English Standard Version
for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
King James Bible
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
American Standard Version
because if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
For if our heart reprehend us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
English Revised Version
whereinsoever our heart condemn us; because God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
Webster's Bible Translation
For if our heart condemneth us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
Weymouth New Testament
in whatever matters our hearts condemn us--because God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
1 John 3:20 Parallel
CommentaryVincent's Word Studies
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater, etc.
A very difficult passage. See critical note as above. Render, as Rev., shall assure our heart before Him whereinsoever our heart condemn us, because God is greater than our heart.
To be rendered not as a conjunction (for, because) but as a relative, in whatsoever or whereinsoever.
The word occurs only three times in the New Testament; here, 1 John 3:21, and Galatians 2:11. It signifies (1.) To note accurately, usually in a bad sense. Hence to detect (Proverbs 28:11); compare Aristophanes: "Having observed (καταγνοὺς) the foibles of the old man" ("Knights," 46). To form an unfavorable prejudice against. So Herodotus. Datis says to the Delians, "Why are ye fled, O holy men, having judged me (καταγνόντες κατ' ἐμεῦ) in so unfriendly a way?" (vi., 97). (2.) To note judicially: to accuse: to accuse one's self. So Thucydides: "No one, when venturing on a perilous enterprise, ever yet passed a sentence of failure on himself" (καταγνοὺς ἑαυτοῦ μὴ περιέσεσθαι; iii., 45). To give sentence, or condemn. To condemn to death. "Those who had fled they condemned to death" (θάνατον καταγνόντες; Thucydides, vi., 60). To decide a suit against one. So Aristophanes: "You judges have no maintenance if you will not decide against (καταγνώσεσθε) this suit" ("Knights," 1360). In Galatians 2:11, it is said of Peter that, because of his concessions to the Jewish ritualists, κατεγνωσμένος ἦν he stood condemned or self-condemned (not as A.V., he was to be blamed). His conduct was its own condemnation. This is the sense in this passage, the internal judgment of conscience.
This second ὅτι does not appear in the A.V. It is a conjunction.
Is this superior greatness to be regarded as related to God's judgment, or to His compassion? If to His judgment, the sense is: God who is greater than our heart and knows all things, must not only endorse but emphasize our self-accusation. If our heart condemn, how much more God, who is greater than our heart. If to His compassion, the sense is: when our heart condemns us we shall quiet it with the assurance that we are in the hands of a God who is greater than our heart - who surpasses man in love and compassion no less than in knowledge. This latter sense better suits the whole drift of the discussion. See critical note. There is a play of the words γινώσκει knoweth, and καταγινώσκῃ condemneth, which is untranslatable.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
1 John 3:19
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;
1 John 3:21
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
1 John 4:4
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.