John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself;

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

Jesus talks about trusting the one who sent him, seeing his Father in him, and lighting a light.Then Jesus says he has not come to judge the world but to save it.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

This is because I didn't transmit out of myself. Rather, the one dispatching me, Father himself, gave me an order: whatever I might have said and what I might transmit.

My Takeaway: 

Judgments are logical and shouldn't be based on twisting words around.

KJV : 

John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

NIV : 

John 12:49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.

What is Lost in Translation: 

Though it is very important to the meaning of this verse, a verb here is consistently mistranslated in the Gospels. Here it is translated as "speak" and "spoken," but it is not one of the two common verbs that mean "speak," "say," and "tell." One of those verbs does appear here, translated as "say" in the second part of the verse. The first verb, however, is a somewhat humorous, self-effacing term that refers to gossip and chatter. More seriously, however, it means the proclamations of an oracle. What does gossip have in common with the words of an oracle? Both of them are the passing on or relaying of information from one source to another. Both wisdom and gossip are passed on and handed down from one person to the next. When there is an object, "pass on" or "relay" works well in translation, but when there isn't an object, such as here,"transmit" captures the idea of being a conduit rather than a source of information.

This verse makes it clear why he uses this specific word to describe his own speaking. His words are not his own.  He says that directly here. He uses the same verb in  John 16:13, when he says something similar about the "spirit of truth," which is commonly interpreted as referring to the Holy Spirit.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὅτι [332 verses](adv/conj) "That" is 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."

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.

ἐξ [121 verses] (prep) "From" is ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of," "from," "by," "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond," "outside of," "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after," "from;" 4) [of rest] "on," "in," 5) [of time] "since," "from," "at," "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of," "made from;" 6) cause, instrument, or means "by." phrases that are translated into English "of" phrases.

ἐμαυτοῦ [15 verses] (pron sg masc gen)  "Myself" is emautou, which means "of me," and "of myself".

οὐκ [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.

ἐλάλησα, [49 verses](1st sg aor ind act) "Have...spoken" is laleo, which means "to talk," "to speak" "to prattle," "to chat," and [for oracles] "to proclaim." It also means "chatter" as the opposite of articulate speech. However, Jesus seems to use in in the sense of "relaying" information gained from another. 

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

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

πέμψας [39 verses] (part sg aor act masc nom) "Has sent" is pempo, which means "send," "send forth," "send away," "conduct," and "escort."

με [49 verses](pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is eme, which is the objective first-person, objective, singular pronoun that means  "me."

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

αὐτός [720 verses](adj sg masc nom) "He"  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."

μοί, [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."

ἐντολὴν [23 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Commandment" is entole which means "injunction," "order," and "command."

δέδωκεν [147 verses](verb 3rd sg perf ind act) "Gave" is didomi, which means "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," "appoint," "establish," and "to describe."

τί [252 verses](pron sg neut nom/acc) "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?

εἴπω  [162 verses] (1st sg aor subj act) "I should say" is eipon, which means "to speak," "to say," "to recite," "to address," "to mention," "to name," "to proclaim," "to plead," "to promise," and "to offer." 

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."

τί [252 verses](pron sg neut nom/acc) "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?

λαλήσω. [49 verses](1st sg fut ind act or verb 1st sg aor subj act) "I should speak" s laleo, which means "to talk," "to speak" "to prattle," "to chat," and [for oracles] "to proclaim." It also means "chatter" as the opposite of articulate speech. However, Jesus seems to use in in the sense of "relaying" information gained from another. 

KJV Analysis: 

For -- The word translated as "for" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

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."

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

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. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

spoken -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "speak" is not the ordinary "to say," "to talk," "to tell," or "to speak" in Greek. This word means "idle chatter," "gossip," and "the proclamations of an oracle." Jesus uses it to capture the idea of "passing on." "conveying,"  or "relaying" information because that captures both what someone gossiping and an oracle does. The word is somewhat self-effacing or derogatory. In many contexts, "chats" or "conveys" probably work better.

of -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." The word has a number of different meanings based upon its context. However, in Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases that are translated into English "of" phrases.

myself; -- The Greek reflexive pronoun is translated as "myself." It is used primarily as the object of a preposition. As a genitive object means a movement away from something or a position away from something else.

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 this." CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."

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

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.

which -- (CW) The word translated as "which" 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. 

sent  -- (WF) "Sent" is from a Greek verb that means "send," "send forth," "send away," "conduct," and "escort." This is the second most common word Jesus uses that is translated as "send out," but this one doesn't have the prefix that has the sense of "out."

me, -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

he -- The word translated as "he" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "he." Saying  "he himself" captures this feeling in English.

