go vs. return

Kayaw has two main verbs of movement: lè for movement in a direction away from one’s home, and the ge for movement in a direction returning back to one’s home. So in Kayaw, you “go somewhere”, but you never “go home”, you only “return home”. Thus, in John 14:2-5, Jesus speaks of returning to his Father’s house in heaven, rather than going to his Father’s house in heaven. In verse 5 Thomas says that he and the other disciples don’t know where Jesus is returning, or the way that would enable them to go there (for them a new place, not their home). This use of return implies that Thomas is confused about both Jesus’ origin (coming down from his Father) and Jesus’ destination (returning to his Father). This fits well with verses 6-11 where Jesus uses Thomas’ confusion to expound on his relationship to the Father. (Source: Anonymous)

complete verse (John 14:4)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 14:4:

  • Uma: “You know the way to go to my dwelling-place.'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “And you know the way to where I am going.'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And you know the way going to where I am going.'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “You surely know the path the goes to where I am going.'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “And you know the trail now which goes to this where I am going.'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Now you know where I am going and you know the road.'” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

Translation commentary on John 14:4

You know the way that leads to the place where I am going is more literally “and where I am going you know the way.” Since the phrase that John uses is difficult in Greek, and since Thomas in verse 5 distinguishes between where Jesus is going and the way to get there, some ancient scribes expanded the Greek text to read “You know where I am going and you know the way” (New English Bible alternative reading). However, this reading is obviously an attempt to make the text read more smoothly, and it is not followed by most modern translations.

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .