(From the RDB Files)
"I AM" - Part 2
Perfect Indefinite Tense - - - - - - - - 9-12, (and f.n. #10)
Present Tense NT Greek Verb ("I am") May be Properly Understood as Perfect Tense in English ("I have been") - - - - - 10-12
"I AM" - Part 3
Ex. 3:14 ("I AM THAT I AM") - - - - - 13-16
Conclusion - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18
"I AM" - Part 4 (End Notes)
A certain group of Judean Jews had decided to kill Jesus. They said to Jesus,
(8:53) " 'Surely you are not greater than our father Abraham, who died?' ... (:54) Jesus answered, 'If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, "He is our God"; (:55) and you have not come to know him, but I know him; and if I say that I do not know him I shall be a liar like you, but I do know him, and keep his word. (:56) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it and was glad.' (:57) The Jews therefore said to him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?' (:58) Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.' (:59) Therefore they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple." - John 8:53-59 New American Standard Bible (NASB).
And Jesus earlier ( in John 6:20 mentioned above) clearly identified himself by saying to his frightened disciples: ego eimi. None of his disciples considered that to mean that Jesus was claiming to be God. In fact, most trinitarian-translated Bibles render Jesus’ words identifying himself here as “It is I.” E.g., ASV; AMP; CJB; DARBY; DRA; ESV; GNT; GNV; HCSB; ISV; JB; KJV; KJ21; TLB; MEV; MLB; MOUNCE; NAB; NASB; NCV; NEB; NET; NIV; NKJV; NLV; NRSV; REB; RSV; WEB; and WE.
(1) "Even before Abraham was born, I was (the Christ)."
(2) "I existed before Abraham was born."("I was"; "I existed"; "I have been")
(3) "I came into existence before Abraham was even born."
This paper will examine why Jn 8:58 cannot mean "I am God" or its equivalent and why one of the three other interpretations listed above must be what was originally intended.
"Wizard, a pretender to supernatural knowledge and power .... such a one was forbidden on pain of death to practice his deceptions ... Lev. 20:26, 27." - p. 654.
"But powerful forces in the Jewish congregation, jealous of his popularity, incensed by his denunciation of some of them, and bitterly critical of his disregard for formalism, his willingness to violate some of the minor laws of the Jews, and his heretical claim that he was the Son of God, repudiated him, conspired to kill him, saw him crucified, and after his death, persecuted his followers." - The Portable World Bible, Viking Press, p. 230.
"Stephen affirms to the Sanhedrin that the prophecy Jesus made before them has been fulfilled (Mk 14:62)."
"The figure of the 'Son of Man' ... was, moreover, in accord with ... that of a pre-existent, heavenly angelic being who, at the end time, will appear at the side of God as judge of the world." - p. 364, Vol. 3, Abingdon Press, 1962.
"I Was the Christ"
"So when Jesus said that Abraham had seen his day, he was making a deliberate claim that he was the Messiah. He was really saying 'I am the Messiah Abraham saw in his vision.' " - p. 35, The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, 1975, The Westminster Press. (Cf. footnote for Jn 8:56 in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1973 ed., Oxford University Press.)
"...it can also mean 'I am he (the Christ).' " - World Bible Translation Center, 1992.
Cross-References in Trinitarian Reference Bibles
Some trinitarian editors and publishers of trinitarian Bibles have added cross-references to the original translations. That is, they have superscripts and notes which refer one scripture to one or more other scriptures. The reference may indicate an actual quote from the OT found in the NT. Or it can indicate a similar meaning, event, or even just similar wording found in other scriptures. For example, in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), Reference Edition, Foundation Press, 1975, the trinitarian NT editors chose John 1:1; 17:5, 24 as all the references for John 8:58. Not one reference to Ex. 3:14 or Isaiah or any other OT scripture where God says "I am"! Obviously these trinitarian scholars did not accept the extremely poor "I AM" evidence! (The trinitarian OT editors, however, did choose this approach at Ex. 3:14.) And the very trinitarian Revised Standard Version, American Bible Society, 1971 ed. also has only Jn 1:1; 17:5, 24 as references for John 8:58! (In this case the trinitarian OT editors also did not refer Ex. 3:14 or verses in Isaiah, etc. to Jn 8:58!) These trinitarian scholars, therefore, did not accept the "I AM" argument as valid!
(1) “I HAVE BEEN” - alternate reading in 1960 thru 1973 reference editions of NASB
(2) “I HAVE BEEN” - The New Testament, G. R. Noyes
(3) “I HAVE BEEN” - “The Four Gospels” According to the Sinaitic Palimpsest, A. S. Lewis
(4) “I HAVE ALREADY BEEN” - The Unvarnished New Testament
(5) “I HAVE EXISTED” - The Bible, A New Translation, Dr. James Moffatt
(6) “I EXISTED” - The New Testament in the Language of Today, 1964 ed., Beck
(7) “I EXISTED” - An American Translation, Goodspeed
(8) “I EXISTED” - The New Testament in the Language of the People, Williams
(9) “I EXISTED” - New Simplified Bible
(10) “I WAS IN EXISTENCE” - Living Bible
(11) “I WAS ALIVE” - The Simple English Bible
(12)“I WAS” - Holy Bible - From the Ancient Eastern Text, Lamsa
(13)“I WAS” - Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, 1st ed. (Also see Young’s Concise Critical Commentary, p. 61 of “The New Covenant.”).
(14) “I WAS” - The Syriac New Testament, Jas. Murdock
(15) “I WAS” - H. T. Anderson
(16) “I WAS” - Twentieth Century New Testament
(17) "I EXISTED" - New Living Translation (NLT)
Additional (found in an on-line post):
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."
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.
New Believers Bible, New Living Translation:
"I existed before Abraham was even born."
The New Testament, Kleist and Lilly:
"I am here-and I was before Abraham."
Wakefield, G. N.T. (1795)
Jesus said unto them: Verily verily I say unto you, before Abraham was born, I am He.
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 New Testament, Stage:
"Before Abraham came to be, I was."
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."
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"
It's interesting to see that even the paraphrase Bible, the Living Bible (also published as The Word and The Book), which often takes great liberties with the literal text in order to better bring out trinitarian interpretations, denies an " 'I' AM' = God" interpretation for John 8:58. It brings out, instead, the obvious intended meaning of John 8:58 as: "the absolute truth is that I was in existence before Abraham was ever born!" ' not "I was God before Abraham...."
The point is that numerous trinitarian scholars would not ignore a popular 'Jesus is God' proof if it were not in doubt.
Even the oldest English translations do not render this as "I am":
Joh 8:58 Se hælend cwæð to him. ic was [was] ærþam þe abraham was [was] - Anglo-Saxon Gospels, Manuscript 140, Corpus Christi College circa 1000 by Aelfric.
Joh 8:58 Se hælend cwæð; to heom. Ic wæs ær þonne þe abraham wære. - Anglo-Saxon Gospels, Hatton Manuscript 38, Bodleian Library circa 1200 by unknown author.
Old English for “I am” - “Ic (or ‘Ich’) eom.” See John 8:18, 28 for example.
It's a basic part of every Jehovah's Witness' faith that Jesus (who is their King and Savior) was the very first creation by God (Col. 1:15 ASV; Rev. 3:14 ASV; and Prov. 8:22 NIV, JB) and that he then acted as God's workman (Prov. 8:30 ASV, JB, NIV) and made everything else that has come into existence - so God created everything through Jesus (1 Cor. 8:6 and Hebrews 1:2).
The Jews had angrily implied that Jesus was a liar for claiming to be older than his apparent years. "You're not even 50 years old and yet [you say] you have seen Abraham!" Jesus' most likely response, then, would have been about his age --- his actual existence 1900 years before being born in Bethlehem (so that he actually could have "seen Abraham"). Therefore he would have said: "Before Abraham was even born, I existed."
(Click here for Part 2)