Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men their trespasses...

KJV Verse: 

Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Because if you might let drop for people the blunders of theirs, he is going to let drop also for you, the Father of yours, the heavenly one.

Hidden Meaning: 

What is hidden here is that this line refers less to moral failure than to missteps and blunders. The actual words are more humorous and more broadly accepting of human error. While these lines in English use the familiar formula of forgiveness and "trespasses," the Greek words used have a different meaning.

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, the prevent a run-on sentence, as a "this is because..." to start a new sentence. Despite this role, it always appears in the second position.

The word translated as "if" makes reference to a time and event in the future that introduces but does not determine its outcome. "Letting go of others mistakes" is a requirement that might happen but it doesn't guarantee the result.

The word translated as "ye forgive" primarily means "to let go", "to allow", or even "to send forth". This same word is usually translated as "leave", "forgive", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament. This article discusses this word and the other words related to evil and sin.

The Greek word for "man" in the plural means "people" and "humanity" in general. The form makes it the indirect object of letting go but the sense is that you do this for the benefit of others.

The uncommon (for Christ) Greek word translated as "trespasses" here really means "false step", "misstep", or "blunder," though it also has an economic meaning of "an error in payment." It is a different word that gets translated as "trespasses" in Mat 6:12 ("And forgive us our trespasses") in more recent translations. Again, the KJV stresses a moral meaning of the word that isn't there, but not as much as more recent translations, which sometimes translate this word in this verse as "sin" even though this is not the word normally translated as "sin" in biblical translations. For more about all these words, you may want to read this article (same as the one above) that explains their use. This word is used to mean going off the right path, or, more specifically, stumbling off that path. It means literally means "falling beside" the path.

The "your Father" here is in the standard form Christ uses, "the Father of yours". Christ seems to consider this form of the possessive somewhat distinctive because it is not that form he uses when he is pretending to speak for another.

The Father here is joined with an adjective form of "heaven" used as a noun so the sense is "the heavenly" or "the heavenly one". It appears after "the Father of yours".

The word usually translated as "and" is used for emphasis here, becoming either "also", "even" and "just."

The Greek word translated as "will forgive" primarily means "to let go." Here it is in the future tense. Unlike the first phrase, it has no object, that is, the word "trespasses" is not repeated.

The "you" is not "let go" or "forgiven" in this sentence. The "you" here is in a form that indicates that the activity is done for our benefit.

Wordplay: 

 The "your Father, the universal one" is a play on words contrasting the private "your Father" is also the public "universal Father."  The "blunders" are omitted in the second part of this verse because the Father has "let them go." 

The Spoken Version: 

“Why do we let our debtors go?” A man asked. A murmur went through the crowd. Many were bondsmen, indebted to their masters, who were also there.
“Because,” the teacher explained, returning to his cheery tenor, “if you all—.” He made a sweeping gesture with his right hand to indicate the whole crowd. “Let go of these people.” He made another sweeping gesture with his left hand to again include the whole crowd. “Those missteps of theirs,” he said, taking a step that turned into a little stumble. He looked critically at the ground where he had stumbled.

“Why do we let our debtors go?” A man asked. A murmur went through the crowd. Many were bondsmen, indebted to their masters, who were also there.
“Because,” the teacher explained, returning to his cheery tenor, “if you all—.” He made a sweeping gesture with his right hand to indicate the whole crowd. “Let go of these people.” He made another sweeping gesture with his left hand to again include the whole crowd. “Those missteps of theirs,” he said, taking a step that turned into a little stumble. He looked critically at the ground where he had stumbled.

Vocabulary: 

Ἐὰν (conj) "If" is from ean, which is a conditional particle, derived from ei ("if") and the particle an (indicating the possibility of something, i.e. "might"), so it literally it means "if might," but the "might" is often omitted because the possibility of the situation is often obvious from the "if" alone.

γὰρ (adv) "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."

ἀφῆτε (2nd pl aor subj act) "Ye forgive" is from aphiemi, which means "to let fall", "to send away", "give up", "hand over", "to let loose", "to get rid of", "to leave alone", "to pass by", "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself."

τοῖς ἀνθρώποις (noun pl masc dat) "Men" 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.

τὰ παραπτώματα [uncommon] (noun pl neut acc) "Trespasses" is from paratoma, which means "false step", "slip", "blunder", "defeat", "transgression", "trespass," and "error in amount of payments."

αὐτῶν, (adj pl masc gen) "Their" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of ones own accord."

ἀφήσει (3rd sg fut ind act) "will forgive" is from aphiemi, which means "to let fall", "to send away", "give up", "hand over", "to let loose", "to get rid of", "to leave alone", "to pass by", "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself." .

καὶ (adv) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is from humas and humon, which are the plural forms of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

πατὴρ (noun sg masc nom) "Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is from humon, which are the plural forms of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

οὐράνιος: (adj sg masc nom) "Heaven" is from ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate." See this article for more perspective on the word and how Christ uses it.

Related Verses: 

Mar 3 2017

evidence: 

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