John 12:26 If any man serve me,

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

Jesus tells some Greeks and Apostles that our attitude about our earthly lives determines our choices. However, this series of verses seems disconnected and there may be dialogue missing.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

When anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am myself there also this servant, this one of mine, will be. When anyone serves me, he will value him, the Father.

My Takeaway: 

To serve Jesus, we must follow his thinking.

KJV : 

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

NIV : 

John 12:26  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

What is Lost in Translation: 

This verse seems disconnected from the previous one. Jesus may be referencing that fact with the word "follow" here, which also means "following the thread of a discourse." 

Most of the time when we see the word "servant" in the Gospels, it is the Greek word that means "slave." The verbs and noun used here actually mean "serve" and "servant." See John 15:15, where Jesus addresses his apostles about the meaning of this word. The word translated as "let him follow" and "he must follow" is a third-party command, a form we don't have in English. The "he must" is closer to the Greek concept.

This verse ends with a punchline. The word translated as "honor" also means "to value." It is the word used in the Greek the commandment "honor your father and mother." Jesus phrases the last line as "he will honor him..." leaving the subject to the end as the punchline, "the Father." So Jesus stands the commandment on its head. Of course saying "my father" kills the joke, so Jesus doesn't say that.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὰν [162 verses](conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event. This is how we use the word "when."

ἐμοί [96 verses](pron 1st sg masc/fem dat) "Me" is moi (emoi) , which can be the object of some prepositions and as the object of a verb means "to me" "for me," and "by me."

τις [252 verses](pron sg masc/fem nom) "What" is tis, which can mean "someone," "something," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what." It has specific meanings with certain prepositions, \διὰ τί; for what reason? ἐκ τίνος; from what cause? ἐς τί; to what point?  to what end?

διακονῇ [12 verses](verb 3rd sg pres subj acts) "Serve" is from diakoneo, which "to act as a servant," "to minister," and "to perform services."

ἐμοί [96 verses](pron 1st sg masc/fem dat) "Me" is moi (emoi) , which can be the object of some prepositions and as the object of a verb means "to me" "for me," and "by me."

ἀκολουθείτω, [22 verses](3rd sg pres imperat act) "Let him follow" is akoloutheo, which means "to follow," and "to go with." It also means "to be guided by" and means following a leader as a disciple.

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is 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."

 ὅπου [32 verses] (adv/conj) "Where" is hopou, which means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

εἰμὶ [614 verses](1st sg pres ind act) "Am" is eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen,"  and "is possible." With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

ἐγὼ [162 verses](pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is ego, which is the first-person singular pronoun meaning "I." It also means "I at least," "for my part," "indeed," and for myself.

ἐκεῖ: [33 verses](adv) "Yonder place" is ekei, which means "there," "in that place," and in philosophy means "the intelligible world."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "Also" is 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."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -

διάκονος [6 verses](noun sg masc nom)"Servant" is the noun diakonos, which means "servant," "messenger," and "attendant." This is the source for our word "deacon."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  - missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more.

ἐμὸς[28 verses](adj sg masc nom) "My" is emos, which means "mine," "of me," "my," "relating to me," and "against me." The form can also be the object of a preposition, "me."

ἔσται: [614 verses](3rd sg fut ind mid) "Be" is eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen,"  and "is possible." With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

ὰν [162 verses](conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event. This is how we use the word "when."

τις [252 verses](pron sg masc/fem nom) "What" is tis, which can mean "someone," "something," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what." It has specific meanings with certain prepositions, \διὰ τί; for what reason? ἐκ τίνος; from what cause? ἐς τί; to what point?  to what end?

ἐμοί [96 verses](pron 1st sg masc/fem dat) "Me" is moi (emoi) , which can be the object of some prepositions and as the object of a verb means "to me" "for me," and "by me."

διακονῇ [12 verses](3rd sg pres subj act) "Serve" is diakoneo, which "to act as a servant," "to minister," and "to perform services."

τιμήσει [12 verses] (verb 3rd sg fut ind act or verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "Will honour"is timao , which means "to revere," "to honor," and "to value." In the Septuagint, this Greek word is used to translate the Hebrew word, kabad, which means "to be heavy," "to be rich," and "to be honored." 

αὐτὸν [720 verses](adj sg masc acc) "Him" is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). When not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

πατὴρ [191 verses](noun sg masc nom) "The Father" is pater, which means "father," "grandfather," "author," "parent," and "forefathers."

KJV Analysis: 

If -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is how we use the word "when." This is not the simple "if."

any -- The Greek word translated as "any" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." As a subject, the word can be used either as masculine or feminine so "anyone" works best for a person.

man -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "man" in the Greek source. The word translated as "any" is in a form that can be either male or female.

serve -- The Greek verb translated as "serve" means "to act as a servant," "to minister," and "to perform services." It is usually translated as "minister." It is from the same root as the Greek word usually translated as "minister." The word "

me, -- The "me" is in the indirect object form of the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me,""for me," and "by me." A dative object of a preposition implies no movement, but in a fixed position, events that occur at a specified time or while the action was being performed.

let -- This "let" is the helping verb used to translate the Greek form of the third-person command. In English all commands are in the second person. This form is used as something like our word "must." Using "let" as the active verb, rather than a helper verb, changes the subject from the third party to the second.

him-- (WF) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

follow -- The term "follow" means "to follow," or "go with," in a physical sense, but it is also a metaphor meaning "to be guided by" or "to follow the meaning of."

me; -- The "me" is in the indirect object form of the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me,""for me," and "by me." A dative object of a preposition implies no movement, but in a fixed position, events that occur at a specified time or while the action was being performed.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

am, -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

missing "myself" -- (MW) -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English. Here, the verb should separate the "I" and the "myself" since the first-person verb precedes the pronoun as in "I am myself."

there --The word translated as "there" means "there" or "in that place" but it also means "the intelligible world," that is, the world we understand. It refers to a place much more strongly than our word "there" which can be a simple helper to introduce a verb of being. In Greek, the verb used alone has the sense of "there is" or "there are."

