Sometimes we can draw deeper meaning from the Scriptures if we are able to study them in the language in which they were originally written. This does not mean that we have to be able to do this, only that we are more likely to discover deeper and even new meanings from the Scriptures if we study them in their original form. Let us look at an example in today’s Gospel.

In verse 14 John tells us, in the English translation that, “Jesus came to dwell in our midst.” This is a reasonable translation of the Greek verb in the sentence. It does not, however, capture the full meaning of the verb. The Greek verb that is translated as ‘dwell’ literally means, ‘to pitch one’s tent.’ Dwell is an adequate translation but it fails to capture the full meaning carried by the Greek verb. When we hear the word ‘dwell’ we readily think of living in a ready-made house. However, when we think about ‘pitching a tent’ there is a lot more effort involved in this. It is a far more deliberate choice involved here! It is a choice that requires a fair amount of effort on the part of the person ‘pitching his/her tent.’

Thus, when we read verse 14 in the original Greek, we can read a lot more into the verse than if we simply read it in English. The Greek prepares us for the fact that the coming ministry of Jesus is going to involve a lot of work on His part. He is not just coming to visit for a while. Jesus has deliberately set Himself to live in our midst and this living involves a lot of work on His part. He is choosing to become as much a part of our lives as He can. Perhaps we can see an analogous example as when we go to camp in a National Park to live in and experience the world of nature in a deeper way.

When I read the Scriptures, do I ever have a commentary with me so that I can learn if there is a deeper meaning to some of the verses that may have been lost in the translation?

Holy Spirit, help me to discover the full truth of the Word of God when I read, study and use it in prayer. Help me to be diligent and persevering in my attempts to deepen in my knowledge of your Word.