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John 8:25 Wycliffe Bible (WYC)--All quotations are courtesy of Biblegateway.com
Therefore they said to him, Who art thou? Jesus said to them, The beginning, which also speak to you [Jesus said to them, The beginning, or the first of all thing, the which and I speak to you].

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John 8:25 King James Version (KJV)
Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.

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John 8:25 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Then they said to Him, Who are You anyway? Jesus replied, [Why do I even speak to you!] I am exactly what I have been telling you from the first.

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John 8:25 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK) So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.

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John 8:25 International Standard Version (ISV) Then they asked him, “Who are you?” Jesus told them, “What have I been telling you all along?

Messiah indicates He is the Beginning in Revelation 1:8. With John 1:1-3 though not expressly, he refers as well to a beginning that was exclusive to the Father and His Word, with one more exception,'Wisdom.'

Isaiah 41:4 "Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.'"   

The Father is understood to be the speaker, so He also indicates He is the first but, He is 'with the last'

Messiah says;

Revelation 1:8  
    I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Why are there such tangential views to the intent of the verse,? Wycliff and Douay Rheims coming close to what He was trying to say.

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It seems that the confusion over this verse arises due to the fact that the older Greek manuscripts had neither punctuations nor even word divisions.

In the Textus Receptus, the Greek appears:

ελεγον ουν αυτω συ τις ει και ειπεν αυτοις ο ιησους την αρχην ο τι και λαλω υμιν

Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2nd ed.) observes that there are numerous ways that the phrase shown in bold above could be interpreted, depending on how the words are divided and punctuation assigned:

(a) "ο τι" could be read together as "οτι", meaning "Why?; as in "Why do I speak to you at all?"

(b) As an exclamation of sorts: "ο τι"; as in "That I speak to you at all!"

(c) As an affirmation with ἐγώ εἰμι ("I am") understood; as in "[I am] from the beginning what I am telling you"

Metzger also observes that Latin and Gothic versions mistranslated the Greek to yield (in the Latin version) something like Principium, qui et loquor vobis, which is perhaps along the lines you are suggesting: "[I am] the Beginning, even I who speak to you". This interpretation is seen, for example, in how Ambrose quotes the verse in his Exposition of the Christian Faith (III.VII.49).

John Chrysostom, a 4th century Byzantine commentator, understood the phrase to mean that He has already answered their question: "The same thing that I already told you" (i.e. told you from the beginning):

What He saith, is of this kind; “Ye are not worthy to hear My words at all, much less to learn who I am, for ye say all that ye do, tempting Me, and giving heed to none of My sayings.

Homily LIII on John

Metzger indicates that this interpretation is also indicated in a scholion of the P66 papyrus (c. 200 AD). A later Byzantine (Greek) commentator, Theophylact of Ochrid, attaches the same interpretation. So it would seem that the way the Greeks actually read this verse is essentially what is in the King James (1900) version:

Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.

or, in the more modern RSV rendering:

They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Even what I have told you from the beginning."

Both the Wycliffe and Douay-Rheims are translations from the Latin, which would have rendered the text as Metzger explained.

  • Thanks for that clarification in the greek. An almost consistent observation in Scripture where there's apparent divergence in translation in the versions, the issue has always been a masked underlying principle or core truth. I mentioned Wycliff and Douay-Rheims because they picked up on one of the crucial things that Messiah so yearned that His listeners would believe about Him, the fact that He is the 'Beginning', which He put another way in John 5:58 and almost got stoned for it. – Witness Sep 13 '16 at 4:18
  • At first, I had phrased the last sentence to the effect that both versions had made a mistake, but I reconsidered. My particular beliefs, which come from Orthodox Christianity, hold that translations can also be divinely inspired. Augustine encouraged acceptance of both the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint as being divinely inspired. The Latin "error" points to an additional theological truth, as you observe, even if it is not consistent with the Greek. – user15733 Sep 13 '16 at 15:38

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