Mat 19:17 Why do you call me good?...

KJV Verse: 

Mat 19:17 Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Why ask me about the valiable? One is the valuable one. If, however, you want to enter into life, watch over the commandments.

Hidden Meaning: 

This is one of those cases where the KJV source is very different than the superior sources we use today. It is also a good illustration of how things can get changed around in translation and how translators can put in one meaning or another. This is also a good example where a comparison between the Gospels is interesting, The Mark and Luke versions are almost identical, while this version is radically different, The biggest difference is that "God" is not mentioned in the Greek source. What is more likely: that the answer here, which is more detailed and ambiguous, was built up or that Mark or Luke versions were stripped down to a simpler and more straightforward answer? 

"Callest" is  a different word in today's source, on that means "to ask" or "to question", not the one used in the KJV which means "to say" or "speak."

In today's source, there is a word that means "concerning" or "about" that was not in the KJV source.

The adjective translated as "good" means "useful", "worthwhile," and "of high quality. See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil." It is p[receded by an article so it becomes a noun, "the noble one" or "the valuable one". 

There is no word for "no man" in current sources. Nor does the word for "God."

The word "one" is  the number, which, as in English, can act like a pronoun, meaning one person.

"Is" is the common verb for "to be".

Again, the adjective meaning "good" is used as a noun.

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.

The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether than condition is met or not.

The Greek word translated as "thou wilt" expresses consent and even a delight in doing something.

"Enter" is a word that means "go or come into" and has the double meaning of "coming into one's mind." It is an infinitive, "to enter."

The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

The word translated as "life" means "living" but it also means "substance", "existence," and "property." Christ uses it to mean "existence" beyond physical life.

The word translated a "keep" means "to watch over", "to guard", "to take care of", "to give heed to", "to keep", "to test by observation or trial," and "to observe."

The word translated as "commandments" means "injunctions", "orders," and "commands."

"injunction", "order," and "command."

The Spoken Version: 

Why ask me about nobility? A person is nobility. If, however, you want to go on living, observer the commands.

Vocabulary: 

Τί (irreg sg neut nom) "Why" is from tis which in a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

με (pron 1st sg masc acc ) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my".

ἐρωτᾷς (verb 2nd sg pres ind act) "Callest" is from (erotao), which means "to ask" or "to question."

περὶ (prep) Untranslated is from peri, which means "round about (Place)", "around", "about", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to", "before", "above", "beyond," and "all around."

τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; (adj sg masc gen) "Good" is from agathos which means "good" and, when applied to people, "well-born", "gentle", "brave," and "capable." When applied to things, it means "serviceable", "morally good," and "beneficial."

εἷς (noun sg masc nom) "One" is from heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

ἐστὶν "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

ἀγαθός: (adj sg masc nom) "Good" is from agathos which means "good" and, when applied to people, "well-born", "gentle", "brave," and "capable." When applied to things, it means "serviceable", "morally good," and "beneficial."

εἰ (conj) "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions. --

δὲ (partic) "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").

θέλέις (verb 2nd sg pres ind act) "Thou wilt" is from 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)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

εἰς "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)." -

τὴν ζωὴν (noun sg fem acc) "Life" is from zoe, which means "living", "substance", "property", "existence," and, incidentally, "the scum on milk." It has the sense of how we say "make a living" to mean property. Homer used it more to mean the opposite of death.

εἰσελθεῖν, (verb aor inf act) "Enter" is from eiserchomai which means both "to go into", "to come in", "to enter", "to enter an office", "to enter a charge," (as in court) and "to come into one's mind."

τήρει (verb 2nd sg pres imperat) "Keep" is from têreô, which means "to watch over", "to guard", "to take care of", "to give heed to", "to keep", "to test by observation or trial," and "to observe."

τὰς ἐντολάς. (noun pl fem acc) "Commandments" is from entole which means "injunction", "order," and "command."

Related Verses: