John 4:34 My meat is to do the will of him

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

His apostles ask if someone else has brought him something to eat.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

My food is that I will produce the desire of the one sending me and I will complete his, this work.

My Takeaway: 

I am nourished by creating what the Father finds pleasing.

KJV : 

John 4:34 My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

NIV : 

John 4:34 “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

After the apostles misunderstand his last statement because Jesus was playing with words, he "clarifies" his meaning using another play on words. The word translated as "meat" in this verse is a variation of the word used in the last verse, John 4:32. The difference s that the primarily meaning of the word in the previous verse is "meat", while the word here is primarily used to mean "food" more generally.  While the last verse used a word meaning "meat" that meant "having a way to earn a living," this verse has more the sense of "meat" in the sense of nourishment but the verse itself refers more to making a living.

In contrast to the previous verse in which the key verbs were surprisingly in the past perfect tense, the key verbs in this verse, "do" and "finish," are either in the form of possibility ("might," "should") or the future tense. Since Jesus seems to know his destiny, the future tense seems more likely.

However, these two verses make more sense in Greek. The reason the apostles have not seen this "meat" is that it lies in the future. He has not yet produced what the Father desires or completed his work but he "will."

Wordplay: 

 A play on "meat" meaning "work" because "earning meat" had the same sense as our phrase "earning a living." See John 6:27.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἐμὸν (adj sg fem acc) "My" is emos, which means "mine," "of me," "my," "relating to me," and "against me."

βρῶμά  [2 verses]( noun pl neut acc )"Meats" is from broma, which means "that which is eaten", "food," and "meat."

ἐστίν.[614 verses](3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen,"  and "is possible." With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

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

ποιήσω [168 verses](verb 1st sg aor subj act or 1st sg fut ind act) "Do" is poieo, which means "to make," "to produce," "to create," "to bring into existence," "to bring about," "to cause," "to perform," "to render," "to consider," "to prepare," "to make ready," and "to do."

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

θέλημα [16 verses](noun sg neut acc) "Will" is the noun, thelema, which means "will" and "pleasure." -

τοῦ [821 verses](article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πέμψαντός [39 verses] (part sg aor act masc gen) ""Of him that sent" is pempo, which means "send," "send forth," "send away," "conduct," and "escort."

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 "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."

τελειώσω  [5 verses] (1st sg aor subj act or 1st sg fut ind act ) "To finish" "Perfect" is  teleioo, which is a verb that means "to make perfect", "to complete", "to bring to consummation," and "to bring fruit to maturity."

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."

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

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

KJV Analysis: 

My -- "My" is the regular first-person adjective in Greek indicating possession, so  "mine," "of me," "my," "relating to me," and "against me."

meat -- (CW) "Meats" is another uncommon word for Jesus, but a common work in ancient Greek. It means "meat," "food," or literally, "things eaten." It is plural. Our word "food" has the sense of a plural but it takes a singular verb.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. The verb is singular because the plural subject,"meats," is neuter and, in Greek, a plural neuter subject is treated as a single collection.

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

to -- (WF) This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English. However, this verb is not an infinitive, but a first-person active verb either in the subjunctive mood or the future tense, "I will/might perform."

do --  The Greek word translated as "to do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do," which covers all actions, productive or not. The form is "I might perform" or "I will perform."

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. 

will - The word translated as "will" means what someone wants or desires as well as the "will" of character. It mostly means what one wishes or has determined shall be done. It also means a desire or a choice. When applied to people, "desires" works, but when applied to God, the concept of "purpose" seems closer to Christ's usage.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

him --  (CW) The word translated as "him" 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.  This is not the normal pronoun for "him."

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

sent -- (WF) "He sent" is from a Greek verb that means "send," "send forth," "send away," "conduct," and "escort." This is the second most common word Jesus uses that is translated as "send out," but this one doesn't have the prefix that has the sense of "out."

me, "-- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

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 is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

to  -- (WF) This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English. However, this verb is not an infinitive, but a first-person active verb either in the subjunctive mood or the future tense, "I will/might complete.".

finish - - As a verb, this means "to make perfect", "to make complete", "make perfect", "to bring to consummation," and "to bring fruit to maturity."

his  - The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

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. 

work. -- The Greek word translated as "work" means "deeds," "actions," and "things" in the sense of "every thing."

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "meat" is not the same word usually translated as "meat"  in the previous verse.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "do" is not an infinitive but a first-person active verb either in the subjunctive mood or the future tense, "I will/might perform."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "him" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "sent" is not an active verb but a participle, "sending."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "finish" is not an infinitive but a first-person active verb either in the subjunctive mood or the future tense, "I will/might complete."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "work" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

My -- "My" is the regular first-person adjective in Greek indicating possession, so  "mine," "of me," "my," "relating to me," and "against me."

meat -- (CW)  "Meats" is another uncommon word for Jesus, but a common work in ancient Greek. It means "meat," "food," or literally, "things eaten." It is plural. It also means "pasture", "eating, "taste," and "flavor.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

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

to -- (WF) This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English. However, this verb is not an infinitive, but a first-person active verb either in the subjunctive mood or the future tense, "I will/might perform."

do --  The Greek word translated as "to do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do," which covers all actions, productive or not. The form is "I might perform" or "I will perform."

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. 

will - The word translated as "will" means what someone wants or desires as well as the "will" of character. It mostly means what one wishes or has determined shall be done. It also means a desire or a choice. When applied to people, "desires" works, but when applied to God, the concept of "purpose" seems closer to Christ's usage.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

him --  (CW) The word translated as "him" 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.  This is not the normal pronoun for "him."

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

sent -- (WF) "He sent" is from a Greek verb that means "send," "send forth," "send away," "conduct," and "escort." This is the second most common word Jesus uses that is translated as "send out," but this one doesn't have the prefix that has the sense of "out."

me, "-- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

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 is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

to  -- (WF) This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English. However, this verb is not an infinitive, but a first-person active verb either in the subjunctive mood or the future tense, "I will/might complete.".

finish - - As a verb, this means "to make perfect", "to make complete", "make perfect", "to bring to consummation," and "to bring fruit to maturity."

his  - The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

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. 

work. -- The Greek word translated as "work" means "deeds," "actions," and "things" in the sense of "every thing."

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "meat" is not the same word usually translated as "meat"  in the previous verse.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "do" is not an infinitive but a first-person active verb either in the subjunctive mood or the future tense, "I will/might perform."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "him" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "sent" is not an active verb but a participle, "sending."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "finish" is not an infinitive but a first-person active verb either in the subjunctive mood or the future tense, "I will/might complete."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "work" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Feb 9 2022