Words Matter: BCSI (Bible Crime Scene Investigation)

One of the first rules (Hermeneutics) for understanding the Bible is that we need to understand what the original author was trying to say before we can make an application. To do this, it helps to understand who the original author was writing to. In many cases, the author will identify the recipients, such as Paul’s letter to the Ephesians or Romans. In others such as the Gospel of John, we are left to do BCSI in order to figure out who he was speaking to. So in the following verses, we see John translating words that most Jews would understand (Aramaic) and translating it into the language of the Gentiles (Greek); clues that can lead us to believe that John was writing his gospel to the Gentiles.

John 1:38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”

John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).

John 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of

John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

John 9:7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

If you remember when we started this series I encouraged you to keep your eye out for other clues (words) to help us understand what John was talking about believe, life, sign, judge (judgment), witness, love, sin, true (truth), Spirit, and king (kingdom)”

Here is the list for chapter 1:

John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

John 1:7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

John 1:8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

John 1:9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”)

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.

John 1:33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

John 1:34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

John 1:50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

John 1:51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Terry Poperszky