Gospel of St. John 1:21-25 (Greek)

The lesson below belongs to the Classical Liberal Arts Academy’s Greek Reading I course. In this course, we study the Gospel of St. John in the New Testament. Students wishing to master the lesson below are to complete translation exercises daily from Greek into English and English into Greek, until every Greek word and its English meaning are memorized.

Text

21 καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτόν: τί οὖν; σύ Ἠλίας εἶ; καὶ λέγει: οὐκ εἰμί. ὁ προφήτης εἶ σύ; καὶ ἀπεκρίθη: οὔ. 22 εἶπαν οὖν αὐτῷ: τίς εἶ; ἵνα ἀπόκρισιν δῶμεν τοῖς πέμψασιν ἡμᾶς: τί λέγεις περὶ σεαυτοῦ; 23 ἔφη: ἐγὼ φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ: εὐθύνατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου, καθὼς εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας ὁ προφήτης. 24 καὶ ἀπεσταλμένοι ἦσαν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων. 25 καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ: τί οὖν βαπτίζεις, εἰ σὺ οὐκ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς οὐδὲ Ἠλίας οὐδὲ ὁ προφήτης;

Exposition

Use the following guide to study the meaning of each Greek word in context.

21 καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτόν: τί οὖν; σύ Ἠλίας εἶ; καὶ λέγει: οὐκ εἰμί. ὁ προφήτης εἶ σύ; καὶ ἀπεκρίθη: οὔ.

  • καὶ: conjunction, “and” (et)
  • ἠρώτησαν: verb, “they asked” (interrogaverunt)
  • αὐτόν: pronoun, “him” (eum)
  • τί: pronoun, “what” (quid)
  • οὖν: conjunction, “then” (ergo)
  • σύ: pronoun, “you” (tu)
  • Ἠλίας: substantive noun, “Elijah” (Elias)
  • εἶ: verb, “(you) are” (es)
  • καὶ: conjunction, “and” (et)
  • λέγει: verb, “(he) says” (dicit)
  • οὐκ: adverb, “not” (non)
  • εἰμί: verb, “I am” (sum)
  • ὁ: def. article, “the”
  • προφήτης: substantive noun, “prophet” (propheta)
  • εἶ: verb, “(you) are” (es)
  • σύ: pronoun, “you” (tu)
  • καὶ: conjunction, “and”
  • ἀπεκρίθη: verb, “(he) answered” (respondit)
  • οὔ: adverb, “not” (non)

22 εἶπαν οὖν αὐτῷ: τίς εἶ; ἵνα ἀπόκρισιν δῶμεν τοῖς πέμψασιν ἡμᾶς: τί λέγεις περὶ σεαυτοῦ;

  • εἶπαν: verb, “(they) said” (dixerunt)
  • οὖν: conjunction, “therefore” (ergo)
  • αὐτῷ: pronoun, “to him” (ei)
  • τίς: pronoun, “who” (quis)
  • εἶ: verb, “(you) are” (es)
  • ἵνα: conjunction, “so that” (ut)
  • ἀπόκρισιν: substantive noun, “response” (responsum)
  • δῶμεν: verb, “(we) can give” (demus)
  • τοῖς: def. article, “to those” (his)
  • πέμψασιν: participle, “(they who) sent” (miserunt) *
  • ἡμᾶς: pronoun, “us” (nos)
  • τί: pronoun, “what” (quid)
  • λέγεις: verb, “(you) say” (dicis)
  • περὶ: preposition (+ gen.), “about” (de)
  • σεαυτοῦ: pronoun, “yourself” (te ipso) **

* τοῖς πέμψασιν in Greek is an article with a past participle, and is translated by St. Jerome into Latin as “his qui miserunt“–two pronouns and a past tense verb. Notice how the Greek participle expresses both the idea of the pronoun and the verb, “to those who sent”.
** σεαυτοῦ is translated into Latin as “te ipso“, requiring both a personal pronoun (te) and a demonstrative pronoun (ipso) to express the idea, “you yourself”.

