John 5:31 If I bear witness of myself,

Spoken to: 

challengers

Context: 

Jesus is accused of breaking the Sabbath making himself a god by calling God his Father. This verse continues the multiple references to "self" in the previous verse.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

When I give a good report about myself, that evidence of mine is not so true.

My Takeaway: 

The self is never as honest as it should be.

KJV : 

John 5:31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

NIV : 

John 5:31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Again, this verse emphasizes the idea of "self." It uses the pronoun subject with the sense of "I myself." "Of myself" is more precisely translated as "concerning myself". In the previous verse, the phrase "of my own self" translated a different Greek word as "of" (apo, meaning "from out of") but the same Greek word (emautou) as "my own self" but it is translated more simply as "myself" here.

The word translated as "true" primarily means "unconcealed" but the sense is "so true." Its not that the testimony is false but that it is not complete. There is another related adjective that means "true."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἐὰν [162 verses](conj) "If" is ean, 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."

ἐγὼ [162 verses](pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is ego, which is the first-person singular pronoun meaning "I." It also means "I at least," "for my part," "indeed," and for myself.

μαρτυρῶ[16 verses] (verb 1st sg pres subj act or 1st sg pres ind act) "Bear witness" is martyreo, which means "to bear witness," "to give evidence," "give a good report," "testify to," and "acknowledge the value of." It is the basis for our word "martyr."

περὶ [73 verses](prep)  "Of" is peri, which means "round about (Place)," "around," "about," "concerning," "on account of," "in regard to," "before," "above," "beyond," and "all around."

ἐμαυτοῦ [15 verses] (pron sg masc gen) ") "Myself" is emautou, which means "of me," and "of myself".

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

μαρτυρία [6 verses](noun sg fem nom) "Witness" is from martyria, which means "testimony," and "evidence." -

μου [239 verses](adj sg masc gen) "Me" is from mou (emou), which means "me," and "mine." As a genitive object means movement away from something or a position away from something else.

οὐκ [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.

ἐστίν.[614 verses](3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen,"  and "is possible." With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

ἀληθής [8 verses](adj sg fem nom) "True" is from alethes, which means "unconcealed", "so true", "not forgetting", "careful," [of persons] "truthful" "honest," [of oracles] "true" "unerring," and [as adverb] "actually" "in reality,"

KJV Analysis: 

If -- (CW) 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." This is not the simple "if.

I -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

bear witness -- "Bear witness" is the Greek verb that means "to give testimony" and "to bear witness." It has the sense of being true testimony. It is the verb form of the Greek word for "testimony" and "proof," which is the source of our word "martyr," and its funny spelling.

of --  (CW) The Greek word translated as "of" means "around" when referring to a place, but in referring to a subject, it means "about," "concerning," "on account of," and "in regard to." This is not the common form of "of."

myself, -- The Greek reflexive pronoun is translated as myself.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."  

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

witness "Witness" is from a Greek word that means "testimony" and "evidence."

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. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to."

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." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

true. - The word translated as "true" primarily means "unconcealed" and "so true," based on the root words, which means "what is not hidden." Of persons, it means "truthful" and "honest."

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "witness" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

If -- (CW) 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." This is not the simple "if.

I -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

testify -- "Testify" is the Greek verb that means "to give testimony" and "to bear witness." It has the sense of being true testimony. It is the verb form of the Greek word for "testimony" and "proof," which is the source of our word "martyr," and its funny spelling.

about --  The Greek word translated as "about " means "around" when referring to a place, but in referring to a subject, it means "about," "concerning," "on account of," and "in regard to."

myself, -- The Greek reflexive pronoun is translated as myself.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."  

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

testimony  - "Testimony " is from a Greek word that means "testimony" and "evidence."

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. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to."

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." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

true. - The word translated as "true" primarily means "unconcealed" and "so true," based on the root words, which means "what is not hidden." Of persons, it means "truthful" and "honest."

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "witness" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Feb 27 2022