Q&A

Does Might Mean Maybe?

Q.  Re: the word “might”.  This word is used in some versions of the Bible as in,’that through Him we MIGHT be saved.’ There are many other examples, i.e. ‘that we MIGHT become the Sons of God’, etc. What is the exact meaning in these instances of the use of this word? Many believers that I know think that it God is saying that these are not solid promises because might, to them, means ‘MAYBE, or it’s possible, but that it is not a sure thing. How to explain??

A.  English translators often inserted the English word “might” into a passage to facilitate the translation of a particular Greek word into the manner of speaking common in their time.  In those cases the word for might does  not appear in the Greek text.  For example the phrase “that it might be fulfilled” in some translations of  Matt. 12:17 actually means “this was to fulfill” in our current manner of speaking.

Some translations of  John 3:17 read, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”  The same verse in other translations says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  There’s nothing conditional or uncertain about it.  It’s simply a difference in the manner of speaking.

If you’re concerned about the literal meaning of  a particular verse, look it up in a concordance to see if “might” appears in the Greek text or if it was inserted by the translators.

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