Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always,

KJV Verse: 

Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

At all times, as a cause, you have those beggars among yourselves, and, when you want, you have the power yourselves them always happily to produce. Me, however, you do not have at all times.

Explanation of Greek: 

The Greek here has many interesting subtleties in it. I am surprised we don't see it more often used by those that want to speak against Jesus.

The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation. To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

The word translated as "ye have" means "to possess" or "to keep."

"The poor" is from an adjective, used as a noun, which means "beggaring", and "beggarly." The sense is "the begging. Christ uses this term a number of times, and through it, he gives a clear sense of the role that beggars play in the world. The first time he uses the word is it in the context of being "beggars of spirit,"that is, lacking spirit in the Beatitudes and throughout the Gospels, Christ separates beggars into two types: those who are spiritually afflicted and those that are physically incapacitated.

"With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of".

The word translated as "you" does not mean "you." It is the reflexive pronoun, "themselves." It can be combined with a second person pronoun to means "yourselves" but there is no such pronoun here. Typically, another Greek word (autos) is used to create the reflexive for the first and second person. However, this translation is as "with you" goes back to the Latin Vulgate and it is continued in all other Biblical translations. The sense, just reading the words, is "among themselves" or"by means of themselves."

The word translated as "always" means "at all times" but what makes it interesting is that Christ seldom uses this word but it occurs twice in this verse. Most people uses the terms "always" whenever they discuss something that it done frequently. Christ never makes this mistake. This word actually starts the sentence.

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

The Greek word translated as "whensoever" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."  It is the same word translated as "when" above.

The Greek word translated as "ye will" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose". As an participle, it means "willingly" and "gladly".

The word translated as "ye may" means having the power or possibly a desire to accomplish something. It is usually translated as "can" not "may."  In Greek, this word indicates ability or power, never permission. It is in the "middle form" when the subject acts on themselves, "you have the power yourselves".

The Greek word translated as "do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do", which covers all actions, productive or not.  The form is an infinitive, "to perform" or "to produce".

The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

The adverb translated as "good" means "well", "thoroughly", "competently", and "fortunately." This is the adverb form of "good", not the adjective "good". The word is uncommon for Christ to use as an adverb, but he commonly uses it in compound words such as the Greek word translated as "gospel" which means "good news." See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."

The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

"Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

The word translated as "ye have" is the same as above and means "to possess" or "to keep".

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea.

The word translated as "always" means "at all times" but what makes it interesting is that Christ seldom uses this word but it occurs twice in this verse. Most people uses the terms "always" whenever they discuss something that it done frequently. Christ never makes this mistake. This word actually starts the sentence.

 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πάντοτε [uncommon](adverb) "Always" is from pantote), which means "always," "at all time", and literally breaks down to "all then." "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether." "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

γὰρ (partic) "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."

τοὺς πτωχοὺς (adj pl masc acc) "The poor" is from ptochos, which means "beggar", "beggar-woman," and "beggarly."

ἔχετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Ye have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

μεθ᾽ "With" is from meta, which means "with", "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to," and "next afterward."

ἑαυτῶν, (adj pl masc gen) "You" is from heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself", "itself" and "themselves." It is an alternative to autos.

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is 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." --

ὅταν (adv/conj) "Whensoever" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)." --

θέλητε ( verb 2nd pl pres subj act ) "Ye will" is 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 with inanimate objects)." As a participle, it means "being willing" or, adverbially, "willingly," and "gladly". . --

δύνασθε ( verb 2nd pl pres ind mp ) "Ye may" is the verb, dynamai, which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities", "to be able," and "to be strong enough." -

αὐτοῖς (adj sg masc gen) "His" (adj sg masc acc) "Him" 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 one's own accord." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." -- 

[πάντοτε] [uncommon](adverb) "Always" is from pantote), which means "always," "at all time", and literally breaks down to "all then." "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether." "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

εὖ [uncommon](adv) "Well done" is eu, the word for "well", "thoroughly", "competently", "fortunately," and "happily." --

ποιῆσαι, ( verb aor inf act ) "Do" is poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to perform", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do." --

ἐμὲ (pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my". -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

δὲ (conj) "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").

οὐ "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single 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.

πάντοτε [uncommon](adverb) "Always" is from pantote), which means "always," "at all time", and literally breaks down to "all then." "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and " "altogether."

ἔχετε: (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Ye have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

Related Verses: 

Mar 24 2019