John 5:24 ...He that heareth my word, and believeth

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I am teaching you the truth of truth. This fact is that he who is understanding of my word and is trusting in my sender has continuing existence. Not only does he not go on trial, but he makes the transition from the state of death and into the state of life.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse (and the previous one) are written largely with the present participles of verbs that are used as nouns. The problem with this in English is that such words, i.e. the trusting, the believing, the sending, is that they can be read in the abstract. The believing can refer to the act of believing as well as to the believer, himself. In Greek, of course, the participles have sex and number to make the meaning clearer.

While the KJV version seems to be a simple promise of eternal life, the Greek tells us a little more about what happens in death. Actually, it tells us that there is no moment of "death" at all. That those with faith have "continued existence", passing from this form of life to the next.

The verb used to describe this transition is metabaino. The word describes a transition from one state to another, but the literal meaning is more evocative. "Meta" means "among", "between," and related ideas. "Baino" means "to walk." So Christ is saying we simply walk from death to life. There is no "judgment day" in this transition.

What we cannot say is exactly what Christ means by "life." Is it physica or spiritual? The word used, zoe, is refers to physical existence. The word psyche can also be translated as "life" but it also has the meaning of "soul," with its primary meaning being "the breath of life," that is, the soul that animates the body.

Interestingly, Christ always uses zoe to refer to "eternal life," which may be spiritual, while he uses psyche to seeming refer more to physical life. When Christ talks about the physicality of life, specifically giving up life (Jhn 15:13), he uses pysche. He seems to mean giving up the breath of life, the breath of the body. He uses zoe to refer to the deeper existence that reaches beyond life and beyond the grave.

I really need to research and do an article on these two words, zoe and psyche, and a related word, pneuma (also meaning "breath" but usually translated as "spirit" as in "Holy Spirit") to get a clearer fix on Christ's use of these terms to refer to the nature of our existence.

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 tell" is from legô (lego) means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," "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."

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

"He" is from hos (hos), which is the demonstrative pronoun in its various forms (hê, ho, gen. hou, hês, hou, etc. ; dat. pl. hois, hais, hois, etc. gen. hoou). It means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

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

μου "My" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

ἀκούων (part sg pres act masc) "Heareth" is from akouô (akouo), which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand."

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."

πιστεύων (part sg pres act masc nom) "Believeth" is from pisteuô (pisteuo), which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person", "to believe in someone's words", "to comply", "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing."

τῷ πέμψαντί (part sg aor act masc dat) "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".

ἔχει (3rd sg pres ind act) "Hath" is from echô (echo), which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

ζωὴν "Life" is from zôê (zoe), which means "living", "substance", "property", "existence," and, incidentally, "the scum on milk." It has the sense of how we say "make a living" to mean property. Homer used it more to mean the opposite of death.

αἰώνιον "Everlasting" is from aiônios (aionios), which means "lasting for an age", "perpetual," and "eternal." From "aion" which is used in the bible to mean an "age."

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."

εἰς "Into" is from eis (eis), which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

κρίσιν "Condemnation" is from krisis (krisis), which means "separating", "distinguishing", "judgment", "choice", "election", "trial", "dispute", "event," and "issue."

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, class="greek">μήapplies to will and thought; class="greek">οὐ denies, class="greek">μή rejects; class="greek">οὐ is absolute, class="greek">μή relative;class="greek">οὐ objective, class="greek">μή subjective.

ἔρχεται (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Shall come" is from erchomai (erchomai), which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

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.

μεταβέβηκεν (perf inf act ) "Is passed" is from metabaino, which means "to pass over", "pass from one state to another", "change", "make a transition", "to pass to another place or state," and "to carry over."

ἐκ "From" is from ek, which means "out of", "from", "by," and "away from."

τοῦ θανάτου "Death" is thanatos (thanatos), which means "death" and "a death sentence."

εἰς "Into" is from eis (eis), which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὴν ζωήν. "Life" is from zôê (zoe), which means "living", "substance", "property", "existence," and, incidentally, "the scum on milk." It has the sense of how we say "make a living" to mean property. Homer used it more to mean the opposite of death.

Related Verses: