How to Read Translation Posts

In posts of Scripture translations (both here and cross-posted on, you’ve probably noticed a bunch of underlining in the text, not to mention brackets, braces, and parentheses. This page is to help you understand what you’re seeing, so you know what’s going on.


  • Text with a purple underline reveals information about textual variation.As it happens, not all of the extant copies of the Greek New Testament have exactly the same words in them. A very large number of scholars have determined which are most likely to be the original words through a thorough analysis of those texts, which is what most of my translation reflects, but I find that it is useful to know when some copyists diverged from the norm. Mouse over it to learn more.
  • Text with a blue underline includes commentary about the passage.For the most part, this is likely to be grammatical analysis of the text, but it could also be my own attempt to explain the text. Mouse over it to learn more.
  • Text with a dotted black (white at underline indicates that alternate translations are available.Perhaps I have translated the passage so that it makes sense, but I have included the literal translation for reference. Or there are other possible meanings of the word that may be of relevance. Mouse over it to learn more.


  • Besides the green verse numbers, you’ll notice red superscript letters, linking to footnotes at the bottom of the post. These are cross-references. If the New Testament passage quotes an Old Testament one, we’ll include that information in a note like this; otherwise, we’ll refer to passages with similar content or messages. If it might be unclear why we’re referring to a passage, we’ll explain that in a commentary block instead. The superscript letters in the footnotes link back to the same spot in the text (usually, at the first of the relevant words).


  • Parentheses ( ): This indicates a valid alternate interpretation. Sometimes, when the text does not make it clear which definition is most appropriate, I’ll list several all at once. Otherwise, these will usually show up in the translation box (see the dotted line above).
  • Brackets [ ]: This indicates that I have supplied information which is not strictly present in the text. You’ll see this most often with subject pronouns (which we require in English, but which are never required in Greek, so when they actually do show up, it’s important!), but also with the definite article and creative translations (to make sense of complex literal Greek).
  • Braces { }: This indicates an inclusion in the text that probably should not be there. This will almost always include a purple dashed underline (see above).

Word Choice:

  • You will probably see a lot of “you” and “thou” in the text, sooner or later. The difference is the same now as it was in days gone by: “you” is plural, and “thou” is singular. I toyed with the idea of being terrifically modern and using “y’all” for the plural and “you” for the singular, but it seems more prudent to be old-fashioned and snooty.
  • In many instances, you will see me supply the words on a particular occasion, or similar. This is a meager representation of the aoristic (or “perfective”) aspect. The aorist tense in Greek has a wide variety of uses, but in all of them, there is the sense that this action (whatever verb it is) happened on certain instances or particular occasions. This is in contrast to a sense that it was the habit or continual circumstance (that is, rather, the imperfective aspect).