Article of the Month
The Case of the Misplaced Comma
This is a short article, but one
which is designed to make a big point. While the
Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God, its
many translations are not
flawless! The manuscripts of the Bible were
written without punctuation, without chapter or verse
divisions, and even without spaces between the words!
And all of the letters were capitals. We can only
imagine the reading difficulties this presented.
Additionally, we have only
handwritten copies of copies of the original
manuscripts. Numerous textual variants, additions,
and omissions have sneaked in.
While we are grateful for the
addition of all the
things which make reading easier in our modern Bibles,
we must also be cautious that we are not misled by any
of them. This brings us to one simple case in
The verse reads, “And Jesus said
unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be
with me in paradise.’ “ (King James Version)
This was spoken to one of the
thieves being crucified next to Jesus. With a
little thought, the problem with the text should be
Jesus did not go to
“paradise” that day. He died, and he remained in
the grave for parts of three days.
Second, none of the disciples
received the begettal of the Holy Spirit until
Pentecost. No one will end up as a spirit being
without having this begettal. Even the great John
the Baptist is excluded from heaven because of this.
Third, this thief
may, indeed, have been
death-bed repentance is not
a Scriptural concept as far as receiving any reward is
The conclusion, then, is clear.
The thief did not that day
join Jesus in some spiritual “paradise.”
The entire problem is fixed by
MOVING THE COMMA from BEFORE “Today” to AFTER “Today.”
Then the text accurately reads:
“And Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee today,
thou shalt be with me in paradise. ‘ “
(We have reversed “shalt thou”
to “thou shalt.” Both are permissible translations
from the Greek text. “Thou shalt” works equally
well with either comma placement.)
One could ask, Why did Jesus say
passage would have been just fine without the word.
But the fact is that THAT DAY was very prophetic, very
special in the history of the world. It was the
day when the sacrifice was given that saved the world.
Jesus was stressing the day because it was a major part
of the story. In essence: I can tell you
this day that you will
be with me eventually
in paradise, because of
what is happening this day.
Paradise, by the way, is a word
which basically means “garden.” It is used in
Scripture as a description of an earthly paradise as
well as a heavenly one. It is not so much a PLACE
as it is a CONDITION. When the earthly kingdom for
which we pray is fully established, this former thief
will be on earth with Jesus as mediator between the
thief and God. Jesus was on THAT DAY saving not
only the thief, but
all who will eventually
want to join in the blessings.
What great theological mistakes
have been based on this one misplaced comma which
was a part of the
inspired Holy Word in the first place!
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