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Bible Gem 29 - John Use of Pronouns (John 3:1 - 12)

March 5, 2019

 

Today we are still in John 3. It is important to pay attention to detail. In Chapter Three there are many things to note like:- 

  1. Nicodemus coming at night.

  2. Born of water and the Spirit

  3. Snakes being lifted up

  4. Salvation vs Judgement etc

But you can sort out these elements. Go dig. 

 

I want to comment on Jesus’ use of pronouns. He starts the encounter with Nicodemus talking to him and uses the singular pronoun “you”. Of course the difficulty with English is that you can’t distinguish between “you” singular and “you” plural. Other languages have a distinctly different form for their singular and plural pronouns, Greek and Hebrew do. Also "we inclusive" and "we exclusive" are different in many languages but not English. All of the uses of “you” from Chapter Three Verse One to Verse Eleven are singular. Note the strange switch to a first person plural “We” in Verse 11.  Note also verse 3:10 where Jesus says "You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don't understand these things? There is heavy irony in the respected teacher of Israel and yet you don’t understand. But you can figure that out without comment from me. 

 

What is very interesting is that in verse 3:12 Jesus switches to “you” plural. Most Bibles don’t mark it. You just see “you” and “you” and you don’t realise the singular pronoun has been changed for a plural. (You will need to read that (ß) sentence again. John’s focus is now on all the teachers of Israel. 

This is where using multiple versions will help you pick up the change.

 

The standard: (NLT) But if you don't believe Me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

Compared with: (ISV)  If I have told you people about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

 

The KJV highlights the different between the Greek plural (υμιν) and the Greek singular  (σύ) by using (you) and (ye). 

 

From this point on Jesus uses the all inclusive everyone or anyone or no one instead of pronouns. No I am not going to spell it out for you either. You can do something about it. I am doing what my Greek and Hebrew professor did for me and my class mates. “There is something of interest here; dig a little and think about it.”

 

I have decided I am going to ultimately put these Gems into a book. So you would help me by interacting with me and telling me when descriptions are too vague for you to pick up what I am saying. Or too difficult to understand because I haven’t explained enough yet. Give me feed back so I know you are still alive out there. That’s all for today. 

 

 

Be ye fishers of men: You catch 'em; He'll clean 'em. Ian

 

 

 

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