Logos 21 is translated from The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, edited by Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers 2d ed., 1985). Logos is the Greek word for word (see John 1:1) and the 21 means we are seeking to bring that word, or message from God, into the 21st century.
John wrote his Gospel in everyday language (koiné or common Greek). Our translation is modern, easy to read, and yet an accurate representation of his original. Where English usage allows, the translation is fairly literal; where it does not, a freer rendering is used. In Logos 21, italics show emphasis. What is emphasized is often clear in Greek by word order or other means, but not obvious in English without occasional italics. Logos 21 also uses italics for foreign words (such as rabboni) and to indicate direct quotations from the Old Testament.
Whereas most modern versions are based on a text heavily influenced by scholars who have largely disregarded or discounted the majority of Greek manuscripts, Logos 21 represents the vast bulk of existing Greek manuscripts. It is similar to the traditional text used by William Tyndale (1526) and the King James translators (1611), but corrected by later finds.
The Majority Text used here represents from 80-95% of our Greek manuscripts. These stem largely from the areas which first received the original Gospels and Epistles (modern Greece and Turkey). On the whole, these manuscripts have a remarkable agreement among themselves. Heavy reliance on the few older manuscripts, mostly from Egypt (the region dry enough to preserve ancient papyrus), seems unwarranted to us. The manuscripts, often called "Alexandrian," have many discrepancies between them. Also, no New Testament book as far as we know, was originally sent to Egypt, the area where these manuscripts likely originated.
Those who wish to pursue this subject further should read Wilbur Pickering's The Identity of the New Testament Text, 2d ed. 1977; and Harry A. Sturz's The Byzantine Text Type and New Testament Textual Criticism, 1984, both from Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Also, for further information write to:
The Executive Secretary, The Majority Text Society, Box 141289, Dallas, TX 75214-1289, U.S.A.
Notes on the Text
Except for “Amen, amen,” verses marked * are places where there is a significant variation between the Majority Text, which we follow, and the so-called “critical text,” abbreviated “NU.” NU is an abbreviation for the Greek text published in Nestle-Aland’s 27th edition and the United Bible Societies’ 4th edition (virtually identical texts, different apparatuses [footnotes]).
In each case, the reading in Logos 21 has the support of a large majority of manuscripts.
• 1:18 The Majority Text reads “only begotten Son” and the NU reads “only begotten God.” John’s style supports “Son,” the traditional reading, occurring also in 3:16, 18, and 1 John 4:9. The word “begotten” goes much better with the Father–Son relationship concept than the Father–God relationship.
• 1:42 The Majority reading “son of Jonah” agrees with Peter’s father’s name in Matthew 16:17, where all agree Jonah is the correct reading. The committee producing the commentary on the NU text maintains the discrepancy was original and was changed to make it agree with Matthew (also in John 21:15-17). We believe the change was from Jonah, the true name of Peter’s father, and was probably accidental.
• 1:51 Though John wrote in Greek, he kept our Lord’s unique Hebrew expression “Amen, amen” untranslated. There is no suitable literal translation, so the versions differ (“Verily, verily,” “truly, truly,” “most assuredly,” etc.). The word amen, which comes from the Hebrew verb for believe (as in Genesis 15:6), means “so be it” or “it is firm.” In the 4th century when Bible scholar Jerome translated the famous Latin Vulgate he also left the exact words Jesus used. Following John and Jerome, we have done the same.
• 3:3, 5, 11 See note to 1:51.
• 3:13 The NU text omits “who is in Heaven,” though it has good support. The Majority inclusion supports the doctrine of the omnipresence of the Second Person of the Trinity, even while on earth in the Incarnation. The NU committee sees this orthodox reading as a later christological development, a viewpoint consistent with liberal theology.
• 4:6 Or, about noon if John is using Jewish time.
• 5:2 The Majority reads Bethesda. NU reads Bethzatha, supported by only two manuscripts (4th century and 10th century A.D.). The 1st century Copper Scroll from Qumran supports the traditional Bethesda. The choice of Bethzatha by the NU committee introduces a historical error into the text.
• 5:3b-4 The part of v. 3 starting with “waiting” through v. 4 is omitted in NU text. The statement in v. 7 seems to demand inclusion of the passage, since without it the verse would be extremely obscure. Ancient evidence for inclusion comes from Tatian’s Diatessaron (2d century) and Tertullian (3d century). These balance the omission in the “Alexandrian” manuscripts.
• 5:19, 24, 25 See note to 1:51.
• 6:26, 32, 47, 53 See note to 1:51.
• 6:47 NU’s omission of Jesus’ words “in Me” makes His statement on how to have eternal life quite vague: What or whom does one need to believe in for eternal life?
