John 16:20-22

John 16:20-22
Narrative Lectionary


20 Very truly,A I tell you, you will weepB and mourn,C but the worldD will rejoice;E

Notes on verse 20a

A “very truly” = amen + amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.
B “weep” = klaio. This is to weep, lament, or sob. It is weeping aloud.
C “mourn” = threneo. 4x in NT. From threnos (ailing, dirge, lamentation, crying aloud); from threomai (to cry aloud, shriek); from throeo (to be disturbed, unsettled, troubled; feeling the desire to scream from fear, very upset, startled); from throos (noise, tumult). This is to mourn or lament – particularly in a vocal way. It can also mean to sing a dirge.
D “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.
E “rejoice” = chairo. From char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting. This is the root verb that the Greek word for “grace” comes from (charis).

you will have pain,F but your painG will turnH into joy.I 

Notes on verse 20b

F “have pain” = lupeo. From lupe (pain, whether physical or mental; grief, sorrow, distress, a heavy heart). This is to be sad, grieve, distress, hurt, feel pain. It can be used for deep pain or severe sorrow as well as the pain that accompanies childbirth.
G “pain” = lupe. Related to “have pain” in v20. 16x in NT. See note F above.
H “turn” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
I “joy” = chara. Related to “rejoice” in v20. From chairo (see note E above). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.

21 When a womanJ is in labor,K she has pain, because her hourL has come.

Notes on verse 21a

J “woman” = gune. Related to “turn” in v20. Perhaps from ginomai (see note H above). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
K “is in labor” = tikto. 18x in NT. This is used of creating new life whether as a mother or a plant or the earth as a whole. It can be rendered bright forth, bear, give birth, labor, produce, or yield. It can also refers to the pains of childbirth.
L “hour” = hora. This is a set time or period, an hour, instant, or season. This is where the word “hour” comes from.

But when her childM is born,N she no longer remembersO the anguishP because of the joy of having broughtQ a human beingR into the world. 

Notes on verse 21b

M “child” = paidion. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is a child as one who is still being educated or trained. Perhaps one seven years old or younger. Used figuratively for an immature Christian.
N “is born” = gennao. Related to “turn” in v20 & “woman” in v21. From genna (descent, birth); from genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (see note H above). This is to beget, give birth to, or bring forth. Properly, it refers to procreation by the father, but was used of the mother by extension. Figuratively, this can mean to regenerate.
O “remembers” = mnemoneuo. From mnemon (mindful) OR from mneme (memory or mention); {from mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence) or mimnesko (to remind or remember; memory through an active, intentional process or being mindful; not incidentally or accidentally remembering); or form meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure) or from massaomai (to chew, gnaw); from masso (to knead, squeeze)}. This is to remember, recollect. It does not necessarily imply remembering something that you forgot – it could be simply calling something to mind. It can mean to punish or rehearse.
P “anguish” = thlipsis. From thlibo (to press in on and make narrow, rub together, constrict; figuratively to oppress or afflict). This is pressure that hems us in – used often of internal pressure that makes us feel like we have no other options and are confined or restricted. So, this is persecution, affliction, trouble, distress, and anguish. There is a different word, stenoxoria, that refers to external pressure that we feel from what’s going on.
Q “brought” = gennao. Same as “is born” in v21. See note N above.
R “human being” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

22 So youS have pain now; but I will seeT you again, and your heartsU will rejoice, and no one will takeV your joy from you.

Notes on verse 22

S {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
T “see” = horao. Related to “human being” in v21. See note R above.
U “hearts” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.
V “take” = airo. This is to lift up in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could mean to lift, carry, or raise. It could also imply lifting something in order to take it away or remove it. Figuratively, this can be used for raising the voice or level of suspense. It can mean sailing off as raising the anchor. It can also correspond to a Hebrew expression for atonement of sin (lift/remove sin).

Image credit: “Birthgiving scene. Terracotta, Cypro-Archaic I (8th–6th centuries BC). From Cyprus.”

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply