John 12:47 And if any man hear my words,

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

Jesus talks about trusting the one who sent him, seeing his Father in him, and lighting a light.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Also, when anyone heard my remarks and doesn't defend them, I myself should not criticize him.  Because I did not show up so that I might criticize this society. Instead, I should rescue this society.

My Takeaway: 

Jesus wanted us to preserve his words.

KJV : 

John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

NIV : 

John 12:47 If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

What is Lost in Translation: 

Except for the verb, "came," all of the other verbs here are in the form of possibility, something that "might" or "should" happen. This is assumed for the verbs in the "if/when" clause that begins the verse (hears, keeps) so the helping verb need not be added, but it is also the form of the "judges" and "saves." They should be "should/might judge" and "should/might save." They could also be the future tense that doesn't work as well, but then a "will" helping verb would be needed.

The English translation misinterpret the "keep" here in the sense of "honor" or abide by," but the verb means to "preserve" or defend." It is a less common word for Jesus to use, and he usually uses it in the sense of "preserve." He uses it twice in the sense of preserving the words, here and in Luke 11:28.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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."

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."

τίς [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?

μου [239 verses](adj sg masc gen) "Me" is from mou (emou), which means "me," and "mine." As a genitive object means movement away from something or a position away from something else.

ἀκούσῃ [95 verses](verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "hear" is akouo,  which means "hear of," "hear tell of," "what one actually hears," "know by hearsay," "listen to," "give ear to," "hear and understand," and "understand." The accusative object is the person/thing heard about, while the genitive is the person/thing heard from.  However, two genitives can be used with the sense of "hear of a thing from a person."

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

ῥημάτων [10 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Word" is rhema, which means "that which is spoken," "word," "saying," "word for word," "subject of speech," and "matter." This is not the word usually mistranslated as "word," which is logos that means "idea" or "message."

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."

μὴ [447 verses](partic) "Not" is 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. With pres. or aor. subj. used in a warning or statement of fear, "take care" It can be the conjunction "lest" or "for fear that." Used before tis with an imperative to express a will or wish for something in independent sentences and, with subjunctives, to express prohibitions.

φυλάξῃ[6 verses](verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "Believe" is from phylasso, which means "to keep watch," "to guard," "to defend," "to keep watch and ward," "to wait in ambush for," and "to observe" [at an appointed time]. It is a metaphor for "preserve," "maintain," and "cherish." It does not means "observe" in the sense of "honor" or "abide by." 

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.

οὐ [269 verses](partic) "Not" is ou , the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences.  The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

κρίνω [21 verses] (1st sg fut/aor ind/subj act) "Judge" is 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.

αὐτόν, [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."

οὐ [269 verses](partic) "Not" is ou , the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences.  The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

γὰρ [205 verses](partic) "For" comes from 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."

ἦλθον [198 verses] (1st sg aor ind act) "Came" is  erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out," "to come," "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

ἵνα [134 verses](adv/conj) "To" is hina, which means "in that place," "there," "where," "when,"  but when beginning a phrase "that," "in order that," "when," and "because."

κρίνω [21 verses] (1st sg aor subj act) "Judge" is 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.

τὸν [821 verses](article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

κόσμον [63 verses](noun sg masc acc) "World" is kosmos, which mean "order," "good order," "ruler," "world order," "universe," and "the world of men." It is a form of the is verb kosmeô, which means "to order," "to arrange," "to rule," "to adorn" (especially women), and "to equip." It especially means controlling and arranging an army.

ἀλλὰ [154 verses](conj) "But" is alla, which means "instead," "otherwise," "but," "still," "at least," "except," "yet," nevertheless," "rather," "moreover," and "nay."

ἵνα [134 verses](adv/conj) "To" is hina, which means "in that place," "there," "where," "when,"  but when beginning a phrase "that," "in order that," "when," and "because."

σώσω [25 verse] (1st sg aor subj act) is sozo (soizo), which means "save from death," "keep alive," "keep safe," "preserve," "maintain," "keep in mind," "carry off safely," and "rescue."

τὸν [821 verses](article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

κόσμον [63 verses](noun sg masc acc) "World" is kosmos, which mean "order," "good order," "ruler," "world order," "universe," and "the world of men." It is a form of the is verb kosmeô, which means "to order," "to arrange," "to rule," "to adorn" (especially women), and "to equip." It especially means controlling and arranging an army. -- Jesus uses the word translated as "the world" to mean "the world order," specifically the powers-that-be. Today, we use the word "society" or "regime" in this sense. More about this word in this article about related words.

KJV Analysis: 

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."

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. 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.

hear - -- "Hear" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.  It also means "to listen" and "to understand," but amusingly, it also means "to be silent." The accusative object is the person/thing heard about, while the genitive is the person/thing heard from.  However, two genitives can be used with the sense of "hear of a thing from a person."

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

missing "the/this"  -- (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. 

words,  -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "words" is not the common word meaning "idea" that is mistranslated as "words" in the Bible. Nor is it the Greek word for "words." It is another word that specifically means "what is spoken." This is the root word for the English word "remarks" and "remarks" that captures this concept well.

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."

believe -- (OS) "Beleive" is from a Greek verb that  means "to keep watch," "to guard," "to defend," "to keep watch and ward," and "to wait in ambush for."  It is a metaphor for "preserve," "maintain,"vand "cherish." It does not mean "keep" in the sense of "abide by." The KJV source had the verb "believe" here.

not, -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. Used in negative "when" and "if" clauses.

