We all know it — John 3:16

We all know it — John 3:16

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Many of us have had this most famous Bible verse of all memorized since our Sunday School days as a child. After coming to Japan as a missionary in 1978, this was one of the first verses I memorized in Japanese. It’s still powerful, no matter what language one speaks.

There is a verse in the Bible that has been translated into more than 1100 languages. It tells of One who loved us with an everlasting love. The verse here is recorded in 27 languages of the world which are understood by more than three quarters of the earth’s population. The verse is John 3:16. (From a Gideon’s International Bible). Click here to view John3:16 in 27 languages.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

I have various copies of Bible translations in my library. One of the most unusual is a copy of the Japan Bible Society’s 1897 AINU New Testament translated by missionary  John Batchelor as he worked among the AINU of northern Japan. Even though I don’t understand the language, I take it out every once in a while and read just to hear the beauty of the language that is spoken by only a very few these days. It will be “all Greek” (I mean) “all Ainu” to you, but nevertheless, give it a try.

“Inambe, gusu ne yakun, Kamui anak ne koro shinen ne Poho koropare pakno moshiri omap ruwe ne, nen ne yakka nei Poho eishokoro guru obitta aisamka shomoki no nei pakno ne yakka ishu ramat koro kuni ne kore nisa ruwe ne.”

I recently celebrated my birthday and received a wonderful present from a friend — a reprinted copy of the 1837 Gutzlaff Japanese Translation of the Gospel of John. In the back jacket of the book there is as CD of six chapters being read in very old, old Japanese. There were 1,690 copies printed in Singapore in 1837, but there are now only 16 copies left in the whole world, two of which are held by the Japan Bible Society. I would like to share John Chapter 3 here with you.

Click here to listen to the reading the 3rd Chapter of Gutzlaff’s Gospel of John. 



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