John 8:55 Yet ye have not known him;

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You just haven't learned to know him [the Father]. I, however, have seen him. If I might say that I haven't seen him, I will be the same as you, a liar. Except I have seen him and I observe his words. >

KJV : 

Jhn 8:55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

In looking at this verse in English, would you guess that two different Greek words are translated as "know?" Christ makes a distinction between the way he "knows" the Father and how his challengers do not "know" the Father.

The word used to described Christ's "knowing" is oida, a form of eidon, which means primarily "seeing". The word used to describe his challengers' "knowing" is ginosko, which is "knowing" more in the sense of learning.

Also lost in translation is the tense of the verbs. You might think that the "you have not known" and the "I know him" are in different tenses, past and present. However, Christ does not say "I know him" in the present tense. He says, "I have seen him" in the past perfect tense. All the tenses of "know" here are perfect, which means that the act was completed in the past. This makes sense because Christ tends to refer to being in the presence of the Father in the past.

This issue of Christ and his references to time is interesting. For example, Christ tends to refer to himself with the verb "to be" in the present tense only. This verse is a rare exception because he refers to himself in the future, but we must note that it is a hypothetical and impossible future: one where he denies seeing his Father. When referring to what is real, even when seemingly referring to himself in the future, for example in Jhn 14:3, where he talks about going to to prepared a place for the apostles in his Father's house, he talks about bringing them to "where he is," using the present tense, not where he will be. So, in a sense, he sees himself as continuously with God even while he is on Earth.

However, as he does here, he also refers to his being in the presence of God in the past. He does not see God now, but he has seen him. In some cases, for example, Jhn 17:5, his references are to the far past, before the world existed.

These seeming contradictions are resolved if we think about being with God as being in a different state entirely, one outside of time. Of course, as a time-bound creature, I have no idea what being outside of time really means. However, while being inside of time while on earth, he describes being outside of time both in the past, since he was inside of time now, and in the present, since being outside of time transcends the current moment.

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ "Yet" 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."

οὐκ "Not" is from οὐ 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.

ἐγνώκατε (2nd pl perf ind act) "You have...known," is from gignôskô (ginosko) which means "to learn to know", "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

αὐτόν, "Him" is from autos (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."

ἐγὼ "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and for myself.

δὲ "But" is from de (de), which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

οἶδα 1st sg perf ind act) "Know" is from oida which is a form of eido, (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."

αὐτόν: "Him" is from autos (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."

κἂν "And if" is from the contraction, kan, kai ean. Kai 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." "If" is from 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.

εἴπω (1st sg aor subj act) "I should say" is from eipon (eipon), which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

ὅτι "That" is from hoti (hoti), which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

οὐκ "Not" is from οὐ 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.

οἶδα (1st sg perf ind act) "Know" is from oida which is a form of eido, (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."

αὐτόν, "Him" is from autos (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."

ἔσομαι (1st sg fut ind mid) "I shall be" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

ὅμοιος "Like " is from homoios (homoios), which means "like", "resembling", "the same", "equal in force, "a match for one", "suiting", "of the same rank", "alike", "in like manner," and "equally."

ὑμῖν "You" is from humas (humas) and humôn (humon), which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ψεύστης: "A liar" is from pseustēs, which means "liar", "cheat", "lying," and "false."

ἀλλὰ "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.

οἶδα (1st sg perf ind act) "Know" is from oida which is a form of eido, (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."

αὐτὸν "Him" is from autos (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."

καὶ ."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."

τὸν λόγον "Sayings" is from logos (logos), which means "word", "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition", "discussion," "reckoning," and "value."

αὐτοῦ "His" is from autos (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."

τηρῶ (1st sg pres ind act) "Keep" is from têreô (tereo), which means "to watch over", "to guard", "to take care of", "to give heed to", "to keep," and "to observe."