“Transfigured” or “Transformed”?
actually happened to
Jesus on the mount helps
us to see what we need to
experience today in an
Recently I have been very much focused on finishing up a revision of the New Testament that I’ve been working on for some time. As I announced a few days ago, it should be on Amazon this coming week. (If you haven’t seen the Intro video yet it is here:)
Why did I begin this project? Because I felt that, while there may be some English-language translations today that are fairly good, there are none that are truly first-rate overall. Each may have its strong points, but they all fall short of what is really needed. So, I thought I would do my own version, in an attempt to provide a New Testament that meets the need of our time.
Allow me give one example to illustrate what I am talking about. And this is quite an important example.
In almost all translations today, even those that are generally considered to be the most accurate, Matthew 17:2 reads something like this:
[Jesus] was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
However, according to the Greek, Jesus was not “transfigured”; He was “transformed!”
The Greek word for “transformation,” metamorphoo (Strong’s #3339), is what is used in Matthew 17:2, as well as in its sister verse, Mark 9:1. It includes the thought of a change in appearance, in nature, and in essence. (See Vine’s under “Form.”)
In contrast, The Greek word for “transfiguration,” metaschçmatizô (Strong’s #3345), only relates to “the changeable, outward fashion” of a thing, not to its real nature. (See Vincent’s on Matt. 17:2.)
Seeing that Jesus was actually “transformed” on the mount connects what happened to Him there, with what should be happening to us today, as described in the only other two places where this word appears in the New Testament. In Romans 12:2 Paul exhorts us to…
…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
And in 2 Corinthians 3:18 he states:
We all, with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.
So, what happened to Jesus on the mount in an outward way—His being transformed—is the very same thing that is should be happening to us today in an inward way.
Shortly before being transformed, Jesus told the disciples:
Whoever would save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what shall a man be profited if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
— Matthew 16:25-26
When we realize the connection between what happened to the Lord Jesus on the mount, and our own experience of transformation, it brings out the fuller meaning of this statement. That is, by being transformed, the Lord was actually showing the disciples what it really means to lose our life in this age, so that we may gain it in the next; it means we allow the Lord to transform us into His glorious image in our inward being.
So, to have an accurate translation really matters. And that is what I am attempting to provide with the Standard Version.
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— 17 June 2023 —