A Translation of John’s Gospel from the Greek

by Anthony Buzzard

 

This is an ongoing translation of the Gospel of John which has appeared chapter by chapter in the Focus on the Kingdom magazine (Oct. 2004, Jan. 2005, Oct. 2005, Aug. 2006, April + May 2009)

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

 

Chapter 1

I

n the beginning there was God’s Grand Design, the declaration of His Intention and Purpose, and that declaration was with God as His project, and it was fully expressive of God Himself. This was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through it, and without it nothing of what came into being existed. In it there was life and that life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overwhelm it. There came on the scene of history a man commissioned by God. His name was John. This man came as a witness [a preacher of the Gospel of the Kingdom, Matt. 3:2] so that he might bear witness to the light and that everyone might believe through him. He was not the Light himself, but he witnessed concerning the light. This was the genuine light which enlightens every man coming into the world.

He was in the world and the world came into existence through him, and the world did not recognize him. He came to his own land and his own people did not accept him. As many, however, as did accept him, to these he gave the right to become children of God — namely the ones believing in his Gospel revelation, his religion. These were born not from blood, nor from the desire of the flesh nor from the desire of a male, but from God. And the word became a human being and tabernacled among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of a uniquely begotten Son from a Father, full of grace and truth.

John witnessed concerning him and cried out with these words, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The one coming after me has now moved ahead of me, because he always was my superior.’” Because from his fullness all of us have received grace followed by grace. Because the law was given by God through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. A uniquely begotten Son, one who is in the bosom of the Father — he has explained God. And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent a commission of priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed and did not deny, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “Who are you? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” And they said to him, “Who are you? So that we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord God,’ as Isaiah the prophet spoke.” And the ones sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him a further question, “Why do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah or the prophet who was to come?” John answered them, “I am baptizing in water. Among you there stands one whom you do not recognize — the one coming after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” These things happened in Bethany beyond the Jordan where John was baptizing.

The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and he said, “This is the lamb of God, the one who removes the sin of the world. This is the one of whom I said, ‘After me there comes a man who has now moved ahead of me, because he was always my superior.’ And I did not recognize him, but so that he might be recognized by Israel for that reason I came baptizing with water.” And John witnessed with these words: “I saw the spirit descending as a dove out of heaven and remaining on him, and I did not recognize him. But the one who sent me to baptize in water spoke to me and said, ‘The one on whom you see the spirit descending and remaining on him, he is the one who baptizes with holy spirit.’ And I saw this, and I have witnessed to the fact that this is the Son of the One God.”

On the next day again John stood with two of his disciples, and seeing Jesus walking by, he said, “This is the Lamb of the One God.” And the two disciples heard him speaking and followed Jesus. Jesus, turning round and seeing them following him, said, “What are you looking for?” They said, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying?” And he said to them, “Come and see.” And so they went and saw where he was staying and remained with him that whole day. And it was about the tenth hour. This was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, one of the two who had heard from John and followed him. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means the Christ). He brought him to Jesus, and Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You will be called Cephas, which translated means Peter.” The next day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip then found Nathaniel and said to him, “The one about whom Moses wrote in the law and whom the prophets mentioned, we have found, Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathaniel said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathaniel coming towards him and he said of him, “Behold a genuine Israelite in whom there is no guile.” Nathaniel said to him, “How is it that you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathaniel answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered him with these words: “Because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree, you are a believer? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “I tell you on the authority of my Father, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

 

Chapter 2

N

ow on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When they ran out of wine, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus said to her, “What do you and I have in common, lady? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he tells you to do, do.” There were six water jars standing there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding about 20 or 30 gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them to the brim, and he said to them, “Now pour them out and bring them to the head steward of the wedding,” and they did this. When the head steward had tasted the water which had become wine and he did not know how this had happened, (but the servants who had poured out the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said, “Everybody serves the good wine at the beginning and when everyone has drunk sufficiently, poorer wine. But you have kept the best wine until now.” Jesus performed this, the first of his signs, at Cana in Galilee, and he displayed his glory and his disciples believed in him. After this he, his mother, his brothers and his disciples went down to Capernaum and they stayed there for a few days. And the Jewish festival of Passover was approaching and Jesus went up to Jerusalem and he found in the temple those selling cattle, sheep and doves. He made a little whip and drove them out of the temple and overturned the tables and said to those selling the doves, “Take these things out of here. Do not make my Father’s house into a market place.” And the disciples remembered what Scripture had said: “A passion for your House consumes me.” So the Jews answered Jesus with these words: “What sign are you going to show us, that you are able to do these things?” Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews answered, “This temple was under construction for 46 years and you say that you are going to raise it again in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. When Jesus was later raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said these words and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover festival many believed in his name [his claims and his Gospel teaching] when they saw the signs which he was doing. But Jesus did not commit himself to them because he knew the nature of every man. And he did not need anyone to testify about man, because he knew what was in man.

