John 8:23 Ye are from beneath;

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 8:23 Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

You are out of the downwards. I am out of the upwards. You are out of the familiar world order. I am not out of the world order [that is] familiar.

Hidden Meaning: 

In translating the same word, ek, in two different ways, "from" and "of," much of the symmetry in this verse is lost. Since the preposition takes most of its meaning from the verb it is used with (see vocabulary), the use of the verb "to be" leaves it open to the widest possible interpretation.

The juxtaposition of the Greek words translated as "above" and "below" are used for the expressing the cycles of "up and down", "to and fro," and similar ideas. In using them, Christ is expressing in the most general possible way that his opponents represent the downward cycle of history where he represent the upward cycle. Again, the use of the verb "to be" here, opens up the possibilities of meaning. We could translate these ideas in many different ways. For example, Christ might be say that they are the lower urges of humanity while he represent the higher desires. Or he might be saying that they represent the earthly while he represent the heavenly.

The Greek word translated as "world", kosmos, means something more like "the world order." The kosmos is an idea, not just the physical world. Christ often uses it to refer to the "powers-that-be", that is, the earthly powers of the world.

The use of the word translated as "this" is also much more significant in Greek than in English. In English, "this" is just a demonstrative pronoun, but the Greek toutou indicates something that is close and familiar, something you understand.

Vocabulary: 

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

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

τῶν κάτω "Below" is from kato, which is an adverb meaning "downwards", "down from", "going down", "under", "below," and "lowest part." Used as a noun, it means "those on earth", "the world below," and "the dead."

ἐστέ, (2nd pl pres ind act) "Are" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

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.

ἐκ "From" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

τῶν ἄνω "Above" is from ano, which is an adverb meaning "upwards", "above," "aloft", "on high", "in heaven", "with the gods," and "the upper parts [of the body]."

εἰμί: (1st sg pres ind act) "Am" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

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

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

τούτου "This" is from toutou, which is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar."

τοῦ κόσμου "World" is from kosmos, which mean "order", "good order", "ruler", "world order", "universe," and "the world of men."

ἐστέ, (2nd pl pres ind act) "Are" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

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.

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.

εἰμὶ 1st sg pres ind act) "Am" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

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

τοῦ κόσμου "World" is from kosmos, which mean "order", "good order", "ruler", "world order", "universe," and "the world of men."

τούτου "This" is from toutou, which is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar."