The Meaning of John 17:4 Explained

John 17:4

KJV: I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

YLT: I did glorify Thee on the earth, the work I did finish that Thou hast given me, that I may do it.

Darby: I have glorified thee on the earth, I have completed the work which thou gavest me that I should do it;

ASV: I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do.

What does John 17:4 Mean?

Context Summary

John 17:1-10 - Jesus Prays For His Own
In Christ's own oratory we hear Him pray. But how wonderful! There is a tone of expectant faith in this marvelous prayer of assured trust, as if He knew that He was asking what was in His Father's heart and thought. The Lord speaks as if He had already passed through death, and were pleading before the throne. He is glad to have authority only that He may use it to give life.
The Father's gift to Jesus consisted in the men who followed Him, the word He spoke, the works He did, the name He bore. How careful the Good Shepherd was of those who had been given to Him! He prayed for them, He kept them, He entrusted them as His dying legacy to His Father's care. Though He did not pray directly for the world, He was doing His best for it, in concentrating all His solicitude on those who were to be the messengers of His gospel.
In John 17:10 we are reminded of Luke 15:31. The very words which the father said to the elder brother are here appropriated by our Lord; and we are taught that we have the privilege of entering on the same inheritance of grace and power as our Lord had. He won for us, unworthy though we are, the privilege of saying, All thine are mine. If only we believed this, and lived as children in our Father's house, how different life would become. [source]

Chapter Summary: John 17

1  Jesus prays to his Father

Greek Commentary for John 17:4

I glorified thee on the earth [εγω σε εδοχασα επι της γης]
John 17:3 is parenthetical and so John 17:4 goes on after John 17:2. He had prayed for further glorification. Having accomplished First aorist active participle of τελειοω — teleioō old verb from τελειος — teleios (perfect). Used in John 4:34 by Jesus with το εργον — to ergon as here. That was Christ‘s “food” Christ does not die as a disappointed man, but as the successful messenger, apostle Perfect active indicative of διδωμι — didōmi regarded as a permanent task. [source]
I have glorified - I have finished [ἐδόξασα - ἐτελείωσα]
The best texts read, τελειώσας , having finished; the participle defining the manner in which He had glorified the Father upon earth. So Rev. [source]
To do [ἵνα ποιήσω]
Literally, in order that I should do (it ). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for John 17:4

