WHICH IS IT?
“You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” (ESV)
“You go on to the festival. I am not going to this festival, because the right time has not come for me.” (GNB)
“You go up to the feast yourselves. I am not going up to this feast because my time has not yet fully arrived.” (NET)
“You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” (NKJV)
“Go up to the feast yourselves; I am not going up to it yet, for it is not quite time for me to go.” (Charles Williams)
In John 7:8, we learn that Jesus did not plan on going up to Jerusalem and engage in the Feast of Tabernacles. The ESV can’t read any plainer. However, if we look at the NKJV we clearly get a different idea: He was simply not going up just yet.
Scholars have debated amongst themselves concerning the Greek text and how best to translate the verse. In the Greek there is a single word that has caused the dispute. The NKJV “not yet” comes from a Greek word [oupoo] that is different than what is read in the ESV “not” [ouk]. Why the difference? The NKJV has the word it does because “documentary evidence” strongly favors it, in contrast to some of the modern versions like the ESV. In other words, there are many Greek manuscripts that textual scholars study in order to give us the most reliable Greek text of the words of the New Testament they can (they have had great success at this). Nevertheless, there is some dispute concerning certain particulars words that has failed to get unanimity (Phil Comfort, p. 281). This is not to suggest—even for a second—that the ESV (or others) is less than the quality of the NKJV— not even close. Only that there is some dispute concerning how best to translate the Greek into English when the Greek has two possibilities.
What it does go to show, however, is that there is value in having more than one translation before you as you read the Scripture. Sometimes you may come across something like this, but on many occasions the varied translations will offer wording that bring clarity to view. RT