Mistranslations to Help Paul or Paulinism
True translations often damage Paul or Pauline doctrine , if given proper consideration.
This should read:
For all that received Him, He gave them the RIGHT (exousian) to become sons of God -- to the ones OBEYING UNTO (pisteuosin eis) His name.
This would precisely parallel Revelation 22:14 written by the same human hand as wrote John 1:12:
Happy [are] the ones doing His commandments, so that their right (exousia) will be to the tree of life, and they shall enter by the gates into the city. (Rev 22:14)(ALT)
This Revelation passage uses a synonym for obedience -- "doing his commandments," and then links those so characterized as enjoying their "right" to the tree of life. Salvation. This exactly parallels what John 1:12 properly translated as to PISTEUOSIN EIS would read.
This also allows Revelation 22:14 to help prove the correct verb meaning of PISTEOUSIN EIS. For Revelation 22:14 clearly says "doing his commandments" and then links "exousia" to salvation, and thus one can see even more strongly why "obey unto" is the correct translation in John 1:12. You can have a "right" to salvation based upon obedience in Revelation 22:14 as well as John 1:12.
Instead, this typically is rendered so a believer has a right to become a son of God by mere belief, with no other conditions necessary. See ASV, NASB, NIV, and God’s Word Bibles.
However, pisteusin eis truly means obey unto, not the shallower concept of "believe in."
In brief, EIS means unto in Greek. When it follows the verb pisteuo it means Obey or Comply to that person. It does not mean "believe" in facts about that person, or to simply have a "confidence" / faith in that person. See this link on John 3:16 in which these same two words appear, and are similarly mistranslated.
In fact, the famous evangelical specialist in Greek, Marvin Vincent wrote about John 1:12 in particular:
“‘believe on’ (pisteuosin eis) is more than mere acceptance of a statement. It is so to accept them practically....Hence, to believe on the Lord Jesus is not merely to believe the facts of His historic life or His saving energy as facts, but to accept Him as Savior, Teacher, Sympathizer, Judge; to rest the soul upon Him for present and future salvation; and to accept and adopt His precepts and example and binding upon the life.” (Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament (C. Scribner’s: 1905) Vol. 2 at 49-50.)
Yet, if the shallower "believe" were the rendering of pisteusin, then exousin would mean power in this context This is because we know from Jesus that faith alone is no guarantee of a right to salvation once disobedience creeps into a believer's life, e.g, Mark 9:42-47 ("believer in me..ensnared...[has 2 choices] heaven maimed [or] hell whole").
Thus, that alternative would be:
For all that received Him, He gave them the POWER (exousian) to become sons of God -- to the ones who believe on (pisteuosin eis) His name.
The Bromiley International Bible Encylopedia (Eerdman's 1979) Vol. 1 at 365 explains "exousia" derives from "exestin," a noun which in one of its senses means "power." It says an alternative is "authority."
Other usages of exousia in the NT support that power in John 1:12 is an alternative to "right" in John 1:12. For example, in Matt 10:1, Jesus gave the disciples "power" (exousia) over demons to defeat them. Both Moffatt & Godspeed concur it is "power" in 10:1. See link.
Hence, "power" in John 1:12 would necessarily be the right translation if pisteusin eis mean BELIEVE IN, because Jesus in Mark 9:42-47 gives a "believer in me" no automatic "right" to salvation if caught in sin: instead, Jesus says the believer must resolve the choice between "heaven maimed" or "hell whole" by choosing to cut off the body parts ensnaring him or her in sin, and thus go to "heaven maimed" rather than hell whole.
Thus, one can see John 1:12 is mistranslated in two different ways to help Paul's doctrine, and not to match Jesus' doctrine.
For if faith alone were the correct meaning in John 1:12, then this could not possibly give one the "right" to become sons of God alone because Jesus said the Prodigal son was "alive again" when he repented of sin, and turned around, heading to the Father, and not at a moment of 'faith.' (See Luke 15.) Faith might give you the "power" to obey, but not the right of salvation. For Jesus said faith alone does not savethe sinning Christian who had not cut off the sources tempting them in sin, as He three distinct times taught in his "heaven maimed" or "hell whole" lesson. (Mark 9:42-47; Matt 5; Matt 18.)
