Matthew 10:31 Fear ye not therefore,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

Sending of Apostles, protection

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

So don't terrify yourselves. You yourselves carry on better than many/great/large tiny sparrows.

KJV : 

Matthew 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Even without its double meaning, this verse is the punchline that Jesus has been building to since Matthew 10:26. The setup was in the last two verses about sparrows and hair. The punchline is the phrase translated prosaically as "many sparrows." The Greek words actually mean "many/great/large tiny sparrows." Jesus makes a point of calling the sparrows small but the adjective he uses means not only "many" but "great" and "large." This idea of size is clearer because the previous verse referenced "hair" which is an analogy for things that are tiny.

NIV : 

Matthew 10:31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

NLT : 

Matthew 10:31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "sparrow" is a diminutive, "tiny sparrow". The "a lot of tiny sparrows" could also be translated as "a big group of tiny sparrows" making the joke funnier. Since "sparrows" was used as a double entendre referring to lewd people, it becomes more a joke. 

The word translated as "are of more value" primarily means "carrying on to the end" but it also means "to surpass" and to "spread fame". So it has three levels of meaning here. 

My Takeaway: 

The Divine values human life above animal life.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

μὴ (partic) "Not" is from me , 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. --

οὖν (partic) "Therefore" is from oun, which means "certainly", "in fact", "really", "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

φοβεῖσθε: (2nd pl pres imperat mp) "Fear" is phobeo, which means to "put to flight." "terrify", "alarm", "frighten," and in the passive, "be put to flight", "be seized with fear," be frightened", "stand in awe of" (of persons)", "dread (of persons)," and "fear or fear about something." --

πολλῶν (adj pl masc gen) "Many" is from polus, which means "many (in number)", "great (in size or power or worth)," and "large (of space)." As an adverb, it means "far", "very much", "a great way," and "long." --

στρουθίων (noun pl masc gen ) "Sparrows" is strouthion, which actually means a "tiny sparrows" from strouthos, the word for "sparrow." The word is also a metaphor for a "lecher" or "lewd fellow." --

διαφέρετε (2nd pl pres ind act) "Are of more value" is from diaphero, which means to "carry through", "carry on better", "go through life [of Time]", "bear through", "bear to the end", "go through with", "carry different ways", "spread...fame abroad", "tear asunder", "defer or reserve for judgment", "differ", "make the difference", "to be of importance", "have an interest at stake", "to be different from a person generally" "surpass a person", "prevail", "quarrel", "struggle", "come between", and "intervene".When uses as a noun, "that which makes a difference", "the difference," and "the odds.

ὑμεῖς. (pron 1st pl nom) "Ye" is from hymeis (humeis), which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

KJV Analysis: 

Fear -- "Fear" is translated from a Greek word that means "to terrify" and "to put to flight," but in the passive (as here), it means to be put to flight and be frightened. When applied to people, as here, it means to "be in awe of" or "dread." It is a command, but it is in the form indicating something acting on itself "terrify yourselves."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

not -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used.

therefore, -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative.

ye -- (CW) The pronoun translated here as "ye" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis on the "you." The "you" here is plural, indicating many of Christ's listeners. It appears at the very end of the sentence.

are of more value -- (WW) "Are of more value" is translated from a Greek word that has a primary meaning of to "bear though" or "carry on better". Jesus uses this word three times to compare men to animals, sparrows here, birds in Matthew 6:26, and sheep in Matthew 12:12.  The sense seems to be simple: that we carry on better than animals.

than -- This word "than"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "than"  in comparisons). 

many -- "Many" is polus, which means just "many", "much," or "large." There is no "than" in the verse.

sparrows. -- "Sparrows" is a word that is the diminutive of the word for "sparrow" so "tiny sparrow." These were sold at the temple as the least expensive animal sacrifices. It is also a metaphor for lechers.

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "ye"  is not the simple second person form of the verb, but the pronoun, whose use has more the sense of "you yourselves."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "are of more value" means "carry on."

NIV Analysis: 

So -- The Greek word translated as "so" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative ("therefore," "then," and "so").

do -- This helping verb is added to form a negative command.

n’t -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used.

be  -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

afraid; -- "Fear" is translated from a Greek word that means "to terrify" and "to put to flight," but in the passive (as here), it means to be put to flight and be frightened. When applied to people, as here, it means to "be in awe of" or "dread." It is a command, but it is in the form indicating something acting on itself "terrify

you -- (CW) The pronoun translated here as "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis on the "you." The "you" here is plural, indicating many of Christ's listeners. It appears at the very end of the sentence.

are worth more -- (WW) "Are worth more" is translated from a Greek word that has a primary meaning of to "bear though" or "carry on better". Jesus uses this word three times to compare men to animals, sparrows here, birds in Matthew 6:26, and sheep in Matthew 12:12.  The sense seems to be simple: that we carry on better than animals.

than -- This word "than"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "than"  in comparisons). 

many -- "Many" is polus, which means just "many", "much," or "large." There is no "than" in the verse.

sparrows. -- "Sparrows" is a word that is the diminutive of the word for "sparrow" so "tiny sparrow." These were sold at the temple as the least expensive animal sacrifices. It is also a metaphor for lechers.

  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "you"  is not the simple second person form of the verb, but the pronoun, whose use has more the sense of "you yourselves."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "are worth more" means "carry on."

NLT Analysis: 

So -- The Greek word translated as "so" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative ("therefore," "then," and "so").

do -- This helping verb is added to form a negative command.

n’t -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used.

be  -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

afraid; -- "Fear" is translated from a Greek word that means "to terrify" and "to put to flight," but in the passive (as here), it means to be put to flight and be frightened. When applied to people, as here, it means to "be in awe of" or "dread." It is a command, but it is in the form indicating something acting on itself "terrify

you -- (CW) The pronoun translated here as "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis on the "you." The "you" here is plural, indicating many of Christ's listeners. It appears at the very end of the sentence.

are more valuable -- (WW) "Are more valuable" is translated from a Greek word that has a primary meaning of to "bear though" or "carry on". Jesus uses this word three times to compare men to animals, sparrows here, birds in Matthew 6:26, and sheep in Matthew 12:12.  The sense seems to be simple: that we carry on better than animals.

to God -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "to God " in the Greek source.

than -- This word "than"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "than"  in comparisons).

a whole flock of -- (WW) "A whole flock of " is polus, which means just "many", "much," or "large." There is no "than" in the verse.

sparrows. -- "Sparrows" is a word that is the diminutive of the word for "sparrow" so "tiny sparrow." These were sold at the temple as the least expensive animal sacrifices. It is also a metaphor for lechers.

NLT Translation Issues: 

4
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "you"  is not the simple second person form of the verb, but the pronoun, whose use has more the sense of "you yourselves."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "are more valuable" means "carry on."
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "to God" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a whole flock of" means "many/great/large."

The Spoken Version: 

“And our hair falls out over time,” noted Lover Boy, “Our days are numbered as well. . “
“Our days on earth,” corrected Scribbler. “Our souls go on, if they are real.”
“They are,” the Master assured them all.
“And they cannot be killed except by ourselves?” asked Flat Nose.
The Master nodded and said, “So don’t terrify yourselves,”
Our souls survive than little sparrows?” asked Brother James.
“Better than many tiny sparrows” the Master assured them.
“We live even if we die?” said the Scribbler, sounding confused.
“We live even if our bodies die,” clarified Winebag.
“You all are carrying on,” agreed the Master.
“Not just people’s memories of us?” asked Smiley.
“You yourselves,” assured the Master.
CYNIC: Do all souls survive or just some of them.

evidence: 

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Front Page Date: 

Sep 16 2020