John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth,

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night. They discuss the nature of man's origin.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

The spirit/wind where it desires, blows/breathes. And that sound of it, you hear its voice but you don't see from where it starts itself and anywhere it departs. So is every one having been begotten from the spirit/wind.

My Takeaway: 

We can hear information that we cannot see.

KJV : 

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

NIV : 

John 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse doesn't work in English like it does in Greek because our word "spirit" does not also mean "wind." Here, the same word is translated as "wind" in the beginning and "spirit" at the end. This verse introduces an important part of the analogy between wind and spirit: that we cannot see either the wind or the spirit. More importantly, we cannot see the source of the wind or its destination, that is, its beginning or end. The contrast is with the physical, where we can see both birth and death. The word translated as "blow" also mean "breathe," being from the same root as "spirit."

Though we cannot see the spirit or wind, we can "hear" its sound. Again, this is true for both the wind and the spirit that gives us life. We can tell others are conscious because we can hear it in their words. The word translated as "sound" means "sound," "voice," and the "cries" of animals.

Wordplay: 

 The same word means "wind," "breath," and "spirit" and each meaning is used here. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

τὸ [821 verses](article sg neut nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

πνεῦμα [40 verses](noun sg neut nom) "Spirit" is pneuma, which means "blast," "wind," "breath," "the breath of life," "divine inspiration," "a spiritual or immaterial being," and "the spirit" of a man.

ὅπου [32 verses] (adv/conj) "Where" is from hopou, which means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

θέλει [64 verses](3rd sg pres ind act) "Will" is thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)," "to wish," "to ordain," "to decree," "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain," "to hold," "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event with inanimate objects)." It is a prolonged form (only found in NT) of a verb that means "to be resolved to a purpose" so, in a sense, "to decide," and "to desire." As a participle, it means "being willing" or, adverbially, "willingly," and "gladly." In the Hebrew, "will" or "desire" is chaphets, which means "to delight in," "to take pleasure in," and "to be pleased with."

πνεῖ [4verses] (3rd sg pres/imperf ind act) "Bloweth" is from pneo, which means "blow", "breath", "give off an odor", "breath forth," and "breath out."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "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."

τὴν [821 verses](article sg neut dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

φωνὴν [13 verses] (noun sg fem acc) "Sound" is from phone, which means "sound", "tone", "sound of a voice", "speech", "voice", "utterance", "cry" [of animals], "sounds" [of inanimate objects], "faculty of speech", "phrase", "saying", "rumor," and "report."

αὐτοῦ [720 verses](adj sg masc/neut gen) "Thereof" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

ἀκούεις [95 verses] (2nd sg pres ind act) "Thou hearest" is from akouô (akouo), which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand."

ἀλλ᾽ [154 verses](conj) "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.

οὐκ [269 verses](partic)  "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μήapplies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative;οὐ objective, μή subjective.

οἶδας [166 verses](2nd sg perf ind act) "Canst...tell" is from eido, 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."

πόθεν [8 verses](adv indeclform)"Whence" is pothen which means "whence" and "from what source."

ἔρχεται [198 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "It cometh" is 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.

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "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."

ποῦ [12 verses] (adv/conj) "Wither" is pou, which means "where" and "in what manner."

ὑπάγει [47 verses](3rd sg pres ind act) "It goes" is hypago, which means "to lead under", "to bring under", "to bring a person before judgment", "to lead on by degrees", "to take away from beneath", "to withdraw", "to go away", "to retire", "to draw off," and "off with you."

οὕτως [137 verses](adv)"So" is houtos, which means, as an adverb, "therefore," and "that is why."

ἐστὶν  [614 verses](3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible."

πᾶς [212 verses](adj sg masc nom)"Every one" is pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "That" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the")

γεγεννημένος [10 verse](part sg perf mp masc nom) "Which is born" is gennao, which means "to beget", "to bring forth", "to produce from oneself", "to create," and "to engender." This is the causal form of gignomai, which is translated as "done" in the NT, but which comes closer in meaning to "become."

ἐκ [121 verses] (prep) "With" is from ek, which means "out of", "from", "by," and "away from."

τοῦ [821 verses](article sg neuter)  "That" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the")

πνεύματος [40 verses](noun sg neut gen) "The Spirit" is pneuma, which means "blast", "wind", "breath", "the breath of life," and "divine inspiration."

KJV Analysis: 

The  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

wind  -  -- (CW) The word translated as "wind" primarily means "breath," "wind," a "non-material being," and "blast." In the several pervious verses, it has been translated as "spirit," so in changing to "wind" is confusing, but Jesus is making a play on the two meanings of the word.  Its meaning as "the breath of life" is brought out by the idea of creating life. Its meaning as "spiritual" is brought out by the contrast with "physical." Read more about this word in this article on the holy spirit.

bloweth  - - The word translated as "blowth" primarily means "to blow" and "to breath," and comes from the same root as a common Greek word used here for "wind" and "spirit."

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

listeth, -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "listeth" expresses consent and even delight in doing something. It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

hearest - -- "Hearest" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

sound -- -- The verb translated as "call"  means "sound", "speech", "voice",  "cry" [of animals], "sounds" [of inanimate objects], and "report."

thereof,  -  - The word translated as "thereof" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.   This pronoun follows the noun so "of it."

