“Why do you call me honorable? No one but God alone deserves honor." (Mark 10:18)

What does Jesus mean by 'honorable'?

Most translations of this statement by Jesus don't make a lot of sense. Here are a few of the different translations:
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. (NJV)
So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. (NKJV)
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. (NLT)
Almost every other version has translated the Greek word ἀγαθός (agathos) to "good."

Jesus isn't speaking of whether the Supreme Being is "good" while Jesus is not "good." Does such a translation even make sense? Would Jesus tell his students that he wasn't good?

Rather, the Greek word ἀγαθός (agathos) can also mean "upright" and "honorable" according to the lexicon. It can also mean, "distinguished."

In other words, Jesus wasn't looking to be honored. He didn't see himself as being worthy of others honoring him. Rather, Jesus wants his students to honor God. He is speaking of the Supreme Being as being "honorable."

Why did they translate this word to "good"?

The word "good" is often used because those who translated this were not seeing the situation from a devotional perspective.

Translating scripture requires devotion and a commitment to serve God. Otherwise it doesn't make sense.

This is the case here. The word "good" doesn't make sense because the translators weren't perceiving the devotional perspective of Jesus' words. Because Jesus is offering his deference to God, only a person who understands this deference intimately can understand what Jesus is communicating.

Jesus is communicating humility and devotion to God.

Most translators of the Bible versions performed their translation work in exchange for a paycheck. This is why they mostly sound the same. Because the scribes wanted their translations to match up to others. No one wants to attract any criticism.

This system of paid translation dates back to the Torah being translated by professional scribes in the Sixth Century B.C. 

It also includes Bible's earliest translations from Greek to Latin - performed by paid translators appointed by Eusebius and Constantine in the 4th Century after Jesus' passing.

These were professional translators. They were paid for their services.

Why is being paid for translating scripture a problem?

Because the act of translating Scripture should be a devotional activity: Loving service to God. And true loving service to God is expressed without material compensation or any expectation of material benefit.

Why? Because this is an expression of love. And true love isn't expressed with an expectation of reward.

Just consider the parent who takes care of their child with an expectation that the child will pay them back somehow. Would someone say that parent is taking care of the child out of love? Certainly not. They are doing it because they want something in return.

It is the same with loving service to God. True loving service is done without an expectation of reward. Whether it is being rewarded by getting paid or by gaining entrance into heaven: Doing those things with an expectation of reward is not loving service.

In other words, translations done in exchange for a reward are tainted, and therefore cannot be trusted.

Why are professional translations suspect?

A paid scriptural translation is tainted by the influence of the institution that pays the translator. In order to get paid, the person conducting the translation must do it in such a way that pleases those who are is paying them. This is the basis for the term, "follow the money." Because where the money comes from tells us the motivation and intent of the service.

For example, let's say that a person is being paid by an organization or institution to translate Scripture and translates the words in such a way that contradict the doctrines of that institution or organization. Will that translator be able to keep their job? No. They will be dismissed. They will also likely be discredited. That is, even if that translation is a correct translation of that text.

Why? Because the organization or institution will be judging the accuracy of the translation using the criteria of their own doctrine.

For this reason, we find many of Jesus' true teachings muted or even hidden within the various Bible versions of today. Practically every popular translation of the Bible has been sponsored by a sectarian institution - with the translations being done by paid professional translators or paid professional clergy.

As long as they are being paid for their services, their translations cannot be trusted. Their translation work was performed to please their institution instead of performed to please the Supreme Being. Their payment means they are not serving God - they are serving the institution that funds their paychecks.

This also goes for professors who try to translate the Bible as part of their scholarly activities - say they are a professor of religion at a university or Bible college. In these cases, the translator is still a paid professional. If they were to translate the scripture in ways that are not approved by their peers among their institutions - their chairmen, other professors, clergy, etc. - they will be discredited, potentially losing their paid positions.

A few translations have been done as a joint project of different institutions. These may be more credible, but will reflect compromise within the different institutional doctrines. They may result in muted translations that again may not be reflective of what Jesus really said.

Thus none of these people in the above capacities are in a position to translate the Scriptures from one language to the next. They are disqualified by their professional relationships: Those institutions that pay them.

As such, their translations cannot be accepted as God's Word.

Does this discredit their major thesis?

A major thesis of many sectarian institutions unduly impacts their ability to clearly translate Jesus' words and teachings.

That is, most sectarian institutions claiming to follow Jesus have either identified God as being Jesus or they have identified God as being a vague impersonal force.

Yet we can easily see that either of these identifications of God are untrue, simply by looking even at their mangled translations.

For example, if Jesus were the Supreme Being:

- Who did Jesus pray to when he walked the earth?
And he went a little farther and fell facedown and prayed, “O my LORD, if possible, please let this cup be taken from me – yet not what pleases me but what pleases You.” (Matthew 26:39)
- Why would Jesus ask that God take the cup from him if he were the Supreme Being?

- Why would Jesus ask his students to do God's will instead of Jesus' will if Jesus was the Supreme Being?
"May Your will be done on earth as it is in the spiritual realm." (Matt. 6:10)
- And who is Jesus asking his students to love?
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’" (Mark 12:30)
- If Jesus were the Supreme Being, why didn't he ask his students to love himself?

- If Jesus were the Supreme Being, why wasn't he able to act by himself?
"As I hear, I make choices, and my choices are just because I do not seek to please myself but to please Him who sent me.". (John 5:30)
- If Jesus were the Supreme Being, why, from his above statement, did Jesus want to please God yet not please himself?

Why did Jesus say only God deserves honor?

Jesus was responding to a man who said:
“Honorable teacher, what should I do in order to receive eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)
The man had approached Jesus and greeted him with the title "honorable teacher."

This is the sign of God's representative. Jesus didn't see himself worthy of being called honorable. He wanted his students to honor the Supreme Being, and put their hearts upon God. He wanted them to take shelter in the Supreme Being, just as he did.

In other words, Jesus doesn't see himself as the central figure. He is representing God and his power is coming from God and his abilities are coming from God.

And it is that very position - the fact that Jesus is doing God's will and not his own will - that makes Jesus united with the Supreme Being - which of course does make Jesus honorable. But Jesus' teachings were according to the time, circumstance, and audience. He was trying to make a point.

This issue of being united with God is, in fact, the meaning of the most misinterpreted (and mistranslated) quote among the Gospels:
"I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
Jesus is speaking of the fact that Jesus' mission - his will and his purpose - is united with the Supreme Being. They are one in the respect that they have the same purpose and the same desires. This is because Jesus is devoted and dedicated to God and only wants to do God's will.

As such, the Greek word εἷς (heis) in John 10:30 is being mistranslated. Yes, the word can mean "one" but it can also mean "united" according to Thayer's lexicon: "to be united most closely (in will, spirit)."

Now just consider the different meaning that arises from the properly translated statement from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
"The Creator and I are united." (John 10:30)
This translation of Jesus' statement is confirmed also by his statement previous to that (properly translated):
"My LORD who brought them to me is greater than all, and no one can remove them from the LORD's protection." (John 10:29)
Jesus is certainly speaking of "My LORD" as being separate from himself - as he is crediting his students' coming to him as something God did: Because the Supreme Being ultimately guides each of us according to our personal evolution and our desires. If a person sincerely wants to know God, the Supreme Being will guide that person to someone who already knows Him.