The Supreme Translation

“No one has seen God at any time.  The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1.18; NKJV; {Note: I am aware of the variant reading in this text, but said topic is not within the scope of this brief article}).

*In the world of translations there is the general theme of Dynamic Equivalence vs. Formal Equivalence—terms coined by renowned lexicographer Eugene Nida.  The former denotes the sense-for-sense translation while the latter conveys a word-for-word or a more supposedly “literal” translation.

*Any translation inherently possesses a dual nature inasmuch as said rendering has both the divine and human elements present.  The divine “nature” (I use the term loosely) is seen in the originally-inspired languages—or the sender language.  The human “nature” is demonstrated in the transmission process in an attempt to accurately convey the meaning of the original languages into the receptor dialect, depending on which translation philosophy is being adopted.

*In the text above, the Greek verb translated “declared” in the NKJV is transliterated as exēgēsato (ἐξηγήσατο) and is where we derive our English word “exegesis.”  This is a compounded term consisting of the preposition transliterated as “ek or ex” (ἐξ) meaning “from the interior outward,” and the verb hégeomai (ἡγέομαι) meaning “to draw out by showing priority.”  Hence, this verb literally defines as, “to draw from the interior outward[ly] by showing priority.”

*See here this lexical source:  1834 eksēgéomai (from 1537/ek, “completely out of {or} from,” intensifying 2233/hēgéomai, “to lead by showing priority”) — Properly, lead out completely (thoroughly bring forth), i.e., “Explain (narrate) in a way that clarifies what is uppermost (has priority).”  [1834 (eksēgéomai)] is the root of the English terms, “exegesis, exegete.”

*About A.D. 75, Josephus used 1834 (eksēgéomai) as a “technical term for the interpretation of the law as practiced by the rabbinate” (A. Schlatter, Der Evangelist Johannes, Stuttgart, 1948, p. 36, who cites Josephus, Ant. 17.149; War 1.649; 2.162;

*On a grammatical level then, this text demonstrates that Jesus Christ literally exegeted the Father by narrating or lifting Him out in the Incarnation.  As the “Word made flesh,” Jesus was the most literal “Formal Equivalence” that was ever rendered!  That is, in the “Incarnation-Translation” Jesus’s dual nature of divinity and humanity worked in tandem to show priority to – and clearly lift out – the truths of the “Original.”  In sum, He was “The Supreme Translation!

2 comments on “The Supreme Translation

  1. Paul says:

    That was very well said, I mean your exegeting of the phrase “The only begotten Son…has declared Him” (Jn. 1:18a). Your elucidation affords me further clarity bringing to memory the convictions of the writer of the book of Hebrews (methinks Paul) that Jesus Christ “is the express image of his person (that is, God, Heb. 1:3)” or as Paul puts it “the visible image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15 NLT; cf. 1Tim. 1:17).

    It was the apocalyse, the Revelation or self-disclosure of Jesus Christ himself. Truly, as you have aptly concluded Jesus Christ was “the Supreme (and superlative) Translation” of that which has always been from the beginning!!! God bless and thank you for the succinct piece.


    • Perkins says:

      Thank you for the astute observations. The passages that you reference serve as excellent supplemental Scriptures to the article. Very good points!

      God Bless!


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