23 ἔφη: ἐγὼ φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ: εὐθύνατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου, καθὼς εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας ὁ προφήτης.

  • ἔφη: verb, “(he) said” (ait)
  • ἐγὼ: pronoun, “I” (ego)
  • φωνὴ: substantive noun, “voice” (vox)
  • βοῶντος: participle, “crying” (clamantis)
  • ἐν: preposition (+ dat.), “in” (in)
  • τῇ: def. article, “the”
  • ἐρήμῳ: substantive noun, “desert” (deserto)
  • εὐθύνατε: verb, “make straight” (dirigite)
  • τὴν: def. article, “the”
  • ὁδὸν: substantive noun, “way” (viam)
  • κυρίου: substantive noun, “of (the) lord” (domini)
  • καθὼς: adverb, “as” (sicut)
  • εἶπεν: verb, “(he) said” (dixit)
  • Ἠσαΐας: substantive noun, “Isaiah” (Esaias)
  • ὁ: def. article, “the”
  • προφήτης: substantive noun, “prophet” (propheta)

24 καὶ ἀπεσταλμένοι ἦσαν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων.

  • καὶ: conjunction, “and” (et)
  • ἀπεσταλμένοι: participle, “(those who were) sent” (qui missi fuerant)*
  • ἦσαν: verb, “(they) were” (erant)
  • ἐκ: preposition (+ gen.), “of” (ex)
  • τῶν: def. article, “of the”
  • Φαρισαίων: substantive noun, “of Pharisees” (Pharisaeis)

* Note that the Greek participle ἀπεσταλμένοι is translated with three words in Latin as qui missi fuerant, which helps us to understand the meaning in the Greek participle.

25 καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ: τί οὖν βαπτίζεις, εἰ σὺ οὐκ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς οὐδὲ Ἠλίας οὐδὲ ὁ προφήτης;

  • καὶ: conjunction, “and” (et)
  • ἠρώτησαν: verb, “they asked” (interrogaverunt)
  • αὐτὸν: pronoun, “him” (eum)
  • καὶ: conjunction, “and” (et)
  • εἶπαν: verb, “(they) said” (dixerunt)
  • αὐτῷ: pronoun, “to him” (ei)
  • τί: pronoun, “why” (quid)
  • οὖν: conjunction, “then” (ergo)
  • βαπτίζεις: verb, “(you) baptize” (baptizas)
  • εἰ: conjunction, “if” (si)*
  • σὺ: pronoun, “you” (tu)
  • οὐκ: adverb, “not” (non)
  • εἶ: verb, “(you) are” (es)*
  • ὁ: def. article, “the”
  • Χριστὸς: substantive noun, “Christ” (Christus)
  • οὐδὲ: conjunction, “nor” (neque)
  • Ἠλίας: substantive noun, “Elijah” (Elias)
  • ὁ: def. article, “the”
  • προφήτης: substantive noun, “prophet” (propheta)

* Note the very subtle difference between εἰ (if) and εἶ (you are). The first has no accent and is a conjunction. The second has a circumflex accent and is a verb.

Translation

The following is a literal based on the expositions above.

21 And they asked him, “What then you Elijah (you) are?” and (he) says “Not I am.”. “The prophet (you) are you?” and (he) answered “Not.”. 22 (They) said therefore to him “Who (you) are, so that (a) response (we) can give “to those” (they who) sent us. What (you) say about yourself?”. 23 (He) said, “I (a) voice crying in the desert ‘εὐθύνατε: verb, ‘Make straight the way of (the) lord.’ as (he) said Isaiah the prophet.” 24 And (those who were) sent (they) were of the of Pharisees. 25 And they asked him and (they) said to him, “Why then (you) baptize if you not (you) are the Christ nor Elijah nor the prophet?”

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