John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John:

Greek Verse: 

Literal Translation: 

I, however, possess evidence better than that of John. This [evidence] comes from the actions that the Father gave me because I completed them. These very actions that I take give evidence concerning me: the fact that the Father has sent me.

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

In Greek, the word translated as "witness" (martyria) actually means "evidence" or "testimony." The problem with translating it as "witness" is that it makes us think of a person instead of a statement or piece of physical evidence. This confuses this whole series of verses for the English reader.

The "mysterious" evidence was introduced in Jhn 5:32. The suggestion that it was the testimony of John was made in Jhn 5:33. This was a rhetorical device. The point of Jhn 5:34 was to say that Christ was not suggesting human testimony, which can be mistaken or untrue. Instead, he is pointing to hard evidence: the fact of his miracles, that all had seen.

Who is the source of this evidence? The Father who sent him and who gave him this tasks to accomplish.

A GENERAL NOTE: In English translation, a lot of John seems to consist of very complicated, run-on sentences. This verse is a good example. This is different than Christ's sayings in the synoptic Gospels, who tends toward the pithy.

The problem stems from Greek connecting words such as "hina" ("because", "since", "that"), hoti ("with regard to the fact", "wherefore"), and gar ("for", "since"). These words introduce an explanation. When translated as a single word, they create subordinate clauses, unfortunately a long, long string of them.

This problem goes away is we translated these words as a "This is" statement, such as "this is because..." This changes the descriptive clause into a new, free-standing sentence in English. This gives the English reader much more of the feel of how the verse reads in Greek. From now on, the alternative translations will reflect this.

Personally, I think this stylistic difference is largely the reason that John wrote his Gospel. The words of the other Gospels seem like notes taken during a lecture, capturing the highlights and the most striking statements, including a lot of wordplay. In remembering Christ, John tended to remember his detailed explanations, which he felt should be captured.

Greek Vocabulary: 

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.

δὲ "But" is from de (de), which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way.

ἔχω (1st sg pres ind act) "Have" 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."

τὴν μαρτυρίαν "Testimony" is from martyria, which means "testimony," and "evidence."

μείζω "Greater than" is from meizôn, (meizon) which means "bigger," and "greater" and is the comparative form of megas, which means "big" and "great."

τοῦ "That" is from tis (tis) which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "many a one", "whoever," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

Ἰωάνου "Of John's" is from Ioannes, which is John in Greek.

τὰ "The" is from "o", the article meaning "the."

γὰρ "For" comes from gar (gar) which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ἔργα "Works" is from ergon (ergon ), which means "works", "tasks", "deeds", "actions", "thing," and "matter."

"That" 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.

δέδωκέν (3rd sg perf ind act) "Hath given" is from didômi (didomi), which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

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

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

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

τελειώσω (1st sg aor subj act) "To finish" is from teleioo, which means "to make perfect", "to complete", "to bring to consummation," and "to bring fruit to maturity."

αὐτά Untranslated is 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."

αὐτὰ "The same" 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."

τὰἔργα "Works" is from ergon (ergon ), which means "works", "tasks", "deeds", "actions", "thing," and "matter."

"That" 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.

ποιῶ (1st sg pres ind act) "I do" is from poieô ( poieo), which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

μαρτυρεῖ (3rd sg pres ind act) "Bear witness" is from martyreo, which means "to bear witness", "to give evidence", "give a good report", "testify to," and "acknowledge the value of." It is the basis for our word "martyr."

περὶ "Of" is from peri (peri), which means "round about (Place)", "around", "about", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to", "before", "above", "beyond," and "all around."

ἐμοῦ "Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

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.

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

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

ἀπέσταλκεν (3rd sg perf ind act) "Hath sent" is from apostellô (apostello), which means "to send off", "to send away," or "to dispatch." It is our source of the word "apostle."

Related Verses: