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God and the Blind

God and the Blind

It is, however, possible to translate this passage in a way that God does not appear as one who arbitrarily makes a man blind so that he can later show his power in healing him. In TEV the words He is blind so thatactually translates “but that” of the Greek text. The last part of verse 3 may be joined with the first part of verse 4 by placing a comma after him. The following translation would then result: “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sins. But that God’s power might be seen at work in him, (4) we must keep on doing the works of him who sent me as long as it is day.” On the basis of the Greek, it is not only grammatically possible to translate in this way; it also suits the context well. Jesus’ answer to the disciples then becomes a rejection of their belief that the man’s blindness was due either to his parents’ sin or to his own sin, but he makes no judgement as to the reason that the man was born blind. He simply says that the man’s blindness offers an opportunity to show God’s power at work in him, and that Jesus himself has come to reveal that power at work in history. Apparently no modern translations follow this exegesis. It is not even discussed in the better commentaries, but it does make good sense, and it is grammatically possible. More
Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993. Print. UBS Handbook Series.
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