John 13:7 What I do thou knowest no

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

Jesus begins washing the Apostle's feet at the Last Supper. Peter questions it.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

What I myself am creating, you yourself don't know right now, but you will learn by these things.

My Takeaway: 

Peter wasn't smelling what Jesus was cooking.

KJV : 

John 13:7 What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

NIV : 

John 13:7 You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

What is Lost in Translation: 

The humor here is in the lines Jesus draws separating things. Both the subject pronoun for "I" and "you" are used here, which accentuates them because the information is part of the verb. This is like saying "I myself" and "you yourself." This draws a line of distinction between Jesus and Peter. The word translated as "do" primarily means "make" and "am making" captures it better than "do." This is important because in John 13:14 , Jesus tells them what he created by washing their feet: a debt.

In the KJV, the "knowest" and "shalt know" are not the same Greek verb, but the NIV's "realize" and "understand" are both very uncommon translations of these words, which are more consistently translated as "know" and "learn." These two words draw a distinction between knowing now and learning in the future. The "now" is not the common now, but one that means "just now" accentuating it. The "punchline" is mistranslated as "hereafter" in the KJV and deleted in the NIV.  The Greek means "by these things," the things that make things different.

Greek Vocabulary: 

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

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.

ποιῶ [168 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind act) "Do" is poieo, which means "to make," "to produce," "to create," "to bring into existence," "to bring about," "to cause," "to perform," "to render," "to consider," "to prepare," "to make ready," and "to do."

σὺ  [36  verses](pron 2nd sg nom) "Thee/you" is su , which means "you" in the second-person pronoun in form of a singular subject.

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.

οἶδας  [38 verses]( 2nd sg perf ind act) "Thou knowest" 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.

ἄρτι [13 verses](adv) "Now" is arti, which means "just," "exactly," and "just now."

γνώσῃ :[62 verses] (2nd sg fut ind) "Thou shalt know," is ginosko which means "to learn to know," "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" is de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). With the Greek word for "if" the sense is "if...than."

μετὰ [103 verses](prep) "-After-" is meta, which means "with," "in the midst of," "among," "between," "in common," "along with," "by the aid of," "in one's dealings with," "into the middle of," "coming into," "in pursuit of," "after," "behind," "according to,"  "after," "behind,"  and "next afterward." With genitive,  it means generally, "with," "together with," "in the midst of," "among," "between." "in common," "along with," "by the aid of," and "in conjunction with." With dative, "between," "among," "in company with," with a number "complete," and "over and above." With accusative, generally, "among" and "between" as with dative, of motion, "into the middle of," "coming into or among," "in pursuit or quest of," of place, "after," "behind," of time, "after," "next to,"  of worth/rank, "next after," of ideas, "after," "according to." 

ταῦτα [96 verses](adj pl neut acc) "Here" is tauta, which is a referring pronoun meaning "these," "this," "that," and "here." It can mean the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why."

KJV Analysis: 

What . -- The word translated as "what" 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."

do -- The Greek word translated as "do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  In English, "do" is also frequently a helper verb. This Greek word is not used as broadly. When it doesn't have an object, the verb is more clearly translated as  "perform."

thou -- The  "you" here in the second-person pronoun in form of a singular subject. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use repeats the idea of who is speaking, "you." Saying "you yourself" captures this feeling in English.

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

knowest  -- 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.

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.

now; -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "now" means "just" or "exactly and "now" in the sense of "just now" when applied to time. It is not the common adverb usually translated as "now" but one that means "just now" or "as yet" implying a change in the future.

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  It can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

thou-- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

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

know -- (CW) "Know" is a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn. Since the verb meaning "have seen" is also used to means "know," translating this one as
"learn" makes more sense, especially in the future tense.

hereafter. -- (WW) "Hereafter" is from two Greek words meaning  "by these things. "By" is the Greek word that usually means "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of." It also refers to "after" or "behind" when referring to a place, time, or pursuit. The "these things" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. It follows the noun so it repeats the idea of the noun as "this one." It is often used in the neuter plural to refer to "these things."

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • 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 pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourself."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "now" is not the common word usually translated as "now."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "know" is not the same word translated as "know" above.

NIV Analysis: 

You -- The  "you" here in the second-person pronoun in form of a singular subject. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use repeats the idea of who is speaking, "you." Saying "you yourself" captures this feeling in English.

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

do -- 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.

realize -- (CW) The word translated as "realize" 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. This word is not translated as "realize" elsewhere.

now; -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "now" means "just" or "exactly and "now" in the sense of "just now" when applied to time. It is not the common adverb usually translated as "now" but one that means "just now" or "as yet" implying a change in the future.

what -- The word translated as "what" 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."

am -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb. It is used here to form the present, progressive tense, which doesn't exist in Greek but which can smooth the flow of English sentences.

doing-- The Greek word translated as "doing" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  In English, "do" is also frequently a helper verb. This Greek word is not used as broadly. When it doesn't have an object, the verb is more clearly translated as  "perform."

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  It can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

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

you -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

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.

understand -- (CW) "Understand" is a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn. Since the verb meaning "have seen" is also used to means "know," translating this one as
"learn" makes more sense, especially in the future tense.

missing "by"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "by" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of." It also refers to "after" or "behind" when referring to a place, time, or pursuit.

missing "these things"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "these things" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. It follows the noun so it repeats the idea of the noun as "this one." It is often used in the neuter plural to refer to "these things."

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourself."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "realize" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "now" is not the common word usually translated as "now."
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "later" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "understand" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "by" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "these things" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 30 2022