Amazing! With each new Harmony I read, month after month, I notice things I have never noticed before. A regular reading of the gospels would have me focusing on the obvious action, the major themes. I find myself noticing different things now. Sub-plots. Characters. Words. Phrases. Recurring themes. Connections. I’m loving it!
In Gary Crossland’s The Merged Gospels, he translates from the Greek in a much more literal, word for word format. Where others translate words, but rearrange them and maybe add a word to make the sentence flow in English, Crossland puts these added words in ( ) so you know they’ve been added. It helps me to see how sometimes translation also involves interpretation.
In my reading today, here’s something I noticed. Crossland translates John 1:41, regarding Andrew’s encounter with Jesus, “This one first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah!”
The NIV translates this, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon…”
So what difference does this make? I’ve always took the NIV to mean “immediately Andrew went to find his brother Simon.”
Now, reading Crossland’s translation without the word “thing” being added to make the reading smoother, I can see it possibly meaning “Andrew went to find his brother Simon first… and then told so and so second, and then this one third.”
How does this change my reading of this account? Well, it makes sense that if Andrew was excited about meeting the Messiah, he would want to tell Peter first. But it also makes sense that he wouldn’t stop there. He’d tell anyone he could, especially his friends who were nearby.
Could it be that he (and possibly John and then Peter) told Philip about Jesus that night? The next day, Philip responded to Jesus invitation to “Follow Me” and told his friend Nathaniel, “we have found the one that Moses wrote about.” How did Philip know Jesus was the “one that Moses wrote about?” Either Jesus explained it to him, or his friends from Galilee, fellow disciples of John the Baptist, explained it to him.
Another small thing I took note of today. Crossland translates John 4:54 (after the healing of the nobleman’s son), “This again was a second sign Jesus did coming out of Judea to Galilee.” I’ve always read this as meaning this was the second miracle that Jesus performed, with the first being when He turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana. But then reading that Jesus performed many signs while He was in Jerusalem for the Passover, I took it to mean this was the second “recorded” miracle Jesus performed.
The NIV translates it, “This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.” The comma in the sentence always caused me to not really see “come from Judea to Galilee.” But reading it without the comma, and with the phrase “coming out of” instead of “come from” helps me to see it, I believe, more accurately.
I believe what John is saying here is that this is the second miracle Jesus performed outside of Judea/Jerusalem, both of which were performed in Galilee. Both times Jesus was in Cana. So… two miracles outside of Judea, many miracles performed Passover week inside Jerusalem.
While neither of these is life changing or have great “devotional” value, I’m still loving how the Spirit is teaching me, helping me to see scripture more clearly.
And from a practical standpoint, the idea that Andrew didn’t just tell Peter, but likely immediately told others about Jesus also, is a great reminder to be sharing the Good News everywhere we go.
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