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  • contradiction in John?

    This is something that bothered me for a long while and no one was able to answer me. The following two passages are both Jesus speaking to a crowd at two different times where he explicitly contradicts what he said. I'll give the two verses in both KJV and NIV:

    John 5:31
    KJV
    "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."
    NIV
    "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid."

    John 8:14
    KJV
    Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true...
    NIV
    Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid..."

    Even when I put them into context of the greater passages, i don't understand how they're compatible statements. Someone explain to me how this isn't a contradiction in the words of Jesus.
    "I'm thinking of starting my own talk radio show. I'll spout simplistic opinions for hours on end, ridicule anyone who disagrees with me, and generally foster divisiveness, cynicism, and a lower level of public dialog! Imagine getting PAID to act like a six-year-old!"

    -Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: Theres Treasure Everywhere p. 138

  • #2
    Originally posted by In Dust and Ashes View Post
    This is something that bothered me for a long while and no one was able to answer me. The following two passages are both Jesus speaking to a crowd at two different times where he explicitly contradicts what he said. I'll give the two verses in both KJV and NIV:

    John 5:31
    KJV
    "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."
    NIV
    "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid."

    John 8:14
    KJV
    Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true...
    NIV
    Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid..."

    Even when I put them into context of the greater passages, i don't understand how they're compatible statements. Someone explain to me how this isn't a contradiction in the words of Jesus.
    Hi Dust and Ashes,

    I don't think there is a contradiction, in 5:31 Jesus says "if" I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. That is because, by Jewish tradition, the witness of one could not be considered trustworthy, there needed to be at least two. In 8:14, Jesus is says,

    John 8:14 ( KJV ) 14Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.

    He says "though" I bear record of myself. In other words He is saying, even though I only have one witness, my record is true, because my Father is the other witness.

    The context in chapter five is acknowledging the Jewish tradition of Law. Whereas in Chapter 8 Jesus is actually bearing witness of himself and has the Father as the second witness. I hope that makes sense.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by In Dust and Ashes View Post
      This is something that bothered me for a long while and no one was able to answer me. The following two passages are both Jesus speaking to a crowd at two different times where he explicitly contradicts what he said. I'll give the two verses in both KJV and NIV:

      John 5:31
      KJV
      "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."
      NIV
      "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid."

      John 8:14
      KJV
      Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true...
      NIV
      Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid..."
      Bearing record is the same word in Greek fas bearing witness.

      In John 8:14, Jesus is making the point that the fact He is sent by the Father is the authority which HE has to bear record/witness of Himself;
      for I know from where I came, and where I go
      :
      Joh 8:18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by In Dust and Ashes View Post
        This is something that bothered me for a long while and no one was able to answer me. The following two passages are both Jesus speaking to a crowd at two different times where he explicitly contradicts what he said. I'll give the two verses in both KJV and NIV:

        John 5:31
        KJV
        "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."
        NIV
        "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid."

        John 8:14
        KJV
        Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true...
        NIV
        Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid..."

        Even when I put them into context of the greater passages, i don't understand how they're compatible statements. Someone explain to me how this isn't a contradiction in the words of Jesus.
        The Pharisees obviously didn't accept His testimony in 8:14, but that didn't matter to Jesus. In 5:31-47 He points out four witnesses to Himself. God the Father (v32,37), John the Baptist (v33-35), His own works (v36) and the OT scriptures through which Moses gives his testimony of Him (v39-47, "he wrote about Me").

        Comment


        • #5
          I think using a more literal translation is going to help us here. John 5:31, ESV "If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true."

          'I alone,' according to Dr. Andreas Köstenberger of Southeastern Baptist Theo. Sem., (Ph.D. Trinity Evangelical Div. S.), is a better translation because it reflects the first person pronoun ἐγῶ which is unnecessary and therefore make the first person statement emphatic, which in english yeilds something like: 'I alone' or 'I, myself' or 'I, and I only'

          So, Jesus is here saying that if he is the only one who testifies about himself, his testimony is not legally valid under the Mosaic Law (see Deut. 17:6, 19:15, Num. 35:30.) However, his testimony is valid, because he is not the only one who bears witness.

          However, his testimony would still be true even if it was legally invalid, because regardless of how well Jesus can argue for his divinity, he is still God.
          "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -Mahatma Gandhi

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chimon View Post
            I think using a more literal translation is going to help us here. John 5:31, ESV "If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true."

            'I alone,' according to Dr. Andreas Köstenberger of Southeastern Baptist Theo. Sem., (Ph.D. Trinity Evangelical Div. S.), is a better translation because it reflects the first person pronoun ἐγῶ which is unnecessary and therefore make the first person statement emphatic, which in english yeilds something like: 'I alone' or 'I, myself' or 'I, and I only'

            So, Jesus is here saying that if he is the only one who testifies about himself, his testimony is not legally valid under the Mosaic Law (see Deut. 17:6, 19:15, Num. 35:30.) However, his testimony is valid, because he is not the only one who bears witness.

            However, his testimony would still be true even if it was legally invalid, because regardless of how well Jesus can argue for his divinity, he is still God.
            Excellent post - once again the ESV helps clear things up!

            Comment

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