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

also -- The Greek word translated as "also" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

my -- "my" is the first-person adjective, not the common pronoun, used in Greek to create a possessive or as the object of a preposition. Perhaps "mine own" captures its best. This follows "servant" with a preposition before, so "the/this one of my own."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

servant -- (CW) The word translated here as "servants," actually means "servant." It is not the Greek word usually translated as "servant," which really means "slave."

be: -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." The word also means "to exist" and where it doesn't connect to characteristics or conditions is best translated that way.

if -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is how we use the word "when." This is not the simple "if."

any -- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." As a subject, the word can be used either as masculine or feminine so "anyone" works best for a person. In the plural, it means "some," "they," and "those." Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why."

man -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "man" in the Greek source.

serve -- The Greek verb translated as "serve" means "to act as a servant," "to minister," and "to perform services." It is usually translated as "minister." It is from the same root as the Greek word usually translated as "minister."

me, -- The "me" is in the indirect object form of the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me,""for me," and "by me." A dative object of a preposition implies no movement, but in a fixed position, events that occur at a specified time or while the action was being performed.

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

my -- (WW) The word translated as "my" is the Greek definite article. When not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers." It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father.

honour. - "Honour" is the Greek verb which means "to revere," "to honor," and "to value." Though the Greek word doesn't have the same sense of "weight" as the Hebrew word that this quote is taken from, weight is often connected in Greek with value. In a commodity-based society, value and weight were the same. We say that we give "weight" to arguments in the same sense that the ancients would give "weight" to the rules of a leader or a God.

KJV Translation Issues: 

9
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "man" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "him" is not the object of the verb but the subject, "he."
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "mine own" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "servant" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "man" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "my" should be something more like "the."

NIV Analysis: 

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is how we use the word "when." This is not the simple "if."

Whoever -- The Greek word translated as "whoever" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." As a subject, the word can be used either as masculine or feminine so "anyone" works best for a person. In the plural, it means "some," "they," and "those." Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why."

missing "should" or "might"-- (MW) A helping verb is necessary because the following verb is a verb of possibility, a subjunctive, something that "should" or "might" occur. The helping verb is not needed in a clause beginning with an "if" or a "when."

serves -- The Greek verb translated as "serves" means "to act as a servant," "to minister," and "to perform services." It is usually translated as "minister." It is from the same root as the Greek word usually translated as "minister."

me, -- The "me" is in the indirect object form of the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me,""for me," and "by me." A dative object of a preposition implies no movement, but in a fixed position, events that occur at a specified time or while the action was being performed.

must -- The helping verb "must" here indicates that this is a third-person command.

follow -- The term "follow" means "to follow," or "go with," in a physical sense, but it is also a metaphor meaning "to be guided by" or "to follow the meaning of."

me; -- The "me" is in the indirect object form of the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me,""for me," and "by me." A dative object of a preposition implies no movement, but in a fixed position, events that occur at a specified time or while the action was being performed.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

am, -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

missing "myself" -- (MW) -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English. Here, the verb should separate the "I" and the "myself" since the first-person verb precedes the pronoun as in "I am myself."

missing "there"  -- (MW) The untranslated word meaning "there" means "there" or "in that place" but it also means "the intelligible world," that is, the world we understand. It refers to a place much more strongly than our word "there" which can be a simple helper to introduce a verb of being. In Greek, the verb used alone has the sense of "there is" or "there are."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more.

my -- "my" is the first-person adjective, not the common pronoun, used in Greek to create a possessive or as the object of a preposition. Perhaps "mine own" captures its best. This follows "servant" with a preposition before, so "the/this one of my own."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

servant -- The word translated here as "servants," actually means "servant." It is not the Greek word usually translated as "servant," which really means "slave."

also -- The Greek word translated as "also" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be: -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." The word also means "to exist" and where it doesn't connect to characteristics or conditions is best translated that way.

My -- (WW) The word translated as "my" is the Greek definite article. When not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers." It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

honor. - "Honor" is the Greek verb that means "to revere," "to honor," and "to value." Though the Greek word doesn't have the same sense of "weight" as the Hebrew word that this quote is taken from, weight is often connected in Greek with value. In a commodity-based society, value and weight were the same. We say that we give "weight" to arguments in the same sense that the ancients would give "weight" to the rules of a leader or a God.

missing "him"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is how we use the word "when." This is not the simple "if."

the one -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." As a subject, the word can be used either as masculine or feminine so "anyone" works best for a person. This is the word \ translated as "whoever" above.

who -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "who" in the Greek source.

missing "should" or "might"-- (MW) A helping verb is necessary because the following verb is a verb of possibility, a subjunctive, something that "should" or "might" occur. The helping verb is not needed in a clause beginning with an "if" or a "when."

serve -- The Greek verb translated as "serve" means "to act as a servant," "to minister," and "to perform services." It is usually translated as "minister." It is from the same root as the Greek word usually translated as "minister."

me, -- The "me" is in the indirect object form of the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me,""for me," and "by me." A dative object of a preposition implies no movement, but in a fixed position, events that occur at a specified time or while the action was being performed.

NIV Translation Issues: 

12
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "might/should" before "serve" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "there" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "mine own" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "servant" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "my" should be something more like "the."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "him" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "the one" is the same word translated as "whoever" earlier.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "might/should" before "serve" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 15 2022