John 19:11 Thou couldest have no power at all against me,

KJV Verse: 

John 19:11 Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Not really. Do you have authority over me? Not one! If not the one having been given to you from on high. By this the one giving me over to you a bigger mistake has. 

Hidden Meaning: 

Jesus is much clearer in the Greek about earthly authority having only the authority over him given by God in these. Interestingly, the word translated here as "from above" is the same one that is misleadingly translated as "again" in the phrase "born again". And, of course, the word translated as "sin" doesn't mean what you think it means. 

The verb translated as "thou couldest have" means "to possess" or "to keep" but it isn't used in the same way as a "helper" verb that the English "have" is. This word doesn't begin the verse, it appears after the word translated as "no". However, with it appearing so early in the sentence, it could well be a question. (Note: the ancient Greek sources do not include any punctuation and it is added in translation.)

The Greek word translated as "no" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact "not". Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea.

The Greek term translated as "power" isn't the "ability" of skill or capability but of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

The term translated as "at all" means "no one" or "nothing." It is changed in the KJV to avoid a double negative. 

Two Greek words are translated as "except". Literally, they mean "if not" but this phrase is used to mean "except", "instead", and "but." 

The verb translated as "were given" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give." However, it is in the form of an adjective, "having been given". But, since it is introduced by an article ("the"), it becomes a noun, "the one having been given". 

"Thee" is the second person pronoun in the form of an indirect object, "to you". 

The Greek adverb translated as "from above", means "from on high," [in a narrative] "from the beginning" or "from further back", "higher", "more universal". The sense here is both "from further back" because Jesus's death was foretold in the ancient law and by the prophets. In the NT translation, this word the "again" in the phrase "born again" so it is translated as "over again", "anew," and "afresh" instead of "born from above". Here, however, it is translated more accurately, at least for one shade of its meaning. 

Two Greek words are translated as "therefore". They mean "through this" or "by this". The first word, a preposition means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)." The second is an adjective meaning "from here" or "this/that thing."

"He that delivered up" is a compound word which literally means "to give over." It is often translated in the KJV as "betray" but it has no real sense of that.

Again, we have the pronoun "to you". 

The word translated as "has" means "to possess" or "to keep" but it isn't used in the same way as a "helper" verb that the English "have" is.

"Greater" is an adjective which is the comparative form of the word meaning "big" or "great." It means "bigger", "higher", "longer", "greater" and simply, "superior." When it is introduced by an article, it means "the greater." It is not the superlative form.

The word translated as "sin" is a form of a word that means "to fail in one's purpose", "to neglect," and "to be deprived of." It has no sense of doing malicious evil in Greek. The best English translation is "mistakes" or "failures" rather than what we commonly think of as the evils of "sin." See this article for more information and context.

Vocabulary: 

Οὐκ (partic) "Not" is 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. 

εἶχες (verb 2nd sg imperf ind act) "Have" is echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do." --

ἐξουσίαν (noun sg fem acc) "Power" is exousia which means "control", "the power of choice", "permission", "the power of authority", "the right of privilege", "abundance of means," and "abuse of power." 

κατ᾽ (prep) "Against" is kata, which, as a preposition, means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally." As an adverb, it means "according as", "just as", "in so far as", "wherefore", "like as if" and "exactly as." -- The word translated as "against" means "down from", "down into", "against", "opposite", "separately", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally."

ἐμοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "Me" is emou, which means "me", and "mine". --  "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the possessive form, so "my" or "of me".

οὐδεμίαν (adj sg fem acc) "At all" is oudeis which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter." 

εἰ μὴ (conj particle) "Except" is 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." mê (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." - 

ἦν δεδομένον (part sg perf mp masc acc) "Were given" is didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." 

σοι (pron 2nd sg dat) "Thee" is soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you".

ἄνωθεν:  (adv) "From above" is from anothen, which means "from above", "from on high," [in a narrative] "from the beginning" or "from further back", "higher", "more universal," [NT translation] "over again", "anew," and "afresh."

διὰ (prep) "Therefore" is dia (with touto below) which means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by (causal)", "among," and "between." 

τοῦτο (adj sg neut acc) "Therefore" is touto, (with touto above) which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]."

παραδούς (part sg aor act masc nom) "He that delivered" is paradidomi, which means "to give over to another", "to transmit", "to hand down", "to grant", "to teach," and "to bestow."

μέ (noun sg masc acc) "Me" is eme, which means "I", "me", and "my". -- "Me" is the regular first person pronoun in Greek.

σοι (pron 2nd sg dat ) "Unto thee" is soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, as an indirect object, "to you".

μείζονα (adj sg masc nom comp) "Greater" is meizon which means "bigger", "higher", "longer," and "greater" and is the comparative form of megas, which means "big" and "great." The superlative form "greatest" is megistos, μέγιστος.

ἁμαρτίαν (adj sg masc/fem/neut acc comp) "Sin" is hamartia, which means "to miss the mark", "failure", "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses does it become "guilt" and "sin." 

ἔχει. (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Hath" is echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do." 

Dec 19 2017