John 12:24 ...Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die,

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I am really teaching about truth. If the seed of the grain, fallen into the dirt, hasn't died off, it remains only [itself]. If, however, it has died off, it produces great rewards.

Metaphorically: I am really teaching about truth. If the grain of common sense of the word of God, bowing down to the world, doesn't perish, it remains only [itself]. If, however, it does perish, it produces great rewards.

Hidden Meaning: 

Again, we have a verse introduced by the "verily, verily" line. As we discussed in Jhn 10:1, Christ uses this line to introduce verses that are meant to be interpreted metaphorically as referring to the deeper nature of reality, specifically the about the role of "the word" or knowledge in his teaching.

The Greek word translated as "corn" means a seed or a kernel. It is a metaphor for small amount of sense or common knowledge. The word translated as "wheat" means wheat, bread, and food generally. Bread and food are Christ's metaphors for Divine knowledge.

The word translated as "fall" is a metaphor for bowing down in worship.

The word translated as "die" is the Greek word for "to die" combined with the preposition meaning "off" or "from." When it is applied to things, it means metaphorically "to perish."

Agriculturally, of course, a seed doesn't die. It sprouts. So what perishes in this process? The kernel surrounding the actual seed, that protects and keeps it separate from the earth, decays. This is the "corn" to which When the protective kernel decays, it allows the world (water, earth, light) to come into contact with the true seed, releasing the biological information.

There is a strong metaphor about reality and truth here. When divine knowledge comes into the word, it is protected by a kernel of common sense and common knowledge. That common sense "bows down" to the world in the sense that it plays on what the world knows. In doing this, it protects the divine knowledge protected by the small bit of common knowledge. Christ describes this divine knowledge of his within us as bearing fruit (Jhn 15:4) because we are connected to him through it.

However, that common understanding must die off, exposing up the deeper knowledge of the Divine to the world. Our "worldly" lives must die off, releasing the divine understanding within. If that common sense understanding stays intact, the new knowledge is not released to produce its rewards. That kernel of sense makes us part of the world, but it must die off to release the divine within. When the knowledge beneath the surface is released, it bears fruit.

Vocabulary: 

ἀμὴν ἀμὴν "Verily>" is from amên style="">(amen), which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT.

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act "I say" is from legô (lego) means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," but it used to mean "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command."

ὑμῖν "You" is from humas (humas) and humôn (humon), which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἐὰν "Except" is from ean, (with me below) which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

μὴ "Except" is from (me) (with ean above), which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

κόκκος "A corn" is from kokkos (kokkos), which means "a grain" and "a seed," and a metaphor for a "grain of sense."

τοῦ σίτου "Of wheat" is from sitos (sitos), which means "grain", "wheat", "barley", "food made from grain", "bread," and, most generally, "food."

πεσὼν (part sg aor act masc nom) "Fall" is from the verb piptô (pipto), which means "to fall", "to fall down", "to be cast down," and "to fall upon." It also means "to descend to a prostrate position," as one does when worshiping. Participles are used as adjective or nouns. The English equivalent would be "felled" or "toppled."

εἰς "Into" is from eis (eis), which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὴν γῆν "The ground" is from (ge), which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like the English word "earth" it means both dirt and the planet itself.

ἀποθάνῃ, (3rd sg aor subj act) "And die" is from apothnesko, which means "to die" and "to die off."

αὐτὸς "It" is from autos (autos), which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

μόνος : "Alone" is from monos (monos), which means "alone,""solitary", "without [someone]", "only [something]", "unique", "one above all others," and "on one condition only."

μένει (3rd sg pres ind act) "Abideth" is from meno, which, as a verb, it means "stand fast" (in battle), "stay at home", "stay", "tarry", "remain as one was", "abide", and (transitive) "await."

ἐὰν "If" is from ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

δὲ "But" is from de (de), which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ἀποθάνῃ, (3rd sg aor subj act) "It die" is from apothnesko, which means "to die" and "to die off." As a metaphor for things, "to perish."

πολὺν "Much" is from polus, which means "many (in number)", "great (in size or power or worth)," and "large (of space)." As an adverb, it means "far", "very much", "a great way," and "long."

καρπὸν "Fruit" is from karpos (karpos), which means "fruit", "the fruits of the earth", "seed", "offspring", "returns for profit," and "reward."

φέρει (2nd sg pres ind mp or 3rd sg pres ind act) "It bring forth" is from pherô (phero), which means "to bear", "to carry", "to bring", "to produce," and "to fetch."

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