Does your red-letter Bible misquote Christ?

A long-standing feature request from users of SwordSearcher is “words of Christ in red.” One of the things I’m working on for the next release is adding red-letter data to the KJV module so that users can (optionally) have the Lord’s words colored differently than regular text.

One difficulty with this is that the various red-letter Bibles don’t agree 100% on which words should be attributed to Jesus. As my “source” I am using an Old Scofield Reference Bible, and I am comparing it to a Thompson Chain Reference Bible to ensure no errors.  Thanks to the work of Bill Bonnell I have a list of verses to which I can compare mine (automatically). After reconciling some differences, I’m satisfied that I’ve got an accurate data set.

Anyway, to the real point of this post:

If you have a red-letter Bible, open it up to John 8:51 and 8:52.

The Lord says:

Joh 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

Then they respond:

Joh 8:52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.

Notice the subtle difference — they changed “see” to “taste of” when quoting the Lord*.

We have three different “red-letter Bibles” in our home, and one of them actually shows this misquotation by the Jews in verse 52 as red letters, incorrectly attributing what they said to Christ.


*And for you folks thinking there might be something more going on “in the Greek,” no, there isn’t.  The word translated as “see” (theoreo) in verse 51 is not the same as the word translated “taste” (geuomai) in verse 52. Coloring the misquotation as red is simply an error, probably made by a careless editor.

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