I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. (John 5:24)
Relate: In the King James:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Seriously? Who talks like that anymore. Thank God for more modern translations.
In the NIV:
Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
I like the use of “very truly” to as an opening. The word “very” in English does what the repetition did in Hebrew. It accentuates the importance of the word being used. Jesus saying, “Truly, truly” is His way of saying, “Listen close. What I’m about to say is important.” As a side note, the only thing repeated three times like this in scripture is the word “holy”. It is used such when referring to God in heaven.
In the NASB:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
The generous use of commas here (and throughout the NASB) helps to accentuate the thought blocks in Hebrew. But I won’t say more of that here for fear of sounding like a nerd. Needless to say, I personally think the NASB is the most accurate literal translation out there but it is very difficult to read.
In the NLT:
I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
I love that this version uses “listen” where all the others say “hears”. The truth of the matter is, the way we use those words today, it is quite possible to hear but not to listen. There is background music playing all the time most of the places I might go. I am always hearing it, sometimes I might even notice it, but I seldom if ever truly listen. A parent can give their child a set of instructions while they are watching TV or dumbing themselves down with the playstation. The child might grunt out a response and, if called out on it, they might be able to repeat it all back verbatim. But give it five minutes and anything that might have lodged into their head is gone. They heard but they weren’t really listening.
React: When I am reading my Bible, am I really listening, or are my eyes just scrolling over the pages? When I am in the pew on a Sunday morning, am I listening to the word being presented or have my eyes glazed over and my mind traveled to another place? Am I engaging with the text of does it simply wash over me? When I get to my place of prayer, am I truly giving God all of my mind or simply giving Him a little bit of my time? Do I truly listen? Or does the living Word of God seem to me dead and boring?
God, help me to listen…