John 11:4 This sickness is not unto death

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

This current decline [in health] is not from dying but beyond [it]: to the recognition of the divine. This is so the child of the divine might be recognized though this.

KJV : 

Jhn 11:4 This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The phrase "for the glory of God The Greek word translated as "this" more precisely means "the nearer." Here, it means the current situation, i.e. This sickness, not some future one.

The Greek word translated as "sickness" more generally means "weakness" and has the sense of a generally failing health rather than a specific disease or health problem.

The Greek word translated as "unto" more specifically means "toward" something, either physically or over time. For the sense of Christ's words to work, the complete sense of "leading to" captures its feeling.

The word translated as "for" has the sense of "over" and "beyond" that is raising greater. The contrast here is between the sense of "toward death" with the idea of "beyond death."

The phrase translated as "might be glorified" is the aorist tense which is usually translated. However, its use in the subjunctive voice, indicating the possibility or expectation of something, puts this past action more into the future.


 The use of the term "beyond" here contrasts goal of the weakness or illness with death. The meaning here that the Son of God can reach beyond death. 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Αὕτη "This" is from houtos (houtos), which means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

ἀσθένεια "Sickness" is from astheneia, which means "want of strength", "weakness", "disease", "sickness," [in a moral sense] "feeblness", "to be weak, feeble, or sickly", "to be too weak" [to do a thing], and "decline."

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.

ἔστιν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

πρὸς "Unto" is from pros (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."

θάνατον "Death" is from thanatos (thanatos), which means "death" and "a death sentence."

ἀλλ᾽ "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.

ὑπὲρ "For" is from huper (hyper), which means "over" (of place), "above' (in a state of rest), "off' (ships at sea), "over" and "across (in a state of motion), "over", "beyond", "on behalf of one (metaphor), "for", "instead of", "in the name of", "as a representative of" (in an entreaty), "for" and "because of" (of the cause of motive), "concerning", "exceeding" "above" and "beyond" (of measure), "above" and "upwards" (of numbers), "before" and "earlier than" (of time), "over much" and "beyond measure" (as an adverb), "for" and "in deference of" (doing a thing), and "above measure."

τῆς δόξης "The glory" is from doxa, which means "expectation", "notion", "opinion", "repute," and "popular repute." Translations as "glory" or "splendor" are applied to external appearances but are found primarily in translating the Bible. The words "recognition" and "reputation" come closest to capturing the way Christ uses the word, especially if we consider how he uses the verb form.

τοῦ θεοῦ "Of God" is from theos (theos), which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

ἵνα "That" is from hina (hina), which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

δοξασθῇ (3rd sg aor subj pass) "Might be glorified" is from doxazo (doxazo), which primarily means "to think", "to expect", "to imagine," or "to suppose." Secondarily, it means "to magnify" or "to extol," which is where we get the "glorify" used most often in NT the translation. The English term "to recognize" carries the same sense of both seeing a person in the mind and honoring them.

υἱὸς "The Son" is from huios (huios), which means a "son," and more generally, a "child."

τοῦ θεοῦ "Of God" is from theos (theos), which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

δι᾽ Thereby" is from dia (dia) (with autos below) which means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by (causal)", "among," and "between."

"Thereby" is from autos (autos) (with dia above), 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."