[bible passage=”1 John 4:2″]
1 John 4:2: KAI PAN PNEUMA hO hOMOLEGEI IHSOUN CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUTOTA EK TOU QEOU ESTIN.
2 John 7: hOTI POLLOI PLANOI EXHLQON EIS TON KOSMON, hOI MH hOMOLOGOUNTES IHSOUN CRISTON ERCOMENON EN SARKI ….
All the translations I have been able to check except Moffat take IHSOUN CRISTON EN SARKI ELHLUTOTA as the object of hOMOLOGEW in 1 John 4:2 and IHSOUN CRISTON ERCOMENON EN SARKI as the object of hMOLOGEW in 2 John 7, resulting in the following translations:
1 John 4:2: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God (KJV)
2 John 7: For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh …. (NASB).
In commentaries that adopt the above interpretations of these two verses, it is customary to call such denial an error of “docetic Gnosticism.” But the actual issue involved is simply the denial on the part of some that Jesus is the Christ (cf. 1 John 2:22; 5:1); therefore it is best to translate these verses as follows, taking IHSOUN CRISTON in both cases as an object-complement double accusative.
1 John 4:2: And every spirit that confesses that Jesus is Christ come in the flesh is of God.
2 John 7: For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who deny that Jesus is Christ coming in the flesh ….
In both verses the idea is that the flesh and blood human being known to the world as Jesus is the Christ.
In John 9:22, we have the same verb hOMOLOGEW used with an object-complement construction: EAN TIS AUTON hOMOLOGHSHi CRISTON–“if any one confessed him [Jesus] to be Christ.”
Moffat, the only exception I have noted, translates 1 John 4:2 as “every spirit that confesses Jesus as Christ incarnate comes from God.”
I checked with Wallace and was happy to see that he agrees with me on the translation of the subject verses (see note 41 on p. 188).
If there’s to be any discussion of the issues of these two verses, I would urge list-members to focus discussion on how the Greek text of one or the other or both passages is to be understood — rather than on translation or theology or hermenetical considerations, as the focus of the initial post seems to have been.
Carl W. Conrad Co-Chair, List