Living Water: The Gospel of John—Logos 21 Version. Glide, Oregon: Absolutely Free, Inc., 1996. 77 pp. Paper.
This pocket-sized booklet, with a blue cover featuring a beautiful photograph of a flowing waterfall, takes the world’s oldest and best “tract,” the Gospel of John, and puts it in an attractive, easy-to-read translation with a series of footnotes designed to explain key passages in the text to unbelievers as well as to new Christians. The notes are written from a grace perspective, and thus enhance, rather than hinder, the original message of this most wonderful of all books.
The booklet is the debut publication of a brand new translation of the NT, Logos 21, which seeks to render the original Greek accurately, but in modern, everyday English. Although several scholars worked on the project, Logos 21 is mainly the work and vision of Dr. Arthur Farstad, editor of JOTGES. The name refers to the goal of bringing God’s Word (Greek Logos) into the 21st century.
Most recent translations tend to be paraphrastic, taking liberties with the original. Living Water beautifully achieves the delicate balance of faithfulness to the original text and high readability.
Another refreshing feature of this version is its use of contractions in conversation. These are essential to convey today’s international English usage. For example, in John 13:7, Jesus replies to Peter’s question about foot washing by saying: “What I’m doing you don’t understand now, but afterward you will.”
Logos 21 is also the first English translation of the Greek Majority Text of a book of the NT. Except for the KJV and the NKJV (which are based on the Textus Receptus, a close cousin of the Majority Text), nearly all other English translations are based on the small minority of Greek manuscripts known as the Alexandrian Text type or the “Critical” Text. Living Water features selected endnotes that point out the major differences between the Majority and Critical Texts in the book of John. However, these notes are helpful, not pedantic.
As an evangelist who has preached the Gospel and taught on personal evangelism all over the world, I heartily recommend this important new work in our ongoing task of taking the Gospel to English-speaking peoples everywhere. It would be wonderful if all who hold a Free Grace position would carry copies of this little book with them in a briefcase, pocket, purse, car pocket, or beside the front door, ready at a moment’s notice to give one out to a lost soul in need of the Water of Life.
I wish to commend Absolutely Free, Inc. (PO Box 2, Glide, Oregon 97443), the publisher of Living Water, for producing this booklet.
The booklet is also now available in Russian, Arabic, Dutch, and Berber and will be available in Spanish and French in the near future.
Frank D. Carmical
Harvester Ministries, Inc.