John 16:16 A little while, and you shall not see me:

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

After the Last Supper, after Jesus says the spirit  show you what the Father has.

KJV : 

John 16:16 A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father.

Literal Verse: 

A little and no longer you will view me no longer and again a little and you will behold me for yourselves.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The translators add "while" to the word that means only "a little." This destroys Jesus's joke here that there is only a little difference between seeing and not seeing. It also makes the apostles' confusion in the next two verses about what Jesus means by a "little" confusing.

The repeated "see me's" in this verse seem to be the same Greek verb being repeated. It is also not  one of those was a common verb translated as "see." The first "will not see" is a Greek verb that is the source of our word "theater" with the sense of viewing and reviewing, in the sense of judging, something. The implication is that Jesus will be doing something that others cannot watch or judge. This is the same verb Jesus used in John 16:10 when he said that when he goes to the Father and cannot be viewed of judged.

The second "to see" is a Greek verb that has both the sense of physical seeing with your eyes. Its root is the Greek word for "eye." However, it is also a metaphor for seeing something in your mind's eye. Both verbs are in the future tense, and the second verb is in the middle voice, meaning that the person is acting by or for themselves. What Jesus seems to be saying is that, during his ministry, the apostles were watching him, something like a show, to see what he would do next. However, in the future, they would see him in a truer way, with their own eyes for themselves.

My Takeaway: 

There are things that we cannot watch and things we can't take our eyes off of.

Greek : 

Original Word Order: 

A little and you will view me and again a little and you will behold me for yourselves.

Wordplay: 

 The contrasting of two different verbs meaning "to see" that are relatively uncommon in the NT that highlight a difference in seeing.  The most common word for "see" is avoided, possibly because it also implies "to know.:

Greek Vocabulary: 

Μικρὸν [18 verses](adj adj sg neut nom/acc) "A little while" is mikros which means "small," "little," and "young." In the NT, the singular neuter nom/acc, is used to mean "small things," "small times," small places," "small age," and "small influence." It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article). 

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."

οὐκέτι [17 verses](adv) "Not" is ouketi, which means "no more," "no longer," "no further" and generally, "not now."

θεωρεῖτέ [15 verses](2nd pl pres ind act ) "You shall...see" 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)" "to judge of," and, in abstract, "to theorize" and "to speculate." It originally means literally, "to be a spectator" or "to be sent to see an oracle." 

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

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."

πάλιν [23 verses](adv) "Again" is palin, which means "back," "backward," "contradiction," "again," "once more," and "in turn."

μικρὸν [18 verses](adj adj sg neut nom/acc) "A little while" is mikros which means "small," "little," and "young." In the NT, the singular neuter nom/acc, is used to mean "small things," "small times," small places," "small age," and "small influence." It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article). 

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."

ὄψεσθέ [13 verses](verb 2nd pl fut ind mid) "You shall see is optanomai, which means "to see," "to look," "to aim at," "to look towards," "to have sight," "to take heed," (in transitive) "to behold," "to perceive," "to observe," "to look out for," and "to be seen (passive)." It is a metaphor for mental sight, "to perceive," "to discern," "to see visions," "to appear in visions (passion), and "to interview."

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

KJV Analysis: 

A -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a noun doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

little, - "A litte while" is a word that means "small" and "little" applied to anything, size, power, age, quantity, rank, or influence. Christ usually uses it to refer to children. It is in a comparative form, meaning "lesser," not the superlative form. It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article). 

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

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 can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

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

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.

not   -- (CW) "Not" is an adverb that means "no more," "no longer," "no further" and generally, "not now."

see  --  (CW) The Greek word translated as "see" 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." It works like our word  "view" and our word "review" in the sense of "inspect" and "judge a thing." Jesus uses it most commonly to refer to people inspecting him now but not judging him in the future. This word is the root of the English word "theater," where plays are both viewed and reviewed by critics. 

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.

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 can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

again, -- The Greek word translated as "again" means "back," "again," and "contradiction."

-- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a noun doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

little - "A little" is a word that means "small" and "little" applied to anything, size, power, age, quantity, rank, or influence. Jesus usually uses it to refer to children. It is in a comparative form, meaning "lesser," not the superlative form. It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article). 

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

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 can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

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

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.

see -- (CW) "Shall see" is a verb that means "to see," "to look," "to aim at," "to look towards," and similar meanings. It is not one of the common words for simply saying"see." Jesus uses this verb in a specific way,  in the future tense and the middle voice. The middle voice means that the subject is acting for or by themselves so "will see for yourself." However, it also has the same root as the Greek word "eye," so "will behold with your own eyes" comes the closest. It is a light-hearted way to make a promise about the future.

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.,

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

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "while" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is not one of the common words usually translated as "not."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" is not one of the common words usually translated as "see."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "while" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" is not one of the common words usually translated as "see."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "because I go to the Father." existed in the KJV Greek source but not the source we use today.

NIV : 

John 16:16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

NIV Analysis: 

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

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a noun doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

little, - "A litte while" is a word that means "small" and "little" applied to anything, size, power, age, quantity, rank, or influence. Christ usually uses it to refer to children. It is in a comparative form, meaning "lesser," not the superlative form. It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article). 

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

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 can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

you -- This is from the second-person, plural 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.

see  --  (CW) The Greek word translated as "see" 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." It works like our word  "view" and our word "review" in the sense of "inspect" and "judge a thing." Jesus uses it most commonly to refer to people inspecting him now but not judging him in the future. This word is the root of the English word "theater," where plays are both viewed and reviewed by critics. 

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.

no more-- "No more" is an adverb that means "no more," "no longer," "no further" and generally, "not now."

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 can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

then , -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "then" means "back," "again," and "contradiction."

-- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a noun doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

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

little - "A little" is a word that means "small" and "little" applied to anything, size, power, age, quantity, rank, or influence. Jesus usually uses it to refer to children. It is in a comparative form, meaning "lesser," not the superlative form. It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article). 

while, -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "while" in the Greek source. It was added because the previous verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

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 can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

you -- This is from the second-person, plural 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.

see -- (CW) "Shall see" is a verb that means "to see," "to look," "to aim at," "to look towards," and similar meanings. It is not one of the common words for simply saying"see." Jesus uses this verb in a specific way,  in the future tense and the middle voice. The middle voice means that the subject is acting for or by themselves so "will see for yourself." However, it also has the same root as the Greek word "eye," so "will behold with your own eyes" comes the closest. It is a light-hearted way to make a promise about the future.

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.

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "in" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "while" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" is not one of the common words usually translated as "see."
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "then" should be something more like "again."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "after" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "while" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" is not one of the common words usually translated as "see."

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Nov 30 2022