John 8:58 – Various English Translations that Recognize Jesus Did Not Say “I AM”

A deeper look at John 8:58

 

Trinitarian critics of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses, often take issue with the verse recorded at John 8:58, which reads…

John 8:58 “Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to YOU, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.””

In translations that they prefer, it has Jesus saying “I AM” instead of “I have been”, and they mistakenly claim that Jesus was claiming to be the God of the Old Testament who says “I am that I am” at Exodus 3:14 according to the same translations (which is also incorrect). The charge is that the New World Translation is unique in that it renders the passage in a way that suits our belief that the trinity doctrine is a false teaching. But is the New World Translation really unique in this regard?

The answer is No. In fact, several translations also correctly convey the correct thought that Jesus was expressing at John 8:58, and many scholars, even modern day translators, will admit and attest to the fact that Jesus was not uttering “I AM” in some mysterious fashion in this verse. Below is an exhaustive list of other versions demonstrating that the New World Translations rendering of John 8:58 has merit.

To the surprise of many, the 1960 and 1973 printings of the New American Standard Bible (NASB) also has “I have been” as a variant reading in the margin.

The Living New Testament: “The absolute truth is that I was in existence before Abraham was ever born.”

The 20th Century New Testament: “before Abraham existed I was.”

Noyes, G.R. N.T. (1878) “Jesus said to them, _truly, truly do I say to you, from before Abraham was, I have been.”

Hanson, J.W. New Covenant (1884) “Jesus said to them, “truly, truly, I say to you, I am before Abraham was
born.”

Kraeling, E.G. Four Gospels (1962) “With another amen-saying, Jesus declares to them that before Abraham was, He (Jesus) is (hint of His preexistence).”

Parker, P.G. Clarified N.T. “Jesus answered, before Abraham existed, I existed.'”

Cotton Patch Version (1970) “To this Jesus replied, ‘I existed before Abraham was born.'”

Good News for the World (1969) “Jesus answer, I tell you the truth. I already was before Abraham was
born.”

The Complete Bible, An American Translation Goodspeed: “I tell you I existed before Abraham was born.”

New Believers Bible, New Living Translation: “I existed before Abraham was even born.”

The New Testament, C. B. Williams: “I solemnly say to you, I existed before Abraham was born.”

The Book, New Testament: The absolute truth is that I was in existence before Abraham was ever born.”

The Living Bible: “I was in existence before Abraham was ever born.”

Lattimore: “Truly, truly I tell you, I am from before Abraham was born.”

The New Testament, From the Peshitta Text, Lamsa: “Before Abraham was born, I was.”

An American Translation, In The Language of Today, Beck: “I was before Abraham.”

New Testament Contemporary English Version: “I tell you, that even before Abraham was, I was,
and I am.”

The Unvarnished New Testament: “Before Abraham was born, I have already been.”

The New Testament, Kleist & Lilly: “I am here-and I was before Abraham.”

The New Testament in the Language of the People, Williams: “I existed before Abraham was born.”

The New Testament, Noyes: “From before Abraham was, I have been.”

A Translation of the Four Gospels, Lewis: “Before Abraham was, I have been.”

The Syriac New Testament, Murdock: “Before Abraham existed I was.”

The Curetonian Version of the Four Gospels, Burkitt& The Old Georgian Version of the Gospel of John, Blake & Briere “Before Abraham came to be, I was.”

The New Testament Or Rather the New Covenant, Sharpe: “I was before Abraham was born.”

The 20th Century New Testament 1904: “Before Abraham existed I was already what I am.”

The New Testament, Stage: “Before Abraham came to be, I was.”

International Bible Translators 1981 “Jesus said to them, _I am telling the truth: I was alive before Abraham
was born!”

The Documents of the New Testament, Wade: “Before Abraham came into being, I have existed.”

Noli, M.F.S. N.T. (1961) “Jesus answered them: ‘Well, well, I tell you, I existed before Abraham
was born.'”

The Concise Gospel and The acts, Christianson: “I existed even before Abraham was born.”

A Translators Handbook to the Gospel of John, Nida: “Before Abraham existed, I existed, or.I have existed.”

The Simple English Bible: “I was alive before Abraham was born.”

The Original New Testament, Schonfield: “I tell you for a positive fact, I existed before Abraham was born.”

The Complete Gospels Annotated Scholars Version, Miller: “I existed before there was an Abraham.”

Swann, G. N.T. (1947) “Jesus said to them, verily, verily I say unto you, I existed before Abraham was born”

International English Version (2001) “I was alive before Abraham was born”

 

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