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Discussion 2 to Ask the Patriarch 238
Believing "on" or "in" Jesus

by: Bill Drown

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I had the same question, and took a little time on the net to see if anybody had a good answer -- "believing in" has always sounded awkward to me -- I read the question and then the replay.

I would think that the first part of an answer should come from a review of the manuscripts -- translating is a daunting task, requiring the translator to deal with ranges of meaning in both the source language and the target language.

In this instance, we find that Acts 16:31 is translating the word "e-PY" followed by the accusative case with possible meanings of on, upon, to, up to, or against (Greek Grammar beyond the Basics, Wallace, 1996).

In contrast, Jn 1:12 is translating the Greek word "ace" which has about 15 different meanings, including replacing "en," "the workhorse of prepositions in the NT" (same cite).

In contrast, Jn 6:47 is translating a participle -- the one who believes -- there is no preposition.

Comparing the three verses, I am satisfied with the translations -- I think the Acts 16:31 cite is trying to emphasize the foundational nature of the belief for Christians -- it sounds awkward, but it really is saying something different.

Thank you.


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