John 4:32 I have meat to eat

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 4:32 I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I hold meat to be eaten that you have not perceived.

Hidden Meaning: 

this is Christ's response when his disciples ask him to eat.

The surprise in the Greek is that the second two verbs are not in the present tense.

The infinitive "to eat" is in the aorist tense, which indicates that something will start as a specific point in time. This is usually translated as the English past, though it can refer to the past, present, or future. The alternative translates it as "to be eaten," which captures the sense of it in Greek.

The word translated as "know," but closer in meaning to "see" or "perceive," is in the perfect tens. This means that the action has been completed in the past. This should be translated in the past.

So one way of interpreting this is that Christ has said that he has already eaten or at least started eating but his disciples haven't seen in.

Just a strange side note: Both the word translated as "meat" and the word translated as "to eat" have a sense of decay and corrosion. As we were refer to rust eating away metal.


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.

βρῶσιν "Meat" is from brōsis, which means "meat", "pasture", "eating", "taste", "flavor," and "corrosion."

ἔχω (1st sg pres ind act) "Have" is from echô (echo), which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

φαγεῖν (verb aor inf act) "To eat" is from esthiô (esthio), which means "to eat", "devour", "fret", "vex," and to "take in one's mouth." It is also a metaphor for decay and erosion.

ἣν "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.

ὑμεῖς "You" is from hymeis, which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

οὐκ "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

οἴδατε (2nd pl perf ind act) "Know" is from (eidon) which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."