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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Quick Note on the Malefactor's Request of the Lord on Calvary

I hope to cover the numerous traditions connected to this time of year which depart from scripture (we've already looked at Lent), but I wanted to note something quickly about Luke 23:42 and the plea by the malefactor on the cross near our Lord.

We will address the content and context of the conversation in a future post, but here I wanted to look at the difference in English translations. We've noted elsewhere that Gentiles during the Lord's earthly ministry needed to recognize him as eternal Creator God and not as the promised Messiah of Israel. But when we look at the English translations, we see one enormous omission in some:

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (KJV)

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (NKJV)

he said to Jesus, `Remember me, lord, when thou mayest come in thy reign. (YLT)

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” (NLT)

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. (NIV)

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (ESV)

Note that in most of the newer translations the word "Lord" is omitted. This is because the word (Gk: κύριος or kýrios) does not appear in he "critical" texts. This is a major change. We will see in another study on this exchange that the malefactor (not the thief) is only promised "Paradise," not necessarily a place in Israel's earthly Kingdom (the only kingdom in view here). Our point here is that the omission of "Lord" borders on blasphemy. "Jesus" should be accompanied by Lord, especially when used by Gentiles. 

I have noted in another post that sometimes the more modern versions give a better sense of a verse (so I am not condemning them altogether), but we must understand the shortcomings of some of the manuscript evidence used for those translations.