John 5:35 He was a burning and a shining light:

Spoken to: 

challengers

Context: 

Jesus is accused of breaking the Sabbath and making himself a god by calling God his Father. The current topic is who testifies for him.

KJV : 

John 5:35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

Literal Verse: 

That person there was the lamp, the one burning and shining. You yourselves, however, wished to celebrate for an hour while in that light of his.

What is Lost in Translation: 

This verse was probably the answer to a question or statement about John the Baptist which was unrecorded, evidence for the Unrecorded Dialogue Theory. The first word means "that person there" and seems less vague if it was a response. However, it depends on how the previous line was said. Jesus could have also indicated John by gesture emulating dunking.

The word joining the two main phrases is translated as "and." This translation is wrong.Instead, it is a particle, that connects phrases in an adversarial way, indicating a conflict. It usually appears as the second word in the second phase, in the same way, we insert the word "however" after an introductory word. By adding "but" here, Jesus is indicating that his listeners didn't think of being a burning, shining lamps was necessarily a good thing. Instead of following John's guiding lamp, his followers just wanted to celebrate for a little while in the novelty of his light. They didn't want to change their lives. The word translated as "rejoice" and, less correctly, as "choose"specifically means an excessive celebration. Jesus only uses this word three times.

My Takeaway: 

John was a lamp leading to Jesus.

Greek : 

Wordplay: 

 The meaning of two different Greek words translated as "light" are contrasted, one meaning guiding lamp and the other meaning the light of knowledge. 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἐκεῖνος [107 verses](adj sg masc nom) "He" is ekeinos, which means "the person there," "that person," "that thing," and, in the form of an adverb, "in that case," "in that way," "at that place," and "in that manner."

ἦν [614 verses] (3rd sg imperf 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.

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "A" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

λύχνος [9 verses](noun sg masc nom ) "Light" is lychnos, which means "portable light," or "lamp."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "A" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

καιόμενος [4 verses](part sg pres mp masc nom) "A burning" is kaio, which means "to kindle", "to set on fire", "to burn," and "to bake pottery."

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."

φαίνων [10 verses](part sg pres act masc nom) is phaino , which means "to shine," "to give light," and "to appear." In its transitive form, not used here, it means "bring to light."

ὑμεῖς [92 verses](pron 2nd pl nom) "You" is hymeis (humeis), which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" is de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ἠθελήσατε [64 verses](2nd pl aor ind act) "Were willing" is thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)," "to wish," "to ordain," "to decree," "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain," "to hold," "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event with inanimate objects)." It is a prolonged form (only found in NT) of a verb that means "to be resolved to a purpose" so, in a sense, "to decide," and "to desire." As a participle, it means "being willing" or, adverbially, "willingly," and "gladly." In the Hebrew, "will" or "desire" is chaphets, which means "to delight in," "to take pleasure in," and "to be pleased with."

ἀγαλλιαθῆναι [3 verses](verb aor inf pass) "To rejoice" is agalliao means "rejoice exceedingly" and is a later form of agallomai, which means to "glorify," and "exalt," especially the idea of "paying honor" to God. -

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

ὥραν [37 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Season" is hora, which means "any period," "season," (especially springtime), "year' (generally), "climate" (as determined by seasons), "duration," "the twelve equal parts into which the period of daylight was divided," "the fitting time" (for a task). 

ἐν [413 verses](prep) "In" is en, which means, with a dative object, "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," "during,"  and "with." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." Referring to time, it means. "in the course of" or "during." 

τῷ [821 verses](article sg masc nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

φωτί: [21 verses](noun sg neut dat)"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."

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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

KJV Analysis: 

He -- (CW) The word translated as "he" is an adjective that highlights its noun as being in a specific place or time from a word that means "there." Used a pronoun, the sense is "that one there."

was -- The verb "was" 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. Here it is in the simple past tense, the imperfect.

a -- -- (WW) The word translated as "a" 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. 

burning -- The Greek term translated as "burning" means "to kindle", "to set on fire", "to burn," and "to bake pottery." It is in the form of a participle, "burning." With the definate article,  "the one burning."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

a -- -- (WW, WP) The word translated as "a" 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. 

shining --  The Greek word translated as "shining" primarily means "to shine," "to give light" or, in the passive, so "to be shining" or "to be giving light."

light: -- (CW)  The word translated as "light" primarily means "lamp", specifically, a portable one. The main form of portable lights in this era were oil lamps made from clay. It is not the word correcting translated as "light" below.

and -- -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  It can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ye -- The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

missing "yourself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourself."

were -- (WV) This helping verb "were" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. It is an active verb, not passive.

willing -- The Greek word translated as "were willing" expresses consent and even delight in doing something. It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose." It is not passive, so "wanted" or "wished" are closer.

for -- 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." It can also means "for" a moment.

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

season  - The word translated as "season" means a period of time equal to the one-twelfth part of the daylight, like an "hour." It also means "any time" or "a year."

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

rejoice  "To rejoice" is a verb that means "rejoice exceedingly" and, in a later form,  to "glorify," and "exalt," especially the idea of "paying honor" to God. This is an uncommon word that Jesus only uses three times.

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with" (an instrument), "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.  With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can mean "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near."

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. 

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

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "he" is not the common word usually translated as "he."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be something more like "the one."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be something more like "the."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The article should appear before "light (lamp),"
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "light" is not the common word usually translated as "light."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be something more like "but" or "however."
  • WV - Wrong Voice - The verb here is translated as passive but it is active.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourselves" is not shown in the English translation, but it is needed to capture the pronoun as well as the form of the verb.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "light" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV : 

John 5:35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

NIV Analysis: 

John -- (WW) The word translated as "John" is an adjective that highlights its noun as being in a specific place or time from a word that means "there." Used a pronoun, the sense is "that one there."

was -- The verb "was" 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. Here it is in the simple past tense, the imperfect.

a -- -- (WW) The word translated as "a" 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. 

lamp : -- The word translated as "light" primarily means "lamp", specifically, a portable one. The main form of portable lights in this era were oil lamps made from clay. It is not the word correcting translated as "light" below.

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 as a participle.

missing "the one"  -- (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. 

burned -- (WF) The Greek term translated as "burned " means "to kindle", "to set on fire", "to burn," and "to bake pottery." It is in the form of a participle, "burning." With the definate article,  "the one burning."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

gave light -- (WF)  The Greek word translated as "gave light" primarily means "to shine," "to give light" or, in the passive, so "to be shining" or "to be giving light."  Here, it is a participle, "giving light" or "shining."

and -- -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  It can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

you -- The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

missing "yourself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourself."

chose -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "chose" expresses consent and even delight in doing something. It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose." It doesn't mean "chose"; "wanted" or "wished" are closer.

for -- 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." It can also means "for" a moment.

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

time - The word translated as "time" means a period of time equal to the one-twelfth part of the daylight, like an "hour." It also means "any time" or "a year."

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

enjoy "To enjoy " is a verb that means "rejoice exceedingly" and, in a later form,  to "glorify," and "exalt," especially the idea of "paying honor" to God. This is an uncommon word that Jesus only uses three times.

missing "in"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "in" means "in," "within," "with" (an instrument), "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.  With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can mean "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near."

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. 

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

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "John" should be something more like "that one there."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be something more like "the."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the one" before "burning" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "burned" is not an active verb but a participle, "burning."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "gave light" is not an active verb but a participle, "giving light."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be something more like "but."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourselves" is not shown in the English translation, but it is needed to capture the pronoun as well as the form of the verb.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "choose" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "in" before " his light" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "light" is not shown in the English translation.

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Mar 3 2022