Mar 2:21 No man also sews a piece of new cloth

KJV Verse: 

Mar 2:21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

No one a patch of rags unmilled sews onto a cloak, old: if however not, it takes that which fills up from of it, the new kind of the old and worse division becomes.

Hidden Meaning: 

The meaning of this verse seems obscure in translation, but the symbols and double meanings were much more obvious in the time of Christ. Interestingly, this verse seems to be a hybrid of the very different versions in Luke (Luk 5:36), while the version in Matthew (Mat 9:16 ).  Though these verses sound much the same in the KJV, most other modern translations make the differences a little clearer.  

The Greek word translated as "no man" also means "no one", "nothing," and other negatives nouns.

In today's source, there is no Greek word that can be translated as "also".

The word translated as "seweth" means "to sew" it is different than the word in the other verses which means "throws on". 

The Greek word translated as "piece" means "that which is thrown over". It is from the same root word as the verb that means "something thrown over" or "tossed on" used in the other versions of this verse. It has a number of meanings including "covering," "tapestry", and " bandage". This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

"New" is a Greek word "not fulled" referring to the process of abrading cloth so that it becomes fuller, softer, and warmer. This process is used specifically for wool. Abrasion pulls the hairs in the woven cloth ("felting" is a similar process for unwoven wool) and tangles them. As the fibers are pulled together, the cloth gets smaller. When you wear, use, and wash a wool garment, it is naturally "fulled," which also makes it shrink. Fulling is usually part of preparing the wool before it is sewn into garments because wear alone will full the wool, shrinking it. However, in the simpler clothing of Christ's era, which required much less cutting, sewing, and fitting, clothes could be made with raw cloth and fulled by wear. This word is related to the word Christ uses to describe himself "filling up" or "fulfilling" the OT. This is different than the "new" used later in the verse (and in Luk 5:36). It is also not the Greek word commonly translated as "new" in the NT. 

The word translated as "cloth" really means a "rag" or "tatter." This is a negative description of the patch. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

The word translated as "on" means "against", "before", "by" or "on."

The word translated as "old" means old in years both in a good sense and a bad one. In a good sense, it means "venerable" and in a bad sense, "obsolete." Because the point here is that we want to preserve the coat or cloak, it should be translated in the positive sense. "Old" means respected and prized not worn out. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

The word translated as "garment" means an outer garment ("a cloak") like we would use a coat or jacket today. This quality of this garment was how people judge social status.  This specific garment signaled religious affiliation.

The "else" here is the standard conjunction "if" indicating a possibility clause with two meaning "however not ". 

The word translated as "new" here is different than the Greek word translated earlier as "new". This word means "new" and "novel" but also "of a new kind." It is used as a noun, introduced by an article, "the new kind".  This is the word used for "new" in Luk 5:36. It is also not the Greek word commonly translated as "new" in the NT. Though it appears in the proper form for the subject, it appears in the wrong place, after the preposition, "from" right before "the old." 

"Piece that filleth up" is a single Greek word, a noun that captures various ideas of filling and completing, but here, we might simply say "the filler." This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

The word translated as "taketh" means "lift up" but it also means "to remove" and "to exalt" This is a reference to an unfinished piece of material, one without a hem, coming apart. Interestingly enough, the word translated here as "taketh," referring to the patch being torn away from the cloth, is the same word Christ used describing the bridegroom being taken away in the previous verse. So Christ is saying that he is not a patch on the old garment of traditional Judaism. Because when the patch is taken away, it would rip the cloth. He is saying that he is something new entirely, new ideas and new emotions, which means new relationships. When he is taken away, his followers will mourn, but only for awhile, because his resurrection will complete something entirely new.

The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source.

A untranslated word appears here that is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The sense is "from it" refer to the clothing.

The word translated as "old" is the same as above. It is in a positive form and follows the word "new", the sense ois, "the new of the old". In a good sense, it means "venerable" and in a bad sense, "obsolete." Because the point here is that we want to preserve the coat or cloak, it should be translated in the positive sense. "Old" means respected and prized not worn out. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

The Greek word translated as "and" 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 word translated as "rent" means an "opening", "division," or a "tear" but it is also a metaphor about a division of opinion. This word is the source of our word "schism". This is an uncommon word for Christ to use. This noun is important symbolically because it also refers to divided opinions, that is, the split between the "new" and the "old" symbolized by the garments, representing different schools of thought. The verb form of this word is used in Luk 5:36.

The word translated as "is made" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Christ, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state.

The terms translated as "worse" means various forms of inferiority and degradation. This is an uncommon word for Christ to use.

Vocabulary: 

οὐδεὶς (adj sg masc nom ) "No man " is from oudeis which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", " naught ", "good for naught," and "no matter."

ἐπίβλημα [uncommon](noun sg neut nom/acc) "A piece" is from epiblemawhich means "that which is thrown over", "covering", " tapestry ", "hangings", "that which is put on", "piece of embroidery," and "outer bandage."

ῥάκους [uncommon](noun sg neut gen) "Cloth" is rhakos, which means ragged, tattered garment", "rags", "tatters", "strip of cloth", "strip of flesh", "rents in the face", "wrinkles," and is a metaphor for "rag," and "remnant."

ἀγνάφου [uncommon](adj sg neut gen) "New" is from agnaphos, which means "uncarded", "unmilled", "unfulled", "undressed," and "unprocessed."

ἐπιράπτει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Seweth" is from  epirapto, which means to "stitch" and "sew." 

ἐπὶ (prep) "On" is from epi which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

ἱμάτιον (noun sg neut acc diminutive) "Garment" is from himation, which was an oblong piece of cloth worn as an outer garment. The term generally means "clothes" and "cloth."

παλαιόν: [uncommon](adj sg neut dat ) "Old" is from palaios, which means "old in years," "ancient," (in a good sense) "venerable", "held in esteem," (in a bad way) "antiquated", "obsolete," and "in an old way."

εἰ (prep) "Else" is ei, (with de me below), which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also expresses the interjection, "come now!" It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions. -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether than condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

δὲ (partic) "Else" is de (with ei...me ) 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").

μή, "Else" is me (with ei de above) which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective. -

αἴρει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Takes" is from airo, which means "to lift up", "to raise", "to raise up", "to exalt", "to lift and take away," and "to remove."

τὸ πλήρωμα (noun sg neut nom /acc) "That which is put in to fill up" is from pleroma, which means "that which fills", "fullness", "reserves", "mass", "complex", "filling up", "completing," and "fulfillment."

ἀπ᾽ (prep) "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

αὐτοῦ (adj sg neut gen) "From" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of ones own accord."

τὸ καινὸν (adj sg neut nom/acc) "New" is kainos, which means "new", "fresh", "newly made", "newly invented," and "novel." 

τοῦ παλαιοῦ, (adj sg masc/neut gen ) "Old" is from palaios, which means "old in years," "ancient," (in a good sense) "venerable", "held in esteem," (in a bad way) "antiquated", "obsolete," and "in an old way."

καὶ (conj) "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."

χεῖρον (adj sg neut nom/acc comp) "Worse" is from cheiron, which means (of persons) "meaner", "inferior," (in moral sense) "worse than others", "worse (in quality)", "inferior," and, as a noun, "inferiority."

σχίσμα (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Rent" is from schisma, which means "cleft", "division", "division of opinion," "dissension," "the vulva," and "furrow (ploughing)."

γίνεται. (3rd sg pres ind mp) "Is made" is from ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state.

Related Verses: