John 5:44

KAI THN DOXAN THN PARA TOU MONOU QEOU OU ZHTEITE –John 5:44 ” . . . and seek not the honour that comes from God alone?”

“A Grammar of New Testament Greek,” by James Hope Moulton, Vol. III-Syntax, by Nigel Turner, pg. 225-226: “There is therefore not surprisingly some confusion of monos with the adv. monon . . . In Jn 5:44 monou is best TAKEN ADVERBIALLY; not from him who alone is God, but only from God (Jewish monotheism was unimpeachable; Jesus was referring to their love of human praise), in spite of the word order. Lk 5:21 adv. monos.”

Bible translators generally appear not to agree that MONOU should be taken adverbially here; can anyone comment on why?

Daniel Buck

Thanks for your opinion; its not so popular here, but I’m getting the idea that translating this clause is not so cut-and-dried as some think it to be. If MONOU is used adverbially here, apparently its the only such use in Scripture.

Here’s an interesting opion from Wieland Willker’s Textual Commentary: Zahn (Comm. Jo) notes that PARA TOU MONOU QEOU d   There’s some good evidence that this is an ancient way of translating the phrase. Here is how the Old Latin evidence breaks down:   from him who is God alone: r1 from God alone:  e g1mg f l from the only God: a d c  from him that is the only: b from the only:  a     HT to Barry Hofstetter, to whom Latin always sounds sweet.   Daniel Buck

People who read this article also liked:


5 thoughts on “John 5:44

  1. George F Somsel says:

    πῶς δύνασθε ὑμεῖς πιστεῦσαι δόξαν παρὰ ἀλλήλων λαμβάνοντες, καὶ τὴν δόξαν τὴν παρὰ τοῦ μόνου θεοῦ οὐ ζητεῖτε;

    Μόνου MONOU is not used adverbially.  It is clearly an adjective as it is in agreement with θεοῦ QEOU.  We find an instance of μόνος  used as an adv in Jn 8.29 

    καὶ ὁ πέμψας με μετʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν· οὐκ ἀφῆκέν με μόνον KAI hO PEMYAS ME MET’ EMOU ESTIN; OUK AFHKEN ME MONON   Note that as an adv it appears as an neut acc.  Note also the position of μόνου MONOU.  It is sandwiched between the article and the noun.  While θεοῦ QEOU is a noun and not an adjective, note what the same author says regarding the position of the adverb as following  “An adverb usually follows the adj. or verb which it determines, in NT. Mt 2:16 ἐθυμώθη λίαν, 4:8 ὑψηλὸν λίαν, Lk 12:28 ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ τὸν χόρτον ὄντα σήμερονwhich exists to-day not which is in the field to-day.”  george gfsomsel

    … search for truth, hear truth, learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, defend the truth till death.

    – Jan Hus

  2. Daniel Buck says:

    So, are you saying that in order to get the traditional meaning we would expect a reading along the lines of τοῦ θεοῦ μόνον οὐ ζητεῖτε TO QEOU MONON OU ZHTEITE?

    Daniel Buck

  3. Mark Lightman says:

    Hi, Daniel,

    As you know, quite often Greek uses adjectives, even in the nominative, where English would use adverbs. This is such a basic feature of Greek that I don’t need to give any examples.

    I think MONOU is functioning as an adverb here in John 5:44. I find Moulton’s reasoning plausible.

    I only found two translations which bring this out, but they are two of the oldest and two of the best:

    “…and seek not the honor that comes from God only.” (KJV)

    “…and the glory which is from God alone you seek not.” (Rheims)

    Why the more modern translations choose to depart from this I don’t know.

    Mark L Φωσφορος


  4. Oun Kwon says:

    Alford has this footnote:

    MONOU’ between TOU and QEOU. It needs to be either after QEOU (Mt 4:4;12:4; 17:8, or before TOU QEOU, Lk 5:21; 6:4; Heb 9:7) to be adverbial – Alford, p. 753.

    At any rate, I don’t see any need to read it adverbially to make a better sense, if that’s what we want.

    Oun Kwon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>