May 18 2014 Gospel Lection, John 14:1-14 Comments on the Greek text

Jn 14:1 Μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν[A] ἡ καρδία· πιστεύετε[B] εἰς[C] τὸν θεόν, καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε. Don’t let your heart be disturbed; you believe into God—believe also into me.
Jn 14:2 ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ[D] τοῦ πατρός μου μοναὶ πολλαί εἰσιν· εἰ δὲ μή, εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν ὅτι πορεύομαι ἑτοιμάσαι τόπον ὑμῖν·[E] In the household of my Father there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going to prepare a place for you.
Jn 14:3 καὶ ἐὰν πορευθῶ καὶ ἑτοιμάσω τόπον ὑμῖν, πάλιν ἔρχομαι[F] καὶ παραλήμψομαι ὑμᾶς πρὸς[G] ἐμαυτόν, ἵνα ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἦτε. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and will take you along to myself, so that where I am you also may be.
Jn 14:4 καὶ ὅπου ἐγὼ ὑπάγω οἴδατε τὴν ὁδόν. And where I am going, you know the way.
Jn 14:5 λέγει αὐτῷ Θωμᾶς· Κύριε, οὐκ οἴδαμεν ποῦ ὑπάγεις· πῶς δυνάμεθα τὴν ὁδὸν εἰδέναι; Thomas says to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way?”
Jn 14:6 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι’ ἐμοῦ. Jesus says to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jn 14:7 εἰ ἐγνώκειτέ[H] με, καὶ τὸν πατέρα μου ἂν ᾔδειτε· ἀπ’ ἄρτι γινώσκετε αὐτὸν καὶ ἑωράκατε αὐτόν. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.  From now on you know him and have seen him.”
Jn 14:8 Λέγει αὐτῷ Φίλιππος· Κύριε, δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ἀρκεῖ ἡμῖν. Philip says to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Jn 14:9 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Τοσούτῳ χρόνῳ[I] μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωκάς με, Φίλιππε; ὁ ἑωρακὼς ἐμὲ ἑώρακεν τὸν πατέρα· πῶς σὺ λέγεις· Δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα; Jesus says to him, “For so much time I am with you, and you have not known me, Philip?  The one who has seen me has seen the Father.  How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’
Jn 14:10 οὐ[J] πιστεύεις ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί ἐστιν; τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἀπ’ ἐμαυτοῦ οὐ λαλῶ, ὁ δὲ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένων ποιεῖ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ. Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you, I don’t speak from myself, but the father abiding in me is doing his works.
Jn 14:11 πιστεύετέ[K] μοι ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί· εἰ δὲ μή,[L] διὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτὰ πιστεύετε. Believe me that I [am] in the Father and the Father [is] in me.  But if not, believe the works themselves.
Jn 14:12 ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ τὰ ἔργα ἃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ κἀκεῖνος ποιήσει, καὶ μείζονα τούτων ποιήσει,[M] ὅτι ἐγὼ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα πορεύομαι· Amen, amen I say to you, the one who believes into me—the works that I do that one will also do, and will do greater than these [works], because I am going to the Father.
Jn 14:13 καὶ ὅ τι ἂν αἰτήσητε[N] ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου τοῦτο ποιήσω, ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ· And whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Jn 14:14 ἐάν τι αἰτήσητέ με ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου ἐγὼ ποιήσω If you ask me anything in my name, I will do [it].

[A] Note that “your” is plural, but “heart” is singular.  Probably not a collective sense, but rather “don’t let the heart of [any of ] you be disturbed.

[B] This verb and the next form of the same verb for believe can be either indicative or imperative n(the form is the same), resulting in a variety of possibilities in translation.  If have rendered the first as indicative, and the second as imperative.  Both are present tense, indicating ongoing, continuous, or repeated action.

[C] This unifying sense of believe (“into”) is important in this text.

[D] Can refer either to building[s] or relationships.

[E] Many editions read this as a question (remember that there is very little punctuation in the earliest manuscripts).  Then it would read “If it were not so, would I have told you, that I am going to prepare a place for you?”  Yet this is a little more problematic, since that statement about preparing a place isn’t found explicitly earlier in the gospel.

[F] Present tense with a somewhat futuristic emphasis.

[G] Or even “with myself”

[H] There are some complex and evenly divided textual variants that make this verse shift from the contrary to fact form (that I have translated) to one that reads “If you have come to know me, you also will know my Father.”  I agree with the textual critics who argue that a version that places the disciples in a more negative light is more likely to be original.  But neither way of translation is without its problems.

[I] Dative case with expressions of time indicates time-within-which.

[J] Questions with οὐ expect a positive answer.

[K] I have translated both forms of the verb in the imperative mood, but they could also be indicatives:  “You believe me that I [am] in the Father and the Father [is] in me.  But if not, you believe the works themselves.”  This is less likely, I think.

[L] It is striking how the text does not assume that belief is “automatic” at this point!  Throughout John, faith is always dynamic and growing.

[M] It’s challenging to know how literally to press this verse.  Should we read “Amen, amen I say to you, the one who believes into me—the works that I do that one will also do (because of believing into me), and will do greater than these [works], (because I am going to the Father)?”

[N] Presumably this prayer is directed to the Father “in the name of Jesus,” since as a result, the Father is glorified in the Son.  This makes the next verse difficult, where prayer is directed to the Son.  Hard to know how to resolve this dilemma.  This is a classic crux in the Farewell Discourse.  In addition to these verses, cf. 15: 7, 16; 16:23, 24, 26.


One thought on “May 18 2014 Gospel Lection, John 14:1-14 Comments on the Greek text

  1. Jim, thanks for this. Isn’t the “house” in verse 2 both building and relationship, and isn’t that very much the point? Like so much in John, there’s play between the more obvious and the more advanced meaning. My Father’s House, especially in John, most naturally and contextually refers to the Temple. I suspect the many “monai” refers to all the rooms in the eschatological Temple, as in Ezekiel, where the Lord will dwell with his people (“the place of the souls of my feet”). But then as the subsequent discourse shows, the community of believers is the new “house” where the Trinity-in-Unity will come and dwell. Isn’t this passage manifestly about access, through Jesus, to the Father, and back? Even the “I am the way, the truth, and the life” sentence is not about “who gets saved,” or about the boundaries of true Christianity, but about how Jews begin to experience the God of Israel in a new way, as Father, that is, Father of the Only Son, and thus, their Father too. There is so much Temple language here, and a profound connection between Temple and Trinity.

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