eternal life

The Greek that is translated in English as “eternal life” is translated in various ways:

  • Berik: “good living forever” (source: Kroneman 2004, p. 536)
  • Asháninka: “keep on living”
  • Aguaruna: “will always live”
  • Yanesha’: “immortal state forever”
  • Inupiaq: “endless life”
  • Colorado: “live forever with God”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “heart will be alive forever,” (source for this and five above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)
  • Tagalog: buhay na walang hanggan: “life which has no boundary”
  • Iloko: biagna nga agnanayon: “continuing life” (source for this and one above: G. Henry Waterman in The Bible Translator 1960, p. 24ff.)
  • Kele: loiko: “survival: enduring through crisis, catastrophe and death” (source: William Ford in The Bible Translator 1957, p. 203ff.).
  • Mairasi as “life fruit” (source: Enggavoter 2004).

Lloyd Peckham explains the Mairasi translation: “In secret stories, not knowable to women nor children, there was a magical fruit of life. If referred to vaguely, without specifying the specific ‘fruit,’ it can be an expression for eternity.”

See also eternity / forever and salvation.

complete verse (John 5:39)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 5:39:

  • Umiray Dumaget Agta: “You read the writings carefully because you mistakenly think that you will live forever because of them. These, however, are what tell of me.”
  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “It is necessary that you study well God’s words since you say that there you will find everlasting life up in heaven. And you will find that even there it talks about me.”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “You read where the word of God is written down, for you think that you will live forever because you have the word of God. But I am the one the word of God is speaking about.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Uma: “You study the contents of the Holy Book, because you say that you receive good life forever from that Holy Book. But the Holy Book itself also talks about me.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “You really persevere studying the holy-book because you think that if you study you will find/obtain life forever in heaven. And-what’s-more this holy-book tells about me.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “You study the written word of God because you suppose mistakenly that by means of this you will be able to own eternal life. The written word of God testifies about me, however you don’t believe in me.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “You study-and-study what God caused-to-be-written long ago, because you mistakenly-think that if you do that, you will have life that has no end. But I of-course am the one that that-aforementioned writing talks-about,” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “You keep going over and over the word of God in your writings, because you’re sure you will find there how life which has no ending may be yours. However as for these, they testify only concerning me.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “You earnestly study the Holy Book you have because you thus want to find out about the new life which is forever. And the one written about in that Holy Book you study is me.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

formal pronoun: Jesus addressing his disciples and common people

Like many languages (but unlike Greek or Hebrew or English), Tuvan uses a formal vs. informal 2nd person pronoun (a familiar vs. a respectful “you”). Unlike other languages that have this feature, however, the translators of the Tuvan Bible have attempted to be very consistent in using the different forms of address in every case a 2nd person pronoun has to be used in the translation of the biblical text.

As Voinov shows in Pronominal Theology in Translating the Gospels (in: The Bible Translator 2002, p. 210ff.), the choice to use either of the pronouns many times involved theological judgment. While the formal pronoun can signal personal distance or a social/power distance between the speaker and addressee, the informal pronoun can indicate familiarity or social/power equality between speaker and addressee.

Here, Jesus is addressing his disciples, individuals and/or crowds with the formal pronoun, showing respect.