John 12:50 And I know that his commandment

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

Jesus says he has not come to judge the world but to save it and his words are his Father's.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Also, I know that this command of his is life on-going. These than I myself pass on as he has spoken to me, the Father. So I pass on.

My Takeaway: 

The Father's commands are as inescapable as the laws of nature, which are also his commands.

KJV : 

John 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

NIV : 

John 12:50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.

What is Lost in Translation: 

In Greek, word order is less important than the parts of speech used. This makes a statement of equivalence, saying something is the same as something else, more reversible than in English. So when Jesus says "His command is life on-going," he is also saying "Life on-going is his command." The sense is both that the Father is ordering eternal life and that following his command is the key to that life continued. This is lost in the NIV which changes "is" to "leads to."

Here again, as in John 12:49, the word translated as "speak/say" actually means "passing on" information. The Father speaks, says, or tells, but Jesus just relays that information.

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."

οἶδα [38 verses] (1st sg perf ind act) "I know" is oida which has the sense of "to know." This listing is not a root word, but the past perfect tense of eido, which means "to see," "to examine," "to perceive," "to behold," "to know how to do," "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know." That which "has been seen" is that which is "known." This is a somewhat legalistic idea because the truth can only be established by eyewitnesses.

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."

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

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

αὐτοῦ [720 verses](adj sg masc gen) "His" (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."

ζωὴ [42 verses] (noun sg fem nom) "Life" is zoe, which means "living," "substance," "property," "existence," and, incidentally, "the scum on milk." It has the sense of how we say "make a living" to mean property. Homer used it more to mean the opposite of death.

αἰώνιός [23 verses](adj sg masc/fem nom) "Everlasting" is aionios, which means "lasting for an age," "perpetual," and "eternal." From "aion" which is used in the bible to mean an "age."

ἐστίν.[614 verses](3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" 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.

[294 verses](pron pl neut acc) "Whatsoever" is hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

οὖν [82 verses](adv) "Therefore" is oun, which means "certainly," "in fact," "really," "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

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.

λαλῶ, [49 verses](1st sg pres ind act) "Speak" 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. 

καθὼς [36 verses] (adv) "Even as" is kathos, which means "even as," "how," and, in relating to time, "as" and "when."

εἴρηκέν [162 verses] (3rd sg perf ind act) "Said" 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." 

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.""

[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."

οὕτως [54 verses](adv) "So" is houtos, an adverb that means "in this way," "therefore," "so much," "to such an extent," and "that is why."

λαλῶ, [49 verses](1st sg pres ind act) "Speak" 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.

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."

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

know -- The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English. It is the past perfect tense so "have seen" but it is translated as the present tense of "know."  What someone "has seen" is what they "know" in the present.

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

his  -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

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. 

commandment  -- The word translated as "commandments" 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.

is  -- 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.

life -- The word translated as "life" means "living" but it also means "substance," "existence," and "property."Jesus uses it to mean the "existence" of physical life, spirit plus body. To learn more read this article on life eternal, For more on how Christ uses this word with other words about human existence (soul, heart, spirit, body, etc.), read this article.

everlasting: -- (CW) "Everlasting" is an adjective based on the word that means "age" or "eon." It has the sense of "perpetual" or "ageless." It doesn't really means "eternal or "everlasting" as we used those words today.  See this article.

whatsoever -- The word translated as "whatsoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

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."

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.  When there isn't an object, "transmit" captures the idea of being a conduit rather than a source of information.

therefore, -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly," "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative, "then," "therefore." Jesus uses it to respond positively to questions, but in parables, it can continue the story.

even as -- "Even as" is from a Greek word that means which means "even as," "how," and, in relating to time, "as" and "when."

the -- The word translated as "the" 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.

said - (WT) The word translated as "speaketh" 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.The tense is the past perfect, not the simple past.

unto -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

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

so-- The word translated in KJV as "thus" is in its adverbial form, so it means "in this manner," "so much," or "in this way."

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

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.  When there isn't an object, "transmit" captures the idea of being a conduit rather than a source of information.

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "commandment" is not shown in the English translation.
  •  CW - Confusing Word -- The "everlasting" 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."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb "said" is the past tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, a completed action, "has said."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "speak" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "speak" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

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."

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

know -- The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the word "see" to mean "know" in English. It is the past perfect tense so "have seen" but it is translated as the present tense of "know."  What someone "has seen" is what they "know" in the present. Since the past perfect of "see" forms the present tense of "know" the pluperfect tense used here, which indicates an action completed before some other action in the past, is used as the simple past tense, "knew."

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

his  -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

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. 

commandment  -- The word translated as "commandments" 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.

leads -- (WW) 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.

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

eternal: -- (CW) "Eternal" is an adjective based on the word that means "age" or "eon." It has the sense of "perpetual" or "ageless." It doesn't really means "eternal or "everlasting" as we used those words today.  See this article.

life -- The word translated as "life" means "living" but it also means "substance," "existence," and "property."Jesus uses it to mean the "existence" of physical life, spirit plus body. To learn more read this article on life eternal, For more on how Christ uses this word with other words about human existence (soul, heart, spirit, body, etc.), read this article.

 So -- The Greek word translated as "so" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly," "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative, "then," "therefore." Jesus uses it to respond positively to questions, but in parables, it can continue the story.

whatever -- The word translated as "whatever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

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."

say -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "say" 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.  When there isn't an object, "transmit" captures the idea of being a conduit rather than a source of information.

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

just what -- "Just what" is from a Greek word that means which means "even as," "how," and, in relating to time, "as" and "when."

the -- The word translated as "the" 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.

has -- This helping verb "has" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past.

told - The word translated as "speaketh" 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.

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

missing "so"  -- (MW) The untranslated wordv"so" is in its adverbial form, so it means "in this manner," "so much," or "in this way."

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

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

say. -- (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.  When there isn't an object, "transmit" captures the idea of being a conduit rather than a source of information.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and"  is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "commandment" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "leads" should be something more like "is."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "to" doesn't exist in the source.
  •  CW - Confusing Word -- The "eternal " 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."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "say" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "so"  is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "to" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "say" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 29 2022