John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses,

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 Moses.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because if you trust in Moses, you should trust me. Because about me, that one there wrote.

My Takeaway: 

Moses was writing for the Divine.

KJV : 

John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

NIV : 

John 5:46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.

What is Lost in Translation: 

Jesus does something odd here with the verb forms. Both of the "trusted" are the simple past, meaning that they trusted Moses in the past and didn't stop and should have started trusting Jesus without stopping. Neither are in the subjunctive mood, indicating something that "should" or "could" happen. This is normally the verb form used with an "if" clause or with the use of the particle translated as "would." Jesus avoids that form here for some reason

Jesus also uses a special Greek pronoun to refer to Moses, which is simply translated as "he." However, this word is used to highlight a person or idea previously mentioned, "that one there." In four previous verses in this section (John 5:19, John 5:35, John 5:37, John 5:38) Jesus used this same pronoun to refer to the Father.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

εἰ [90 verses](conj) Untranslated (KJV) "If" is ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever," "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

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."

ἐπιστεύετε [69 verses](2nd pl pres/imperf ind act) "Had ye believed" is pisteuo, which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person," "to believe in someone's words," "to comply," "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing."

Μωυσεῖ [18 verses](Hebrew Name) "Moses" is Moyses, which means "Moses."

ἐπιστεύετε [69 verses](2nd pl pres/imperf ind act) "Ye...have believed" is pisteuo, which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person," "to believe in someone's words," "to comply," "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing."

ἂν [60 verses](particle) "Would" is an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "possibly," "would have," "might," "should," and "could." 

ἐμοί [96 verses](pron 1st sg masc/fem dat) "Me" is moi (emoi) , which means "I," "me," and "my."

περὶ [73 verses](prep)  "Of" is peri, which means "round about (Place)," "around," "about," "concerning," "on account of," "in regard to," "before," "above," "beyond," and "all around."

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."

ἐμοῦ [239 verses](adj sg masc gen) "Me" is from mou (emou), which means "me," and "mine." As a genitive object means movement away from something or a position away from something else.

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."

ἔγραψεν [34 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Wrote" is grapho which means "to mark," "to express by written characters," "to write a letter," "to write down [a law]," "to proscribe," "to ordain," "to write for oneself," "to enroll oneself," "to draw signs," "to describe a figure" "to brand," and "to indict."

KJV Analysis: 

missing "if"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

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." 

had -- (WT) This helping verb "had" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here which is either the present or the simple past.

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

believed -- The Greek word translated as "believed" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Christ usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words. The negation of "belief" with the objective, instead of subjective, negative, equates trust with a fact.

Moses,-- "Moses" is from the Greek spelling of the name for the author of the first five books of the OT. Unlike most Hebrew names, Jesus sometimes adds Greek ending to it in the form of a first-declension Greek noun.

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

would -- "Would" is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English but "possibly" is close. This word works similarly to the "might" or "should" of a subjunctive verb, but we don't want to confuse it with the subjunctive so using "possibly" provides a consistent translation.  This particle usually suggests the subjunctive form of the verb but can be used without it. The same Greek letters can always be the more common conjunction meaning "when," so this meaning comes from context.

have -- This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the past tense. Because of the helping verb "would," the "have" is needed to create a past tense instead of the future tense.

believed-- The Greek word translated as "believed" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Christ usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words. The negation of "belief" with the objective, instead of subjective, negative, equates trust with a fact.

me: -- The "me" is in the indirect object form on the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me," though the form has other uses in Greek.

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." 

he -- (MW) 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." The "he" comes from the form of the verb alone.

wrote -- "Wrote" is the Greek verb that means "to mark," "to express by written characters," "to write a letter," "to write down [a law]," and so on.

of -- The Greek word translated as "of" means "around" when referring to a place, but in referring to a subject, it means "about," "concerning," "on account of," and "in regard to." This is the way Jesus usually uses it.

me. -- "Me" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun.   As a genitive object of a preposition, as here, it means a movement away from something or a position away from something else.

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "if" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "had" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is the simple past, "believed."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that one there" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "because"  -- (MW) The untranslated "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." 

If  - - The word "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

believed -- The Greek word translated as "believed" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Christ usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words. The negation of "belief" with the objective, instead of subjective, negative, equates trust with a fact.

Moses,-- "Moses" is from the Greek spelling of the name for the author of the first five books of the OT. Unlike most Hebrew names, Jesus sometimes adds Greek ending to it in the form of a first-declension Greek noun.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

would -- (CT) "Would" is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English but "possibly" is close. This word works similarly to the "might" or "should" of a subjunctive verb, but we don't want to confuse it with the subjunctive so using "possibly" provides a consistent translation.  This particle usually suggests the subjunctive form of the verb but can be used without it. The "would" however, confuses the tense, making it seem like a form of the future tense.

believe-- The Greek word translated as "believe" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Christ usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words. The negation of "belief" with the objective, instead of subjective, negative, equates trust with a fact. The tenses is either the present or the simple past.

me: -- The "me" is in the indirect object form on the first-person pronoun, so usually "to me," though the form has other uses in Greek.

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." 

he -- (MW) 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." The "he" comes from the form of the verb alone.

wrote -- "Wrote" is the Greek verb that means "to mark," "to express by written characters," "to write a letter," "to write down [a law]," and so on.

about -- The Greek word translated as "of" means "around" when referring to a place, but in referring to a subject, it means "about," "concerning," "on account of," and "in regard to." This is the way Jesus usually uses it.

me. -- "Me" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun.   As a genitive object of a preposition, as here, it means a movement away from something or a position away from something else.

  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "because" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CT - Confusing Tense - The verb "would believe" can indicate the future tense, but the tense is either the present or the simple past.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that one there" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Mar 14 2022