John 14:15 If ye love me,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

At the Last Supper, Jesus describes the need to ask to the Apostles.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Letting go, you love me, you will watch my rules.

My Takeaway: 

What we guard and protect determines what we care about.

KJV : 

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

NIV : 

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commands.

What is Lost in Translation: 

This verse starts with a "when," not an "if." Jesus uses the word translated as "love" to mean to care for others: family, God, etc. To distinguish this word from other Greek words translated as "love," translating it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information. The verb "keep" here is not imperative, that is, a command. It is a statement about what should happen, "you should keep." The "my" before "commandments/command" is not a normal possessive, but a very unusual structure, for Jesus, meaning something like "these commands, these my own."

Wordplay: 

 The play between the two meanings of the Greek word ean. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἐὰν [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."

ἀγαπᾶτέ [32 verses](verb 2nd pl pres subj act contr) "Love" is agapao, which means "to be fond of," "to greet with affection," "to persuade," "to caress," "to prize," "to desire," "to be pleased with," and "to be contended with."  This love is more associated with affection in relationships where we are obligated. Jesus uses another word. Jesus uses another word, phileô, which means "to love," "to like," "to be fond of doing," and "to show affection" to express "love" in the sense of like and dislike.He never uses the word eros, which describes romantic, sexual love.

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

τὰς [821 verses](article pl fem acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -

ἐντολὰς [23 verses](noun pl fem acc) "Commandments" is entole which means "injunction," "order," and "command."

τὰς [821 verses](article pl fem acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἐμὰς [28 verses](adj adj pl fem acc) "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."

τηρήσετε: [17 verses](verb 2nd pl aor subj act or 2nd pl fut ind act) "Keep" is tereo, which means "to watch over," "to guard," "to take care of," "to give heed to," "to keep," "to test by observation or trial," and "to observe." 

KJV Analysis: 

If -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "when" 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."

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

love -- (CW) The word translated as "love" expresses a lot of different ideas including "to be fond of," "to greet with affection," "to persuade," and "to be contented with." Jesus however, applies it to relationships where we have a duty to care for others: family, God, etc. Another word, also translated as "love," is used to for relationships of affectionate friendship that are more voluntary. To distinguish this word, translating it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information.

me, -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition. As the object of a preposition, an accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement.

keep - (OS) The word translated as "keep" means "to watch over," "to guard," "to take care of," "to give heed to," "to keep," "to test by observation or trial," and "to observe." Jesus uses this word seventeen times, almost always with the idea of "keeping" in one commandment or another. "Keep" works best because it combines the idea of "guarding" and "observing." This KJV source shows this verb as a command, but it isn't in the source we use today.

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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

my -- (WF)) "My" is the first-person adjective, not the common pronoun, used in Greek to create a possessive or as the object of a preposition. Unlike the genitive pronoun used as a possessive, its case matches its noun. Perhaps "mine own" captures its best.

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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

commandments. -- 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.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "if" has more of a probability of "if" alone, more like our "when."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "love" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "keep" existed as a command in the KJV Greek source but not the source we use today.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "my own" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "commandments" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

If you love me, keep my commands.

If -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "when" 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."

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

love -- (CW) The word translated as "love" expresses a lot of different ideas including "to be fond of," "to greet with affection," "to persuade," and "to be contented with." Jesus however, applies it to relationships where we have a duty to care for others: family, God, etc. Another word, also translated as "love," is used to for relationships of affectionate friendship that are more voluntary. To distinguish this word, translating it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information.

me, -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition. As the object of a preposition, an accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement.

keep - (WF) The word translated as "keep" means "to watch over," "to guard," "to take care of," "to give heed to," "to keep," "to test by observation or trial," and "to observe." Jesus uses this word seventeen times, almost always with the idea of "keeping" in one commandment or another. "Keep" works best because it combines the idea of "guarding" and "observing." This verb is not in the form of a command. It is either a statement about the future, "will keep," or a statement of something that "should" happen.

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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

my -- (WF)) "My" is the first-person adjective, not the common pronoun, used in Greek to create a possessive or as the object of a preposition. Unlike the genitive pronoun used as a possessive, its case matches its noun. Perhaps "mine own" captures its best.

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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

commands. -- 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.

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "if" has more of a probability of "if" alone, more like our "when."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "love" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "keep" is not a command but a statement of possibility.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "my own" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "commandments" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 3 2022