Introduction - Part 2

Historically Obscured Vocabulary

For a simple example of the Greek text being obscured in English, let us look at the conversation between the risen Lord Jesus and Peter on the shore, as demonstrated below (John 21:15-17, abbreviated).

The vast majority of English translations record the conversation between the two men in the Diminished Poetic Expression used by the clergy from the dark-ages -- modern Bible scholars call this style: "Formal Equivalence" or "Literal Word-for-Word." The Precise Unabridged Expression of the Hebraic-Koine Greek, as expressed in the MCT, conveys the richer conversation that actually takes place (a verifiably "exacting equivalence"), rather than the diminished form which is communicated by the historically venerated translations. The historic choice of a diminished and obscured vocabulary continues to impose itself, by force of tradition, upon modern English translators (some of whom still valiantly wrestle between a choice of Scriptual accuracy and the acceptance of a modern, mainstream audience). If the MCT does not appeal to you, the ESV is recommended in its stead as gently furthering the multi-generational move toward Scriptural accuracy in English.

In brief (to show the distinction), the passage is summarized as follows:
(NOTE: the full passage, completely unabridged, is at the bottom of this page)

Diminished Poetic Expression
(Bishop's Bible, KJV, ASV, RSV, etc.)

JESUS: Peter, do you love me?
PETER: Yes, you know that I love you.
JESUS: Feed my lambs.

JESUS: Peter, do you love me?
PETER: Yes, you know that I love you.
JESUS: Feed my sheep.

JESUS: Peter, do you love me?
Now, Peter was grieved because Jesus had asked the third time,
"Do you love me?"

Peter replied, "Lord, you know all things.
You know that I love you."
JESUS: Feed my sheep.

Precise Unabridged Expression
(MCT)

JESUS: Peter, do you love me?
PETER: Yes, you yourself personally know that I have affection for you.
JESUS: Feed my little lambs.

JESUS: Peter, do you love me?
PETER: Yes, you yourself personally know that I have affection for you.
JESUS: Shepherd my sheep.

JESUS: Peter, do you have affection for me?
Now, Peter was grieved because Jesus declared to him the third time,
"Do you have affection for me?"

Peter declared to him, "Lord, you yourself personally know all things.
You yourself absolutely know that I have affection for you."
JESUS: Feed my sheep.


Recall that Peter expressed unconditional love to Jesus at the Last Supper by saying that he would even die for Jesus and would not leave Him. However, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Now, they meet on the shore, and Jesus addresses the matter and reaffirms Peter by repeating a command for Peter to care for Jesus' flock.

Please understand that at this encounter, Peter knew that he did not (yet) possess the love that he expressed to Jesus at the Last Supper. Peter knew he had failed to fulfill his vows of unconditional agape love for Jesus. All that Peter could honestly say was that he had affection for Jesus. Although Jesus called the question to the forefront, Jesus also reinstated Peter as his servant and friend.


Through years of study, I have found numerous occurrences where the Historic English Expression has obscured the actual Greek text. Upon these occasions, the English translation obscures the actual concepts and meaning of the passage. At the worst, the English is actually misleading and stands in opposition to the Greek text. In almost all occasions, the Greek text is richer and more vibrant than the English renderings.

Now below, we can visually see the single word-for-word translation pattern in the 1611 KJV to the 1550 Stephanus Greek text. Visually, it is easy to understand why this method was both appealing and compelling. However, when comparing the 1611 KJV to the 2013 MCT, it is also easy to comprehend that the full accuracy of the Greek text is not expressed by the historical translation method. In fact, the historical method is occasionally misleading in its terseness. My Christian brothers, you know that those who must endure the end of days shall require the clearest translation possible of God's Holy Scripture. This is vital; the consequences are eternal. The translation that our English brothers handed down to us has sufficed for a long season, but that season of sufficiency has drawn to its close. Let him who has an ear listen with comprehension.

1611 KJV

John 21:15

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

1550 Stephanus

John 21:15

ὅτε οὖν ἠρίστησαν λέγει τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρῳ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Σίμων Ἰωνᾶ ἀγαπᾷς μέ πλεῖον τούτων λέγει αὐτῷ ναί κύριε σύ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σέ λέγει αὐτῷ βόσκε τά ἀρνία μοῦ.

2013 MCT

John 21:15

Accordingly, when they·had·dined, Jesus says to·Simon Peter, “Simon, son of·Jonah, do·you·love me more·than these·things? ”He·says to·him, “Yes, Lord; you·yourself personally·know that I·have·affection·for you.” He·says to·him, “Feed my little·lambs.”

John 21:16
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:16
λέγει αὐτῷ πάλιν δεύτερον Σίμων Ἰωνᾶ ἀγαπᾷς μέ λέγει αὐτῷ ναί κύριε σύ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σέ λέγει αὐτῷ ποίμαινε τά πρόβατα μοῦ.

John 21:16
He·says to·him again a·second·time, “Simon, son of·Jonah, do·you·love me?” He·says to·him, “Yes, Lord; you·yourself personally·know that I·have·affection·for you.” He·says to·him, “Shepherd my sheep.”

John 21:17
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:17
λέγει αὐτῷ τό τρίτον Σίμων Ἰωνᾶ φιλεῖς μέ ἐλυπήθη ὁ Πέτρος ὅτι εἶπεν αὐτῷ τό τρίτον φιλεῖς μέ καί εἶπεν αὐτῷ κύριε σύ πάντα οἶδας σύ γινώσκεις ὅτι φιλῶ σέ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς βόσκε τά πρόβατα μοῦ.

John 21:17
He·says to·him the third·time, “Simon, son of·Jonah, do·you·have·affection·for me?” Peter was·grieved because he·declared to·him the third·time, “Do·you·have·affection·for me?” And he·declared to·him, “Lord, you·yourself personally·know all·things; you·yourself absolutely·know that I·have·affection·for you.” Jesus says to·him, “Feed my sheep.”