John 1:50 Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

After Jesus meets Nathniel and says he saw him under fig tree

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because I said to you that I knew you underneath the fig tree, you believe? Greater things than this you should watch for yourself.

KJV : 

John 1:50 Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

NIV : 

John 1:50  You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are two different words for "see" used here. The first that Jesus applies to himself is the most common. It is the "see" that also means "know" in the sense that we say "I see" to mean "I know." The second, applied to Nathaniel, is much less common and Jesus often uses it in warnings like our "watch out" or "look out." The form is interesting because it could be the future tense or a form of possibility, something that could or should happen. It is also the middle voice, where the subject acts on, for, or by themselves. The sense is "you should watch for yourself."

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὅτι (adv/conj) "Because" is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

εἶπόν [162 verses] (verb 1st sg aor ind act) "I said" is eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer." 

σοι (pron 2nd sg dat) "You" is soi which is the singular, second=person pronoun, "you".

ὅτι (adv/conj) Untranslated is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

εἶδόν [166 verses](verb aor inf act) "Tosee" is eido which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

σε. (pron 2nd sg acc) "You" is from se  the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun. 

ὑποκάτω [4 times](adv/prep) "Under" is from hypokato, which means "below" and  "under".

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

συκῆν [7 verses] (noun sg fem gen) "Fig tree" is from syke, which means "fig tree."

πιστεύεις; [69 verses](verb 2nd sg pres ind act) "Believest thou" 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."

μείζω [22 verses](adj pl neut acc) "Greater" is meizon which means "bigger", "higher", "longer," and "greater" and is the comparative form of megas, which means "big" and "great."

τούτων [92 verses](adj pl neut gen) "Thjese" is touto, which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]."

ὄψῃ. [20 verses](verb 2nd sg fut ind mid or verb 2nd sg aor subj mid) "Thou shalt see" is from horao, which means "to see with the eyes", "to look", "to observe," "see", "aim", "have sight", "behold", "keep in sight," and as a metaphor of mental sight, "discern," and "perceive.

KJV Analysis: 

Because  - "Because" is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

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

said - The word translated as "said" means "to say" and "to speak". It is one of the two most common words translated "speak," "say" and "tell," but it has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

thee, - The word for "thee" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

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

saw -- The verb translated as "saw" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." In th KJV, it is almost translated as many times as "know" as it is "see,"

thee. -- The word translated as "you" is the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun.

under -- (CW) The word translated as "under" primarily means  "under" and "below" but it is not the common word used in the previous verse. It is more like our "underneath," a longer form of "under."

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") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

fig tree,   - The word for "fig tree" means "fig tree." In ancient times, figs were a symbol for abundance.

, believest -- The Greek word translated as "believe" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Jesus usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words.

 

thou? -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

shalt -- This helping verb "shalt" indicates that the verb is the future tense or a form that indicates possibility at some time. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

see -- (CW) "See" is from a Greek verb, which means "to see with the eyes", "to look," and "to observe." It is a metaphor for mental seeing, that is, perceiving. However, it is one of the many words that Christ uses to mean "see," but it is not one of the most common ones. It is, for example, not the Greek "see" used above. Jesus seems to use this word often to mean "watch out" or "look out" as a warning.

missing "by/for yourself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "yourself," "for yourself" or "by yourself."

greater - "Greater" is an adjective which is the comparative form of the word meaning "big" or "great." It means "bigger", "higher", "longer", "greater" and simply, "superior."

things -- This "things"  is from the plural, neuter form of the previous adjective.

than -- This word "than"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, in comparisons it means "than",

these. -- The word translated as "these" means "from here" or "this/that thing.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "under" is not the common word usually translated as "under."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" is not the common word usually translated as "see."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourself" as its object.

NIV Analysis: 

You -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

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. Jesus usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words.

because - "Because" is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

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

told - The word translated as "told" means "to say" and "to speak". It is one of the two most common words translated "speak," "say" and "tell," but it has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

you -- - The word for "you" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

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

saw -- The verb translated as "saw" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." In th KJV, it is almost translated as many times as "know" as it is "see,"

you. -- The word translated as "you" is the objective form of the second-person, singular pronoun.

under -- (CW) The word translated as "under" primarily means  "under" and "below" but it is not the common word used in the previous verse. It is more like our "underneath," a longer form of "under."

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") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

fig tree,   - The word for "fig tree" means "fig tree." In ancient times, figs were a symbol for abundance.

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

You -- This helping verb "shalt" indicates that the verb is the future tense or a form that indicates possibility at some time. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

will -- (CT) This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense or a form that indicates possibility at some time. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

see -- (CW) "See" is from a Greek verb, which means "to see with the eyes", "to look," and "to observe." It is a metaphor for mental seeing, that is, perceiving. However, it is one of the many words that Christ uses to mean "see," but it is not one of the most common ones. It is, for example, not the Greek "see" used above. Jesus seems to use this word often to mean "watch out" or "look out" as a warning.

missing "by/for yourself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "yourself," "for yourself" or "by yourself."

greater - "Greater" is an adjective which is the comparative form of the word meaning "big" or "great." It means "bigger", "higher", "longer", "greater" and simply, "superior."

things -- This "things"  is from the plural, neuter form of the previous adjective.

than -- This word "than"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, in comparisons it means "than",

that. -- (WN) The word translated as "that" means "from here" or "this/that thing. The word is plural, not singular.

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "under" is not the common word usually translated as "under."
  • CT - Confusing Tense -- The "will" is not necessarily the future tense and could be a possibility.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" is not the common word usually translated as "see."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourself" as its object.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "that" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "these."

Front Page Date: 

Mar 14 2021