The Text of John 3:13 -- By: David Alan Black

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 06:1 (Spring 1985)
Article: The Text of John 3:13
Author: David Alan Black

The Text of John 3:13

David Alan Black

Examination of the external and internal evidence for the reading of John 3:13 indicates that the longer reading (which includes the clause ὁ ὤν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ) should be regarded as authentic. This longer reading has extensive external attestation. Furthermore, transcriptional probabilities and Johns style and theology lend strong internal support for this reading. Therefore, John 3:13 is a proof of the omnipresence of the earthly Jesus.

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Text-critical studies on the Gospel of John have concentrated mainly on the pericope of the adulterous woman, which is placed in modern editions of the Greek NT between 7:52 and 8:12 (sometimes relegated to the critical apparatus). There is, however, at least one other major textual problem in John which calls for special attention.1 The present article examines the text of John 3:13 in which the final clause, “who is in heaven” (ὁ ὤν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ), is lacking in important Greek witnesses to the text of John. It is argued on the basis of both external and internal considerations that the words were original and later were deleted to avoid saying that Jesus was simultaneously present in heaven. Hence, the disputed reading in John 3:13 should be allowed to stand as an explicit statement of the omnipresence of the Son of Man, even as he walked on the earth,

External Criteria

The text of John 3:13 circulated in the early church in two basic yet quite distinct forms, one which included the words ὁ ὤν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, and another which lacked them. The former, which has been traditionally regarded as authentic, is represented by a diversified array of witnesses, primarily non-Alexandrine in character. The other form is attested chiefly by the Alexandrian group of manuscripts, in particular the uncials א and B, and by early papyrus codices of the Bodmer collection. This section examines in greater detail the external textual evidence for and against the reading ὁ ὤν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ.

With the UBS Greek New Testament

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