John 5:44 How can ye believe,

Greek Verse: 

Literal Translation: 

How in the world do you have the power to feel confident in the reputation from one another's perceptions and the reputation that comes from the only [God] you do not want?

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The Greek word translated as "how" has a sense of doubt that our English word lacks. Our phrase, "how in the world," actually captures that feeling better.

The word translated as "believe" also means to trust and feel confident in something. The later idea is what Christ is expressing here.

The word translated as "honour" primarily means reputation and opinion, either of which works in this context. In the NT, it is most commonly translated as "glory," which doesn't work here, so "honour" is used in KJV. Neither of those translations are very close to the Greek since it can express a negative opinion as well as a positive one.

The word translated in the KJV as the verb "receive" is a participle, that is, a verb used as a noun. As discussed in the previous verse, it doesn't really mean "receive." It means "take."

In this case, it means the same things as we mean in English when we say "your take on things" to explain someone's perception of a situation. One of its accepted translations is "to apprehend with the senses," which captures our idea of having a "take" on something.

The proper form of this idea as a participle would have been "...one another's taking [on things]," which seems pretty cumbersome. However, this idea having a take on something is expressed more clearly by our word "perceptions," which the alternative uses.

Much is made of this verse as Christ's referral to the Father as "the only God," but some versions of the Greek do not have the word "God" in them. The phrase is only "the only" where "God" is assumed from the adjective.

Greek Vocabulary: 

πῶς "How" is from pôs (pos), which means "how", "in what way", "how in the world", "at all", "by any mean", "in a certain way,"and "I suppose."

δύνασθε (2nd pl pres ind mp) "Can" is from the verb, dunamai (dynamai), which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities", "to be able," and "to be strong enough."

ὑμεῖς "You" is from hymeis, which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

πιστεῦσαι, (aor inf act) "Believe" 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."

δόξαν "Honour" 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.

παρ᾽ "Of" is from para (para), which means "beside", "from the side of", "from beside,", "from", "issuing from", "near", "by", "with", "along", "past", "beyond", "parallel (geometry)", "like (metaphor)", "a parody of (metaphor)", "precisely at the moment of (time)," and "throughout (time)."

ἀλλήλων "One...another" is from allêlôn (allelon), which means "one another", "to one another", "mutually," and "reciprocally."

λαμβάνοντες (part pl pres act masc nom) "Receive" is from lambanô (lambano) means "to take", "to receive", "to apprehend with the senses", "to take hold of," and "to seize." It is also specifically used to mean seized with emotion.

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."

τὴν δόξαν "The honour" 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.

τὴν "That" is from the definitive feminine article being used as a pronoun referring to doxa.

παρὰ "Cometh from" is from para (para), which means "beside", "from the side of", "from beside,", "from", "issuing from", "near", "by", "with", "along", "past", "beyond", "parallel (geometry)", "like (metaphor)", "a parody of (metaphor)", "precisely at the moment of (time)," and "throughout (time)."

τοῦ μόνου "Only" is from monos (monos), which means "alone,""solitary", "without [someone]", "only [something]", "unique", "one above all others," and "on one condition only."

[θεοῦ] "God" is from theos (theos), which means "God," the Deity."

οὐ "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.

ζητεῖτε (2nd pl pres ind act "Seek" is from zeteo, which means "inquire for", "search for", "seek after", "desire", and "feel the want of."

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