Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences!

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Oy-vey for society because of traps because [it is its] nature showing up traps, except oy-vey for the person through whom the trap shows up.

Explanation of Greek: 

This verse's KJV translation] is a little vague. Christ is saying that it is sad that there are traps and snares in the world of men, but that it is natural for the world to be this way. It is even sadder for the people from whom these traps come into the world.

"Woe" is from an exclamation of grief, meaning "woe" or "alas."

"World" is translated from a Greek word that means "order", "world order," and "the world of men." It is the indirect object here. Christ uses it specifically to refer to the organization of the world by mankind, what we call "society" as opposed to the planet and the universe, which are God's creation. See this article for more information on all these concepts.

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

"Offences" is from a noun that means "a trap or snare for the enemy." We saw its verb form in the previous verse, Mat 18:6.

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

"It must needs" is from a noun that means "force", "constraint", "necessity," and "natural need." It means the natural forces that require things to be as they are. We would typically use the word "nature" here.

There is no word for "be" here in today's Greek source, though it is somewhat required since the following verb is in a noun form.

The word "that offences" here is not the subject of the previous verb (something that is coming), but the object of the verb-noun "to set out."

The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out"of "to set out." It is an infinitive here, so "to start out" or "to get underway" but the -ing form words better in English. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." More about this word in this article.

The word translated as "but" here is not the normal conjunction translated as "but" be an uncommon preposition that means "except."

The "woe" here is the same exclamation as used to begin this phrase.

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

The word translated as "by" means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)."

"The offence" is the same word as used twice before, but here it is singular and in the form of a subject.

The "come" here is the same word as the earlier "come," so "start out" or "set out," but it is singular and in a form that indicates the subject (the trap) acting on itself.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐαὶ (exlam) "Woe" is from ouai, which is an exclamation of pain or anger meaning "woe" or "alas."

τῷ κόσμῳ (noun sg masc dat) "The world" is from kosmos, which means "order", "good order", "ruler", "world order", "universe," and "the world of men."

ἀπὸ (prep) "Because of" 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.

τῶν σκανδάλων: (noun pl neut gen) "Offences" is from skandalon, which means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. It is not Greek, but based on the Hebrew and Aramaic word. This is one of the words that first occurs in the Greek version of the Old Testament from the Hebrew word for "noose" or "snare."

ἀνάγκη (noun sg fem nom ) "It must needs" is from anagke which means "force", "constraint", " necessity," and "natural need." It means the natural forces that require things to be as they are.

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."

ἐλθεῖν (verb aor inf) "Come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place. --

τὰ σκάνδαλα, (noun pl neut acc) "Offences" is from skandalon, which means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. It is not Greek, but based on the Hebrew and Aramaic word. This is one of the words that first occurs in the Greek version of the Old Testament from the Hebrew word for "noose" or "snare."

πλὴν (prep) "But" is from plen, which is a preposition meaning "except", "save", "besides," and "in addition to." Often used with the negative as a conjunction, "except not."

οὐαὶ (exclam) "Woe" is from ouai, which is an exclamation of pain or anger meaning "woe" or "alas."

τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ (noun sg masc dat) "To the 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.

δι᾽ (prep) "By" is from dia which means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by (causal)", "among," and "between."

οὗ (pron sg masc gen) "Whom" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings. -- The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

τὸ σκάνδαλον (noun sg neut nom/acc) "The offence" is from skandalon, which means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. It is not Greek, but based on the Hebrew and Aramaic word. This is one of the words that first occurs in the Greek version of the Old Testament from the Hebrew word for "noose" or "snare."

ἔρχεται. (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

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