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John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned:
Context:

Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night. They discuss the nature of man's origin. Nicodemus asked how anyone is able to know these things himself.

Spoken to:
an individual
Greek Verse:

John 3:18 πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν οὐ κρίνεται. μὴ πιστεύων ἤδη κέκριται, ὅτι μὴ πεπίστευκεν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ μονογενοῦς υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ.

KJV Verse:

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

NIV Verse:

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Literal Alternative:

The one trusting as much as him is not judged. The one not trusting already has been judged since he hasn't trusted as far as the name of the unique Son of God.

Hidden Meaning:

The "believes on/in him" phrase is a play on words hidden in mistranslation. Unlike John 3:15, the phrase "in him" actually meant that. Here, the preposition changed from one meaning "in" to another preposition being "into" a place, but a person is not a place. In this context, it seems to mean "as much as him." This is the same as the "in him" in John 3:16.

The first two occurrences of "believeth" in the KJV are the present tense, as is the first occurrence of "condemned." However, the second "condemned" the final "believed" are both past perfect tense, indicating an action completed in the past.

The concept of a "name" had the meaning of someone's reputation and honor in Christ's era, much like talking about trusting someone's "word" in English.

The specific sense of the word translated as "only-begotten" means being someone's only kind, but it is more generally used to mean "unique." In either case, it is being used metaphorically, since God doesn't have "genes" as such. Remember, the larger context here is Jesus talking about being "born from above" and having two births, one of water and another of the spirit. The whole conversation starts with Nicodemus saying Jesus was clearly sent by God. Jesus is explaining the particulars.

My Takeaway:

People choose their fate.

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About this Site

I started this site fifteen years ago.  My original award-winning work as a "techno-linguist" was in ancient Chinese. I wanted to bring the same computer search and analysis techniques to explore something more important: the original Greek of Jesus's words. To understand why this was important to me, you may want to read this article on how Jesus's meaning is lost.

This site does not promote any religious point of view. On the contrary, it seeks to avoid the competing and evolving religious dogmas that have shaped Biblical translation for centuries.  I purposely use "nonreligious" sources for Greek word meaning, rejoining the study of Biblical Greek with the broader study of ancient Greek. My goal is simply to identify how listeners of Jesus's time would have heard him.

Jesus' words are unique for three reasons.

  1. His words were spoken, not written. Spoken language is inherently different than written language.
  2. His words changed the meaning of words, determining even how later NT authors' used the Greek.
  3. His words were the basis of a unique historical revolution in the way people think.

Most of the on-line material on "Biblical Greek" is largely tautological. It explains the Greek only in terms of how it has been translated into English in the Bible. It flows from the ways that the  Gospel was taught from the Latin Vulgate. I respect this work and use it daily. However,  most of my work takes place outside of this tradition, researching the use of the Greek closer to the time of Jesus, especially the Greek OT, the Septuagint.

The Bible has been such a powerful force in history that it has changed the meaning of many words in English, Latin, and Greek. However, the Greek of Jesus's words has been faithfully preserved for centuries despite the changing religious fashions. These fashions, unfortunately, affect each successive English translation of the Bible, moving it further and further from the Greek.  I stopped analyzing the NLT version because so much of it fails to connect to anything in Jesus's Greek. It is not a translation but how a group of people today feel about the ideas in other English translations. The Message Bible version is even worse.

This site is offered for those who care about fidelity to Scripture as passed down for two thousand years.

Most Recent Question

Question:
Does John 6:37 mean that once I’m saved, no matter what sin I do, if I come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and repent from that sin, I will not be cast out?
Answer:

I don't see anything about asking forgiveness and repenting nor anything about "being saved." All of these are Christian concepts invented after Jesus. He doesn't use these ideas at all. What is translated as "forgive" means "let go" as in dropping something. What is translated as "repent" means "change your mind" as in thinking differently. What gets translated as "being saved" is the idea of being "rescued" not from "evil" but from "worthlessness."

None of this is in the verses. Or in its context. His ideas in John 6:37 are simpler.  You are either returning to Jesus or moving away from him. Those who the Father has given him...