John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Don't decide based how things look. Instead, decide [by] deciding [i.e. interpreting] the law.

KJV : 

Jhn 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The first part of this verse is very clear and clearly good advice. However, the translation lapses into vagueness and stilted language in its second-half where it should be the punchline.

"Righteous" is a pretty vague term in English. The Greek word used is more specific. It means conformance with the laws or customs. this is a clear reference back to the previous verses references to the laws of Moses. This connection in lost in the KJV.

Also lost is the central idea here that the law must be interpreted or decided. This difference between appearances and interpretation is what we describe as the different between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. The specific point here to raise question about how to correctly interpret the laws regarding the Sabbath.

Wordplay: 

 The self-referencing statement "judge by judgement" 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

μὴ "Not" is from (me), which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

κρίνετε 2nd pl pres imperat act) "Judge" is from krino, which primarily means "to separate", "to put asunder," and "to distinguish." It has a lot of other secondary meanings, including "to pick out", "to choose", "to decide" disputes or accounts, "to win" a battle, "to judge" especially in the sense of "estimate", "to expound," or "to interpret" in a particular way.

κατ᾽ "According to" is from kata (kata), which means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally."

ὄψιν, "Appearances" is from opsis, which means [as the object of a sentence] "aspect", "appearance", "face", "visual impression", "image", "thing seen," [as a subject of a sentence] "power of sight", "seeing", "vision", "the act of looking", "view", "sight", "dignity," and "position."

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.

τὴν δικαίαν "Righteous" is from dikaios (dikaios) which means "observant of rules", "observant of customs", "well-ordered", "civilized," and "observant of duty." Later it means "well-balanced", "impartial," and "just."

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

κρίνετε. 2nd pl pres imperat act) "Judge" is from krino, which primarily means "to separate", "to put asunder," and "to distinguish." It has a lot of other secondary meanings, including "to pick out", "to choose", "to decide" disputes or accounts, "to win" a battle, "to judge" especially in the sense of "estimate", "to expound," or "to interpret" in a particular way.