For Ever - a Mistranslation

What about John 3:16?

John 3:16 – for God did so love the world, that His Son – the only begotten – He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during (YLT)

1 Corinthians 15:53 – for it behoveth this corruptible to put on incorruption, and this mortal to put on immortality; (YLT)

John clearly states that those that believe in Christ shall not perish and will have life during time. 1 Corinthians says that some will have immortality. Notice that this is different than everlasting because everlasting has no beginning or end. Immortality has a beginning, but no end. These two verses are referring to the barley overcomers. The barley overcomers will rule with Christ for 1,000 years and will be immortal. See the Barley Overcomers.

Jerome’s Latin Vulgate

The Latin Vulgate was written in the early 5th century from the original Hebrew and Greek. When Jerome came to the Greek word aionian (“age-lasting”) he had two Latin words to choose from: speculum and aeternum. Both were used in old Latin translations and are close to the meaning of aionian so Jerome used both words interchangeably. The problem is speculum and aeternum both have double meanings: “unending time” and “a period of time.” As I mentioned before, the King James translation is from the Vulgate, not the original Hebrew and Greek. And here in lies the problem, the King James translators did not understand this double meaning of speculum and aeternum. So whenever the Vulgate said aeternus, KJV said “eternal;” whenever the Vulgate said speculum, the KJV reads “world.”

So in conclusion, aion and olam are mistranslated in the King James Bible. The main problem is that the translators used Jerome’s Latin Vulgate instead of the original Hebrew and Greek. As we discussed, “for ever” and “everlasting” can make sense in some contexts, but mean something completely different in others. Many scholars agree that the appropriate translation of aion and olam is an age, period of time, or indefinite period of time, but never “for ever” or “everlasting.”


Jones, Dr. Stephen E. “The Meaning of Eternal and Everlasting.”

Smith, L. Ray. Is “EVERLASTING” Scriptural?

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