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

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Since anyone accomplishing little has hated this light/knowledge, and he doesn't go towards this light/knowledge so that he isn't embarrassed [by] his activities.

KJV : 

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

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The word translated as "evil" here is not the same word translated as "evil" in the previous verse. The word in the previous verse is the one usually translated as "sin" in the Gospels. The word here is much rarer. Both words do not mean evil. The first means "missing the mark" and the closest English word is "mistake," but it also has the sense of "second rate" and "worthless." The word here has a meaning similar. It means "ordinary", "slight", "paltry," and "mean."

The word translated here as "do" is also fairly rare. Similarly, it isn't the word usually translated as "do" in the Gospels (poieo), which means "to do" in the sense of "make" or "produce." This word has more of a sense of "accomplishing" or "achieving" something.

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.


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

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πᾶς "Every one" is from pas (pas), which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

γὰρ "For" comes from gar (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."

φαῦλα "Evil" is from phaulos, which means "cheap", "easy", "slight", "paltry", "ordinary", "mean", "bad", "careless", "thoughtless", "indifferent", "simple", "unaffected," and "ill" [referring to health].

πράσσων (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 3rd sg imperf ind act) "Hatethe" is from miseô (miseo), which means "to hate" and in passive, "to be hated."

τὸ φῶς "The light" is from phos, which means both "light" and is the metaphor for "knowledge."

καὶ "Neither" is from kai (and 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 "Neither" is from οὐ ou (with kai above) 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 (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Cometh" 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.

πρὸς "To" is from pros (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."

τὸ φῶς, "The light" is from phos, which means both "light" and is the metaphor for "knowledge."

ἵνα "Lest" is from hina (hina) (with me below), which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

μὴ "Lest" is from (me) (with hina above), 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.

ἐλεγχθῇ (3rd sg aor subj pass) "Should be reproved" is from elenchô (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."

"Deeds" is from ergon (ergon ), which means "works", "tasks", "deeds", "actions", "thing," and "matter."

"His" 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."