John 16:23 And in that day you shall ask me nothing.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And in that time, you will not question me about anything. Really, truly I tell you if anything you beg of the Father, he may give you in my name.

KJV : 

Jhn 16:23 And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give [it] you.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The first phrase is a double negative, literally, 'You will not ask me nothing." This is acceptable in ancient Greek and only adds emphasis to the negative aspects of the statement.

The two "asks" in this verse area actually two different verbs. The first "ask" refers to asking something of Christ. It refers more to the idea of asking questions. The second refers to asking from the Father. It refers more to the concept of begging favors.

In an earlier verse, Jhn 15:16, Christ used the same terminology for "asking of the Father" and "he may give you in my name." It is important to note that, though the English uses the future tense for the "giving", the Greek is actual a subjunctive, indicating that he MAY give it, a probability, not a certainty. The text is consistent in this in both of these verses. It is not a promise that every request will be answered.

Since Christ has already told the apostles that the Father may give them what they ask in his name, the new idea here is that the apostles need not ask or will not (future tense) ask Christ himself for these things.

The sense is that they asked Christ for explanations, which they will no longer need, while they will ask the Father for gifts, which may be given.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." 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 "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

ἐκεῖνος "That" is ekeinos, which means "the person there", "that person", "that thing", "in that case", "in that way", "at that place," and "in that manner."

ἡμέρᾳ "Day" is from hemera, which, as a noun, means "day" "a state or time of life", "a time (poetic)", "day break" and "day time." It is also and also has a second meaning, of "quiet", "tame (animals)", "cultivated (crops)," and "civilized (people)."

ἐμὲ "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my".

οὐκ Untranslated is 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.

ἐρωτήσετε (2nd pl fut ind act ) "You shall ask" is from erotao, which means "to ask" or "to question."

οὐδέν "Nothing" is from oudeis, (oudeis) which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter."

ἀμὴν "Verily" is from amên (amen), which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT.

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" is from legô (lego) means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," but it used to mean "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command."

ὑμῖν "You" is from humas (humas) and humôn (humon), which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

άν "If" is from 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.

τι "Whosoever" is from tis (tis) which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "many a one", "whoever," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

αἰτήσητε (2nd pl aor subj act) "You shall ask" is from aiteô (aiteo), which means "to ask", "to demand", "to beg", "to claim," and "to ask for one's own use."

πατέρα "Father" is from pater (pater), which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

δώσει (3rd sg fut ind act) "Will give" is from didômi (didomi), which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

ὑμῖν "You" is from humas (humas) and humôn (humon), which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

ὀνόματί "Name" is from onoma, which means "name." It means both the reputation of "fame," and "a name and nothing else," as opposed to a real person. Acting in someone's name means to act on their behalf, as their representative.

μου "Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".