 

Chapter 3

T

here was a man from the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a Jewish ruler. He came to see Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we recognize that you are a teacher commissioned by God. No one can possibly do these signs which you are performing, unless God is with him.” Jesus replied to him, “I tell you on the authority of God, unless a person is born again, he is unable to see the Kingdom of God.” Nicodemus replied, “How is it possible for a person to be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”

Jesus answered, “On the authority of God I tell you that unless a person is born from water and spirit, he will be unable to enter the Kingdom of God. What has been born of flesh is fleshly and what has been born of spirit is spiritual. Do not be amazed that I told you you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from and where it goes. So it is with anyone who has been born from the spirit.” Nicodemus responded, “How can these things happen?” Jesus replied, “Are you a teacher in Israel, and you do not understand these things? On God’s authority I assure you, we speak the things which we know about and witness to the things we have seen, but you do not accept our witness [Gospel]. If I have told you about things on earth and you do not believe them, how will you believe heavenly things if I tell you about them?

“And no one has ascended to heaven [i.e. gained access to the secrets of God] except the one who has his origin in God, the one who is the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that all who believe in him may gain the life of the Age to Come [the life of the Kingdom].

“God loved the world in this way, that He gave His uniquely begotten Son, so that every person who believes in him should not perish but have the life of the Age to Come. For God did not send His Son into the world for the purpose of condemning the world, but so that the world might be rescued through him. The person who believes in him is not condemned. But the one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the revelation [lit., the name] of God’s uniquely begotten Son. This is the reason for condemnation: the light has come into the world and human beings loved darkness rather than light, because their activities were wicked. Every person who does wicked things hates the light and will not come to the light, so that his works will not be exposed. But the one who performs truth comes to the light, so that his works may be demonstrated as performed in God.”

After these things Jesus and his disciples came into Judea and he stayed there with them and was baptizing people. And John the Baptist was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there were many springs there and people were coming to get baptized. John the Baptist had not yet been thrown into prison.

There arose a dispute amongst the disciples of John with a Jew about purification. So they came to John and asked him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, the one you bore witness to [i.e. said he was the Messiah], he is baptizing and a lot of people are joining him.” John replied, “A man can receive nothing unless it is granted him from heaven. You yourselves will confirm the fact that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. But the friend of the bridegroom who stands and listens to him has great joy hearing the bridegroom’s voice. I am therefore full of joy. He must increase, while I must decrease.

“The one who comes from above is superior to all. The one who comes from the earth is of the earth and speaks from the earth. The one coming from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard. But no one accepts his witness [Gospel]. The person who does accept his witness [Gospel] sets his seal on the fact that God is truthful. For the one whom God sent as His agent speaks the words of God, for he does not give out the spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son and has given him power over everything. The person who believes in the Son has the life of the Age to Come; the one who refuses to obey the Son will not see that life. Rather, the wrath of God remains on him.”

 

Chapter 4

N

ow when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself was not actually doing the baptisms, but his disciples were), he left Judea and went back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you a greater man than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his sons and his cattle?” Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I will give will never thirst[1]: the water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to the life of the age to come.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your husband. What you have just said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation comes from the Jews. Yet a time is coming, and has now come, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is looking for such people to worship Him. God communicates through spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”[2]

The woman said, “I know that the Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus replied “I am[3] [he, the Messiah], the one speaking to you.” At this point his disciples returned and were surprised to find him speaking to a woman, but none of them asked, What do you want from her? Or, What are you talking to her about? The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the men, “Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?”

They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” “My food,” Jesus said, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to complete His work. Do you not have a saying: Four months and then the harvest? Well, I tell you, look around you, look at the fields; they are white, ready for harvest! Already the reaper is being paid his wage; already he is bringing in fruit for the life of the age to come, so that sower and reaper can rejoice together. You know the saying, ‘One sows and another reaps.’[4] I sent you to reap a harvest you have not labored for. Others have labored for it; and you have shared the rewards of their labor.” And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in him because of the words of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more believed because of his word [i.e., Gospel]. and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we are convinced that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

When the two days were over Jesus left for Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast.

Once more Jesus visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was close to death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus said to him and departed. While he was on his way home, his slaves met him and told him that his boy was going to live. He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, “The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.” Then the father realized that this was the exact moment at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son is going to live.” So he and all his household believed.

This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, on his return from Judea to Galilee.

 

Chapter 5

A

fter this there was a Jewish festival and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.[5] Now in Jerusalem at the sheep-gate there is a pool called in Aramaic Bethsaida with five colonnades. In this there lies a mass of sick people, blind, crippled and paralyzed. There was one man there who had been sick for 38 years. Jesus saw him lying there and knowing he had been an invalid for a long time, asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered, “Sir, I have no one to take me down into the pool when the water is stirred up. As I try to go down, someone else goes down in front of me.” Jesus said to him, “Pick up your bed and walk,” and immediately the man was healed and picked up his bed and began to walk. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It’s Sabbath and it is not permissible for you to carry your bed.” But he answered them, “The one who healed me said, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’” They said to him, “Who is this man who told you to get up and walk?” The man who had been healed did not know who it was, because Jesus had left since there was a crowd at that place. After this Jesus found him in the temple and he said to him, “Look, you are healed now. Don’t sin any more. If you do a worse thing might happen to you.”

The man went off and announced to the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. So then the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he had done these things on the Sabbath. Jesus replied to them, “My Father is working up to now and I am working too.” For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only had he broken the Sabbath but he was calling God his own Father and making himself equal to God. So Jesus answered them by saying, “Truly I tell you, a son is unable to do anything on his own authority. He can do only what he sees his father doing. Whatever his father does, the son does likewise. Because the Father loves the Son and has shown him what He is doing, and He will show him greater things, so that you may marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and makes them alive so also the Son makes alive whom he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that everyone may honor the Son as they honor the Father. The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who commissioned him as his agent. Truly I tell you that the one who hears my word[6] and thus believes the one who commissioned me has the life of the age to come,[7] and will not come into judgment but he has been transferred from death to life. Truly I tell you that the hour is coming, and now already is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will come back to life. Just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted the Son to have life in himself, and He has given him authority to carry out judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear the voice of the Son of Man. They will come out of their graves, the ones who have done good to a resurrection of life and those who have practiced evil to a resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on my own authority. As I hear I judge, and my judgment is fair, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who commissioned me as His agent. If I witness about myself, my witness is not true. But there is another who witnesses about me and I know that the witness He gives on my behalf of me is true.

“You sent messengers to John and he witnessed to the truth, but I do not accept witness from men. But these things I am telling you so that you can be saved. He was a bright shining light and you were willing to rejoice in his light for a time. But I have a much greater witness than John because the works which the Father has given me to do, these works witness to the fact that the Father has commissioned me. And my Father who commissioned me has borne witness to me. You have never heard His voice or seen His form at any time.[8] And you do not have His word dwelling in your heart. Because the one whom the Father commissioned — him you do not believe.

“You search the Scriptures because you imagine that you have the life of the age[9] to come in them. These are the very Scriptures which bear witness to me. But you are not willing to come to me to have that life. I do not receive praise from men, but I know that you do not have God’s love in you. I have come in the name of my Father and you do not accept me. Yet if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you possibly believe when you accept praise from one another and you fail to seek the praise which comes from the only One who is God? Don’t imagine that I will accuse you before the Father. There is one who will accuse you and that is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. If indeed you believed Moses you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But if you will not believe his writings, how can you possibly believe my words?”[10]


[1]Possibly, “not thirst even during the coming age.”

[2]John appropriately calls the holy spirit, the “spirit of the truth.” Hence the enormous importance of truth.

[3]Note that Jesus said “I am.” The meaning of the words “I am” is clearly “I am the Messiah.” “I am the one in question.”  The same “I am” statements of Jesus found later in the Gospel do not mean “I am God,” but “I am the Messiah,” as this first example shows.

[4]Note the obvious connection to the parable of the sower, where the seed is the saving Gospel of the Kingdom (Matt. 13:19).

[5] John and his community do not think of these as Christian festivals but as Jewish festivals. Col. 1:16-17 describes the Jewish calendar, Sabbath, holy days and new moons as a single shadow of which Jesus is the substance.

[6] i.e., my Gospel of the Kingdom as described in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

[7] i.e. life in the future Kingdom of God, tasted in advance by the spirit given to believers.

[8]The implication is probably that they could have had such a divine visitation, as did Moses.

[9] “Eternal life” (zoe aionios, pronounced in Greek today as “zoee ai-ownios”) means “the life of the age to come,” and is based on the “life of the age” (Dan. 12:2), the promise of life in the future resurrection, tasted now by the spirit given to those who believe the Gospel and thus obey Jesus (Heb. 5:9). The spirit is a downpayment of that future immortality.

[10]Showing that believing the words of Jesus (and Paul, of course) is the essence of New Covenant faith.


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