Proponents of this view correctly point out that the Greek language has no commas. Punctuation marks were added to manuscripts after the New Testament was written. Based on that fact, it has been argued that the correct placement of the comma should be incorporated after the word today. In other words, it has been suggested that Luke 23:43 should read as follows: "Truly I say to you today, you shall be with Me in Paradise." That textual change would alter our understanding of the verse being discussed. It would push the timing of believers entering into paradise sometime in the future at the final resurrection.
While both variant readings are theoretically acceptable, the objective of this paper is to argue in defense of a comma being inserted prior to the word today.
First and foremost, the context demands that we understand the reference to today as meaning on that very same day. The dying criminal understood very well on what day that Christ spoke those comforting words. There was no need for Him to emphasize the timing of today. It would literally make no sense for a man who is suffocating and dying on a crucifix to make such a hasty waste of his words.
In this grand episode of the incarnate Lord gently and affectionately showing forth His clemency in response to the converted convict's petition, we see Him referencing to a paradise that reflected imagery of popular Jewish thought in regards to the unseen Edenic realm. This abode for the righteous is analogous to Abraham's bosom.
- Steve Hays Of Triablogue Provides The Following Insights Regarding The Words Of Christ To The Repentant Thief On The Cross:
- Consider This Note From The NET Bible On Luke 2:11 As It Tells Us The Manner In Which The Word Today Is Used In Luke's Writing:
- Dr. Timothy E. Saleska, Professor Of Exegetical Theology At Concordia University, Gives These Pertinent Remarks:
- Following Is A Relevant Excerpt From John Gill's Exposition Of The Bible:
- Patristic Scholar Jerome Offers The Following Remarks On Luke 23:43:
- What About The Inserted Comma Found In Codex Vaticanus? (excerpt taken from this excellent study):
- Luke 24:37-39 Is Further Support Of Souls Remaining Conscious Apart From The Body After Physical Death (the following excerpt is taken from the apologetics commentary linked in the previous bulletin)