Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

The things, however, bringing themselves out of the mouth make themselves come true from the heart. They there imparts information [about] the person.

Hidden Meaning: 

As we discussed in 15:11, this word "defile" is completely misleading here. The idea really means "to communicate" and "to impart." It means "make common knowledge." What Christ is saying here is that what comes from our hearts determines who we are to others and to God.

"Things that proceedeth" is a verb that means literally, "to make to go or carry out of" and is translated regularly as "to make to go out of", "to fetch out," and "to march out," but in modern English, we would probably say "exit" here. It is in the form of an adjective used as a noun, where the subject affects itself "the things bringing themselves "

The Greek preposition translated as "out of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of." This preposition is repeated because it is the prefix of the previous verb. This creates an alliteration.

"Mouth" is the Greek word that means "mouth," any opening," and "the foremost part" of something. For example, the blade of a weapon.The Greek word is much more an organ of speech or simply any inlet or outlet.

The word translated as "come forth" means literally "to go or come out," but it has a secondary meaning of "making something come true." It is in the form of a verb where the subject acts on itself, so "brings itself from."

"The heart" is  a noun that means both the physical heart and the seat of emotions, especially the stronger emotions of passion, rage, and courage." It also means "inclination", "desire," and "purpose." The "heart" is Christ's symbol for relationships and feeling. The source of what we share with people is what we feel about people.

There is no "and" appearing in the original Greek. The word translated as "and they" is an adjective that highlights its noun as in a specific place from a word that means "there."

The word translated above as "defile" is a verb that means primarily "to communicate," and "to share." It has a host of meanings related to communication and sharing. It can mean "make common," but in the sense of "make common knowledge" or "make common property," not in the sense as in English, "to make lower-class. The word also means "to partner" and "to come to terms with." Only here in Matthew and in the parallel verses in Mark is it translated as "defile," which has little to do with the original Greek, but it is a play on the Jewish concept of purity and holiness versus what common and every day.

The Greek word for "a man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

Notice how Christ never mentions words or thoughts or hearing in this verse that seems to be about what we speak. All of those ideas would put this verse in the context of the mental realm rather than the emotional realm of relationships. It is people's caring, not their ideas, that ends up measuring them as people.

"Defiles" is from koinoô, which means "to communicate", "to impart", "to share." Only in Matthew is it translated as "defile."

Wordplay: 

There is a play on the Greek word for "communicate" and "share" here. In one sense, it highlights the two uses of a mouth, to eat and to speak. On another level, it plays on the Jewish idea of what is shared among people is not special to God. This also says something about the idea of sacred ideas and ideas that are held in common. 

Vocabulary: 

τὰ "Those" is from the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun but which is separated from its noun by the conjunction "but."

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").

ἐκπορευόμενα (part pl pres mp neut nom) " things which proceedeth" is from ekporeuomai, which means "to make to go out", "to fetch out," and "to march out."

 

ἐκ "Out of" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from." -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

τοῦ στόματος (noun sg neut gen) "The mouth" is stoma, which means "mouth", "the organ of speech", "speech", "utterance, ""any outlet or entrance," and "the foremost part" of something. For example, the blade or point of a weapon is a stoma.

ἐκ "From" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from." -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

τῆς καρδίας (noun sg fem acc/gen) "The heart" is from kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)", "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)", "inclination", "desire, ""purpose", "mind", "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

ἐξέρχεται, (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Come forth" is from exerchomai, which means "to come or go out of ""to march forth", "go out on", "to stand forth", "to exceed all bounds", "to come to an end", "to go out of office," and [of dreams or prophecies] "to come true."

κἀκεῖνα (adj pl neut nom) "And they" is from kakeinos, which means "the person there", "that person", "that thing", "in that case", "in that way", "at that place," and "in that manner."

κοινοῖ The word translated above as "defile" is koinoô, which means to "communicate," impart information", "make common", "share", "undertake together", "make common cause in", "take counsel with", "take counsel with", "consult", "to be partner or partaker," and "have communication with."

τὸν ἄνθρωπον. (noun sg masc acc) "A man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

 

 

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