Where’s the comma?2 min read

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Luke 23:43 (KJV)

Verily I say unto thee, Today – This is the go-to verse to prove that we go to heaven. Today, this criminal would see Yeshua in paradise. But would it surprise you that Greek didn’t have punctuation? Commas were injected into the translations based on an interpreter’s opinion or paradigm.

When we read this verse with the comma in its current location we imagine that upon death, during this day, he would be in paradise with Yeshua. But try moving the comma after the word “today” instead. We get a much different interpretation.

Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.

Now the verse no longer implies the immediacy of this day. Rather, simply put, this criminal would be with Yeshua in paradise… whenever that time came. Perhaps after the final resurrection? If the criminal was going to be found in paradise along with Yeshua, then surely he wouldn’t need to be resurrected, right? He’d already be there.

This paradigm of immediate life after death, or the idea of an undying soul, doesn’t fit with the Biblical truth of the resurrection. If you notice there’s really no concept of the afterlife in the Torah. There’s rarely mention of it in the whole of the Tanakh. It’s a more recent concept reintroduced into the text.

Take a look at another punctuation example to understand how your own paradigm might affect the outcome. Read this next sentence and add the punctuation where you see fit.

A woman without her man is nothing

Where did you add the punctuation? If you’re a man, most likely you made the sentence look like this:

A woman, without her man, is nothing.

But if you’re a woman, you may have made it like this:

A woman; without her, man is nothing.

Do you see the affect your personal paradigm, even just your gender, would have on the simplest sentence? So think about this. If we’re creating doctrines based on punctuation, how many other doctrines need to be reexamined?

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