I -- -- 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.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

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."

judge -- The term used here for "judge" means "judge," "decide," "discriminate," and "separate," depending on the context. Jesus uses it primarily to mean "judge" in a negative way, perhaps like we use "criticize."

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

not: -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. We might consider "judge" an opinion, but this negative is not used with subjective opinions but actual actions.

for --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause."

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

came -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

not --  (WP) The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. This word negates "came" not "judge."

to -- (CW) The word translated as "that" is a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "in order that" or "because." Translating is as "to" makes it look like the following word is an infinitive, which it isn't.

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."

judge -- The term used here for "judge" means "judge," "decide," "discriminate," and "separate," depending on the context. Jesus uses it primarily to mean "judge" in a negative way, perhaps like we use "criticize."

the-- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

world, -- Jesus uses the word translated as "the world" to mean "the world order," specifically the powers-that-be. Today, we use the word "society" or "regime" in this sense. More about this word in this article about related words.

but -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "instead" or "rather." It is not the common word usually translated as "but." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." Jesus often uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, "not this," with a positive one, "instead of this."

to -- (CW) The word translated as "that" is a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "in order that" or "because." Translating is as "to" makes it look like the following word is an infinitive, which it isn't.

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."

save-- "Save" is the Greek word that means "to keep alive" when applied to people or "to keep safe" when applied to things. Christ uses it to mean "rescue" in most cases.

the-- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

world, -- Jesus uses the word translated as "the world" to mean "the world order," specifically the powers-that-be. Today, we use the word "society" or "regime" in this sense. More about this word in this article about related words.

KJV Translation Issues: 

13
  1. CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  2. IW - Inserted Word -- The word "man" doesn't exist in the source.
  3. MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "words" is not shown in the English translation.
  4. CW - Confusing Word -- The "words" is not the common word usually translated as "words."
  5. OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "believe" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  6. MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  7. WF - Wrong Form -  The "judge" is not in the form of a statement but something that "should" or "might" be done.
  8. WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "not" doesn't negate "judge" but "came."
  9. CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  10. WF - Wrong Form -  The "judge" is not in the form of a statement but something that "should" or "might" be done.
  11. CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."
  12. CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  13. WF - Wrong Form -  The "save" is not in the form of a statement but something that "should" or "might" be done.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "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."

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."

anyone -- The Greek word translated as "anyone" 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."

hears- -- "Hear" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.  It also means "to listen" and "to understand," but amusingly, it also means "to be silent." The accusative object is the person/thing heard about, while the genitive is the person/thing heard from.  However, two genitives can be used with the sense of "hear of a thing from a person."

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

missing "the/this"  -- (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. 

words,  -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "words" is not the common word meaning "idea" that is mistranslated as "words" in the Bible. Nor is it the Greek word for "words." It is another word that specifically means "what is spoken." This is the root word for the English word "remarks" and "remarks" that captures this concept well.

but -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "but" 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."

does -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English.

not, -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. Used in negative "when" and "if" clauses.

keep -- (CW) "Keep" is from a Greek verb that  means "to keep watch," "to guard," "to defend," "to keep watch and ward," and "to wait in ambush for."  It is a metaphor for "preserve," "maintain,"and "cherish." It does not mean "keep" in the sense of "abide by."

I -- -- 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.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

do -- (WW) 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."

not: -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. We might consider "judge" an opinion, but this negative is not used with subjective opinions but actual actions.

judge -- The term used here for "judge" means "judge," "decide," "discriminate," and "separate," depending on the context. Jesus uses it primarily to mean "judge" in a negative way, perhaps like we use "criticize."

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

person. -- (CW) The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

For --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause."

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

did  -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English.

not --  The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause.

come -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

to -- (CW) The word translated as "that" is a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "in order that" or "because." Translating is as "to" makes it look like the following word is an infinitive, which it isn't.

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."

judge -- The term used here for "judge" means "judge," "decide," "discriminate," and "separate," depending on the context. Jesus uses it primarily to mean "judge" in a negative way, perhaps like we use "criticize."

the-- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

world, -- Jesus uses the word translated as "the world" to mean "the world order," specifically the powers-that-be. Today, we use the word "society" or "regime" in this sense. More about this word in this article about related words.

but -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "instead" or "rather." It is not the common word usually translated as "but." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." Jesus often uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, "not this," with a positive one, "instead of this."

to -- (CW) The word translated as "that" is a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "in order that" or "because." Translating is as "to" makes it look like the following word is an infinitive, which it isn't.

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."

save-- "Save" is the Greek word that means "to keep alive" when applied to people or "to keep safe" when applied to things. Christ uses it to mean "rescue" in most cases.

the-- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

world, -- Jesus uses the word translated as "the world" to mean "the world order," specifically the powers-that-be. Today, we use the word "society" or "regime" in this sense. More about this word in this article about related words.

NIV Translation Issues: 

16
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" 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.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "words" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "words" is not the common word usually translated as "words."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "but" should be something more like "and."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "keep" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "do" should be something more like "should" or Might."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "person" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "judge" is not in the form of a statement but something that "should" or "might" be done.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "to" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "save" is not in the form of a statement but something that "should" or "might" be done.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 26 2022