Re: Jn 14:14 (Long)

Date: Fri Feb 20 1998 - 16:42:29 EST

Dear Paul,

I would like to make some observations on this matter involving John 14:14. In
the process of addressing the specific issues you raised, I intend to break
away from your material to comment extensively on several issues that I
believe are essential when discussing this text, but they may not directly
relate to your specific questions. I am glad you brought this text to the B-
Greek table, and hopefully we can have an informative exchange.

Paul Dixon wrote:


I really appreciate having a sounding board as I do my exegesis for
sermons. I've got another one for the list.

Jn 14:14 can be used in support of praying to Jesus. If so, then it
appears to be the only scripture doing so, unless an appeal to Rev 21:20
be made.>>

Paul, did you have another text in mind? How does Rev 21:20 fit in here?

<<Metzger's textual commentary presents a solid argument for the inclusion
of ME in the verse. >>

Metzger offers three arguments in favor of ME: 1) Parallel texts in the
Psalms; 2) early manuscript support; 3) and the correlation with EGW in the
same verse. Let us consider the strength of these arguments:

1) The examples from Psalms are not parallel at all, for not one of them place
"me" in the mouth of God, nor do any of them have God as the speaker. Rather,
the Psalmist speaks about "God's name." In John 14:14 Jesus is the speaker
and speaks with reference to what is done in his name.

2) ME does have good support from early mss., including B, `aleph, P66* and
others. Mss. that do not contain ME include A (and, hence, the Sahidic and
Bohairic Coptic versions), D, K, and the majority of Byzantine mss. P75 has
lacunae. One might consider giving the nod to ME as far as external evidence
is concerned. However, if one wishes to research the issues involved, he will
find that scholars are not at all agreed as to which methodology should be
followed for collating the witnesses into text-type readings descending
(allegedly) from this or that prototype that either is extant or that exists
in theory, at least. Indeed, Frederick Wisse adopted a system that "actually
allowed Wisse to make some errors of classification, the most striking of
which was his placing Codex Bezae and Codex Vaticanus in the same group,
despite their wildly divergent texts!" (Bart Ehrman, "The Classification of
New Testament Manuscripts," NovT 29.1 [1987], 43-44.) Then, needless to say,
neither are the scholars always agreed as to the strengths and weaknesses for
the contending readings behind a contested passage in NT.

Much work was recently done on the book of Philippians by a scholar interested
in developing a computer program for generating "a genealogical tree diagram
of the textual history of Philippians [that] may be . . . used to analyze the
variant readings." (James D. Price, "A Computer-Aided Textual Commentary on
the Book of Philippians," GTJ 8.2 [1987], page 253) Price several times
opposes the evaluations that the United Bible Society's Greek New Testament
3rd ed. (UBSGNT-3) and Bruce Metzger give contested readings. In those
passages where Price prefers a certain reading, we sometimes find UBSGNT-3 and
Metzger inter alia opposed on the basis of internal evidence and/or external
evidence. For example, at Philippians 1:14, Price, when declaring his
preference for a reading that he reminds us has a 0.89 probability factor,
gives us this criticism of UBSGNT-3's evaluation of the relevant external
evidence: "Contrary to UBSGNT-3, the evidence is strong and distributed."
Price, however, has also contended that some of those not in agreement with
some of his preferred readings have evaluated wrongly the readings' internal
evidence. For example, at Philippians 1:14 again, Price declares that the
reading that Metzger prefers, which has a probability factor of only 0.11, is
wrong because even though "Metzger admitted that [the chief contender to
Metzger's choice] has the better weight and distribution, [yet Metzger
wrongly] rejected it as an apparent scribal expansion" (ibid, page 277).
However, I certainly would not rule Metzger's choice out of court.
The Nestle-Aland 26th edition (N-A 26) "reflects the impact of the papyri
overturning the testimony of B [(Codex Vaticanus)] in several [(forty-four!)]
places in John . . . --all marked with a dagger, which signals a change of
text in N-A 26 from previous editions of the Nestle text.... What is more
surprising is that the editors rejected another 16 significant readings
supported by at least one of the early papyri and by B... All of these
readings, which have the earliest documentary support, could only have been
rejected for various 'internal' reasons--which, as we all know, involve a
certain amount of subjectivity on the part of the editors." --Philip W.
Comfort, "The Greek Text of the Gospel of John According to the Early Papyri,"
NTS 36 (1990), pages 625, 627.

Yet the strength of the internal evidence must not be ignored, and when it is
combined with significant witnesses for a fairly wide distribution, we may
have confidence in placing into the main text of a translation of the passage
a reading that reflects what may be considered a weaker reading as based on
consideration of the external evidence. The internal evidence from John 15:16
and 16:23 (to which you, Paul, refer) must be seriously considered.

3) Regarding the correlation between EGW and ME in John 14:14, I do not see it
as a necessary correlation. If one should ask the Father anything in the name
of the Son, then there is nothing wrong with the Son carrying out the will of
the Father. Compare John 14:15-16, where the Son petitions the Father, who in
turn sends forth the holy spirit. This is, in fact, a recurrent theme
throughout the Fourth Gospel.

<<Assuming it is to be included, what if we take the
following EN TWi ONOMATI MOU as epexegetical to ME, giving "if you ask Me
(that is, in My name) anything, I will do it." The whole verse would
then be an epexegetical parallel to verse 13.>>

I find it hard to take "in my name" as epexegetical to "me," for the simple
reason that two entirely different thoughts are presented. Asking the Father
in the name of the Son is not the same thing as asking the Son himself.

<<Thus, we retain praying in the name of Jesus, while still praying to the
Father (as instructed in the Lord's Prayer). This would also comport
well with Jn 16:23.>>

If we retain ME I believe we should take it to mean that we should ask Jesus
directly. However, as you rightly point out, this does not seem to fit with
the internal evidence, primarily John 15:16 and 16:23. John 16:25 is also
worthy of consideration.

Greg Stafford
University of Wisconsin

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:05 EDT