Useful Tip: Interlinears #1
One of the greatest tools for those who aren’t strong in the original languages of the Scriptures is an interlinear. In this post I’d like to share a recent experience of mine that I think can help illustrate the helpfulness of both the original languages and the interlinear.
A few days ago I was at work doing what I do best, thinking about Jesus and theology. I was pondering Jesus’ response to Mary as “The resurrection and the life” and His statement about those who believe in Him “will never die”. I was thinking how it was kind of strange even within John’s Gospel account for Jesus to be recorded as saying this and thinking what it might mean exactly. So I eventually whipped out my interlinear on my phone and discovered that there is an interesting way that most translators choose to render this verse (John 11:26). I have included some images below as a reference guide.
John 11:24–27 (LGNTI:SBL)
In Greek at the end of the verse there is a phrase found that is common to John’s Gospel. That phrase is eis ton aiona/for the age. One may also find this phrase in John 8. (Use an interlinear and see if you can find it!) The Greek word aiona and its forms are the words which we get the English rendering “forever”. While this phrase is commonly translated as forever in John’s account here it isn’t. The negatives “no” and “not” in this verse are attributed to this phrase by most translators instead of the word death. This has them to place the word “never” before “die”. I side with the few translations that render this verse as “will not die forever”.
This is a great example of how using an interlinear can help you better understand the different possible ways of understanding a text along with the difficulties of translation.