This site examines Christ's words in the ancient Greek, giving English speakers insight into the humor, wordplay, and deeper meaning lost in translation. If a reader requests information on a specific verse of Christ's words, we move it to the front of the line.

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Mat 9:13 But go and learn what this means,

Mat 9:13  But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

So having departed [from the course at some point], have you learned something by experience? Is it: "I desire compassion and not [in fact] a victim?" This is why I have not set out [in fact] to invite the law-abiding but the errant. 

This verse has a lot of unusual words in it used for ideas that are more commonly expressed using other Greek terms. This usually happens when Christ wants to offer some hidden double meanings that the common words do not provide. The reference in this verse is to the OT verse, Hsa 6:6 so some commentary on the Hebrew is offered as well. 

The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in a adversarial way. However, it also can be used to mean "if" and "so." Looking at the previous verse, Mat 9:12, "so" seems more appropriate than "but." 

The Greek verb translated as "go" is in the form of a passive participle acting as a noun describing the subject of the sentence ("you"). The term isn't the common verb almost always translated as "go" in the NT. This word means "to lead over," "depart," and "to carry over." This word, however, uniquely means both "to pursue a course" and "to depart from life."

The two verbs here "go" and "learn" are in the tense indicating something that happens at some point in time, past present and future. It is usually translated as the past tense in English un

There is no Greek word  "and" in the source. This was added by the KJV translators. 

"Learn" is not from the common Greek verb that means "to learn" but one that means "to learn from study or by practice" or "acquired the habit." 

There word translated as "what" means "anything" "something," "someone," or "anyone." In questions it means "what."  It is the object of the verb "learn." 

When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." (Note: punctuation was not part of the original text but added centuries later.)

The Greek word translated as "I will have" expresses consent and even a delight in doing something not the future tense as in English. In the  original Hebrew, "will" or "desire" is from chaphets, which means "to delight in," "to take pleasure in," and "to be pleased with."

The Greek term translated as "mercy" means "good will toward the afflicted." It also means "pity" and "compassion." In the original Hebrew, "mercy" is checed, which means "goodness," "kindness," and "faithfulness." It also means "to be ashamed" and "a reproach." Based on the verb checed ("to be kind"), the adjective combines both the idea of being good and feel guilty if you are not good. 

The Greek word translated as "and" over and over here is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, is best translated as "not only...but also."

 The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact, in fact.

Interesting, the Greek terms translated as "sacrifice," does not refer to the act of sacrifice but to "a burnt offering" or "victim."  In Hebrew, "sacrifice" is zebach, ("a sacrifice") which is the noun form of zabach, which means "to slaughter" either for sacrifice or for eating. 

 

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, the prevent a run-one sentence, as a "This is because..." to start a new sentence.

The word translated as "I am come" primarily means "to start out." It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being under way." 

 

The term translated as "call" is  like our word "call" means both "to summon" and also "to name."

The term translated as "righteous" means "those who observe the laws," "well-balanced," and "meet and fitting."

The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. "Still" or "however" work well when the word isn't being used as a conjunction, especially when it begins a sentence. 

"Sinners" is from word that means "erroneous" or "erring." It also means "of bad character" but with the sense of being a slave or low-born not evil. Only in biblical translations is this term given the sense of wickedness. More about the translation issues regarding "sin" here

πορευθέντες (part pl aor pass masc nom) "Go ye" is from poreuomai (poreuo)  which means "make to go," "carry," "convey," "bring," "go," "march," and "proceed." 

δὲ "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").  

μάθετε (2nd pl aor ind act) "And learned" is from manthano, which means "to learn" especially by study or practice, "acquire a habit of," "perceive," "understand," and "notice."

τί "What" is from tis which can mean "someone," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what." 

ἐστιν (3rd sg pres ind act) "That meaneth" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.") 

Ἔλεος "Mercy" is from eleos, which means "pity," "mercy," and "compassion."

θέλω "I will have" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)," "to wish," "to ordain," "to decree," "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain," "to hold," "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly."  and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."  

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as  you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just." 

οὐ "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both singles words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective. 

θυσίαν:” "Sacrifice" is thysia, which means "a burnt-offering," "a sacrifice," "a victim of sacrifice," "mode of sacrifice," "festival at which sacrifices are offered," "rite," and "ceremony."

οὐ "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both singles words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective. 

γὰρ  "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation:  "for," "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what." 

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act) "Come" is from erchomai, which means "to start,"  "to set out," "to come," "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place. 

καλέσαι (aor inf act) "To call" is from kaleo, which means "call," "summon," "invite," "invoke," "call by name," and "demand."

δικαίους  "Righteous" is from dikaios which means "observant of rules," "observant of customs," "well-ordered," "civilized," and "observant of duty." Later it means "well-balanced," "impartial," and "just." 

