John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin?

Spoken to: 

challengers

Context: 

Jesus tells his challengers they don't trust him because he tells the truth had they trust the lies of their father, the father of lies.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Does anyone from among you question me about mistakes? If a truth I speak, because of such, you don't trust me.

My Takeaway: 

We cannot let our positions in life dictate what we think is true.

KJV : 

John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

NIV : 

John 8:46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?

What is Lost in Translation: 

Throwing "sin" into a verse is a favorite for Biblical translators but it often confuses what Jesus is saying.The word translated as "convinceth" and "prove...guilty" is a rare word, used only in four verses by Jesus. It comes closer but "cross-examine" or "expose" comes closer since the word means challenging someone by what is said or asked. The issue is "sin" but if Jesus has made any "mistakes," that is, said something they can argue with.

However, the humor here is the last part, which looks like the same as the end of John 8:45, "you don't believe me," but Jesus changes it, adding the pronoun "you" as the subject, emphasizing it.  The point is that they don't trust him because of who they are, or, because of the context, who their father is, not because he has said anything untrue or disputable. This is an argument for the use of reason.

Wordplay: 

A play on the two meanings of lego, "I say" and "I pick out." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

τίς  [252 verses](pron sg masc/fem nom) "Which" is tis, which can mean "someone," "something," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what."

ἐξ [121 verses] (prep) "Of" is ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of," "from," "by," "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond," "outside of," "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after," "from;" 4) [of rest] "on," "in," 5) [of time] "since," "from," "at," "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of," "made from;" 6) cause, instrument, or means "by."

ὑμῶν [168 verses](pron 2nd pl gen) "Your/you" is humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." It is either a possessive pronoun or the object of a preposition.

ἐλέγχει [4 verses] (3rd sg pres ind) "Convnceth" is 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."

με [49 verses](pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is eme, which is the objective first-person, objective, singular pronoun that means  "me."

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

ἁμαρτίας; [28 verses](noun pl fem acc )"Sins" is hamartia, which means "missing the mark," "failure," "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses does it become "guilt" and "sin."

εἰ [90 verses](conj) "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." In citing a fact, it can mean "as sure as" or "since."  It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

ἀλήθειαν [19 verses] (noun sg fem acc) "Truth" is aletheia, which means literally "the state of not being hidden," "truth," and "reality." It was also applied to "real events" and "the realization of a dream." Applied to people, it means "truthfulness" and "sincerity." The opposite of a lie or appearance. 

λέγω[264 verses](1st sg pres ind/subj act) "I tell" is lego, which means "to recount," "to tell over," "to say," "to speak," "to teach," "to mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," nominate," and "command." When used with an object is has the sense of "call by name."  It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself," "pick up," "gather," "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

διὰ  [88 verses](prep) "Why" is dia, which means with the genitive "through," "in the midst of," "in a line (movement)," "throughout (time)," "by (causal)," "for (causal)," "among," and "between." With the accusative, it can also be "thanks to," "because of,"  "by reasons of," and "for the sake of."

τί [252 verses](pron sg neut acc) "Why" is tis, which can mean "someone," "something," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what."

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

οὐ [269 verses](partic) "Not" is ou , 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. -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

πιστεύετέ [69 verses](verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Do you...believe" 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."

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

KJV Analysis: 

Which -- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some," "they," and "those." Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why."

of -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." The word has a number of different meanings based upon its context. However, in Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases that are translated into English "of" phrases.

you -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so the possessive "of yours." Here, it is the object of the previous preposition. As an object of a preposition, the genitive indicates movement away or a position away from something.

convinceth   - (CW) "Convinceth " is from a verb from the word that means "to disgrace," "to put to shame," "to cross-examine," "to expose," and "to decide a dispute." Jesus only uses it four times and seems to mean "accuse."

me -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition. As the object of a preposition, an accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement.

of -- (CW) 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.

sin? -- (CW) The word translated as "sins" means "missing the mark," "failure," "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses does it become "guilt" and "sin," having no sense of doing malicious evil in Greek. The best English translation is "mistakes" or "failures" rather than what we commonly think of as the evils of "sin." See this article for more information and context.

And -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "and" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used. However, it didn't mean "and" but something more like "however."

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

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

say -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak,"  but when used with an objective noun or pronoun, the sense is "say of" or "speak of."  When two accusative objects are used, the sense is  "say of him this," or "call him this." The form Jesus uses to describe his own speaking can be either indicative, "I say/tell" or subjunctive, "I should/could say/tell."  It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

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

truth, -- The literal meaning of the Greek word for "truth" is "not hidden," and it means what is real as opposed to how things seem. Applied to people, it means "truthfulness" and "sincerity." The opposite of a lie or appearance.

why--  (CW) This "why" is not a common way to ask "why" in Greek. It is two Greek words, meaning literally "thanks to something" or "because of something". The preposition means, with the accusative object used here, "thanks to," "because of,"  "by reasons of," and "for the sake of." The Greek object means primarily "something," "anything" or "anyone."

do -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English.

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 "yourselves"  ---- (MW) The pronoun is used here explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since this information is already in the verb, the sense is repetitive as we say "you yourselves."

not. -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

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.

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.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "convinceth" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "sin" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "and" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "why" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourselves" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

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

any -- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some," "they," and "those." Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why."

of -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." The word has a number of different meanings based upon its context. However, in Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases that are translated into English "of" phrases.

you -- The word translated as "your" is a plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so the possessive "of yours." Here, it is the object of the previous preposition. As an object of a preposition, the genitive indicates movement away or a position away from something.

prove - - (CW) "Prove...guilty" is from a verb from the word that means "to disgrace," "to put to shame," "to cross-examine," "to expose," and "to decide a dispute." Jesus only uses it four times and seems to mean "accuse."

me -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition. As the object of a preposition, an accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement.

guilty -- This completes the idea of the verb.

of -- (CW) 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.

sin? -- (CW) The word translated as "sins" means "missing the mark," "failure," "fault," and "error." Only in religious uses does it become "guilt" and "sin," having no sense of doing malicious evil in Greek. The best English translation is "mistakes" or "failures" rather than what we commonly think of as the evils of "sin." See this article for more information and context.

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

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

am -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb.

telling -- The word translated as "telling" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak,"  but when used with an objective noun or pronoun, the sense is "say of" or "speak of."  When two accusative objects are used, the sense is  "say of him this," or "call him this." The form Jesus uses to describe his own speaking can be either indicative, "I say/tell" or subjunctive, "I should/could say/tell."  It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

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

truth, -- The literal meaning of the Greek word for "truth" is "not hidden," and it means what is real as opposed to how things seem. Applied to people, it means "truthfulness" and "sincerity." The opposite of a lie or appearance.

why--  (CW) This "why" is not a common way to ask "why" in Greek. It is two Greek words, meaning literally "thanks to something" or "because of something". The preposition means, with the accusative object used here, "thanks to," "because of,"  "by reasons of," and "for the sake of." The Greek object means primarily "something," "anything" or "anyone."

do -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English.

n't. -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

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 "yourselves"  ---- (MW) The pronoun is used here explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since this information is already in the verb, the sense is repetitive as we say "you yourselves."

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.

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.

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "can" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "prove...guilty" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "sin" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "why" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourselves" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Jun 9 2022