But more fundamentally, the verse actually means in its fullest most accurate sense, as Vincent pointed out long ago, obedience is what grants the right to become sons -- exactly as Revelation 22:14 reads. This was wholly adverse to Paul and despite scholarship proving the meaning, the translators will not budge. Due to clear scholarly support, this is simply a continuing mistranslation to protect Paul.
Acts 20:22, Paul's Spirit or the Holy Spirit Bound Paul?
For example, as I point out elsewhere, faithful Christian scholars concur that Paul disobeyed the messages given to a Prophet and to others by the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go to Jerusalem but Paul went anyway. On that trip, Paul's traveling companion entered the temple in an uncircumcised state, thereby defiling the Temple in violation of Ezekiel 44. See our link.
But one mistranslation creates conflict so that if you wish you will ignore that Paul did not follow prophetic and Holy Spirit messages that Luke says took place.
One of the supporters of the Jesus' Words Only principle sent me an email explaining how the Amplified Bible translates the passages at issue 180 degrees opposite of all standard translations. This Amplified version just happens to thereby make it appear Paul was not disobedient to the Holy Spirit's message to a prophet and other believers. Here is what Rod explains:
Wanna see how they even modify the Scriptures to save Paul from being exposed as disobedient???
Check this from the Amplified Bible:
And now, you see, I am going to Jerusalem, bound by the [Holy] Spirit and obligated and compelled by the [convictions of my own] spirit, not knowing what will befall me there. (Acts 20:22).
Most versions simply say "bound by the Spirit." One other version says "bound by my spirit." See Biblos on Acts 20:22: "And now I am on my way to Jerusalem, bound in my spirit, not knowing what I will encounter there." (Holman),
They added "Holy" to justify his trip as an act of obedience to the Holy Spirit.- But now check THIS:
And having looked up the disciples there, we remained with them for seven days. Prompted by the [Holy] Spirit, they kept telling Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem. (Acts 21:4.)
-How could THE SAME HOLY SPIRIT bind Paul TO GO and at the same time tell Paul NOT TO SET FOOT THERE through the disciples??? Doesn´t fit, does it???
Thus, be wary of efforts to protect Paul by mistranslation.
John 10:27-28 - Does Listening & Following One Single Moment Secure Salvation? or Continuing to Do So?
Paul is construed to teach eternal security, and any other view is an heretical works salvation. However, the correct translation of John 10:27-28 reflects the continuous tense used for "listening" and "following." But you cannot find that suggested in any mainstream Bible; it only appears in literal translations. See Misleading Asssurance of Salvation in John 10:27-28.
Mistranslations of Original Testament Passages
You cannot find faith-alone doctrine in the Law or Prophets unless you use mistranslation, and often wilfully so.
One verse that contradicts faith alone is Isaiah 26:2, saying the "faithful" (obedient) enter the New Jerusalem. The Jewish Publication Society's Tanakh 1917 has the right translation of a passage on those entitled to enter the New Jerusalem:
26:2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation that keepeth faithfulness may enter in.
The key Hebrew word is emunah. It means obedient, faithful or trustworthy. There is nothing about "faith" in the sense of belief implied in emunah. There is nothing about "truth." So as Strong's Concordance at this link shows, this word is properly translated by the KJV in Proverbs 13:17, 14:5, and 20:26 as "faithful" (a synonymn for obedient).
Now watch how this is translated differently by the same KJV when it is used in a verse like Isaiah 26:2 where those who have the right to salvation are discussed. Here is the KJV of Isaiah 26:2:
Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
Due to such liberty being taken, the NIV follows suit, and similarly mistranslates Isaiah 26:2 as:
Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.
This is how the Bible is re-translated to have a Paul-endorsing stamp when otherwise Paul would be contradicting Holy Scripture.
One can see how this switch is exploited to confirm Paul in Gill's Commentary:
that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in; not all the world, for there is none righteous, not one of them naturally, or of themselves; nor the Jewish nation, for though they sought after righteousness, did not attain it, unless when they will be converted in the latter day, and then they, and all the Lord's people, will be righteous, and appear to be a holy nation, and a peculiar people,Isaiah 60:21 and being made righteous by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and sanctified by the Spirit, will be fit persons to be admitted through the gates into the city
So instead of a nation being deemed righteous by "faithfulness" (obedience), they are deemed righteous supposedly by "keepeth the truth" -- who know a truth about Jesus as being our Savior who died for sin, etc. But in the original, it says this is not about merely knowing a truth, but about faithfulness -- a synonymn for loyal obedience.
Study Note: Septuagint Mistranslation of Isaiah 26:2
As is typical, the Septuagint mistranslated Isaiah 26:1 & 2 but in doing so, it preserved the concept that salvation was contingent on doing righteousness. Verse 2 speaks of a people who are allowed to enter because it "keeps righteousness, truth, and peace." See Wilson de Angelo Cunha, LXX Isaiah 24: 1-26:6 as Interpretation and Translation: A Methodological Discussion (Society of Biblical Literature, 2014) at page 186.
Werner's translation of the Septuagint is shorter: "Open the gates. Let enter a people keeping righteousness and keeping truth." See link.
It is significant that Cunha recognizes regardless that in full context even with the word "truth" used in the Septuagint, it was distinct from keeping "righteousness," and hence that remained a requirement as well. This was evident from other contrasting and parallel verses even in the Septuagint. So he comments:
This passage refers to the way of the godly which is to be taken sapientially as an indication of a people that morally keeps the "law." The people in Isaiah 26:2-3 contrasts with the "ungodly" who do not learn "righteousness," or practice the "truth" (Isaiah 26:10.) They further stand in opposition to the "breakers of the law." (Isaiah 24:14.) ...[O]nly godly people can enter the city of Jerusalem / Zion, while the "breakers of the law" need to be kept out.... (Cunha, LXX Isaiah (2014) at 186-187.)
Werner too recognizes that in context in the Septuagint that righteousness is not imputed by simply knowing the truth - a Pauline explanation. But rather, the saving righteousness is true actual loyal obedience of a righteous people (distinct from just keeping the truth) that allows entry into the New Jerusalem:
The gates were not to be opened to just anyone, the imperative to open them being for the purpose of granting a righteous nation or people to enter the city. These righteous ones would be living in harmony with God’s law. Their keeping “faithfulness” would mean remaining loyal to YHWH, not deviating from attachment to him and his requirements for those whom he approves. The Septuagint rendering indicates that they would keep, guard, or cherish righteousness or uprightness, and truth, trustworthiness, or faithfulness. They would demonstrate themselves to be upright and faithful in the life they lived. The Targum of Isaiah speaks of them as a righteous people who keep the “law with a complete heart.” Idem.
This excursion lets one recreate why the KJV took the liberty it did. Often when it wanted a verse to mean something else, if it could borrow from a Septuagint error, it could defend that it was a possible alternative meaning of the Hebrew word. But one can see, there was no meaning of 'truth' in the original Hebrew word, proven by the contrasting and parallel verses in the same context. Hence, the KJV translators took an unjustified liberty to use an obvious partial mistranslation in the Septuagint of emunah as "truth" in place of the well-known meaning of emunah. The KJV at the same time left out the correcting feature of the Septuagint that kept the total meaning of emunah by translating it also as "keeping righteousness," and not merely as "keeping truth."
Why do you think the KJV did not borrow the Septuagint rendering of the first part -- "keeps righteousness"? Because obviously the "keeping the truth" matched Pauline doctrine, but "keeps righteousness" did not. Thus, the KJV borrowed only the meaning in the Septuagint that it liked, and rejected the equally present and more accurate meaning of "keeping righteousness." For clearly, in the Septuagint rendering of emunah in 26:1, it includes "keeps righteousness" as a distinct additional quality of these people entitled to enter the New Jerusalem. It was not simply based upon "keeping truth." Salvation in the New Jerusalem is based upon actual activity of mind and heart, and not just a belief.
So the KJV kept the error in the Septuagint - using 'truth' for emunah's meaning - and not faithfulness, but did not use the accurate "keeps righteousness" to aid in the meaning lost by just using "truth." Hence, the KJV version was wholly an unjustified lifting of "truth" out of the Septuagint of Isaiah 26:2 and implanting it into the KJV Bible to give a Pauline spin to the sentence.