John’s 2nd Letter – Sentence 1/10

By Joseph Manning

John’s second letter is the shortest book in the entire bible.  There are only ten full sentences. Here’s the first:

[1] Ο ΠΡΕΣΒΥΤΕΡΟΣ ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτῆς, οὓς ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἐγνωκότες τὴν ἀλήθειαν, [2] διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν τὴν μένουσαν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν ἔσται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα: [3] ἔσται μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη παρὰ θεοῦ πατρός, καὶ παρὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ πατρός, ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἀγάπῃ.

Ο ΠΡΕΣΒΥΤΕΡΟΣ ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτῆς

HO PRESBUTEROS eklekte kuria kai tois teknois autes

THE ELDER to the chosen lady and to her children,

We still see the word presbyter used a lot in the churches. The author of the letter is naming himself and those to whom the letter is directed.

ἐκλεκτῇ – eklekte: This word comes to us in the form of ‘eclectic’ as in ‘selected.’ The word in Greek means the same.

κυρίᾳkuria: the male form is kurios, it means lord or lady. It’s an honorific. She is probably a relatively wealthy woman.

τέκνοις teknois: this is a neuter noun.  It’s used for animals as well as humans so its meaning for us is something more like ‘offspring.’  But we would never use the word ‘offspring’ to address someone like is being done here or, as Suetonius writes, when Caesar last addressed Brutus: “Kai su, teknon?

οὓς ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ,

hous ego agapo en altheia

who I love in truth,

ἐγὼ ego: this is the first person singular ‘I.’  Latin uses the exact same word.

ἀγαπῶ agapo: Greek had a few words for showing affection.  The well-known eros which is the same word as the name of the god Eros, we get ‘erotic’ from this word.  There was phileo which was a friendly kind of affection as between siblings, good friends, or husband and wife.  This agapo is a pious love or respect as between humans and the gods.

ἀληθείᾳ aletheia: this word means ‘truth.’

ἐν en: This is a preposition meaning ‘in.’  Our word has not changed much from the Greek and the Greek had not changed much from proto-Indo-European en.

καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἐγνωκότες τὴν ἀλήθειαν,

kai ouk ego monos alla kai pantes hoi egnokotes ten aletheian,

and not I only but also all the one’s knowing the truth,

οὐκ – ouk: ‘not.’  We see this word in English in the form of ‘utopia’ with ou + topos meaning no-place (topos as in topography).  I had to double check that though, because in Greek there is the word eu which means ‘good’ as in ‘eulogy’ eu + logos ‘good speech.’  (We get another English word that means the same thing from Latin — ‘benediction’ from bene + dicto.) I was pretty sure that Utopia came from eu as in a ‘happy place.’  But according to Wikipedia and Online Etymology Dictionary I’m wrong.

μόνος – monos: alone/sole/only.  This is simple enough — ‘monogamy’ from mono + gamo ‘one-marriage.’  In ancient Greek Gameo meant ‘to take in marriage,’ but as far as I know in Modern Greek today its taken a vulgar meaning — try to guess what English word best approximates now.  Also, try to guess what this guy’s nickname meant before checking wikipedia:  Antigonus I ‘Monophtalmus’

ἀλλὰ – alla: But, rather, also, even.

πάντες – pantes: All; I once read a theory that the ancient Greek religion was a lot more like the Hindu’s (polytheistic with a concept of every god really being part of some greater whole).  The chaotic nature god Pan symbolized that .  I don’t know much about it, but it would explain why his name is ‘Pan’.  We use pan today in words like ‘pan-American.’  Also, going back to Pan, we derive ‘panic’ meaning a state of chaotic frenzy bestowed by Pan.

ἐγνωκότες – egnokotes: This is a form of the verb ‘to know’ our word ‘know’ and ‘knowledge’ come directly from it.

διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν τὴν μένουσαν ἐν ἡμῖν,

dia ten aletheian ten menousan en hemin,

through the truth staying in us,

μένουσανmenousan: this is a form of the verb meaning ‘to stay, to remain’ in the New Testament it is often translated as ‘abide.’  It’s not exactly wrong, but I’m not the biggest fan of that translation because our English word ‘abide’ comes directly from the Anglo-Saxon verb ‘bidan‘ which means ‘to live’ not ‘to stay, remain.’  That is why we have words like ‘abode’ meaning ‘living-place.’  The meaning of ‘waiting’ in English is secondary in the form of ‘biding one’s time.’

ἡμῖν hemin: This is just a form of the first person plural pronoun.

καὶ μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν ἔσται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα:

kai meth hemon estai eis ton aiona:

and with us it will be [through] the eon[s]:

μεθ meth: This is a preposition meaning ‘with, in the middle of, or among.’  Our germanic word ‘middle’ is related.

ἔσταιestai: form of verb ‘to be.’  You should be able to see similarities to it’s many relatives: is, est, es, ist

εἰςeis: ‘to, toward.’  The name of the city Istanbul comes from this word.  I’ll quote Online Etymology: “a corruption of Greek phrase eis ten polin ‘into the city,’ which is how local Greeks referred to it.”  The Greek word polis for ‘city’ is well known.  We get ‘politics,’ ‘police,’ and more from it.

αἰῶνα aiona: eons/ages.  Not much to say for this one should be self-evident.

ἔσται μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη παρὰ θεοῦ πατρός,

estai meth hemon charis eleos eirene para theou patros,

[also there] will be with us grace, mercy, peace through God the father,

χάρις – charis: grace; compare our ‘charity.’ The usual ancient Greek greeting was chairete.

ἔλεος – eleos: mercy; I had to look this one up on Online Etymology to see if we had any cognates in English.  We get ‘alimony’ and ‘alms’ from this word although its convoluted path.  The word morphed several times getting from eleos to ‘alms’ starting with when Church Latin took the word up from the original Greek, from there it was corrupted into a Vulgar Latin word, which Proto-Germanic borrowed, then evolved into Old English, which is where we got it.

εἰρήνη – eirene: If you’ve watched HBO’s Rome you’ll remember the character Eirene, her name means Peace.

θεοῦ theou: god; ‘theology,’ etc.  This word is closely related to dios as in ‘diety.’  From theos/dios we get Zeus.  From Zeus pater we get Latin Jupiter.

καὶ παρὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ πατρός, ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἀγάπῃ.

kai para Iesou Christou tou huiou tou patros, en aletheia kai agape.

and through Jesus Christ the son of the Father, in truth and love.

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