ἀλλὰ "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise," "but," "still," "at least," "except," "yet,"  nevertheless," "rather," "moreover," and "nay." 

ἁμαρτωλούς. "Sinners" is from hamartolos, which means "erroneous" or "erring." It also means "of bad character" but with the sense of being a slave or low-born not evil. 

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Mat 9:13 But go and learn what this means,

So having departed [from the course at some point], have you learned something by experience? Is it: "I desire compassion and not [in fact] a victim?" This is why I have not set out [in fact] to invite the law-abiding but the errant. 

Mat 9:12 Those who are whole do not need

Those who are strong/powerful don't have need of a healer but those having weakness/failings. 

Mat 9:9 Follow me.

 Be guided by me. 

Mat 9:6 ... the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins

 In order that, however, you might have seen the fact that the child of humanity upon the planet holds the authority to let mistakes drop away, Awake, lift up your cot and depart into your household.  

Mat 9:5 For what is easier, to say,

Why? Because it is a good work [if you can get it] to proclaim, "Your mistakes have let go of themselves!" than to proclaim "Awake and walk around."

Mat 9:4 Why do you think evil

So the thing is, you consider yourself worthless in your mind. 

Mat 9:2 Son, be of good cheer;

 Be brave, child. Your mistakes have let go of themselves. 

Mat 8:32 Go.

 Depart! 

Mat 8:26 Why are you fearful,

Why are you miserable ? Lacking in confidence? 

Mat 8:22 Follow me; and let the dead

 Be guided by me. Let go (at some point) of the dying men to honor their corpses with funeral rites.

Mat 8:20 The foxes have holes...

 The foxes keep their dens and the winged ones of the heavens, perches. However, the child of humanity, doesn't keep anywhere he leans [his] head. 

Mat 8:13 Go your way; and as you have believed,

 Head back. Just as you trust (at a point in time), it comes into existence through you. 

Mat 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out

 However, the offspring of the rule are going to be tossed out into the darkness, the outside, the known world. It is going to be the crying and the biting of the pain of grief. 

Mat 8:11 ...That many shall come from the east

However, I teach you that the great shall arrive [at some time] from the rising and the setting and they will sink [themselves] behind not only Abraham, but also Jacob and Isaac within the universal reign. 

Mat 8:10 ...I have not found so great faith,

 I teach reality. From nobody else I have discovered such a degree of trust faith among Israelites. 

Mat 8:7 I will come and heal him.

I, being on my way, will attend to him. 

Mat 8:4 See that you tell no one; but go your way,

See to it that you inform no one. Instead carry on. Then reveal [this] to your own minister. Just carry the votive offering, the one Moses put in place, as evidence of the true appearances. 

Mat 8:3 I will; be clean.

 I agree. Become pure, free of defects. 

Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came,

And, at the time that the rain comes down, not only does the rivers move out [of their banks], but also the winds blow and it strikes against that person's house and it falls. And the collapse of it was tremendous. 

Mat 7:26 And every one that hears these sayings of mine,

Also, each who is [now] listening to these teachings of mine and not wanting to apply them is going to become like a stupid person, one who builds up his household on a beach. 

Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came,

 And, at the time that the rain comes down not only does the rivers move out [of their banks], but also the winds blow and it falls onto that person's house but it doesn't fall. This is because it founded itself on a high cliff. 

Mat 7:24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine,

 Everyone who really learns these concepts of mine and applies them is going to become like a prudent person who builds up his household on a cliff over the sea. 

Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:

And, at that time, I will agree with them with regard to the fact that, "I didn't ever learn to know you. You are far from me, one that earns a living through lawlessness. 

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,

When their day comes, many are going to pour forth to me, "Master, master! Are we not, in fact, spiritual interpreters of your meaning? Not only have we have tossed out lesser divinities for your sake, but we have also  developed many abilities with your authority. 

Mat 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord,

In fact, not everyone reciting to me, "Master, master," is going to move themselves toward the universal realm except the one bringing into existence the desires of my Father among the universes. 

 

Mat 7:20 Therefore by their fruits

So it is true that from their results you will discover their true selves. 

Mat 7:19 Every tree that does not bring not forth

Each asset not wanting to make quality produce cuts itself off and tosses itself into the fire. 

Mat 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,

A useful asset doesn't, in fact, have the ability to yield worthless profits nor a rotten asset to make quality profits. 

Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit;

 This is because without exception a useful tree produces quality goods. However, a rotted tree produces worthless goods. 

Mat 7:16 You shall know them by their fruits.

 From their profits, you will discover their true selves through skill. Are people collecting bunches of grapes from thorn bushes or figs from cacti?