John 1:48 Before that Philip called thee,

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

Upon meeting Nathaniel Batholomew

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Before anything, before Philip was to call you, being under the fig tree, I saw you;

My Takeaway: 

Knowing is not completely tied to time, effect can precede cause.

KJV : 

John 1:48 Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

NIV : 

John 1:48  I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The verb translated as "see" is often used by Jesus to mean "know." As you might expect about a phrase describing a vision, the tenses are odd here.  All the verb tenses indicate something happening at a point in time, except for the verb "wast/were," of being under a tree, which is in the present tense. This "before" phrase has both an object "anything" and it introduces an infinitive phrase. In English, we would repeat the preposition, but its repetition is assumed in Greek. This is the only time Jesus uses the name of the apostle, Philip, but note that the word is Greek, from the father of Alexander the Great.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Πρὸ (prep)  "Before" is from pros, which means "from (place)," "on the side of," "toward," "before," "in the presence of," "in the eyes of," "before (supplication)," "proceeding from (for effects)," "dependent on," "derivable from," "agreeable,""becoming," "like," "at the point of," "in addition to," "against," and "before."

τοῦ (pron sg gen) "That" is tis which can mean "someone," "something," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what."

σε (pron 2nd sg acc) "You" is from se,  the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun. 

Φίλιππον [1 verse](adj sg masc acc)   "Philip" is from the Greek word Philippos, which is the Greek name from the father of Alexander the Great.

φωνῆσαι [10 verses](verb aor inf act) "Calleth" is phoneo which means "to produce a sound or tone," "to speak loudly or clearly" (of men), "uttering cries" (of animals), "affirm" (in court), "call by name," "command," and "speak of."

ὄντα (part sg pres act masc acc) "Wast" is eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen,"  and "is possible." 

ὑπὸ [29 verses](prep) "Of" is hypo (hupo), which means [with genitive] "from under (of motion)," "down under," under, beneath," "by" in the sense of a cause or agency, "under," or "with," "under the cover or protection of," "of the agency of feelings, passions," "expressing subjection or dependence," "subordinate," "subject to;" [with accusative] "towards" and "under" (to express motion), "under" (without a sense of motion), "subjection," "control," "dependence," of Time, "in the course of," "during," "about," as an adverb, "under," "below," beneath, the agency or influence under which a thing is done"by," "before,' and "under," (with genitive and passive verbs of cause).

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

συκῆν [7 verses] (noun sg fem gen) "Fig tree" is from syke, which means "fig tree."

εἶδόν [166 verses](verb 1st sg aor ind) "I saw" 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."

σε. (pron 2nd sg acc) "You" is from se  the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun. 

KJV Analysis: 

Before  -- The word translated as "to" means "towards," "by reason of (for)," "before" both in time and place, "in the presence of," "against," and several other types of "before." With verbs of seeing it specifically means "towards."

that  -- (CW) The word translated as "that" means primarily "anything" or "anyone."

Philip  -   "Philip" is the Greek name from the father of Alexander the Great.

called -- (CW. WF) The word translated as "called" simply means "to utter cries." It means the cries of animals, but it also refers specifically to someone calling another name. It is not the common word that means "called." It is not a active verb but an infinitive.

thee, -- The word translated as "you" is the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun.

when thou -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "when thou" in the Greek source.

wast  -- (WT, WF) The verb "wast" here is an uncommon 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. It is a participle, not an active verb and it is the present tense, not the past.

under -- The word translated as "under" primarily means "by," "under," or "with." Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

fig tree,   - The word for "fig tree" means "fig tree." In ancient times, figs were a symbol for abundance.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

saw -- The verb translated as "saw" 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,"

thee. -- The word translated as "you" is the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "that" is not the common word usually translated as "that."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "called" is not the common word usually translated as "called."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "called" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "was to call."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "when thou" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "wast" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "being."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "wast" indicates the past tense, but its tense is present.

NIV Analysis: 

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

saw -- The verb translated as "saw" 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,"

you -- The word translated as "you" is the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun.

while you - (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "when you" in the Greek source.

were -- (WT, WF) The verb "wast" here is an uncommon 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. It is a participle, not an active verb and it is the present tense, not the past.

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

under -- The word translated as "under" primarily means "by," "under," or "with." Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

fig tree - The word for "fig tree" means "fig tree." In ancient times, figs were a symbol for abundance.

before   -- The word translated as "to" means "towards," "by reason of (for)," "before" both in time and place, "in the presence of," "against," and several other types of "before." With verbs of seeing it specifically means "towards."

missing "anything"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means primarily "anything" or "anyone."

Philip  -   "Philip" is the Greek name from the father of Alexander the Great.

called -- (CW) The word translated as "called" simply means "to utter cries." It means the cries of animals, but it also refers specifically to someone calling another name. It is not the common word that means "called."

you. -- The word translated as "you" is the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun.

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "that" is not the common word usually translated as "that."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "called" is not the common word usually translated as "called."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "called" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "was to call."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "were" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "being."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "while you" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "were" indicates the past tense, but its tense is present.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "when thou" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "still" doesn't exist in the source.

Front Page Date: 

Mar 13 2021