Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

1 John 3:20

Context
NET ©

that 1  if our conscience condemns 2  us, that 3  God is greater than our conscience and knows all things.

NIV ©

whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

NASB ©

in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.

NLT ©

even if our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

MSG ©

It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

BBE ©

When our heart says that we have done wrong; because God is greater than our heart, and has knowledge of all things.

NRSV ©

whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

NKJV ©

For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.


KJV
For
<3754>
if
<1437>
our
<2257>
heart
<2588>
condemn us
<2607> (5725)_,

<3754>
God
<2316>
is
<2076> (5748)
greater
<3187>
than our
<2257>
heart
<2588>_,
and
<2532>
knoweth
<1097> (5719)
all things
<3956>_.
NASB ©
in whatever
<3739>
our heart
<2588>
condemns
<2607>
us; for God
<2316>
is greater
<3173>
than our heart
<2588>
and knows
<1097>
all
<3956>
things
<3956>
.
GREEK
oti
<3754>
CONJ
ean
<1437>
COND
kataginwskh
<2607> (5725)
V-PAS-3S
hmwn
<2257>
P-1GP
h
<3588>
T-NSF
kardia
<2588>
N-NSF
oti
<3754>
CONJ
meizwn
<3187>
A-NSM-C
estin
<1510> (5748)
V-PXI-3S
o
<3588>
T-NSM
yeov
<2316>
N-NSM
thv
<3588>
T-GSF
kardiav
<2588>
N-GSF
hmwn
<2257>
P-1GP
kai
<2532>
CONJ
ginwskei
<1097> (5719)
V-PAI-3S
panta
<3956>
A-APN
NET © [draft] ITL
that
<3754>
if
<1437>
our
<2257>
conscience
<2588>
condemns
<2607>
us, that
<3754>
God
<2316>
is
<1510>
greater than
<3187>
our
<2257>
conscience
<2588>
and
<2532>
knows
<1097>
all things
<3956>
.
NET ©

that 1  if our conscience condemns 2  us, that 3  God is greater than our conscience and knows all things.

NET © Notes

tn The first ὅτι (Joti) in 3:20 may be understood either (1) as causal, “because if our heart condemns us,” or (2) as epexegetical (explanatory), “that if our heart condemns us.” There are two other instances of the combination ὅτι ἐάν (Joti ean) in 1 John, 3:2 and 5:14. In 3:14 the ὅτι clearly introduces an indirect discourse (content) clause following οἴδαμεν (oidamen). In 5:14 the ὅτι is epexegetical to a preceding statement (“and this is the confidence [ἡ παρρησία, Jh parrhsia] which we have before him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us”). This is analogous to the present situation, and the subject under discussion (the believer’s confidence before God) is also similar (cf. 3:21-22). It is thus more likely, by analogy, that the first ὅτι clause in 3:20, ὅτι ἐὰν καταγινώσκῃ ἡμῶν ἡ καρδία ({oti ean kataginwskh Jhmwn Jh kardia), should also be understood as epexegetical to the preceding clause, ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πείσομεν τὴν καρδίαν (emprosqen autou peisomen thn kardian, “and we convince our heart before him”).

tn In Deut 25:1 LXX καταγινώσκω (kataginwskw) means “to condemn” in a context where it is in opposition to δικαιοῦν (dikaioun, “to acquit”). In Job 42:6 LXX (Symmachus) and Ezek 16:61 LXX (Symmachus) it is used of self-judgment or self-condemnation, and this usage is also found in the intertestamental literature (Sir 14:2). Testament of Gad 5:3 describes a person οὐχ ὑπ᾿ ἄλλου καταγινωσκόμενος ἀλλ᾿ ὑπὸ τῆς ἰδίας καρδίας (ouc Jupa[llou kataginwskomeno" allJupo th" idia" kardia", “condemned not by another but by his own heart”). Thus the word has legal or forensic connotations, and in this context refers to the believer’s self-condemnation resulting from a guilty conscience concerning sin.

tn The use of two ὅτι (Joti) clauses in close succession is somewhat awkward, but this is nothing new for the author; and indeed he has twice previously used two ὅτι clauses in close proximity in 3:2 and 14. In both those instances the second ὅτι was understood as causal, and (1) some interpreters would do the same here. Unless one understands both of the ὅτι clauses in 3:20 as causal, however (an option rejected based on the analogy with 5:14, see the discussion in the note on “that” at the beginning of the present verse), the first ὅτι clause must be understood as parenthetical in order for the second to be causal. This results in an even more awkward construction. It seems most probable that (2) the second ὅτι clause in 3:20 should also be understood as epexegetical (explanatory), and resumptive to the first. The resultant meaning is as follows: “and we convince our heart before him, that if our heart condemns us, that God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”



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