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John 3:11 We speak that we do know,
Context:

Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night. They discuss the nature of man's origin. Nicodemus asked how anyone is able to know these things himself.

Spoken to:
an individual
Greek Verse:

John 3:11 ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι ὅτι οἴδαμεν λαλοῦμεν καὶ ἑωράκαμεν μαρτυροῦμεν, καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἡμῶν οὐ λαμβάνετε.

KJV Verse:

John 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

NIV Verse:

John 3:11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.

Literal Alternative:

Honestly, honestly, I am telling you that, what we have seen, we pass on, and, what we have watched, we witness, and this testimony of ours you all do not get.

Hidden Meaning:

The debate about whether or not consciousness comes from the physical brain still goes on today. Since the first two statements about speaking and testifying are in the present tense, it seems the "we" refers to himself and Nicodemus in this discussion. However, the "we" referring to what they "have seen or observed" (the past perfect tense, something completed in the past) may refer even more generally to what every one has seen in their own lives. Jesus is making the point that his viewpoint is not unique, that others also can observe humanity's spiritual nature and physical nature come from two different sources, matter, and spirit, or, in more modern terms, matter and information.

While the initial "you" in the "verily" phrase is single, but the last "you" from the verb "receive/accept" is plural, referring apparently to all teachers of Israel. 

Wordplay:

 There is a contrast between normal and legalistic vocabulary in "talking about what we have seen" and "giving testimony about what we observed."  

My Takeaway:

Matter creates what is physical, but only information can create life.

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About this Site

I started this site fifteen years ago.  My original award-winning work as a "techno-linguist" was in ancient Chinese. I wanted to bring the same computer search and analysis techniques to explore something more important: the original Greek of Jesus's words. To understand why this was important to me, you may want to read this article on how Jesus's meaning is lost.

This site does not promote any religious point of view. On the contrary, it seeks to avoid the competing and evolving religious dogmas that have shaped Biblical translation for centuries.  I purposely use "nonreligious" sources for Greek word meaning, rejoining the study of Biblical Greek with the broader study of ancient Greek. My goal is simply to identify how listeners of Jesus's time would have heard him.

Jesus' words are unique for three reasons.

  1. His words were spoken, not written. Spoken language is inherently different than written language.
  2. His words changed the meaning of words, determining even how later NT authors' used the Greek.
  3. His words were the basis of a unique historical revolution in the way people think.

Most of the on-line material on "Biblical Greek" is largely tautological. It explains the Greek only in terms of how it has been translated into English in the Bible. It flows from the ways that the  Gospel was taught from the Latin Vulgate. I respect this work and use it daily. However,  most of my work takes place outside of this tradition, researching the use of the Greek closer to the time of Jesus, especially the Greek OT, the Septuagint.

The Bible has been such a powerful force in history that it has changed the meaning of many words in English, Latin, and Greek. However, the Greek of Jesus's words has been faithfully preserved for centuries despite the changing religious fashions. These fashions, unfortunately, affect each successive English translation of the Bible, moving it further and further from the Greek.  I stopped analyzing the NLT version because so much of it fails to connect to anything in Jesus's Greek. It is not a translation but how a group of people today feel about the ideas in other English translations. The Message Bible version is even worse.

This site is offered for those who care about fidelity to Scripture as passed down for two thousand years.

Most Recent Question

Question:
Does John 6:37 mean that once I’m saved, no matter what sin I do, if I come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and repent from that sin, I will not be cast out?
Answer:

I don't see anything about asking forgiveness and repenting nor anything about "being saved." All of these are Christian concepts invented after Jesus. He doesn't use these ideas at all. What is translated as "forgive" means "let go" as in dropping something. What is translated as "repent" means "change your mind" as in thinking differently. What gets translated as "being saved" is the idea of being "rescued" not from "evil" but from "worthlessness."

None of this is in the verses. Or in its context. His ideas in John 6:37 are simpler.  You are either returning to Jesus or moving away from him. Those who the Father has given him...