sometimes Antiochan.

There are also some ‘hybrid’ manuscripts. They read one style in some books and a different style in others. An example of this is Codex Alexandrinus (Codex ‘A’); in the Gospels it follows the Byzantine family, while in the epistles it is Alexandrian.

There are also Caesarean and Western Families, but things get a little fuzzier with those.

Hope that was fair to all sides (except maybe Caesarean and Western)

It is a very good statemtne that “believe” means to obey. It is not just a simple sinners prayer, but entails following His teachings. :thumbsup:

Well, this is actually one of the passages that the King James only folks point to as evidence that the newer translations can’t be trusted.

My thoughts exactly. The first part does not merely state “believe” but “believe in”. This is implying the obedience of belief as opposed to mere belief without obedience, which is a dead faith even as demons have.

It’s ultimately just the question of how to translate the verb apeithōn. As you might know, translation is not exactly an exact science: translating a given word into another language can at times be difficult, since that word could contain different meanings which are normally expressed using different, distinct words in the language of translation. Let’s say the English word ‘dog’: it could mean ‘dog’ as an animal, or the metal support for logs in a fireplace, or a sausage or ‘hot dog’ - not to mention slang as in “You lucky dog” or “You dirty dog” or “'Sup, dawg.” :cool: In other languages, their word for ‘dog’ may not have the same ranges of meaning as the English word does: they might use different words for ‘dog as in animal’ or ‘sausage’ or ‘dude’.

In this case, that single verb apeithōn could mean ‘to reject’, ‘to disobey’, ‘to not comply with’, and ‘to disbelieve’. That one word is packed with a layer of possible meanings. It’s up to the translator to choose which particular connotation he feels is suited best for the context.

(Just a minor correction for TxGodfollower: there’s no variance among the manuscripts at this point AFAIK.)

It seems your right, atleast as far as I can tell; all the greek looks like gibberish to me, but its the same looking gibberish.

Your right, translating is difficult. I believe the only way we can hope to have the Bible in English (or any other language) would be for God to direct the translation personally.

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