“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne:” Jn. 1:4 KJV
Most are familiar with the above since most have read the KJV for years. And, most just accept this as a correct translation because it is the “Authorized Version” made from the “Textus Receptus“. All well and good, so far.
At this point I’d like to include just one more translation. It is ALSO based on the “Textus Receptus“, i. e. Stephen’s text of 1550. It is “A Faithful Version“. The reason I want to use it also is the fact that it is fairly new, and done by someone I know and went to college with. Here is the text of this new version.
“John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace and peace be to you from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; and from the seven spirits that are before His throne:”
Read them both carefully as they both strive to make the verse clear and accurate. The question is, do they?
Now, I’m not writing this to pick on the new translation, or the KJV, in order to put them down. On the contrary, I have high regard for both. In fact, I am waiting for copies of the new version right now. [Note that I have the New Testament copy now, but am waiting for the complete Bible just printed.] The reason I’m writing this is to help us begin to understand the Book of Revelation better, and some of the things left out of these English translations, or put in, actually can mislead the reader.
OK, let’s start with this. What are the basic differences between the two? Well, let’s break it down this way:
John to the seven churches KJV
John to the seven churches AFV
By the way, as a sidenote, if you took the Bishop’s Bible and did the same comparison with the KJV you would clearly see that the KJV is a revised Bishop’s Bible, just as the translators said it was, a revised version. But, I digress…
which are in Asia: KJV
THAT [are] in Asia: AFV
Difference? Which vs THAT. And, are vs [are]. The [are] means it is in italics in the AFV.
Now, here comes a first question.
Why does one use “which” and the other use “that” when in the Greek text it is the SAME word being translated with TWO different words? Is there any good reason for that? One answer is for, shall I say, copyright purposes. The other reason is the typical “translation rules” confusion.
Why is the same word “are” in regular type in one and in italics in the other? As we all know, italics in the KJV is supposed to mean that such a word is not in the text and has been ADDED to aid the reader in English. To me, both are false reasons.
“Grace be unto you, and peace,” KJV
“Grace and peace be to you” AFV
Notice any difference that actually “makes a difference“?
unto vs to, and both have [be] in italics. Now, let’s be blunt here a moment. In this instance alone does it make any difference whether the sentence is from the KJV or the AFV? Would either mislead you? I doubt it.
“from him which is, and which was, and which is to come;” KJV
“from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come;” AFV
What difference do you see? Which versus WHO this time instead of THAT. But, again, it is the “same” Greek word in the text which has now been labeled three separate times with a different word. Why this choice of words? Remember now, you cannot claim “Hey, that ain’t translated from the Textus Receptus.” Both are translated from the TR.
“and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne:” KJV
“and from the seven spirits that are before His throne:” AFV
Difference? Spirits vs spirits, and which vs that. Oh, will say the KJV defender, look, Spirits is capitalized and the other isn’t. See, that is a deception to use “spirits“. Is it? In the Greek TR it is NOT capitalized. So, which is right? Actually, the second follows the text in this word more accurately and not the KJV, to be really picky.
What do we have here then? We have two separate translations which attempt to clearly give us the “Word of YHWH” in English. Yet, to be frank again, both these translations ultimately mislead the reader and causes in the big picture some really massive misunderstandings about the message in the Bible.
OK, lets look at this for a moment.
John to the seven churches KJV John to the seven churches AFV
Ioannes tois hepta ekklesias [Note: I have transliterated the Greek text into the Latin alphabet from the TR so you can read it.]
[tois is one word but the grammar form makes it mean to-the. That is the reason for the – in between, to show it is one word in the Greek text.]
ecclesias assemblies [church is a building. The book is not written to seven buildings.]
So far, so good.
which are in Asia: KJV
THAT [are] in Asia: AFV
tois en te asia TR
Notice, “tois” is again used, and the word has not changed. But, the translators use which and that for the word. Is that correct? In “translation grammar rules of confusion” yes. But, those rules are not needed if you look at the meaning of the word when you first saw it, i.e. to-the.
tois en te asia = to-the[plural] in THE asia.
Notice that the Greek uses THE here in front of Asia. The translators do not. They think this isn’t good English, but it leaves out something, THE. Remember the end of this Book called Revelaton, not to add or remove from it?
Here’s what we have so far then from the literal Greek:
John to-the[plural] seven assemblies in the Asia.
Now, tell me. Which reads better, the KJV, the AFV or the more “literal” Greek form in English?
And, you do not have to worry about whether to use which or that. Thus, just as in the Greek, we now have a translation that just like the Greek text, does not change over the years. In the Greek it is always “Ioannes tois hepta ekklesias tois en te asia“.
Do we get every year a NEW Greek koine text being brought up to date? No. Why? There is no need for it always says the same thing, IF we keep the text pure.
We’ll consider the rest of the verse in another post.