Is there a linguistic basis for how to translate John 8:43, or are translations basing their translation on context alone?
The following is not meant to be exhaustive, but a sample of the variation in the translations.
διὰ τί τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμὴν οὐ γινώσκετε; ὅτι οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν. (John 8:43, NA27)
Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. (John 8:43, NAS95)
Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. (John 8:43, ESV)
Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. (John 8:43, HCSB)
Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. (John 8:43, NIV84)
Why can’t you understand one word I say? Here’s why: You can’t handle it. (John 8:43, The Message)
Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word. (John 8:43, ASV)
Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. (John 8:43, NKJV)
Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. (John 8:43, KJV)
Robertson mentions the clearest distinction with the use of τὴν λαλιὰν versus τὸν λόγον, which the translation pick up on:
My speech (την λαλιαν την ἐμην [tēn lalian tēn emēn]) and my word (τον λογον τον ἐμον [ton logon ton emon]). Perhaps λαλια [lalia], old word from λαλος [lalos] (talk), means here more manner of speech than just story (4:42), while λογος [logos] refers rather to the subject matter. They will not listen (οὐ δυνασθε ἀκουειν [ou dunasthe akouein]) to the substance of Christ’s teaching and hence they are impatient with the way that he talks. How often that is true.
Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Jn 8:43). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
However, the greatest difficulty and variation appears to be how to understand the phrase οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν.
A beginning, first year Greek translation of this verse, doesn’t make much sense, although the vocabulary of this verse is well within their grasp. What basis is there for these various translations?