It is important to remember that in most versions the translation of certain passages was “slanted” to suit the popular teachings of the day. This was not necessarily deliberate, though some preconceived idea is much inclined to influence a translator’s thinking. That notorious verse containing our Lord’s words to the thief on the cross is doubtless the best known example of theological influence on translation in the A.V. Since there are no punctuation marks in the Greek, the translator here elected to place a comma where it would reflect his own theological bias. This distorts our Lord’s promise to the thief as if it were something he would realize that day: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Properly punctuated, the promise should read: “Verily I say unto thee today, thou shall be with me in paradise.” The incorrectly rendered text accords with orthodox theology and the error which still persists among nominal Christians, that death is followed immediately by some kind of disembodied existence. This theory does violence to the entire context of Scripture truth. Our Lord’s words as rendered by the misplaced comma would be no answer to the thief’s prayer asking to be remembered when Christ comes into His kingdom. The promise he did receive, and will in due time enjoy, is that he will be with Christ in paradise when His glorious earthly kingdom dawns. Vividly then will the thief recall the day on which he received the promise – “Verily I say unto thee TODAY [THIS DAY]” – that former dark day when all hope of Messiah’s kingdom seemed lost, so only faith of the highest quality could look beyond the day of the Suffering Servant and visualize His future as David’s Greater Son.
Treasures of Truth, No. 10, August-September 1973 Reading, England
by – Cecil J. Blay