Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

John 16:8

Context
NETBible

And when he 1  comes, he will prove the world wrong 2  concerning sin and 3  righteousness and 4  judgment –

XREF

Zec 12:10; Joh 8:9,46; Ac 2:37; Ac 16:29,30; 1Co 14:24; Jude 1:15

NET © Notes

tn Grk “when that one.”

tn Or “will convict the world,” or “will expose the world.” The conjunction περί (peri) is used in 16:8-11 in the sense of “concerning” or “with respect to.” But what about the verb ἐλέγχω (elencw)? The basic meanings possible for this word are (1) “to convict or convince someone of something”; (2) “to bring to light or expose something; and (3) “to correct or punish someone.” The third possibility may be ruled out in these verses on contextual grounds since punishment is not implied. The meaning is often understood to be that the Paraclete will “convince” the world of its error, so that some at least will repent. But S. Mowinckel (“Die Vorstellungen des Spätjudentums vom heiligen Geist als Fürsprecher und der johanneische Paraklet,” ZNW 32 [1933]: 97-130) demonstrated that the verb ἐλέγχω did not necessarily imply the conversion or reform of the guilty party. This means it is far more likely that conviction in something of a legal sense is intended here (as in a trial). The only certainty is that the accused party is indeed proven guilty (not that they will acknowledge their guilt). Further confirmation of this interpretation is seen in John 14:17 where the world cannot receive the Paraclete and in John 3:20, where the evildoer deliberately refuses to come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed for what they really are (significantly, the verb in John 3:20 is also ἐλέγχω). However, if one wishes to adopt the meaning “prove guilty” for the use of ἐλέγχω in John 16:8 a difficulty still remains: While this meaning fits the first statement in 16:9 – the world is ‘proven guilty’ concerning its sin of refusing to believe in Jesus – it does not fit so well the second and third assertions in vv. 10-11. Thus R. E. Brown (John [AB], 2:705) suggests the more general meaning “prove wrong” which would fit in all three cases. This may be so, but there may also be a developmental aspect to the meaning, which would then shift from v. 9 to v. 10 to v. 11.

tn Grk “and concerning.”

tn Grk “and concerning.”



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