John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself;

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

This is because I didn't communicate out of myself. Rather, the one dispatching me, Father himself, gave me an order: whatever I might have said and what I will relay. >

KJV : 

Jhn 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Christ consistently refers to words and ideas as being inside a person and coming out of them when they speak (Mar 7:18). A number of Bible versions, including my personal one, though not the KJV, expresses this idea saying something like "I don't speak of from my own authority," but this is not from the Greek. Notice that this is the similar phrase as the one used in Jhn 16:13 to describe how the Spirit doesn't speak of his own authority. Interestingly, however, two different prepositions are use for "from" ek here and apo in the later verse.

The second part of this verse has three words that act as its subject, that is, the one giving Christ an order, the father, and the pronoun "he." The effect is to accentuate the one giving the order, "Father himself."

The KJV makes it look that the Greek words translated as "should say" and "should speak" are the same tense. They are not.

The first "shall say" (eipon) is in the aorist tense, which is usually translated as the past, and the subjunctive voice, indicating a possibility or probability: "I might have said." This indicates that not everything Christ has said is determined by the Father.

However, the "shall speak" (laleo) is in the future tense and it is not in the subjunctive voice. This indicates what will happen, not what might possibly happen. It is fairly unusual for Christ's use of the future tense not to be in the subjunctive voice so this is notable.

The word translated as "speak" is both more casual and more serious that other ways to talk about speaking, including the eipon verb translated here as "said." It has the sense of passing on or relaying news and information from another source. It covers both "to chatter" in the sense of gossiping and "to proclaim" seriously as an oracle does a message from the divine. Christ seems to like the tension in the word and it is difficult to find an English parallel. Words such as "proclaim", "declare," and "expound" are all serious. Words like "chatter", "prattle," and "sound off" are all too casual. Maybe a phrase such as "pass on" or "hand down" captures more of the feeling. Both wisdom and gossip are passed on and handed down from one person to the next, but those phrases also have other unsuitable meanings when used by themselves. When there is an object, "relay" works well, but when there isn't on object, "communicate" captures it somewhat. When less serious, "chat" comes close.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὅτι "For" 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."

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.

ἐξ "Of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

ἐμαυτοῦ ,"Myself" is from emautou, which means "of me," and "of myself".

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.

ἐλάλησα (1st sg aor ind act) "Have...spoken" is from laleô (laleo), which means "to talk," "to speak" "to prattle", "to chat," and [for oracles] "to proclaim." It also means "chatter" as the opposite of articulate speech.

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.

πέμψας (part sg aor act masc nom) "Which has sent" is from pempo, which means "send", "send forth", "send away", "conduct," and "escort."

με "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my".

πατὴρ "The Father" is from pater (pater), which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

αὐτός "He" 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."

μοι "Me" is from moi, which means "I", "me", and "my".

ἐντολὴν "A commandment" is from entolê (entole) which means "injunction", "order," and "command."

δέδωκεν "Gave" is from didômi (didomi), which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

τί "What" is from tis (tis) which can mean "someone", "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."

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."

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."

τί "What" is from tis (tis) which can mean "someone", "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."

λαλήσω. (1st sg fut ind act) "I should speak" is from laleô (laleo), which means "to talk," "to speak" "to prattle", "to chat," and [for oracles] "to proclaim." It also means "chatter" as the opposite of articulate speech.