John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

If I had not come and told them, they would have not had the means to make their mistake. Now, on the other hand, they to not have the means to excuse their mistakes.

KJV : 

Jhn 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

While "erchomai" is often mistranslated as "come," that translation actually works best here because it refers back to being "sent" in the previous verse. This verse is an explanation of the mistake referenced in that verse, which was acting in Christ's name because they cannot see the one who sent him.

While the standard translations always translate hamartia as "sin", "mistakes" and "errors" is much closer to the meaning of the Greek word and usually a much better choice in translation. This verse is a good example of why,

Christ said in Jhn 15:20 that people would both persecute them and keep his word but that they would do it his name because they did not see the Father (Jhn 15:21).

This is the mistake Christ is referring to here. Again, because people are doing both good (keeping) and bad (persecuting) in his name, they and not necessarily sinning, but because they are doing it for the wrong reason. They are therefore making mistakes.

Christ was sent to tell them otherwise, that is, that he is acting in the Father's name, but people misunderstand that idea. They want to attribute the message to the messenger not to its source.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

εἰ "If" is from ei, which is the particle use with the imperative usually to express conditions "if" or indirect questions, "whether."

μὴ "Not" is from (me), which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As class="greek">οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; class="greek">μή rejects, class="greek">οὐ denies; class="greek">μή is relative, class="greek">οὐ absolute; class="greek">μή subjective,class="greek">οὐ objective.

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act) "I had come" is from erchomai (erchomai), which means to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion asyou). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ἐλάλησα (1st sg aor ind act) "Spoken" is from laleô (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.

αὐτοῖς "Unto them" is from autos (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."

ἁμαρτίαν "Sin" is from the Greek hamartia, which means "to miss the mark", "failure", "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses does it become "guilt" and "sin."

οὐκ "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, class="greek">μήapplies to will and thought; class="greek">οὐ denies, class="greek">μή rejects; class="greek">οὐ is absolute, class="greek">μή relative;class="greek">οὐ objective, class="greek">μή subjective.

εἴχοσαν "Had" is from echô (echo), which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

class="greek"> νῦν "Now" is from nun (nyn), which means "now", "at the present moment", "at the present time", "just now", "presently," and "as it is."

δὲ "But" is from de (de), which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences and an adversarial way.

πρόφασιν "Cloke" is from prophasis (prophasis), which means "motive", "alleged cause", "actual motive", "plea", "falsely alleged motive", "pretext", "pretense", "purpose", "cause", "persuasion," and "suggestion."

οὐκ "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, class="greek">μήapplies to will and thought; class="greek">οὐ denies, class="greek">μή rejects; class="greek">οὐ is absolute, class="greek">μή relative;class="greek">οὐ objective, class="greek">μή subjective.

ἔχουσιν (3rd pl pres ind act) "They have" is from echô (echo), which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

περὶ "For" is from peri (peri), which means "round about (Place)", "about", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to", "before", "above", "beyond", "around," and "all around."

ἁμαρτίας "Sin" is from the Greek hamartia, which means "to miss the mark", "failure", "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses does it become "guilt" and "sin."

αὐτῶν "Their" is from autos (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."