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

gave --- (WT) The verb translated as "gave" means "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," "appoint," "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give." The tense is not the past but the past perfect, "has given."

me -- The "me" is in the indirect object form of the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me," "for me," and "by me."

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a noun doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

commandment, - The word translated as "commandment" has the sense of a direct "order" or "command" given by someone as opposed to a body of law or tradition in society. Jesus uses it to refer to the written Law, his lessons, and the commands given by someone in authority.

what-- The Greek word translated as "what" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." Here it is neuter, singular so "anything" to "what."  Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why.

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

should-- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense or a form that indicates possibility at some time. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

say, - The word translated as "say" means "to say" and "to speak." It is one of the two most common words translated "speak," "say" and "tell," but it has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

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."

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." Here it is neuter, singular so "anything" to "what."  Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why.

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

should -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense or a form that indicates possibility at some time. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

speak. -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "speak" is not the ordinary "to say," "to talk," "to tell," or "to speak" in Greek. This word means "idle chatter," "gossip," and "the proclamations of an oracle." Jesus uses it to capture the idea of "passing on." "conveying,"  or "relaying" information because that captures both what someone gossiping and an oracle does. The word is somewhat self-effacing or derogatory. In many contexts, "chats" or "conveys" probably work better.

KJV Translation Issues: 

11
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "spoken" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb "gave" is the past tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, a completed action, "has given."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "which" is not the common word usually translated as "which."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "sent" is not an active verb but a participle, "sending."
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "he himself."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "speak" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV Analysis: 

For -- The word translated as "for" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

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."

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. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

speak -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "speak" is not the ordinary "to say," "to talk," "to tell," or "to speak" in Greek. This word means "idle chatter," "gossip," and "the proclamations of an oracle." Jesus uses it to capture the idea of "passing on." "conveying,"  or "relaying" information because that captures both what someone gossiping and an oracle does. The word is somewhat self-effacing or derogatory. In many contexts, "chats" or "conveys" probably work better.

on -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." The word has a number of different meanings based upon its context. However, in Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases that are translated into English "of" phrases.

my own; -- The Greek reflexive pronoun is translated as "myself." It is used primarily as the object of a preposition.

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 this." CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."

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

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.

who -- (CW) The word translated as "who " 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. 

sent  -- (WF) "Sent" is from a Greek verb that means "send," "send forth," "send away," "conduct," and "escort." This is the second most common word Jesus uses that is translated as "send out," but this one doesn't have the prefix that has the sense of "out."

me, -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

missing "he" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun "he" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "he." Saying  "he himself" captures this feeling in English.

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

missing "gave " -- (MW)  The untranslated word "gave" means "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," "appoint," "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give." The tense is not the past but the past perfect, "has given."

commanded , - (WF, WT) The word translated as "commandment" has the sense of a direct "order" or "command" given by someone as opposed to a body of law or tradition in society. Jesus uses it to refer to the written Law, his lessons, and the commands given by someone in authority.

me -- The "me" is in the indirect object form of the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me," "for me," and "by me."

missing "what" -- (MW)  The untranslated word "what" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." Here it is neuter, singular so "anything" to "what."  Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why.

to -- (WF) This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English. The following verb is not an infinitive.

say, -- (WF) The word translated as "say" means "to say" and "to speak." It is one of the two most common words translated "speak," "say" and "tell," but it has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming. This a verb form of something that might or should happen.

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

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."

that -- (CW)  The Greek word translated as "what" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." Here it is neuter, singular so "anything" to "what."  Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why.

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

have --  (WW) This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense or a form that indicates possibility at some time. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

spoken. -- (CW, WT) The Greek word translated as "speak" is not the ordinary "to say," "to talk," "to tell," or "to speak" in Greek. This word means "idle chatter," "gossip," and "the proclamations of an oracle." Jesus uses it to capture the idea of "passing on." "conveying,"  or "relaying" information because that captures both what someone gossiping and an oracle does. The word is somewhat self-effacing or derogatory. In many contexts, "chats" or "conveys" probably work better.

NIV Translation Issues: 

20
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "speak" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "on" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "who" is not the common word usually translated as "which."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "sent" is not an active verb but a participle, "sending."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "he" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "himself" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "gave" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "commanded" is not an active verb but a noun, "command."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb "commanded" is the past tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, a completed action, "has given."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "what" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "to say" is not an infinitive but an active verb, "should say."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "say" is in the form of possibility "should say."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "all" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "that" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "have" should be something more like "should."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "spoken" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).

Front Page Date: 

Aug 28 2022