John 8:34 Whosoever committeth sin

KJV Verse: 

Jhn 8:34 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

To reap truly, I teach you. The fact is that everyone who is making mistakes is a slave [of failure].

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The Greek word "amen" means "to reap" or "to cut." The Hebrew word means "truly" or "so be it." Christ's used of this phrase may have been a play on the two meanings of the words. Christ's fondness for this phrase may be that is has two meanings. Christ uses another Greek word (therizo) that is usually translated as "reap" but his fondness of this phrase could easily be that it has two meanings. Certainly Christ describes his work as teaching the apostles "to reap truly." The repeated "amen" would also have the sense in Hebrew as "how it really is."

The KJV has a heavy investment in teaching what we might think of as "sin as a state of being." This verse as a whole and in part is a great example.

The KJV phrase here "committing sin" is much better translated as "making mistakes." It is something we do, not something we are. The word translated as "commiteth" is usually translated as "do" in the KJV, but in Greek, it isn't a vague as our word "to do." It has a definite sense of making, producing, and creating. Why use "commit" in this case, which is a very different word in Greek? The word has the sense in English of commitment and is used to mean being established in a place, i.e, committed to prison.

The word translated as "sin" isn't typically used that way in Greek. In its normal use, it means mistake, error, and failure.

The word translated as "servant" means specifically "slave." This is important because it ties this verse to the whole discussion of freedom, of which it is a part. See the hidden meaning of the previous verse, Jhn 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, to see why "slave" works much better here than "servant." "Servant" is simply used for consistency. The Greek word is always translated that way in the KJV, though some modern translations such as the NIV, use "slave" here because it is what makes sense.

The final "of sin" is shown in brackets in the Greek because it doesn't appear in all manuscripts. It certainly feels like a later "clarification."

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 of this meaning before the NT. However, this is also the infinitive form of the Greek verb amao, which means "to reap" or "to cut."

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act "I say" is from legô (lego) means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," but it used to mean "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 Untranslated is 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."

πᾶς "Whosoever" is from pas (pas), which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

ποιῶν (part sg pres act masc nom) "Committeth" 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."

τὴν ἁμαρτίαν "Sin" is from hamartia, which means "to miss the mark", "failure", "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses does it become "guilt" and "sin."

δοῦλός "Servant" is from doulos (doulos), which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

ἐστιν "Is" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

[τῆς ἁμαρτίας]: "Of sin" is from hamartia, which means "to miss the mark", "failure", "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses does it become "guilt" and "sin."

Wordplay: 

 A play on the two meanings of "amen," the Greek "to reap" and the Hebrew "truly." 

Related Verses: