John 6:62 What and if you shall see the Son of man

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

After Jesus plays with the idea of eating his flesh as bread, his students say that his logic is difficult and that people don't have to power to hear it.

KJV : 

John 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

Literal Verse: 

When, in fact, you all watch the son of the man stepping up (i.e. generalizing) where I was in the first place.

What is Lost in Translation: 

This is the end of the sentence started in the previous verse. This is not a sentence, but a "when" clause describing what Jesus just did. The English translations try to disguise this by turning the first part into a question and by adding words to the beginning of this verse that aren't there.

All the verbs here are in the present tense. Jesus is not describing a future event --the ascension--but what they are watching right now, Jesus says that he is "stepping up" now to where he was in the first place. The "stepping up" verb has the same root as the "stepping down" verb translated as "come down from heaven" in four of the previous verses in this section. However, "stepping up" also means "ascending to generalities," which is what Jesus was doing when he was speaking of eating "flesh" and "blood."  He was doing this "in the first place," when he was talking about heaven. The verb translated as "see" is also a rare verb used once previously in this section to describe those "watching" Jesus and trusting him.

My Takeaway: 

People who take everything too literally never get the joke.

Greek : 

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "ascend up" raises a lot of potential plays on words. Is Christ rising, raising, bringing forth, or even giving birth? However, the "among the elements" or "among the primaries" referring to becoming food and drink is pretty funny. 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὰν [162 verses](conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event. This is how we use the word "when."

οὖν [82 verses](adv) "Therefore" is oun, which means "certainly," "in fact," "really," "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

θεωρῆτε [15 verses] (2nd pl pres subj act) "You shall...see" is theoreo, which means "to see", "to look at", "to gaze," "to behold," (of the mind) "to contemplate", "to consider", "to observe (as a spectator)", "to gaze", "to gape", "to inspect (troops)" and, in abstract, "to theorize" and "to speculate." It originally means literally, "to be sent to see an oracle."

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

υἱὸν [158 verses](noun sg masc acc) "The Son" is huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." It is used generally to refer to any male descendant.

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

ἀνθρώπου [209 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Of man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

ἀναβαίνοντα [14 verses](part sg pres act masc acc) "Ascend up" is anabainô, which means "to go up," "to mount," and "to turn up." It is the word used for mounting a horse, going aboard a ship, or ascending to heaven. For plants, it is used specifically to describe when plants grow on sticks or other plants, entwining them, or "mounting" them. 

 ὅπου [32 verses] (adv/conj) "Where" is hopou, which means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

ἦν [614 verses](verb 3rd sg imperf ind act or verb 1st sg imperf ind act) "He was" 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.

τὸ [821 verses](article sg neut nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  This article changes the meaning of the following word.

πρότερον; [1 verse](adj sg neut nom) "Before" is from proteros, which means of place: "before", "in front," of time: "former", "earlier", "superior [in rank]," "foremost [in place]", "first [of time]", "first in order of existence [in philosophy]", "primary", "highest degree," and, as an adverb, "before", "earlier." With the definitive article, it has the specific meaning of "in the first place" and "at the beginning."

KJV Analysis: 

What and  -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "what and" in the Greek source.

if -- (CW) "If" is from the Greek word meaning "when" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is how we use the word "when." This is not the simple "if.

missing "certainly"  -- (MW) The untranslated word either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly," "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative, "then," "therefore." Jesus uses it to respond positively to questions, but in parables, it can continue the story.

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

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" 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 and unnecessary.

see  - (CW) The Greek verb translated as "seeth" is not as simple as "see." It is not one of the common words Christ uses for seeing and being seen. It is a more specific word that has more of a sense of "gazing" at or "viewing" something as a spectator. It originally meant watching an oracle. It also means "seeing something in your mind."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

Son -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant." The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense may be "the child of the man."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "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. 

man - The Greek word for "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples." 

ascend -- "Ascend" means "to go up," "to mount," and "to turn up." It has a lot of specific meanings including "ascending to higher knowledge," which are understood as "generalities." This describes what Jesus was doing in talking about "flesh" and "blood."

up - This is from the prefix of the verb.

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb. However, the verb could also be the first-person form which makes this more personal.

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.

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. 

before? - (CW) the word translated as "before" can be "before" as an adverb, but here it is used as an adjective introduced by a definite article. This gives it the specific meaning of "in the first place" and "at the beginning." the first generality that Jesus was talking about was "bread from the sky."

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "what and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "certainly" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "before" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "before" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

NIV : 

John 6:62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!

NIV Analysis: 

Then -- (WP) The "then" word either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly," "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative, "then," "therefore." Jesus uses it to respond positively to questions, but in parables, it can continue the story. This is not the "then" of simple time. Since it is inside the "if" clause, not at the beginning of the verse, it is not continuing the story.

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

if -- (CW) "If" is from the Greek word meaning "when" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is how we use the word "when." This is not the simple "if.

missing "certainly"  -- (MW) The untranslated word either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly," "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative, "then," "therefore." Jesus uses it to respond positively to questions, but in parables, it can continue the story.

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

see  - (CW) The Greek verb translated as "seeth" is not as simple as "see." It is not one of the common words Christ uses for seeing and being seen. It is a more specific word that has more of a sense of "gazing" at or "viewing" something as a spectator. It originally meant watching an oracle. It also means "seeing something in your mind."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

Son -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant." The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense may be "the child of the man."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "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. 

Man - The Greek word for "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples." 

ascend -- "Ascend" means "to go up," "to mount," and "to turn up." It has a lot of specific meanings including "ascending to higher knowledge," which are understood as "generalities." This describes what Jesus was doing in talking about "flesh" and "blood."

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

where -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb. However, the verb could also be the first-person form which makes this more personal.

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.

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. 

before? - (CW) the word translated as "before" can be "before" as an adverb, but here it is used as an adjective introduced by a definite article. This gives it the specific meaning of "in the first place" and "at the beginning." the first generality that Jesus was talking about was "bread from the sky."

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "what" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "to" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "before" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "before" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Apr 16 2022