In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2-3 (KJV)
There has been a lot of distrust over modern versions. Some feel their updated language somehow makes the Scripture too common. Some dislike the fact newer versions sometimes leave out words or phrases if they feel that, based on new evidence, those words or phrases weren’t part of the original text. But some don’t like the fact that classic passages, such as the one above, have been modified or altered. After all, how many of us have grown being told we will receive a mansion? And now that’s changed? The NASB, NIV, ESV, NET, and the CSB have all changed this word to either rooms or dwelling places. So what gives?
Why the Change Was Made
This is a pretty dramatic change. Why would modern translations do this? Should we be concerned that God’s Word is being tampered with?
There are several reasons why this change could have been made. Many differences between English versions arise from the use of different manuscripts. In this case, however, there is no disagreement in original Greek wording between the English versions.
Perhaps there are different ways the word can be understood. Is there an argument about what this word means? Not really. The standard Greek lexicon gives only two definitions for this word (mone): 1) state of remaining in an area, staying, tarrying 2) a place in which one stays, dwelling(-place), room, abode . Again, no is arguing for a different understanding.
Another possibility is that our English word mansion might have changed, and here we have our answer. All languages change over time, and words can come to have different or at times even opposite meanings (believe it or not, nice used to mean stupid).The word mansion carries the idea of a large, luxurious house today. That was not always the case. One commentary notes: “The King James ‘mansions’ comes originally from Tyndale’s translation, at which time the word ‘mansion’ merely signified a dwelling, and not necessarily a large and luxurious one, as in contemporary English” . The word mone means room or dwelling place, not mansion. While a mansion is a dwelling place and could be what the author has in mind, the fact that this mone is within the Father’s house leads us to think that room is probably the better translation.
So, You’re Taking Away My Mansion?
So the bad news is, you’re not getting a mansion, at least that’s not what this verse is saying. But the good news is that it’s saying something even better.
The point that Christ is making is not that when we get to heaven we are going to have our own sweet mansion, but rather that we will have a room in his house! “That where I am, there you may also be” Christ tells us. How much better than a mansion! The words of the Sons of Korah come to mind: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 84:10
Perhaps an example will help. I’m about to get married (which is on my mind a lot, if you were wondering), and let’s say that after the wedding a wealthy business tycoon comes up to us.
“That was a beautiful ceremony. I want to help you guys out, so here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give you a mansion. In fact, I’m not just going to give you one, I’m going to give you two. One for each of you!”
We would most likely smile. Thank him for his generous offer. And then inform him that one mansion would be perfectly fine. What? Why would we turn down a mansion? Because being together will matter more than having our own houses.
The New Testament constantly points to heaven as a place of untold beauty, peace, and joy, but all of this is because of and in light of the fact that God is there. We need to be careful that our picture of heaven is a place where we live with God, not just a place where we are given all the best things on earth. Along these lines, John Piper convictingly asks “The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?” 
Perhaps the hymnist put it best when she wrote:
The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my king of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land.
This passage isn’t saying you’ll get a mansion in heaven. It’s saying you’ll get to live with God forever, which is so much better.
 BDAG, A Greek English Lexicon of the NT and Other Early Christian Literature
 Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the Gospel of John, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 454.
 John Piper, God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005), 15.
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