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather."

canst -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "canst" in the Greek source.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly."

tell -- (CW) The word translated as "tell" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English.  Though "tell" is used in the sense of "know," the word doesn't mean "tell."

whence -- "Whence" is from an adverb which means "whence" and "from what source."

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

cometh, -- The word translated as "cometh" primarily means "to Jesus" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. Here the sense seems to be "start."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

whither -- (CW) The word translated as "whither" is in a form that means "anywhere" or "somewhere."

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

goeth: -- "Goeth " is a Greek verb that means literally "go under" or "bring under," but Jesus usually uses it to mean "go away" and "depart."

so  -  The word translated in KJV as "so" is in its adverbial form, so it means "in this manner" or "in this way."

is-- -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. 

every -- The word translated as "all" is the Greek adjective meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas.

one -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

that -- -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "that" in the Greek source. It was added because the next verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

is -- (WT, WF) This helping verb "is" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. However, the tense is not the present, but the past perfect, and the form is a participle, "having been."

born - "Born" is a word that means "to beget," "to bring forth," "to produce from oneself," "to create," and "to engender."

of -- (CW)  The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases the "of" phrases.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

Spirit.  - - (CW) The word translated as "spirit" primarily means "breath," "wind," a "non-material being," and "blast." Earlier in the verse, this word was translated as "wind." In the several pervious verses, it has been translated as "spirit," so in changing to "wind" is confusing, but Jesus is making a play on the two meanings of the word.  Its meaning as "the breath of life" is brought out by the idea of creating life. Its meaning as "spiritual" is brought out by the contrast with "physical." Read more about this word in this article on the holy spirit.

KJV Translation Issues: 

10
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "wind" does not capture the double meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "listeth" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "canst" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "tell" is not the common word usually translated as "tell."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "whither" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb "is" is the present tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, a completed action, "have seen."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "is" is not an active verb but a participle, "having been."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "spirit" does not capture the double meaning of the word.

NIV Analysis: 

The  - -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

wind  -  -- (CW) The word translated as "wind" primarily means "breath," "wind," a "non-material being," and "blast." In the several pervious verses, it has been translated as "spirit," so in changing to "wind" is confusing, but Jesus is making a play on the two meanings of the word.  Its meaning as "the breath of life" is brought out by the idea of creating life. Its meaning as "spiritual" is brought out by the contrast with "physical." Read more about this word in this article on the holy spirit.

bloweth  - - The word translated as "blowth" primarily means "to blow" and "to breath," and comes from the same root as a common Greek word used here for "wind" and "spirit."

wherever -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

pleases, -- The Greek word translated as "listeth" expresses consent and even delight in doing something. It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose."

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

You -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

hear - -- "Hear" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding. 

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

its ,  -  - The word translated as "its" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.   This pronoun follows the noun so "of it."

sound -- -- The verb translated as "call"  means "sound", "speech", "voice",  "cry" [of animals], "sounds" [of inanimate objects], and "report."

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather."

can- -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "canst" in the Greek source.

-not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly."

tell -- (CW) The word translated as "tell" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English.  Though "tell" is used in the sense of "know," the word doesn't mean "tell."

where -- (CW) "Where" is from an adverb which means "whence" and "from what source." It is not the same word translated as "where" later in the verse.

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

comes, -- The word translated as "comes" primarily means "to Jesus" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. Here the sense seems to be "start."

from -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "from" in the Greek source.

or -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "or" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

where -- (CW) The word translated as "whither" is in a form that means "anywhere" or "somewhere."

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb.

going: -- "Going " is a Greek verb that means literally "go under" or "bring under," but Jesus usually uses it to mean "go away" and "depart."

so  -  The word translated in KJV as "so" is in its adverbial form, so it means "in this manner" or "in this way."

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is-- -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. 

with -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "with" in the Greek source.

every- -- The word translated as "all" is the Greek adjective meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas.

-one -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

born - (WT, WF, WV)"Born" is a word that means "to beget," "to bring forth," "to produce from oneself," "to create," and "to engender."

 

of -- (CW)  The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases the "of" phrases.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

Spirit.  - - (CW) The word translated as "spirit" primarily means "breath," "wind," a "non-material being," and "blast." Earlier in the verse, this word was translated as "wind." In the several pervious verses, it has been translated as "spirit," so in changing to "wind" is confusing, but Jesus is making a play on the two meanings of the word.  Its meaning as "the breath of life" is brought out by the idea of creating life. Its meaning as "spiritual" is brought out by the contrast with "physical." Read more about this word in this article on the holy spirit.

NIV Translation Issues: 

14
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "wind" does not capture the double meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "sound" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "can" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "tell" is not the common word usually translated as "tell."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "where" is not the common word usually translated as "where."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "or" should be "and."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "whither" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb "born" is the present tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, a completed action, "have been born."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "born" is not an adjective but a participle, "having been."
  • WV - Wrong Voice - The verb here is translated as active but it is passive.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "spirit" does not capture the double meaning of the word.

Front Page Date: 

Jan 15 2022