John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven,

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Also, no one has ascended [into higher knowledge] in regard to the universe if not from that universe descended, the Son of humanity.

Hidden Meaning: 

First, the last phrase in the KJV, "which is in heaven," doesn't exists in the best Greek sources. It was an artifact of the Greek version used for the KJV, which came from the Latin Vulgate.

The Greek word translated as "ascended up" is a metaphor for "ascended into higher knowledge." That usage makes a great deal of sense here since Christ just made the claim of understanding "heavenly things" in Jhn 3:12.

The translation of "heaven" as "the universe" serves to highlight the fact that Christ's use of the word was in many ways different than ours today as we discuss in this article. With this in mind, the previous verse could be understood as speaking of "universal things."

The word translated as "that" referring to "he that came down from heaven" is not masculine as is the participle. It is neuter and works best referring to "heaven."


καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

οὐδεὶς "No man" is from oudeis, (oudeis) which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter."

ἀναβέβηκεν (3rd sg perf ind act) "Hath ascended" is from anabainô (anabaino), which means "go up", "mount", "shoot up" [of plants], "rise" [of rivers], "ascend to higher knowledge", "come to an end," and "turn out."

εἰς "To" 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 οὐρανὸν "Heaven" is from ouranos (ouranos), which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

εἰ μὴ "But" is from ei me, which is the conjunction that means "if not", "but," and "except." εἰ is the particle use with the imperative usually to express conditions "if" or indirect questions, "whether." (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no."

"That" is from hos (hos), which is the demonstrative pronoun in its various forms (hê, ho, gen. hou, hês, hou, etc. ; dat. pl. hois, hais, hois, etc. gen. hoou). It means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐκ "From" is from ek, which means "out of", "from", "by," and "away from."

τοῦ οὐρανοῦ "Heaven" is from ouranos (ouranos), which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

καταβάς (part sg aor act masc nom) "Came down" is from katabino, which means "to go or come down from", "to dismount," and "to descend." As a metaphor, it means "to attain", "to conform to", "to condescend," and "to fall in value."

υἱὸς "The Son" is from huios (huios), which means a "son," and more generally, a "child."

τοῦ ἀνθρώπου "Of man" is from anthrôpos (anthropos), which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

Related Verses: