In John 8:44 the last phrase has some ambiguity. It talks about Devil, that he is liar and the father of:

  • it...KJV.
  • thereof...ASV.
  • lies...ESV and GNB.
  • الكذاب...سميث/فاندايك، الكذاب=the liar.
  • الكذب... الحياة، الأخبار السارة، اليسوعية. الكذب=the lying.

This is the phrase in GNT: "πατὴρ αὐτοῦ."

John 8:44 (KJV);

  1. Ye are of {cf15I your} father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

The phrase in KJV and ASV is unclear. The phrase in ESV and GNB is clear but not accurate translation of the Greek phrase.

I accept intuitionally that Devil is "liar and father of liars."

So, what is the accurate translation of the phrase?, And could you explain it to me?

  • I think you’re asking about this word ψευστης and not αυτου Jan 27, 2020 at 2:22
  • @NihilSineDeo I said the phrase is ambiguous, it is in GNT "καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ.". ASV translated it literally, but the meaning is unclear.
    – salah
    Jan 27, 2020 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


The literal Greek (Scrivener Textus Receptus) reads something like:

ὅταν λαλῇ - hotan lalē - whenever he may/might speak (λαλῇ is subjunctive)
τὸ ψεῦδος - to pseudos - the lie
ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων λαλεῖ - ek tōn lalei - out of his own he speaks
ὅτι ψεύστης ἐστὶ - hoti pseustēs esti - for a liar he is
καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ - kai ho patēr autou - and the father of IT

(Aside from the use of ἐστὶν rather than ἐστὶ there seems to be no difference between the Textus Receptus Greek and the Nestle-Aland version upon which most modern Protestant English translations are based).

The word αὐτοῦ ("IT" above) is the genitive case of both the masculine αυτός and the neuter αυτό, so perhaps one could argue that it could belong with either ψεύστης (liar) - which is masculine - or with ψεῦδος (lie) - which is neuter. Other language considerations aside, it seems that the "IT" was understood to belong with "the lie".

The verse is/was understood by many to be an allusion to the very first lie in human history, in the Garden. John Chrysostom (4th c. Byzantine Greek), for example, wrote "For the devil first was the father of a lie, when he said, In the day that ye eat thereof your eyes shall be opened [Genesis 3:5], and he first used it. For men use a lie not as a thing proper, but alien to their nature, but [for the devil it is] proper" (Homily LIV on John).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.