If – a very big word


“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35



I have read my Bible faithfully (pretty much) for over 11 years. I’ve read through the New Testament more times than I remember. I’ve quoted this particular verse frequently. But I read it today and realized that I have read it incorrectly all these years.

I was reading this morning in a different translation than I usually use. Immediately I thought there must be a problem with the translation, so I looked at the verse in several other translations. And there it was in all of them – IF. Apparently it had been there all along and I hadn’t seen it. How could I not have seen it? For all those years my brain had substituted the word “because”. Maybe the reasoning behind that is that of course Jesus’ disciples would have love for one another. And so because of our love for each other people would know we are His disciples.

But it says IF.

Meaning maybe we won’t love each other.

I think that’s the saddest IF I’ve ever seen in my life.

4 thoughts on “If – a very big word

  1. Mike August 8, 2009 / 8:18 am

    Interesting that you would post this yesterday. All day yesterday I had the thought – ‘What good is all we do ‘IF’ we do not connect with people.

  2. Eirene August 8, 2009 / 8:51 am


    This has become particularly relevant to me at this point in my life. In the last 2 months I left the mega-church I have attended for 12 years and I now attend a much smaller church. Its easy to get lost in a crowd of thousands and not have genuine fellowship or experience the community that the early church had. Not so in a church of just a few hundred. The change has had a tremendous impact on my life as I have begun to truly love my new brothers and sisters. I am sorry that I’ve gone without this for 12 years.

  3. Mike August 11, 2009 / 7:05 am

    Had breakfast with a friend of mine the other day. He coordinates events for ‘Men at the Cross’. Yes, another movement. Anyway, he happened to mention he was to meet the pastor of a 10,000 member church in Baton Rouge. Perhaps this was your church?

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