John 7:39 Was glorified [ἐδοξάσθη]
We have here one of John's characteristic terms, even as the idea is central to his Gospel - to show forth Jesus as the manifested glory of God (John 1:14). The beginning of our Lord's miracles was a manifestation of His glory (John 2:11). His glory was the expression of the Father's will (John 8:54). By His work He glorified the Father upon earth (John 12:28; John 17:4), and in this was Himself glorified (John 17:10). The sickness and resurrection of Lazarus were for the glory of God (John 11:4). The consummation of His work was marked by the words, “Now was the Son of man glorified, and God was glorified in Him” (John 13:31). His glory He had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5). It is consummated at His ascension (John 7:39; John 12:16). The passion is the way to glory (John 12:23, John 12:24; John 13:31). The fruitfulness of believers in Him is for the glory of God (John 15:8), and the office of the Spirit is to glorify Christ (John 16:14).sa40 [source]
John 4:34 Finish [πελειώσω]
Better, as Rev., accomplish. Not merely bring to an end, but perfect. From τέλειος , perfect. The verb is characteristic of John, and of the Epistle to the Hebrews. See John 5:36; John 17:4; John 19:28; 1 John 2:5; 1 John 4:12; Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:9, etc. [source]
John 13:31 Now [νυν]
Now at last, the crisis has come with a sense of deliverance from the presence of Judas and of surrender to the Father‘s will (Westcott). Is glorified First aorist passive of δοχαζω — doxazō consummation of glory in death both for the Son and the Father. For this verb in this sense see note on John 7:39; note on John 12:16 and note later on John 17:4. Four times here in John 13:31. [source]
John 17:4 I glorified thee on the earth [εγω σε εδοχασα επι της γης]
John 17:3 is parenthetical and so John 17:4 goes on after John 17:2. He had prayed for further glorification. Having accomplished First aorist active participle of τελειοω — teleioō old verb from τελειος — teleios (perfect). Used in John 4:34 by Jesus with το εργον — to ergon as here. That was Christ‘s “food” Christ does not die as a disappointed man, but as the successful messenger, apostle Perfect active indicative of διδωμι — didōmi regarded as a permanent task. [source]
John 17:6 I manifested [επανερωσα]
First aorist active indicative of πανεροω — phaneroō (from πανερος — phaneros manifest). Another word for claiming successful accomplishment of his task as in John 17:4 with εδοχασα — edoxasa and in John 17:26 with εγνωρισα — egnōrisa Whom Accusative case after εδωκας — edōkas not attracted to case of antecedent Jesus regards the apostles as the Father‘s gift to him. Recall the night of prayer before he chose them. They have kept Perfect active indicative, late Koiné form for the third plural instead of the usual τετηρηκασιν — tetērēkasin Jesus claims loyalty and fidelity in these men with the one exception of Judas (John 17:12). He does not claim perfection for them, but they have at least held on to the message of the Father in spite of doubt and wavering (John 6:67-71; Matthew 16:15-20). [source]
John 17:23 That they may be perfected into one [ινα ωσιν τετελειωμενοι εις εν]
Purpose clause again with ινα — hina (nineteen times in this prayer, this the fifteenth) with the periphrastic perfect passive subjunctive of τελειοω — teleioō (John 17:4), permanent state, with εις εν — eis hen (into one) as the goal and final result. That the world may know Present active subjunctive of γινωσκω — ginōskō with ινα — hina like the present tense of πιστευω — pisteuō in John 17:21, “that the world may keep on knowing” with the same pregnant phrase “that thou me didst send” Timeless aorist, but love shown by sending Christ (John 3:16) and illustrated and proven by the way Christians love one another. [source]
John 4:34 To do the will [ινα ποιησω το τελημα]
Non-final use of ινα — hina and the first aorist active subjunctive as subject or predicate nominative as in John 6:29; John 15:8; John 17:3. The Messianic consciousness of Jesus is clear and steady (John 5:30; John 6:38). He never doubted that the Father sent him. And to accomplish his work ινα — Hina understood with τελειωσω — teleiōsō in like idiom, first aorist active subjunctive of τελειοω — teleioō (from τελειος — teleios), to bring to an end. See John 5:36. In John 17:4 (the Intercessory Prayer) he will say that he has done He will carry through the Father‘s programme (John 3:16). That is his “food.” He had been doing that in winning the woman to God. [source]
John 5:36 But the witness which I have is greater than that of John [Εγω δε εχω την μαρτυριαν μειζω του Ιωανου]
Literally, “But I have the witness greater than John‘s.” Μειζω — Meizō Final clause with ινα — hina and first aorist active subjunctive of τελειοω — teleioō the same idiom in John 4:34. Jesus felt keenly the task laid on him by the Father (cf. John 3:35) and claimed at the end that he had performed it (John 17:4; John 19:30). Jesus held that the highest form of faith did not require these “works” The very works “The works themselves,” repeating τα εργα — ta erga just before for vernacular emphasis. Hath sent me Perfect active indicative of αποστελλω — apostellō the permanence of the mission. Cf. John 3:17. The continuance of the witness is emphasized in John 5:32; John 8:18. [source]
James 1:4 Perfect [τελειον]
See Romans 5:3. for a like chain of blessings. Carry on the work to the end or completion (from τελος — telos end) as in John 17:4 Purpose clause with ινα — hina and present active subjunctive of ειμι — eimi This is the goal of patience.Perfect and entire Perfected at the end of the task “Perfected all over.” These two adjectives often occur together in Philo, Plutarch, etc. See Acts 3:16 for ολοκληριαν — holoklērian (perfect soundness).Lacking in nothing (εν μηδενι λειπομενοι — en mēdeni leipomenoi). Present passive participle of λειπω — leipō to leave. Negative statement of the preceding positive as often in James (cf. James 1:6). There is now a digression (James 1:5-8) from the discussion of πειρασμος — peirasmos which is taken up again in James 1:9. The word λειπομενοι — leipomenoi (lacking) suggests the digression. [source]

What do the individual words in John 17:4 mean?

I You glorified on the earth the work having completed that You have given Me that I should do
ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς τὸ ἔργον τελειώσας δέδωκάς μοι ἵνα ποιήσω

ἐδόξασα  glorified 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: δοξάζω  
Sense: to think, suppose, be of opinion.
γῆς  earth 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: γῆ  
Sense: arable land.
ἔργον  work 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: ἔργον  
Sense: business, employment, that which any one is occupied.
τελειώσας  having  completed 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: τελειόω  
Sense: to make perfect, complete.
  that 
Parse: Personal / Relative Pronoun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: ὅς 
Sense: who, which, what, that.
δέδωκάς  You  have  given 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Indicative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: διδῶ 
Sense: to give.
μοι  Me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἵνα  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἵνα  
Sense: that, in order that, so that.
ποιήσω  I  should  do 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: ποιέω  
Sense: to make.