The Slanderer "Abode" Not In The Truth

by A.E. Knoch

AN excellent example of the subconscious alteration of God's Word in translation by the ordinary methods is found in our Lord's words concerning the Slanderer (John 8:44). With great emphasis Christ insists that he is the very father of that which is false. As the Greek has it, he has not stood in the truth. This has been rendered, he "abode" not in the truth. Now the English word "abide" has the secondary sense of remain, continue, with the implication in such a case as this, that he once was in the truth, but left it. To be sure, this idea is denied by the whole context and by the reason given, but a traditional background is much weightier than the context, and lifts the one statement, he "abode not in the truth" out of its surroundings in order to show that Satan was once in the truth and fell from it.

And why has not the Slanderer stood in the truth? Because his pride led him to fall? Because he was not true to the truth in him? By no means! The reason given is quite the opposite. It is because "truth is not in him." His relation to truth is twofold: it is not in him and he has not stood in it. It never was in him and he never was in it. This passage directly contradicts the fall of Satan, and is strong evidence against it, yet, by a slight twist in translation, it has been turned against the truth.

The great and glorious and fundamental doctrine of the deity of God--that all is out of Him--gives such seemingly insignificant points an importance which few realize. In itself it is of small moment whither Satan fell or not, but if his traditional "fall" prevents us from receiving God's supreme revelation concerning Himself and leaves us without a God worthy of the name then the smallest hindrance to our faith must be removed, cost what it will. Only thus can we increase in the knowledge of God.

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