John 4:48 Except ye see signs and wonders

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

A nobleman asks Jesus to heal his son. This is spoken to a group.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Went you do not think you see signs and marvels, you will not ever really trust.

My Takeaway: 

We believe what we think we see.

KJV : 

John 4:48 Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.

NIV : 

John 4:48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe.”

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The "see" also commonly used to mean "know." It is used with a negative that refers to people's opinions rather than facts. So the sense is that people think they see miracles and wonders.

The term translated as "wonders" is only used by Jesus three times. The other two verses are referring to false Christs.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἐὰν [162 verses](conj) "Except" is from ean (with me below), which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event. This is how we use the word "when." -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is how we use the word "when."

μὴ [447 verses](partic) "Not" is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective. With pres. or aor. subj. used in a warning or statement of fear, "take care" It can be the conjunction "lest" or "for fear that."-- (CW) The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.   With the verb "to be," the sense is "doesn't seem." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. This is the negative used with commands or requests.

σημεῖα [15 times](noun pl neut acc) "Signs" is from semeion, which means "mark (by which things are known)," "a proof" (in reasoning), "sign (of the future)," "sign from the gods," "signal (to do things)," "omen," "portent," "constellations," and a "standard (flag)."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is 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."

τέρατα [3 verses](noun pl neut nom/acc) "Wonders" is teras, which means "sign," "wonder," "marvel," "portent," and "monstrosity." 

ἴδητε, [166 verses](2nd pl pres ind act or 2nd pl imperf ind act) "See" is 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."

οὐ [269 verses](partic) "Not" is ou ( οὒ ) 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.

μὴ [447 verses](partic) "Not" is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective. With pres. or aor. subj. used in a warning or statement of fear, "take care" It can be the conjunction "lest" or "for fear that."

πιστεύσητε [69 verses] (2nd pl aor subj or 2nd pl fut ind) "You will...believe" is pisteuo, which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person," "to believe in someone's words," "to comply," "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing."

KJV Analysis: 

Except - "Except" is from a phrase which literally means "when not". The negative used in it is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.  Here, Jesus is saying "when I don't want to drink."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

see -- The verb translated as "see" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." In th KJV, it is almost translated as many times as "know" as it is "see,"

signs - "Sign" is Greek word that means a "mark," "sign," or "proof." The word in Greek is used specifically to means a sign from the gods and it that sense, it means "omen," "portent," and "constellations," but it also means a "proof" in reasoning. The translation of "proof" often seems how Jesus uses it.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

wonders, - The "wonders" can be anything that is unexplained, including "sign," "wonder," "marvel," "portent," and "monstrosity."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

not -- (CW) The "not" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying, "never" or literally, "you cannot really think." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

believe. -- The Greek word translated as "believe" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Christ usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words. The negation of "belief" with the objective, instead of subjective, negative, equates trust with a fact.

KJV Translation Issues: 

1
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV Analysis: 

Unless - "Unless" is from a phrase which literally means "when not". The negative used in it is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.  Here, Jesus is saying "when I don't want to drink."

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

people  - (CW) This is from the masculine, plural form of "you" not the common word for "people."

see -- The verb translated as "see" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." In th KJV, it is almost translated as many times as "know" as it is "see,"

signs - "Sign" is Greek word that means a "mark," "sign," or "proof." The word in Greek is used specifically to means a sign from the gods and it that sense, it means "omen," "portent," and "constellations," but it also means a "proof" in reasoning. The translation of "proof" often seems how Jesus uses it.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

wonders, - The "wonders" can be anything that is unexplained, including "sign," "wonder," "marvel," "portent," and "monstrosity."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

never -- The "never" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying, "never" or literally, "you cannot really think." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

believe. -- The Greek word translated as "believe" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Christ usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words. The negation of "belief" with the objective, instead of subjective, negative, equates trust with a fact.

NIV Translation Issues: 

1
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "people" is not the common word usually translated as "people."

Front Page Date: 

Feb 14 2022