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Lesson 5

In Luke 23:43, was Jesus intending to teach us something that contradicts his other teachings about resurrection? Was he describing how and when his followers are to be changed? The answer may lay within the punctuation added for our modern Bibles. The  New Testament written in ancient Greek used all capital letters and no punctuation. Scholars believe the original Greek didn’t use spaces between words. This would have made translating that Greek into other languages hundreds of years later, a daunting task. Using different punctuation keeps this verse from contradicting the direct words of Jesus in the Bible. Like the King James Bible authors, most translators work within committees and need to stay doctrinally correct to their sponsors beliefs. Virtually all translators of scripture have either built their work on the work of translators that went before them, or have universally accepted the immortal soul doctrine which Luke 23:43 seems to uphold. Placement of punctuation is arbitrarily inserted by the translators as they see fit. Slightly altering the punctuation of verse 43 by moving the comma before ‘today’ to after ‘today’, changes the meaning and allows it to agree with the Bible’s other direct teachings about how and when followers of Jesus are resurrected. Did Jesus teach we will be raised when he returns? The Greek manuscript minuscule 339, written in the thirteenth century, not only has a point after today but also leaves space before the next word making an incorrect reading unlikely. Dating from the fifth century, the Curetonian Syriac is among the oldest New Testaments remaining; it phrases the sentence differently.

Luke 23:43: Curetonian Syriac English version
“Amen, I say to thee to-day that with me thou shalt be in the Garden of Eden.'” 

Luke 23:43 Modern English Version
Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:43 My Own Version
Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:43 Textus Receptus (Stephanus 1550)
και ειπεν αυτω ο ιησους αμην λεγω σοι σημερον μετ εμου εση εν τω παραδεισω

Luke 21:27-28 Expanded Bible
27 Then people will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory [Dan. 7:13]. 28 When these things begin to happen, ·look up [or stand up] and hold your heads high, because ·the time when God will free you [your redemption/liberation] is ·near [at hand]!”

John 6:44 International Children’s Bible
The Father is the One who sent me. No one can come to me unless the Father draws him to me. And I will raise him up on the last day.

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