Matthew 15:5 But you say, Whoever shall says [to his] father

Spoken to: 

The Pharisees

Context: 

Debate with Pharisees about tradition

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You yourselves, however, tell whoever, when he says to this father or that mother, "An offering this when by me you should be helped."

KJV : 

Matthew 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother,It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Most translations make this verse into a statement just about telling parents that the support that they might have gotten was given as a gift to God, but it is a little more than that. It is really an accusation against his accusers that they teach people to give money to them (offerings go to the religious officials not directly to God) to "help" their parents. What is hidden is that the "gift" is specifically an offering to God.

NIV : 

Matthew 15:5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’

Wordplay: 

This sense of the Greek phrase is "this father or that mother" making it light-hearted.

My Takeaway: 

People want to use social obligations as an excuse for avoiding personal ones.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὑμεῖς (pron 2nd pl nom) "You" is from humeis, which are the singular nominative form of the second person, "you."

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"). -- 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.

λέγετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "yiu say" is from lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out, ""choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep." --

Ὃς (pron sg masc nom) "Whosoever" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἂν (part) "Shall" is from an, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "would have", "might", "should," and "could." OR (conj) "Shall" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

εἴπῃ (verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "Say" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

τῷ (article sg masc dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πατρὶ (noun sg masc dat) "To his Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers." -- "Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor.

(conj) "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

τ (article sg fem dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

μητρί (noun sg fem dat) "His mother" is from mêtêr (meter), which means "mother", "grandmother", "mother hen", "source," and "origin." -- "Mother" is from the common Greek word for "mother" and "grandmothers," but it also means "the source" of something.

Δῶρον (noun sg neut nom/acc) "It is a gift" is doron, which means "gift", "present," and specifically a "votive gift" or "offering" to a god. The simpler term without the sense of a votive offering is "dorea."

(pron sg neut nom/acc) "Whatsoever" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐὰν (conj) "Mightest" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (might), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

ἐξ (prep) "By" 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."

ἐμοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "By me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine". -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

ὠφεληθῇς, [8 verses](verb 2nd sg aor subj pass contr) "Thou be profited" is from opheleo, which means "to help", "to aid", "to succor", "to be of use or service, ""to enrich," and "to benefit." --

KJV Analysis: 

But -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

ye -- The pronoun "ye" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

missing "yourselves" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves." The pronoun is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis on the "you."

say,  - The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching. In the Greek used by the KJV translators, it was a different word than the sources we use today, the "say"word used later in the verse.

Whosoever -- The word translated as "whosoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

missing "when" -- (MW) -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause as we  likely have here. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

say  -  (CW) "Say" (a different Greek word that the "say" above in the Greek source) is from a verb that also means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it has less a sense of teaching and more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

to - This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

his -- (WW) The word translated as "his" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers". It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father. 

or -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

his -- (WW) The word translated as "his" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

mother, -- "Mother" is the common Greek word for "mother" and "grandmothers," but it also means "the source" of something.

It is -- There is no verb "it is" here in the Greek. However, when nouns, pronouns or adjectives appear in the form of a subject without a verb, the verb "to be" can be assumed.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

gift,  - "Gift" is from a Greek word that means "gift", "present," and specifically a "votive gift" or "offering" to a god. There is a another Greek term without the sense of a votive from the same word, but it is not used here. The word is in a form which could be either the subject or object of the sentence.

missing "when" -- (MW) -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

by -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "by" in the Greek source. The form of the following word is not one that requires or can be used with a preposition.

whatsoever -- (WF) The word translated as "whatsoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause. However, it is not the object of the preposition. The form matches that of the subject.

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

mightest -- This helping verb "mightest" indicates that the verb indicates a possibility. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

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.

profited --  (CW) The Greek word translated as "profited" in the KJV  means "to help" or "to be of benefit." It is in the second person passive so "be helped." This is an uncommon word for Jesus, used only eight times.

by - The Greek preposition translated as "by" means "out of" or "from." As a cause, instrument, or means "by.".The sense here could either be "by me" or "from me." The "by" phrase would usually go after the passive verb, but Jesus likes to put his keyword last in the sentence.

me; ----  "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the possessive form, so "my" or "of me". This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

KJV Translation Issues: 

10
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourselves" emphasizing "you: is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The second word translated as "say" is not the same as the first "say."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "his" before "father" should be "the."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "his" before "mother" should be "the."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "by" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "whatsoever" is not the object of a preposition but a verbal subject or object.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "profit" means "help."

NIV Analysis: 

But -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

you -- The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

missing "yourselves" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves." The pronoun is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis on the "you."

say,  - The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching. In the Greek used by the KJV translators, it was a different word than the sources we use today, the "say"word used later in the verse.

that -- The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

if   -- (CW) The "if" is a Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

anyone  -- (WW) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb. It is not the pronoun translated as "anyone."

declares  - "Declares" is from a verb that also means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it has less a sense of teaching and more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

that what   - The word translated as "that what" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause. However, it is not the object of the preposition. The form matches that of the subject.

missing "when" -- (MW) -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

might -  This helping verb "might" indicates that the verb indicates a possibility. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. A "should" is probably a better verb here.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

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

used to -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "used to" in the Greek source. It was added to make the gift the subject of the verb, but the verb is the second-person, not third-person.

help -  (WF) The Greek word translated as "profited" in the KJV  means "to help" or "to be of benefit." It is not nan infinitive, but in the second-person passive so "you are helped." This is an uncommon word for Jesus, used only eight times.

their - (WW) The word translated as "their" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

father - "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers". It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father. 

or -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

mother, -- "Mother" is the common Greek word for "mother" and "grandmothers," but it also means "the source" of something.

is -- There is no verb "is" here in the Greek. However, when nouns, pronouns or adjectives appear in the form of a subject without a verb, the verb "to be" can be assumed.

‘devoted,  - (WF) "Devoted" is from a Greek word that means "gift", "present," and specifically a "votive gift" or "offering" to a god. There is another Greek term without the sense of an offering to a god from the same word, but it is not used here. The word is in a form that could be either the subject or object of the sentence.

to God,’ -- There is nothing that can be translated as "to God" in the Greek source, but it is implied by the noun used.

missing "by" - (MW)  The Greek preposition translated as "by" means "out of" or "from." As a cause, instrument, or means "by.".The sense here could either be "by me" or "from me." The "by" phrase would usually go after the passive verb, but Jesus likes to put his keyword last in the sentence.

missing "me" -- (MW)  "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek in the possessive form, so "my" or "of me". This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

NIV Translation Issues: 

13
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourselves" emphasizing "you: is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" is not the common word usually translated as "if."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "anyone"  should be "he."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "used to" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "help" is second-person not third-person.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "their" before "father" should be "the."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "mother" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "devoted" is a participle or adjective, but a noun.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "by" before "me" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "me" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Jan 16 2021