• 7:8 NU’s omission of “yet” tends to portray Jesus as a liar, since in v. 10 He does go to the festival. “Yet” is not only in the majority of manuscripts, but also in early papyri. The NU committees did recognize the early inclusion of “yet,” but said it was introduced after the original to “alleviate the inconsistency.”
• 7:53–8:11 This is the main textual problem in John. The oldest Greek manuscripts we have lack the passage, but the vast majority (over 900 carefully examined mss., plus several hundred others) contains it. The 4th century Latin Vulgate contains it too. John’s style within the disputed passage includes: (1) “they said this to test Him” in 8:6 (cf. John 6:6; 7:39; 11:51; 12:6, 33; and 21:19); (2) the vocative (direct address) use of “woman” in 8:10 (cf. John 2:4; 4:21; 19:26, and 20:13, 15); and (3) “don’t sin any more” in 8:11, which only occurs one other time in the NT (John 5:14). Also, if one reads the preceding and following context without the disputed passage, it is clear that the subject abruptly changes from “they,” the Pharisees, in 7:52, to Jesus in 8:12. Also, in 8:12 Jesus speaks to them “again,” which supports that He was speaking in the immediately preceding context.
If, as we believe , the passage is authentic, why would the Alexandrian manuscripts omit it? Leading church father and theologian, Augustine, (about A.D. 430) answers: “Certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the true faith, fearing, I suppose, lest their wives should be given impunity in sinning, removed from their manuscripts the Lord’s acts of forgiveness toward the adulteress, as if He who said ‘sin no more’ had granted permission to sin.” (See Augustine, “Adulterous Marriages” [2.7] trans. by Charles T. Huegelmeyer, in Saint Augustine: Treatises on Marriage and Other Subjects [New York: Fathers of the Church, 1955], p. 107.)
• 8:34, 51, 58 See note to 1:51.
• 9:35 NU reads “Son of Man” for “Son of God.” Both are titles of the Messiah, but the title expressing Deity fits the context better since no man had ever cured blindness from birth before. Also, while Luke stresses Christ’s humanity, John highlights His Deity.
• 10:1, 7 See note to 1:51.
• 12:24 See note to 1:51.
• 13:16, 20, 21, 38 See note to 1:51.
• 14:12 See note to 1:51.
• 14:15 NU text reads “you will keep,” a prediction of compliance; the Majority Text reads “keep,” a command to those who love the Lord—who sometimes fail to do so.
• 16:20, 23 See note to 1:51.
• 19:5 Literally “he (or He) said.” It’s possible that Jesus Himself said this since Jesus is the nearest antecedent.
• 20:29 TR (“Textus Receptus” or “Received Text”) adds “Thomas,” but neither the oldest nor Majority supports this reading.
• 21:15-17 See note to 1:42.
• 21:18 See note to 1:51.
The original translator of most of the chapters of John in Logos 21 and the general editor is Arthur L. Farstad. He started the work in 1984 soon after finishing his assignment as Executive Editor of the New King James Version of the Bible. Dr. Farstad is a graduate of Washington Bible College and has advanced degrees in Hebrew and Greek from Dallas Theological Seminary, where he taught NT Greek for five and a half years. He is also one of the editors of The NKJV Greek-English Interlinear.
Nova-Scotia-born-and-bred William H. McDowell was the English editor of the NKJV and has a similar role in this translation. Dr. McDowell is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Westminister Theological Seminary, Rollins College in Orlando, Florida, and has a doctorate from Toccoa Falls College in Georgia.
Zane C. Hodges was the co-editor with Dr. Farstad of The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text, from which this translation was made. He is a graduate of Wheaton College and Dallas Theological Seminary, where he taught Greek for 27 years. He co-edited most of the Gospel of John with the general editor.
International evangelist Frank D. Carmical, a graduate of Houston Baptist University and Dallas Theological Seminary, has published a Christian novel, The Omega Reunion, and several short stories. He worked closely with the general editor on phraseology and vocabulary choices in John.
A few chapters were initially translated by Brazilian-born Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering, a Wycliffe missionary with a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Toronto, and by Dr. Robert N. Wilkin, a graduate of the University of California at Irvine, who has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary in New Testament.
Curtis Vaughan, one of the seven members of the Executive Review Committee of the NKJV New Testament and general editor of The New Testament from 26 Translations, carefully annotated this entire translation with many helpful suggestions for the final text. Dr. Vaughan is a veteran of 44 years of teaching Greek at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He is a graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and has both an M.Div. and a Th.D. from Southwestern.
The textual notes were written by James F. Davis, a doctoral student at Dallas Theological Seminary in New Testament. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Capital Bible Seminary in Washington D.C.