THE microscopic precision of the Word of God, and the absolute
necessity of an accurate translation which does not omit a single
particle, is well illustrated by the phrase at the head of this
paragraph (Luke 21:32). Reams have been written, trying to
explain it, for all see that that generation did pass away, and
the things spoken of have not yet been fulfilled. The word
translated "fulfilled" means simply to occur, but this does not
fully satisfy. The key to its solution lies in the Greek particle
an, which is found nearly two hundred times in the Greek
Scriptures, yet is never translated, if we credit the witness of
Wigram's Concordance. In preparing a concordant version it became
evident that English idiom would seldom bear the presence of EVER,
the standard assigned to this word. Further study showed, however,
that it was always used with the subjunctive, may, and the force
of may ever could readily be expressed by changing the may
into should. The Authorized Version fails, first of all, in
translating this verb "be fulfilled" in place of "may be
occurring." Even then the force of the particle an is ignored.
This we can preserve, in English, by changing may to should.
Our Lord knew very well that these things would not be fulfilled,
hence He carefully modified His speech to indicate, not what
would take place, but what should occur. This is more fully
explained in the note in the Version. Instead of being a
difficulty, this statement becomes the key to the whole prophecy.
And all this simply by giving heed to a particle deemed so
insignificant that no traces of it are apparent in the Authorized
Version. Two letters of God's revelation give more light than
libraries of human explanation.