How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

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TonyChanYT
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Joined: August 5th, 2020, 12:00 pm

How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by TonyChanYT » September 16th, 2020, 11:24 am

John 11:27
λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε· ἐγὼ πεπίστευκα ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ὁ εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἐρχόμενος.

New International Version
"Yes, Lord," she replied, "I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

New Living Translation
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”

English Standard Version
She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

Berean Study Bible
“Yes, Lord,” she answered, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

Why did these 4 versions translate ἐρχόμενος so differently?
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Tony Chan
Toronto, Canada

Jason Hare
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Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by Jason Hare » September 16th, 2020, 4:30 pm

Hi, TonyChanYT. Is Tony Chan your name?

Welcome to B-Greek and congrats for making your first post.

Participles do not have tense of their one. It is most natural to read this as referring to the future, since the main verb of the sentence is in the present tense (εἶ). "You are the one doing x." In this case, "you are the one coming" or "you are the one who is coming." However, there is nothing binding it to the present tense necessarily.

It would have been clearer if he had used a relative clause instead of the participle, to say that he was supposed to come (perhaps something like ὃς ἤμελλεν ἐλθεῖν). However, John's grammar is often simpler than we would expect. I don't think we should read the verse to say that she thought the Messiah was still yet to come. She clearly believed that he had come (because she was talking to him and confessing her faith in him).

Regards,
Jason
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

TonyChanYT
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Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by TonyChanYT » September 16th, 2020, 4:56 pm

Thanks for the reply. Yes, my name is Tony Chan from Toronto.

So of the 4 translations, which one you like the most?
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Tony Chan
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Jason Hare
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Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by Jason Hare » September 16th, 2020, 5:07 pm

Well, it is absurd for her to say that she has "always believed" that Jesus was the Messiah. That makes no sense at all, so the NLT is out. It is also generally unacceptable to translate a present participle in a completed sense. Two strikes for this translation. The third strike is the addition of "from God" at the end of the verse, which doesn't exist in Greek. The NLT did a poor job with this verse.

The ESV and NIV take the same path on both the translation of πεπίστευκα and the participle ἐρχόμενος. I think there's something lacking from the context (the fact that she is talking to him, so he has already come) that makes the translation of the participle as referring to the future kinda odd to me. I mean, are we supposed to understand her to be speaking of the παρουσία at the end of the age? I doubt that she had a conception of the Messiah coming, her meeting him and believing him to be the Messiah, and that he was still somehow supposed to "come" in the hereafter. That seems odd to me.

We tend to focus more on the Greek text and what it means rather than measuring translations here on the forum. If I had to give consent to one translation, I'd prefer the Berean Study Bible in this case — because of the reasons given in the previous paragraph.

Are you learning Greek yourself? Or, have you already studied the language somewhere?
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

TonyChanYT
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Joined: August 5th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by TonyChanYT » September 16th, 2020, 5:15 pm

My formal training was in AI but interested in Biblical Greek as a hobby. More so now that I am semi-retired.
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Tony Chan
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Jason Hare
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Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by Jason Hare » September 16th, 2020, 5:39 pm

TonyChanYT wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:15 pm
My formal training was in AI but interested in Biblical Greek as a hobby. More so now that I am semi-retired.
Nice. Considering taking up a specific study? "Biblical Greek" is really a thing. Biblical Greek is just a limited corpus of Koiné Greek. We tend to recommend lots of reading of Greek texts, but you should start with some kind of grammar. Would you like some recommendations for books to start with? :)
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

TonyChanYT
Posts: 7
Joined: August 5th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by TonyChanYT » September 16th, 2020, 5:43 pm

Can you recommend some that I can access for free online? I don't read paper books any more.
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Tony Chan
Toronto, Canada

Jason Hare
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Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 5:28 pm
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Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by Jason Hare » September 16th, 2020, 5:49 pm

TonyChanYT wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:43 pm
Can you recommend some that I can access for free online? I don't read paper books any more.
Look at the Greek grammars here on Textkit. They aren't for the New Testament specifically, except for the short treatment from James Strong (which isn't a full course). I recommend that you start with First Greek Book by John White. If you can read the Anabasis of Cyrus, you will be well prepared for reading the New Testament.
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Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel

TonyChanYT
Posts: 7
Joined: August 5th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by TonyChanYT » September 16th, 2020, 5:57 pm

Alright, thanks.
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Tony Chan
Toronto, Canada

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: How to translate ἐρχόμενος?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 16th, 2020, 8:17 pm

Jason Hare wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:49 pm
TonyChanYT wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:43 pm
Can you recommend some that I can access for free online? I don't read paper books any more.
Look at the Greek grammars here on Textkit. They aren't for the New Testament specifically, except for the short treatment from James Strong (which isn't a full course). I recommend that you start with First Greek Book by John White. If you can read the Anabasis of Cyrus, you will be well prepared for reading the New Testament.
Yes, much better to do ancient Greek in general than start with textbooks that bill themselves as teaching Biblical or New Testament Greek (though many students have started with such books and do just fine). Another:

https://ancientgreek.pressbooks.com
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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