John 8:42 If God were your Father,

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 8:42 If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

If God was a parent of yours, you might welcome me since I set forth and have come out from God. For I never set out for myself since, after all, he sent me.

Hidden Meaning: 

Reading this verse in English, you would naturally think that the verbs in the phrases "came from God" and "came I for myself" were the same verb in Greek. They are not. This makes this verse is a great illustration of why the Greek word usually translated as "come" in the NT (as in Mat 6:10 Your kingdom come...), erchomai, doesn't really work when translated that way.

Here, we see Christ using the word that really does consistently mean "to come," (heko, the verb in the "came from God" phrase) with not one, but two different versions of erchomai, the verb used in the "came I for myself" phrase". The difference is important to understanding not only this verb but many verses of Christ's words better.

Though the primary meaning of erchomai is "started", Christ doesn't often use it in the sense of "to begin." He uses it to mean making progress or movement without reference point to direction, at least in the verb. What is does a "reference point to direction" mean? We use the verb "come" in English to imply movement toward our current point. We use the verb "go", at least usually, to imply movement away from our current point. Erchomai can be translated as either as long as we don't infer a reference point. In English, we say,"He is on his way" to capture the idea of movement without a reference point. Someone could be "on his way here" or "on his way there" but if we just say "on his way", we mean only that he is in transit.

The KJV almost always translates erchomai as "come" because they want to believe that the type of movement that it refers to is toward us. For example, in the "Your kingdom come" verse," they wanted to believe that the movement of God's kingdom is toward us. However, that is not what Christ is saying. He is saying that God's kingdom is moving forward only. The rest may be our desire but it is not Christ's promise.

This verse offers a good example of how the usual "come" translation for erchomai can fail. In the phrase translated as "proceeded forth," Christ uses the verb exerchomai, which is erchomai preceeded by the preposition, ek. The preposition gives exerchomai an implicit direction since the word means "out" or "from." However, the verb is used withthe Greek word that must be translated as "come," heko AND the proposition ek introducing a phrase "ek o theos" "from God." Translating this as "I came from and came from God" is redundant. So the KVJ version used "proceeded forth" which captures the idea of erchomai much better than their usually "come."

Vocabulary: 

Εἰ "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

θεὸς "God" is from theos (theos), which means "God," the Deity."

πατὴρ "Father" is from pater (pater), which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

ὑμῶν "Your" is from humas (humas) and humôn (humon), which are the plural forms of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἦν (3rd sg imperf ind act) "Is" 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.")

ἠγαπᾶτε (2nd pl imperf ind act) "Ye...love" is from agapaô (agapao), which means "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", "to caress", "to prize", "to desire", "to be pleased with," and "to be contended with." This love is more associated with affection than passion.

ἂν "Would" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "would have", "might", "should," and "could."

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

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".

γὰρ "For" comes from gar (gar) which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

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."

τοῦ θεοῦ "God" is from theos (theos), which means "God," the Deity."

ἐξῆλθον (1st sg aor ind act) "Proceeded forth" is from exerchomai (exerchomai), which means "to come or go out of " "to march forth", "go out on", "to stand forth", "to exceed all bounds", "to come to an end", "to go out of office," and [of dreams or prophecies] "to come true."

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."

ἥκω: "Came" is from hêkô, (heko), which means "to have come", "to be present", "to have reached a point", "to have come back," and "to return."

οὐδὲ "Neither" is from oude , which means "but not", "neither", "nor,"and "not even."

γὰρ Untranslated is gar (gar) which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ἀπ᾽ "Of" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

ἐμαυτοῦ , "Myself" is from emautou, which means "of me," and "of myself".

ἐλήλυθα 1st sg perf ind act "Came I" 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.

"But" is from alla (alla), which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay." It denotes an exception or a simple opposition.

"He" is from ekeinos (kakeinos), which means "the person there", "that person", "that thing", "in that case", "in that way", "at that place," and "in that manner."

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

3rd sg aor ind act) "Sent" is from apostellô (apostello), which means "to send off", "to send away," or "to dispatch." It is our source of the word "apostle."

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