Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever that you want

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

All, in fact. As much as. When you might desire what they might produce for you all, those people. So much you yourselves must also produce for them. Because this is the law and the prophets.

Hidden Meaning: 

Another verse that works much better spoken than written. Also, the economic meanings in many of Christ's teachings that are lost in our religious translation of his words. Here, we have the famous Golden Rule, teaching that we should treat others how they would treat us. However, when we look at the Greek, it has surprisingly complex and has a more economic meaning than expected.

The Greek word translated either as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative. This verse seems more of a change in topic, rather than a continuation of the the last verse's narrative, Matthew 7:11, so this seems to have the sense of "certainly." This all makes more sense if wadding emphasis.

The word translated as "all things" is the Greek adjective meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." It is plural and the form can be either the subject or the object of the verb.

The word translated as "whatsoever" means "as great as", "as much as", and similar ideas of comparison.

A key Greek word is untranslated in the KJV is either the conjunction "if" or it could be a verb that means "to suffer" or "to permit.

In Biblical translation, the combination of the root words for the two previous Greek words is translated as "whosoever" or, in this case, "whatsoever" because their form is neutral. This translation solves some problems with this verse (the "if" conjunction), it also has problems. The root words literal meaning of "what might" can be read as "whatsoever" fairly easily. However, these word means "if might as much as" which loses a lot of meaning being condensed down to "whatsoever". The loss of the "if" simplifies things, but the loss of the "as much as" loses it connection to the Greek word meaning "so much" later in the verse. It is better to see the relationship between "as much as" and "if" as prior conditions. "As much as" depends on a range of possibilities while "if" depends on a simple "yes" or "no. So adding "if" to "as much as" simple adds the idea that one of those possibilities is "not at all." In English, we would say "as much as if at all".

The Greek word translated as "ye would" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose".

The word translated as "that" is not the simple demonstrative pronoun, but a word that means "there", "where," and "in order that."

The Greek word for "men" means "person" and "humanity" in the singular and "people" and "peoples" in the plural. Christ often uses it to mean "people" in the sense that we say "other people".

The Greek word translated as "should do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. Using this primary meaning, this phrase becomes: "people to produce for you...you should produce for them." This describes a very modern economic message of people exchanging value.

The "to you" here is a plural and its form indicated a benefit, "for you."

The word translated as "so" is an adverbial form that means "to such an extent" and "so much".

The pronoun is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use creates emphasis as we might say "you yourselves." This also lets us communicate the fact it is plural.

The verb "do" here is the same verb as above, primarily "make" and "create." It is a command. However, in English, commands don't have an explicit subject, the "you" is usually understood. However, this sentence has an explicit subject, the "your yourselves" above. This works better in English if we say "You must make..."

The word translated as "to them" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same," and when used as a pronoun can mean "the true self" as opposed to appearances.​

The word translated as "for" means "since" or because".

The word translated as "the law" means what people normally do by tradition or custom. It is the basis of the English words "norm" and "normal."

The Greek word translated as "prophets" means "one who speaks for God", "interpreter" and was the highest level of priesthood in Egypt. Christ uses it to refer not only to divine spokespeople but their books in the OT. It is derived from a verb that means "to shine before." So in English, we might say "shining lights".

The Spoken Version: 

“All, in fact,” the teacher answered playfully.
“As much as I need?” She asked.
“As much as,” he responded, spreading his hands far apart to show how much. “If you all,” he said with a sweeping gesture with his right hand including the entire audience, “desire what they might create for you— those people.” He again indicated the whole group, this time with a sweep of his left hand. “So much,” he said, spreading his hands apart again. “You yourselves, must also create for them.”
“Because this,” the teacher explained, “is the traditional law. Also? The shining lights!” He announced.

Vocabulary: 

Πάντα (adj pl neut nom /acc)"All things" is from from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether."

οὖν (adv) "Therefore" is from oun, which means "certainly", "in fact", "really", "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

ὅσα (adj pl neut nom/acc) "Whatsoever" is from hosos, which means "as many", "as much as", "as great as", "as far as," and "only so far as."

ἐὰν (conj) Untranslated 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. It indicates something that probably will happen but is not certain to happen. OR [uncommon](verb pres inf act or part sg pres act masc nom) Untranslated could be from eao , which means "leave alone", "concede", "allow", (with a negative) "forbid", "leave be", and "have done". ​

θέλητε (2nd pl pres subj act) "Ye would" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

ἵνα (conj/adv) "That" is from hina, which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

ποιῶσιν (3rd pl pres subj act) "Should do" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "To you" is from humin, which is the 2nd person plural dative pronoun.

οἱ ἄνθρωποι, (noun pl masc nom ) "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.

οὕτως (adv) "So" is from houtos, which as an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

καὶ (conj) "Even" 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."

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

ποιεῖτε (2nd pl pres imperat act) "Do" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

αὐτοῖς: (adj pl masc dat) "Them" 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 one's own accord."

οὗτος (adj sg masc nom ) "This" is from houtos, which means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

γάρ (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."

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act ) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

νόμος (noun sg masc nom) "The law" is from nomos, which means "anything assigned", "a usage", "custom", "law", "ordinance," or "that which is a habitual practice." It is the basis of the English words "norm" and "normal."

καὶ (conj) "Even" 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."

οἱ προφῆται. (noun pl masc nom) "The prophets" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter", "keepers of the oracle", "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt", "interpreter," and "herald."

Related Verses: 

Apr 4 2017

evidence: 

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