John 8:58 Before Abraham was, I am.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

I'm telling you what is really true. Before Abraham came into being, I exist.>

KJV : 

Jhn 8:58 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

In the English translation, the two verbs in this verse, "was" and "am," come from the same root: "to be." In the Greek, however, two different verbs are used. And these verbs are critically important in terms of how Christ uses language.

The "was" in "Abraham was" comes not from the verb of being, eimi, but the verb of becoming, ginomai. The verb used from Christ's "I am" is the verb of being, eimi.

Christ uses these two words to separate the temporary from the eternal. Our world, the physical world, is the realm of becoming, the domain of change. The spiritual world is the realm of being, domain of true existence. Unlike the Platonic model, in Christ's model, our world is not a shadow of the eternal, but it is in the process of becoming the eternal. We have the potential "to be" but which we are in time, we are in the process of becoming.

As we said in the earlier discussion in Jhn 8:55 regarding the tenses Christ uses with the verb "to be," Christ has a very different view of time than we do.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν "Verily" is from amên (amen), which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT.

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act "I say" is from legô (lego) means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," but it used to mean "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command."

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

πρὶν "Before" is from prin, which means "before", "sooner", "formerly," and "hitherto."

Ἀβραὰμ "Abraham" is from Abraam, which is the Greek form of "Abraham."

γενέσθαι (aor inf mid) "Was" is from gignomai (ginomai), which means "to become", "to come into being", "to happen", "to be produced," and "to be."

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."

εἰμί. (1st sg pres ind act) "I am" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.