John 14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth;

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

At the Last Supper, Jesus gives his final message to the apostles.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

The spirit of this truth that the world order does not have the power to receive because they neither view it nor learn to know. You yourselves learn to know it because it remains near you and it is in you.

My Takeaway: 

The world lacks the power to see and learn from spirit.

KJV : 

John 14:17  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.

NIV : 

John 14:17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

What is Lost in Translation: 

"Spirit," a Greek word meaning "life's breath" is a neuter word, an "it," while the "comforter/advocate" in the previous verse is a masculine noun, a "he." The "can" here is not a helping verb in Greek, but a verb meaning having the power to do something. The sense is that it takes a special power in order to see this "spirit." The "sees" in this verse is not the common verb usually translated as "see," which means "know" in some forms.  This "see" is a less common verb that means to "view" as an observer, the source of our word "theater."  The "know" is not the know that means "have seen" but another verb that implies learning, "learning to known."

The last phrase in the KJV original, "shall be in you," is a verb that is only in the future tense in some of the ancient Greek texts. In others, it is in the present tense.  The present tense seems more likely because that is the tense of the previous verb, translated as "dwells/lives," but which actually means "remains" or "stays."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

τὸ [821 verses](article sg neut nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πνεῦμα [40 verses](noun sg neut nom) "Spirit" is pneuma, which means "blast," "wind," "breath," "the breath of life," "divine inspiration," "a spiritual or immaterial being," and "the spirit" of a man.

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

ἀληθείας, [19 verses] (noun sg fem gen) "Truth" is aletheia, which means literally "the state of not being hidden," "truth," and "reality." It was also applied to "real events" and "the realization of a dream." Applied to people, it means "truthfulness" and "sincerity." The opposite of a lie or appearance. This goes back to a daughter of Zeus, Aletheia, whose opposites were Dolos (Trickery), Apate (Deception) and the Pseudologoi (Lies). -

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

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

κόσμος [63 verses](noun sg masc nom) "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.

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.

δύναται [61 verses](3rd sg pres ind mp) "Can" is the verb, dynamai, which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities," "to be able," and "to be strong enough."

λαβεῖν, [54 verse](verb aor inf act) "Receiveth" is lambano means to "take," "take hold of," "grasp," "seize," "catch," "overtake," "find out," "detect," "take as,"  in Logic, "assume," "take for granted," "understand," "undertake," "take in," "hold," "get," "receive [things]," "receive hospitably," "receive in marriage," "receive as produce," "profit," "admit," "initiate," "take hold of," "lay hold on," "seize and keep hold of," "obtain possession of," "lay hands upon," "find fault with," "censure," "to apprehend with the senses," and "to take hold of." It is also specifically used to mean "seized with emotion."

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

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.

θεωρεῖ [15 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Sees" is theoreo, which means "to view," "to see", "to look at", "to gaze," "to behold," (of the mind) "to contemplate", "to consider", "to observe (as a spectator)", "to gaze", "to gape", "to inspect (troops)" and, in abstract, "to theorize" and "to speculate." It originally means literally, "to be a spectator" or "to be sent to see an oracle."

 αὐτὸ [720 verses](adj sg neut 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." In the plural, "they," "them," and "their." 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."

οὐδὲ [51 verses](partic) "Neither" is oude, which, as a conjunction, means "but not," "neither," and "nor." As an adverb that means "not at all" or "no even" and, literally, "not, however."

γινώσκει: [62 verses] (verb 3rd sg pres ind act)  "Knows" is ginosko which means "to learn to know," "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

ὑμεῖς [92 verses](pron 2nd pl nom) "You" is hymeis (humeis), which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

γινώσκετε [62 verses] (verb 2nd pl pres ind act)  "Know" is ginosko which means "to learn to know," "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

 αὐτὸ [720 verses](adj sg neut 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." In the plural, "they," "them," and "their." 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."

ὅτι [332 verses](adv/conj) "For" 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."

παρ᾽[45 verses](prep) "Within" is para, has many meanings, which depend on the case of its object and the sense of the verb.With the genitive, the sense is always motion, "from the side of," "from beside," "issuing from", and generally "from." With the dative, the sense is always static, "by the side of," "near," "in the presence of," and "before." With the accusative, its has a number of specialized meanings depending on the character of the verb, with coming/going "near," "beside," with placing "side-by-side," as a metaphor, "like" or "as a parody of, of comparison, "compared with" and many more including "along", "past", "beyond", "parallel (geometry)", "precisely at the moment of (time)," and "throughout (time)."

ὑμῖν [289 verses](pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." 

μένει [27 verses](3rd sg aor ind act) "Dwells" is meno, which, as a verb, it means "stand fast" (in battle), "stay at home," "stay," "tarry," "remain as one was," "abide," and (transitive) "await."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

ἐν [413 verses](prep) "In" is en, which means, with a dative object, "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," "during,"  and "with." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." Referring to time, it means. "in the course of" or "during."

ὑμῖν [289 verses](pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." 

ἐστίν {εσται}[614 verses](3rd sg pres ind act){verb 3rd sg fut ind mid} "Shalll be" 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.

KJV Analysis: 

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

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. 

Spirit -- The word translated as "spirit" primarily means "breath," "wind," a "non-material being," and "blast." Like "spirit" in English, it can also mean "attitude" or "motivation.' It also means the "breath of life," from which we get to "spirit" and "spiritual." It also means the "breath of life," from which we get to "spirit" and "spiritual." Its meaning as "the breath of life" is brought out by the idea of creating life. Its meaning as "spiritual" is brought out by the contrast with "physical." Read more about this word in this article on the holy spirit.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

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. 

truth;- The literal meaning of the Greek word for "truth" is "not hidden," and it means what is real as opposed to how things seem. Applied to people, it means "truthfulness" and "sincerity." The opposite of a lie or appearance.

whom -- The word translated as "whom" 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.

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.

can -- (CW) The word translated as "can" means having the power or possibly a desire to accomplish something. Often, in English, "can" is a helper verb, indicating a possibility. In Greek, it indicates ability or power. This is the active verb here, not a helper verb. It takes an infinitive as "have the ability" does 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. 

receive, -- (WF) The word translated as "receive" primarily means "take." However, it means "receive" in the same sense that we use "get" to mean "receive" and has many different uses as we use "get" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing." This is an infinitive, not an active verb.

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

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

sees   --  (CW) The Greek word translated as "sees" is not one of the common words Jesus uses to mean "see." It is a fancier word that has more of a sense of viewing something as a spectator. This word is the root of the English word "theater." Jesus uses it most commonly to refer to people viewing him now but not seeing him in the future.

him -- (WF) 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 is neuter, matching "spirit" so "it."

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. 

neither -- The Greek word for "neither" is is an adverb that means "not at all" or "no even" and, literally, "not, however." As a conjunction, it works as both parts of the "neither/nor" constructions.

knows -- "Knows" 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 say "know," translating this one as "learn" makes more sense.

him: -- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

but -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "but" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

you  -- The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

missing "yourselves"  ---- (MW) The pronoun is used here explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since this information is already in the verb, the sense is repetitive as we say "you yourselves."

know  -- "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 say "know," translating this one as "learn" makes more sense.

him; -- (WF) 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 is neuter, matching "spirit" so "it."

for --  (CW) The word translated as "for" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore." This word is transalted a "because" above.

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

dwells  -- (CW) The word translated as "dwells" has the sense of to "stay," "stand fast," or "remain." Though often translated as "dwell", especially in the KJV, it does not mean to stay in a dwelling place.

with -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "with" has many meanings, many of which depend on the case of its object. With the dative, the sense is static, "by the side of," "near," and "before." It is not the preposition normally translated as "with."

you, -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. As the object of a preposition, this form implies no movement, but in a fixed position or events occur at a specified time or while action was being performed.

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."

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. While the version of the mGNT that I use doesn't have the future tense, several of the fourth century versions do.

be -- 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. With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." The word also means "to exist" and where it doesn't connect to characteristics or conditions is best translated that way. -- When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."

in   -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with" (an instrument), "by" (near), "by" (means of), "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.  With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can mean "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near."

you. -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. As the object of a preposition, this form implies no movement, but in a fixed position or events occur at a specified time or while the action was being performed.

KJV Translation Issues: 

11
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "Even" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "truth" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "can" is not a helper verb, but the active verb in the sentence.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "receive" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to receive."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "him" is not masculine but neuter, "it."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "but" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the source we use today.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourselves" is not shown in the English translation, but it is needed to capture the pronoun as well as the form of the verb.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "for" is the same word translated as "because" above.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "dwells" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "with" is not the common word usually translated as "with."

NIV Analysis: 

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. 

Spirit -- The word translated as "spirit" primarily means "breath," "wind," a "non-material being," and "blast." Like "spirit" in English, it can also mean "attitude" or "motivation.' It also means the "breath of life," from which we get to "spirit" and "spiritual." It also means the "breath of life," from which we get to "spirit" and "spiritual." Its meaning as "the breath of life" is brought out by the idea of creating life. Its meaning as "spiritual" is brought out by the contrast with "physical." Read more about this word in this article on the holy spirit.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

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. 

truth;- The literal meaning of the Greek word for "truth" is "not hidden," and it means what is real as opposed to how things seem. Applied to people, it means "truthfulness" and "sincerity." The opposite of a lie or appearance.

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.

can -- (CW) The word translated as "can" means having the power or possibly a desire to accomplish something. Often, in English, "can" is a helper verb, indicating a possibility. In Greek, it indicates ability or power. This is the active verb here, not a helper verb. It takes an infinitive as "have the ability" does 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.

accept, -- (CW, WF) The word translated as "accept" primarily means "take." However, it means "receive" in the same sense that we use "get" to mean "receive" and has many different uses as we use "get" in English. Among these are the ideas of "understanding" and "possessing." This is an infinitive, not an active verb.

him -- (CW) The word translated as "him" 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. This is not the pronoun "him."

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

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

neither -- The Greek word translated as "neither" 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. 

sees   --  (CW) The Greek word translated as "sees" is not one of the common words Jesus uses to mean "see." It is a fancier word that has more of a sense of viewing something as a spectator. This word is the root of the English word "theater." Jesus uses it most commonly to refer to people viewing him now but not seeing him in the future.

him -- (WF) 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 is neuter, matching "spirit" so "it."

nor-- The Greek word for "nor" is is an adverb that means "not at all" or "no even" and, literally, "not, however." As a conjunction, it works as both parts of the "neither/nor" constructions.

knows -- "Knows" 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 say "know," translating this one as "learn" makes more sense.

him: -- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

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

you  -- The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

missing "yourselves"  ---- (MW) The pronoun is used here explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since this information is already in the verb, the sense is repetitive as we say "you yourselves."

know  -- "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 say "know," translating this one as "learn" makes more sense.

him; -- (WF) 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 is neuter, matching "spirit" so "it."

for --  (CW) The word translated as "for" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore." This word is transalted a "because" above.

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

lives -- (WW) The word translated as "lives " has the sense of to "stay," "stand fast," or "remain." Though often translated as "dwell", especially in the KJV, it does not mean to stay in a dwelling place. It is not the word that means "lives."

with -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "with" has many meanings, many of which depend on the case of its object. With the dative, the sense is static, "by the side of," "near," and "before." It is not the preposition normally translated as "with."

you, -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. As the object of a preposition, this form implies no movement, but in a fixed position or events occur at a specified time or while action was being performed.

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."

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. While the version of the mGNT that I use doesn't have the future tense, several of the fourth century versions do.

be -- 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. With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." The word also means "to exist" and where it doesn't connect to characteristics or conditions is best translated that way. -- When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are."

in   -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with" (an instrument), "by" (near), "by" (means of), "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.  With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can mean "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near."

you. -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. As the object of a preposition, this form implies no movement, but in a fixed position or events occur at a specified time or while the action was being performed.

NIV Translation Issues: 

12
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "truth" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "can" is not a helper verb, but the active verb in the sentence.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "accept" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "accept" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to receive."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "him" is not the common word usually translated as "him."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "him" is not masculine but neuter, "it."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "but" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourselves" is not shown in the English translation, but it is needed to capture the pronoun as well as the form of the verb.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "for" is the same word translated as "because" above.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "lives" should be something more like "remains."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "with" is not the common word usually translated as "with."

Front Page Date: 

Oct 5 2022