In John 1:14, why is the deponent verb ἐγένετο translated as if passive?

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
Forum rules
This is a beginner's forum - see the Koine Greek forum for more advanced discussion of Greek texts. Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up.

When answering questions in this forum, keep it simple, and aim your responses to the level of the person asking the question.
Post Reply
Bill Ross
Posts: 188
Joined: August 12th, 2012, 6:26 pm

In John 1:14, why is the deponent verb ἐγένετο translated as if passive?

Post by Bill Ross » May 25th, 2020, 9:08 am

[Jhn 1:14 MGNT] (14) καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας
IE: Taking σὰρξ as "flesh":

"the Utterance made flesh and tented [in it]"

Or, taking σὰρξ as "human," might it not be deponent and be read:

"the Utterance made himself to be human" or "the Utterance became human" or something along those lines?
0 x


What I lack in youth I make up for in immaturity.

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1909
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: In John 1:14, why is the deponent verb ἐγένετο translated as if passive?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 25th, 2020, 9:31 am

Bill, simply looking up γίνομαι in the lexicon would probably answer your question. Most modern translations render it "became." And I wouldn't ever render λόγος as "utterence" in the context of John 1. Our English word "word" much better captures it.
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Bill Ross
Posts: 188
Joined: August 12th, 2012, 6:26 pm

Re: In John 1:14, why is the deponent verb ἐγένετο translated as if passive?

Post by Bill Ross » May 25th, 2020, 11:50 am

Okay, thanks.
0 x
What I lack in youth I make up for in immaturity.

Post Reply

Return to “What does this text mean?”