Friday, July 14, 2023

A Significant Sigma

Are the readers of John's Gospel looking for God or living for God? Are they seekers or are they saints? And they non-Christians who need to come to faith in Christ, or are they Christians who need to continue in faith?

John 20:31 might have the answer. The answer is complicated a bit by a textual variant, however. Did John write pisteusēte or pisteuēte? Is that little "s" (sigma) you see below original or not? 

I'm thinking of patenting my state-of-the-art graphics. 

Now, the difference is important. The verb with the sigma is in a tense that simply means "believe." It's the default tense in Greek. But the verb without the sigma is in a tense that implies something like "go on believing" or "make it your habit to believe." The textual evidence is pretty clear: The verb with the sigma is original. And its tense in Greek would allow for both believers and nonbelievers among John's readers. Hence, the purpose of John's Gospel seems to involve both evangelism and edification. 

Whether you are a believer or not, John has things to teach us. The 21st century has left us with a maximum of choices and a minimum of meaning. John shows us that only Jesus Christ can answer the 3 questions every reflective person will ask at some point in their life:

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • How then should I live?

Homo sapiens is the meaning-seeking animal. If that's true, it expresses why so many of us have found knowing Christ personally so satisfying. There is no need to "live in darkness" any longer. Jesus Christ is the true light who, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 

John reminds us that there is something we can rely on, and Someone we can trust and believe in. He is Jesus