Many years ago, I read, heard, or saw the latter half of John 4:32 as follows:

"I have meat you/ye know not of,"

but now, I can't find it written that way anywhere.

On BibleGateway, the end of the verse (the part in question, in other words), in most versions, looks basically like this (the KJV):

I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

Some versions/translations say "food," and some of them end differently, but what I'm looking for is one that doesn't say, "to eat that" after "meat/food." That's what I haven't been able to find.

I remember being so touched by the brevity of the shorter, more direct version. So, I'm sure I'm not mistaken that I heard it the way I think I did because I wouldn't have carried the impression I have all this time if I hadn't.

So, there are three possibilities regarding the shorter version:

  1. I simply heard a preacher say it that way one day in the past (and there's nothing more to be done),
  2. There really is a Bible translation out there somewhere with it written this way (and hopefully someone on here can help me find it), or
  3. I saw it on one of some hundred different Bible movies on television (and, again, hopefully someone on here can help me find that movie).

Thank you for your help.

  • This will be an interesting search. I'm still looking, but it's obvious that gospel teachers have been using the shortened phrase, "I have meat you/ye know not of" since at least the 60's.
    – JBH
    Aug 12, 2017 at 23:40
  • 1
    Google will only find quotations for "I have meat ye know not of" (or "whereof") but never the source material. I strongly suspect that this is misquoted, as "to eat that" is easily superfluous, even if it is in the Greek. Aug 13, 2017 at 0:04
  • Not Geneva, Tyndale, nor Wycliffe. I expected [to eat] to be italicized, meaning -- added for ease of reading, not in the Greek text -- in KJV 1611, but I looked at a facscimile and it wasn't italicized. In 1611, "meat" could mean any kind of food, so today "food" is an appropriate translation. It's may be that short in the Greek, and lots of preachers work directly from the Greek. I've heard it that way too.
    – Bit Chaser
    Aug 13, 2017 at 1:47

2 Answers 2


Using the YouVersion Bible App (which contains approx. 300 versions, although I don't believe these are all English versions) it is possible to do a pretty quick and easy cursory search of a particular verse. I did so, and although I haven't completed every version, I found the New Living Translation states John 4:32 thusly:

But Jesus replied I have a kind of food you know nothing about.

Although this is not the quote that you are looking for, to me it puts you on the right track since the NLT is translated from the original text (at least that is what is stated on the web site).

I also found the Bible in Basic English: John 4:32:

But he said to them, I have food of which you have no knowledge.

I also tried "Google Translate" from the Greek which didn't help at all. A function of the reliability of Google...which in my opinion and has no place here.

There is another website that has an English/Greek parallel comparison. This shows that the portion of the translation, "to eat," is probably superfluous as Andrew Leach stated. I would agree.

It would seem to me that the translation you are looking for is probably out there somewhere. I would ask how long has it been since you last read this passage in the format that you are seeking? It might be that it is no longer in popular usage. (Which, of course, might be an assumption that would make one say "that's a cop-out".)

I'm sorry I was unable to find the exact translation for you.

  • My best estimation, @Sam, is that it was around 2005. I really appreciate your efforts and the links you've provided. Aug 16, 2017 at 16:10

I have a little-known and little-used literal Bible translation that has a different form of words to the usual ones. This is Young's Literal Translation of the Bible (in English). Dr. Robert Young resolved not to change words, nor to soften them, just translating strictly as it was written in the original languages. He finished translating the entire Bible in 1862. Twenty-five years later he released a revised edition, then a final third edition in 1896. This is the one I have (recently published by Greater Truth Publishers in 2004). Here is how John 4:32 reads:

And he said to them, 'I have food to eat that ye have not known.

This, however, still contains the phrase, "to eat that", which you say would rule out the version you are searching for (though the following phrase is different to others.) But I have a rendition by Dr. William Barclay that does rule his version in!

He wrote a study guide on the gospel of John in two small volumes. The first volume covers John chapters 1 to 7. These were part of "The Daily Study Bible" series published by The Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, and I have the Revised Edition published in 1982. I believe that where he quotes the verses that he then comments on, he does so directly from whatever Greek text he had, his own translation. He renders John 4:32 as:

"I have food," he said to them, "of which you do not know."

I hope this belated answer is helpful.

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