Jhn 12:46 I am come a light into the world,

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I have started illumination in society in order that anyone trusting in me might not remain in the darkness.

Hidden Meaning: 

The KJV and most other Bible translations consistently translate erchomai as "to come," but its primary meaning is "to start" or "to set out." You can see here that either alternative would work better than "come." Many translations as "as" before "light" so that the "come" translation works but the noun "light" is in the accusative case making it the object of the verb.

The word translated as "the world" specifically means "the world order" and "the world of men." We use the word "society" to capture this idea.

While Christ does describe himself as "light" elsewhere, for example, Jhn 8:12 and Jhn 9:5, he is saying something a lilttle different here.

Light and darkness are Christ's metaphors for knowledge, specifically as illumination of the mind, and ignorance as the opposite of judgment. The Greek described people as "in the dark" in the same sense as we do in English, however, it also had the sense of secrecy and keeping things hidden.

The word translated as "believeth" has more the sense of trusting in someone and especially their word rather than having faith a particular philosophy.

The word translated as "abide" equates more to our word "stay" both with its positive sense of "staying power" and its negative sense of "staying as one was," that is, stuck in a time or place.

Wordplay: 

Vocabulary: 

ἐγὼ "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and for myself.

φῶς "The light" is from phos (a contraction of phaos), which means "light", "daylight [primarily], "illumination [of things and of the mind]", "light [of the eyes], "window", "opening", "public visibility," and "publicity." Christ uses it as a metaphor for "knowledge," from "illumination of the mind" meaning, but in Greek is is also a metaphor for "deliverance", "happiness", "victory," and "glory."

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)."

τὸν κόσμον "The world" is from kosmos, which mean "order", "good order", "ruler", "world order", "universe," and "the world of men."

ἐλήλυθα (1st sg perf ind act) "Am come" is from erchomai (erchomai), which means "to start, ""to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

ἵνα "That" is from hina (hina), which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

πᾶς "Whoever" is from pas (pas), which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

πιστεύων (part sg pres act masc nom) "Believeth" is from pisteuô (pisteuo), which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person", "to believe in someone's words", "to comply", "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing."

εἰς "On" 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)."

ἐμὲ "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my".

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῇ σκοτίᾳ "Darkness" is skotia, which means "darkness", "dark", "gloomy," [of persons] "in the dark", "in secret," and "secret." It is a metaphor for "obscure,"and "the nether world," and was used as the opposite the Greek word gnome, γνώμη, meaning judgment, opinion, purpose and therefore also a metaphor for "ignorance."

μὴ "Not" is from (me), 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.

μείνῃ (3rd sg aor subj act) "Should abide" 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."

Related Verses: