John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light,

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night. They discuss the nature of man's origin and trusting in the light.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because everyone the easy things accomplishing hated this light, and he doesn't start towards this light so that it isn't exposed: those deeds of him.

My Takeaway: 

The worthless prefer the dark of night to the light of day.

KJV : 

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

NIV : 

John 3:20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The word translated as "evil" here is not the same word translated as "evil" in the previous verse. The word here is much rarer. The word here means "cheap," "easy," "ordinary", "slight", "paltry," and "mean."

The word translated here as "do" is also not the common word translated as "do" but a rare word. This word has more of a sense of "accomplishing" or "achieving" something. And it isn't an active verb, but a participle, modifying the subject.

The word "light" in Greek is a metaphor for knowledge. We see this sense in English as well ("a light went on", "then he saw the light") but the connection is much stronger in Greek.

Wordplay: 

 A play on the metaphor of Greek "light" as "knowledge." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πᾶς [212 verses](adj sg masc nom) "All" is pas, which means "all," "the whole," "every," "anyone," "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way," "on every side," "in every way," and "altogether."

γὰρ [205 verses](partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for," "since," and "as." In an abrupt question, it means "why" and "what."

[821 verses](article sg neut acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

φαῦλα [2 verses](adj pl neut acc) "Evil" is from phaulos, which means "cheap", "easy", "slight", "paltry", "ordinary", "mean", "bad", "careless", "thoughtless", "indifferent", "simple", "unaffected," and "ill" [referring to health]. 

πράσσων [2 verses](part sg pres act masc nom) "Doeth" is from prasso, which means "pass through", "pass over", "experience", "achieve", "effect", "accomplish", "attempt", "plot", "effect [an object]", "be successful", "manage [affairs]", "do [business]", "act", "transact", "negotiate", "practice", "obtain", "deal with," and "finish off."  - - 

μισεῖ [20 verses](verb 3rd sg imperf ind act) "Hateth" is miseo, which means "to hate" and in passive, "to be hated."

τὸ [821 verses](article sg neut acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the")

φῶς [21 verses](noun sg neut acc)"The light" is phos, which means "light," "daylight [primarily], "illumination [of things and of the mind]," "light [of the eyes], "window," "opening," "public visibility," and "publicity." Christ uses it as a metaphor for "knowledge," but in Greek it is also a metaphor for "deliverance," "happiness," "victory," and "glory."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "Neither" is from kai (with ou, see below) , 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."

οὐκ [269 verses](partic) "Not" is ou ( οὒ ) which is 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.

ἔρχεται[198 verses] (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Cometh" is 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.

πρὸς [92 verses](prep)  "To" is from pros, which means "from (place)," "on the side of," "toward," "before," "in the presence of," "in the eyes of," "before (supplication)," "proceeding from (for effects)," "dependent on," "derivable from," "agreeable,""becoming," "like," "at the point of," "in addition to," "against," and "before."  It also means "dependent upon."

τὸ [821 verses](article sg neut acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the")

φῶς [21 verses](noun sg neut acc)"The light" is phos, which means "light," "daylight [primarily], "illumination [of things and of the mind]," "light [of the eyes], "window," "opening," "public visibility," and "publicity." Christ uses it as a metaphor for "knowledge," but in Greek it is also a metaphor for "deliverance," "happiness," "victory," and "glory."

ἵνα [134 verses](adv/conj) "Lest" is hina, (with me below),which means "in that place," "there," "where," "when,"  but when beginning a phrase "that," "in order that," "when," and "because."

μὴ [447 verses](partic) ""Lest"" is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective. With pres. or aor. subj. used in a warning or statement of fear, "take care" It can be the conjunction "lest" or "for fear that."-

ἐλεγχθῇ [4 verses](3rd sg aor subj pass) "Reproved" is elegcho, which "to disgrace," "to put to shame," "to cross-examine," "to question," "to test," "to prove," "to refute," "to put right," "to get the better of," "to expose," and "to decide a dispute." 

τὰ [821 verses](article sg neut nom/acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἔργα [31 verses] (noun pl neut nom/acc) "Deeds" is ergon, which means "works," "tasks," "deeds," "actions," "thing," and "matter."

αὐτοῦ [720 verses](adj sg masc gen) "His" (adj sg masc 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." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

KJV Analysis: 

For --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause." 

every -- The adjective translated as "every" is the Greek adjective meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything."

one - This is from the singular form of the "every" above.

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

doeth -- (CW, WF) The word translated as "doeth" has the sent of "accomplishing" or "achieving" something. It is not the common word translated as "do."

evil  - - - (CW) The word translated as "evil"  means "easy," "cheap," "ordinary", "slight", "paltry," and "mean." It is not one of the common words translated as "do."

hateth -- "Hateth" is a Greek verb meaning "to hate." The word is not primarily an emotion as it is in English. Instead, it is a negative state, not being devoted to someone and not liking them. See this article on Greek concepts of love for more information.

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. 

light, -- The Greek word translated as "the light" means "light," "daylight [primarily], "opening," and "public visibility." Jesus uses it as a metaphor for "knowledge,"

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "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."

neither  -- (CW) 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 is not the Greek word meaning "neither."

cometh -- The word translated as "cometh" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

to -- The word translated as "to" means "towards," "by reason of (for)," "before" both in time and place, "in the presence of," "against," and several other types of "before."

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. 

light, -- The Greek word translated as "the light" means "light," "daylight [primarily], "opening," and "public visibility." Jesus uses it as a metaphor for "knowledge,"

lest -- This is from two Greek words meaning "so that not". The word translated as "so that" is an adverb "in that place," "there," "where," "when," or as a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "in order that" or "because."  The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought. -  -

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, 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," "those"). See this article for more. 

deeds -- The Greek word translated as "works" means "deeds," "actions," and "things" in the sense of "everything."

should  - -   This helping verb "should" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

reproved. - "Reproved" is from a verb from the word that means "to disgrace," "to put to shame," "to cross-examine," "to expose," and "to decide a dispute." Jesus only uses it four times and seems used it to mean "accuse." The verb is singular, but singular verbs can be used with a plural, neuter subject.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "doeth" is not the common word usually translated as "do."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "doeth" is not an active verb but a participle, "accomplishing."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "evil" is not the common word usually translated as "evil."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "neither" is not the common word usually translated as "neither."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "deeds" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "because"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "because" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause." 

Everyone-- The adjective translated as "everyone" is the Greek adjective meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything."

- This is from the singular form of the "every" above.

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

does -- (CW, WF) The word translated as "does" has the sent of "accomplishing" or "achieving" something. It is not the common word translated as "do."

evil  - - - (CW) The word translated as "evil"  means "easy," "cheap," "ordinary", "slight", "paltry," and "mean." It is not one of the common words translated as "do."

hates -- "Hates" is a Greek verb meaning "to hate." The word is not primarily an emotion as it is in English. Instead, it is a negative state, not being devoted to someone and not liking them. See this article on Greek concepts of love for more information.

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. 

light, -- The Greek word translated as "the light" means "light," "daylight [primarily], "opening," and "public visibility." Jesus uses it as a metaphor for "knowledge,"

and -- The word  "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  -- (WT) This helping verb "will" indicates the future tense, but the verb is not the future.

not - The Greek word translated as "no" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly."

come -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

into --  (CW) The word translated as "into" means "towards," "by reason of (for)," "before" both in time and place, "in the presence of," "against," and several other types of "before."

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. 

light, -- The Greek word translated as "the light" means "light," "daylight [primarily], "opening," and "public visibility." Jesus uses it as a metaphor for "knowledge,"

for -- The word translated as "for" is an adverb "in that place," "there," "where," "when," or as a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "in order that" or "because." 

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

missing "not want"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought. -  -

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

their -- (WN) The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  It is singular, not plural.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, 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," "those"). See this article for more. 

deeds -- The Greek word translated as "works" means "deeds," "actions," and "things" in the sense of "everything."

will - -  (WW) This helping verb indicates that the verb is the future tense, but it isn't. It is in the form of possibility so it needs a "should" or "might."

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

exposed. - "Exposed" is from a verb from the word that means "to disgrace," "to put to shame," "to cross-examine," "to expose," and "to decide a dispute." Jesus only uses it four times and seems to use it to mean "accuse." The verb is singular, but singular verbs can be used with a plural, neuter subject.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "because" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "does" is not the common word usually translated as "do."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "does" is not an active verb but a participle, "accomplishing."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "evil" is not the common word usually translated as "evil."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "into" is not the common word usually translated as "into."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "fear" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "their" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "deeds" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "will" should be something more like "might."

Front Page Date: 

Jan 26 2022