John 8:51 ... If a man keep my saying,

Spoken to: 

challengers

Context: 

Jesus tells his challengers they don't trust him because he tells the truth and they say he is crazy. He then tells them that he is not crazy and honors his father and doesn't seek his own recognition.

KJV : 

John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

Literal Verse: 

Honestly, honestly, I am telling you, when someone observes this mine own logic, he never might view death until the era beyond.

What is Lost in Translation: 

A clear example of dogma being more important than translation to ALL those who publish English Bibles. The final phrase in this verse is cut out in translation. Leaving it off makes this phrase mean that followers will never view death, but the final phrase changes that meaning. The phrase means  "up to the age" or "into the lifetime." It makes the phrase refer more to a long life than never dying, but Jesus's challengers hear it as referring to never dying. They too leave off the final phrase and change the final verb to one meaning "taste" instead of "view." The final phrase is ignored in all  English Biblical translations I've seen except Young's Literal Translation (YLT). This means that the translators support the opponents of Jesus rather than his words. This final phrase is in both our current sources and the source used by the KJV. It also appeared in the Latin Vulgate.

The Greek word translated as "keep" and "obeys" primarily means "to keep watch."  "to guard." Jesus uses it to mean "observe" when applied to words or commands. The idea of "keeping watch" plays against the the verb translated as "see." This Greek word is not one of the common words Jesus uses for "see," but one that means "view," the source of our word "theater." Both of these verbs indicate something that "might" happen. The translators try to change "see" to make it seem like the future tense, which is intentionally misleading.

The Greek word translated as "saying" and "words" is the root of our word "logic," and it is the most serious word Jesus uses to refer to what he says. Jesus uses it generally to refer to his "idea" or "message." It is used with a different and more extreme possessive that is translated only as "my" but which is internal more like, "this mine own message."

My Takeaway: 

We cannot observe Jesus's message if we don't look at his words.

Greek : 

Wordplay: 

 A play on two different words meaning different forms of "seeing." 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἀμὴν [88 verses](exclaim) "Verily" is amen, which is the Hebrew, meaning "truly," "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek of this meaning before the NT. However, this is also the infinitive form of the Greek verb amao, which means "to reap" or "to cut."

ἀμὴν [88 verses](exclaim) "Verily" is amen, which is the Hebrew, meaning "truly," "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek of this meaning before the NT. However, this is also the infinitive form of the Greek verb amao, which means "to reap" or "to cut."

λέγω [264 verses](1st sg pres ind act) "I say" 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." 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."

ὑμῖν, [289 verses](pron 2nd pl dat) "To you" is humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

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." -- (CW) 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.

τις [252 verses](pron sg masc/fem nom) "What" 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."

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

ἐμὸν [28 verses](adj sg masc acc) "My" is emos, which means "mine," "of me," "my," "relating to me," and "against me." The form can also be the object of a preposition, "me."

λόγον [80 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Word" is logos, which means "word," "computation," "relation," "explanation," "law," "rule of conduct," "continuous statement," "tradition," "discussion," "reckoning," "reputation" (when applied to people), and "value."

τηρήσῃ, [17 verses](3rd sg aor subj act) "Keep" is tereo, which means "to watch over," "to guard," "to take care of," "to give heed to," "to keep," "to test by observation or trial," and "to observe." 

θάνατον [15 verses](noun sg masc acc ) "Death" is thanatos, which means "death" "kinds of death," specifically, "violent death," "corpse," and "a death sentence."

οὐ μὴ [39 verses](partic) "Never" is ou me, the two forms of Greek negative used together. Ou is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. Mê (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

θεωρήσῃ[15 verses](3rd sg aor subj act) "He 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."

εἰς [325 verses](prep) Untranslated is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)," "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)," "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)," "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

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

αἰῶνα. [41 verses](noun sg masc acc) Untranslated is aion, which means "life," "lifetime," "age," or "generation."

KJV Analysis: 

Verily, -- The word translated as "verily" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

verily -- The word translated as "verily" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

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

say -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. 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.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

If -- (CW) 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.

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.

man -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "man" 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."

keep - The word translated as "keep" means "to watch over," "to guard," "to take care of," "to give heed to," "to keep," "to test by observation or trial," and "to observe." Jesus uses this word seventeen times, almost always with the idea of "keeping" in one commandment or another. "Keep" works best because it combines the idea of "guarding" and "observing."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," 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. 

my -- "My" is the first-person adjective, not the common pronoun, used in Greek to create a possessive or as the object of a preposition. Unlike the genitive pronoun used as a possessive, its case matches its noun. Perhaps "mine own" captures its best.

saying, -- (CW) "Sayings" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning," but it has many, many specific meanings from "deliberation" to "narrative."  It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. However, when applied to people, it means "repute" or "reputation." More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "idea" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types, so "message" often works better.

he -- This is from the third-person, singular 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. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

never -- The "never" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying, "never" or literally, "you cannot really think." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

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."

death. -- "Death" is the Greek word meaning "death" generally and the death penalty specifically.

missing "up to"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," 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. 

missing "age"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means "lifetime," "life," "a space of time," "an age," an epoch," and "the present world." See this article on words translated as "world" in Jesus's words.

KJV Translation Issues: 

9
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "man" is not the common word usually translated as "man."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "mine own" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "saying" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "up to" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "age" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV : 

John 8:51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.

NIV Analysis: 

Very, -- (CW) The word translated as "very" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

Truly -- The word translated as "truly " is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

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

tell -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. 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.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is how we use the word "when."

whoever --  The Greek word translated as "whoever" 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."

obeys -  The word translated as "keep" means "to watch over," "to guard," "to take care of," "to give heed to," "to keep," "to test by observation or trial," and "to observe." Jesus uses this word seventeen times, almost always with the idea of "keeping" in one commandment or another. "Keep" works best because it combines the idea of "guarding" and "observing."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," 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. 

my -- "My" is the first-person adjective, not the common pronoun, used in Greek to create a possessive or as the object of a preposition. Unlike the genitive pronoun used as a possessive, its case matches its noun. Perhaps "mine own" captures its best.

word , -- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning," but it has many, many specific meanings from "deliberation" to "narrative."  It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. However, when applied to people, it means "repute" or "reputation." More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "idea" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types, so "message" often works better.

will -- (WT) This helping verb "will" 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. This is outside of the "when" clause.  Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

never -- The "never" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying, "never" or literally, "you cannot really think." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

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."

death. -- "Death" is the Greek word meaning "death" generally and the death penalty specifically.

missing "up to"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," 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. 

missing "age"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means "lifetime," "life," "a space of time," "an age," an epoch," and "the present world." See this article on words translated as "world" in Jesus's words.

NIV Translation Issues: 

9
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "very" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "if" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "mine own" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "up to" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "age" is not shown in the English translation.

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Jun 13 2022