John 1:28 "in BETHABARA" or "in BETHANY"?
John 1:28 KJB - "These things were done in BETHABARA beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing."
Modern English Version 2014 (ESV, NASB, NIV, Holman, NET, Jehovah Witness NWT, Catholic St. Joseph NAB 1970, New Jerusalem bible 1985) - "These things took place in BETHANY beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing."
The reading of BETHANY is that found in Sinaiticus original, P75, Vaticanus, A, C original, the Syriac Peshitta, Slavonic and the Latin copies.
But BETHABARA is the reading of both Sinaiticus correction and C correction, K, T, 083, the Syriac Curetonian, Sinaitic and Syriac Palestinian copy, a Coptic Sahidic copy of the ancient versions.
And of course the Textus Receptus of Erasmus, Stephanus, Be a, Elzevir and Scriviner as well as the Modern Greek N.T. all read "in BETHABARA".= Βηθαβαρα
And The Modern Greek Translation - Ταυτα εγειναν εν Βηθαβαρα περαν του Ιορδανου, οπου ητο ο Ιωαννης βαπτιζων.
First of all, Bethany was the hometown of Lazarus, Mary and Martha and it was "nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off" (John 11:18). That is less than 2 miles from Jerusalem. It is nowhere near the Jordan River, which is about 21 miles away.
Bible commentators haggle back and forth about the true reading here, but even Dan Wallace, who favors the Critical Text, comments: "because Bethany was at least a well-known location in Palestine, mentioned in the Gospels about a dozen times, one has to wonder whether scribes replaced ?? ???????? with ???????.?
John Calvin - "These things were done in Bethabara. The place is mentioned, not only to authenticate the narrative, but also to inform us that this answer was given amidst a numerous assembly of people; for there were many who flocked to John's baptism, and this was his ordinary place for baptizing. It is likewise supposed by some to be a passage across Jordan, and, from this circumstance, they derive the name, for they interpret it the house of passage; " SOME HAVE INSERTED HERE THE NAME BETHANY, BUT THIS IS A MISTAKE; for we shall afterwards see how near Bethany was to Jerusalem. The situation of Bethabara, as laid down by those who have described the country, agrees best with the words of the Evangelist"
John Gill comments that though many copies read "Bethany" yet he says: "Bethany was not beyond Jordan, nor in the wilderness of Judea, but near to Jerusalem, about two miles distant from it; nor was it situated by waters convenient for baptizing, either this reading is an error, or there was another Bethany near Jordan: Bethabara signifies "the house of passage", and is thought to be the place where the Israelites passed over Jordan, to go into the land of Canaan"
John Trapp, English Puritan, doesn't even question the reading of Bethabara. Nor does Matthew Henry. He simply states: "In Bethabara, That is, by interpretation, the place of passage where Israel passed over Jordan. So the acts of Joshua and Jesus begin both at a place. Baptism also is first administered where it was of old foreshadowed. Christ is the true Bethabara"
Even the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says: "Bethany beyond the Jordan" (John 1:28) the King James Version Bethabara, a reading against the majority of the manuscripts: No such place is known."
Agreeing with the King James Bible and the Reformation bibles in other languages that also read "IN BETHABARA" are Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1835, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew's bible 1549, the Bishops' bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, the Beza N.T. 1599, Mace N.T. 1729, Wesley's N.T. 1755, Worsley N.T. 1770, Haweis N.T. 1795, Thomson Bible 1808, Webster's bible 1833, Living Oracles 1835, Pickering N.T. 1840, the Julia Smith Translation 1855, the Calvin Bible 1856, The Revised N.T. 1862, Smith Bible 1876, Young's 1898, the NKJV 1982, the Laurie Translation 1998, Third Millennium bible 1998, God's First Truth 1999, Jubilee Bible 2000, Tomson N.T. 2002, The Pickering New Testament 2005, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, Green's Literal Translation 2005, The Conservative Bible 2010, The Hebrew Roots Bible 2015 and the New Matthew Bible 2016.
Foreign Language Bibles
Foreign language Bibles that also read "in Bethabara" are the Spanish Las Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano di Valera 1602, the Reina Valera 1909 - 1995 - "en Betábara", the French Martin 1744, French Ostervald 1996 - "Bethabara", the Hungarian Karoli bible - "Béthabarában", the Italian Diodati 1649, and La Nuova Diodati 1991 - "in Betabara", the Polish Updated Gdansk Bible 2013 - "w Betabarze", the Romanian Cornilescu bible 1924-2014 - "în Betabara", the Russian Synodal bible, the Tagalog And Salita ng Diyos bible 1998 - "sa Betabara", the Bulgarian bible 1940, Luther's German bible 1545 and the German Schlachter bible 2000 - "zu Bethabara", the Czeck Kralicka bible - "Betaba'e ", The Dutch Staten-Vertaling Bible - "in Bethabara"
Early Church writers -
Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistle to the Hebrews Homily XVII
"These things were done in Bethany," or, AS ALL THE MORE CORRECT COPIES HAVE IT, "IN BETHABARA." For Bethany was not "beyond Jordan" nor bordering on the wilderness, but somewhere nigh to Jerusalem."
Cyril of Alexandria
Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint. John LFC 43, 48
But he says that these things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, putting this too as a sign of accurate and careful narration.
Eusebius of Caesarea, Onomasticon (1971) Translation. pp. 1-75.
B'thaabara (Bethabara). "Where John was baptizing" (the penitent) "across the Jordan." The place is pointed out where many of the brothers even now consider it an honor to wash. (Where today many of the brothers, the believers, desiring a renewal of life are baptized in the Depths.)
All of grace, believing God's Book - the King James Bible,
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