Matthew 7:3 And why do you see the mote in your brother's eye,

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Why, however, do you see the chaff in the eye of the brother of yours? The one, however, in your own eye, a plank! You don't really perceive.

Hidden Meaning: 

this is one of those verses where the "you" changed from plural, with Christ addressing a group or the whole audience in the previous verse, Matthew 7:2, to the singular, addressing a single person in this verse. this is hidden in translation. It is interesting to note that "light" and "sight" are the metaphors that Christ uses for knowledge and understanding (see this article). this is important in this verse, but hidden in the translation. Both the Greek word for "beam" and "considereth" play into this.

The Greek word translated as "and" usually joins phrases in an adversarial way and is usually translated as "but." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

The Greek word translated as "Why" primarily means "anything" or "anyone" and other English words with similar meanings, but in a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." It is not as specific as our words "why", "who", etc.

The word translated as "beholdest" is a common word meaning "to see." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding.

The Greek term translated as "mote" is karphos, which means something small like "twig", "straw," or "chaff."

The word translated as "brother" also means anyone close to you much as it is used in modern English. We would often say "friend" in the same way.

The word for "eye" means the physical eyeball but it also a metaphor that means "cheer" and "comfort".

The "but" that begins the second part of this verse is the same Greek word as begins the phrase. It usually joins phrases in an adversarial way. However, since it occurs in the second position, our word, however, captures it better.

 

The word translated as "considereth" primarily means "observe well" and "understand". This word is a very rare one for Christ to use. This word is based on a root word that means "to understand" or "to perceive with the mind". It has a specific sense of coming to understand something. This word appears at the end of the verse, not in the middle. In normal Greek word order, this would make it a less important word, but spoken Greek word like spoken English where certain words can appear at the end.

The term translated as "beam", which primarily means the main beam in a house that holds up the roof or floor but also covers any stick of wood. It is perhaps also meaningful that it is the term for the bar on a door.

In the phrase "thine own eye", there is no Greek word for "own" but the structure has the word meaning "your" before the noun. this is common for Greek, but less common for Christ.

 

Wordplay: 

The use of a word with the double meaning of "observe" and "understand" to refer to our vision. 

The Spoken Version: 

It was broken when another Watcher called out, “My brother is a moron. I see what you are saying.”
Some laughed but others remembered what the teacher said about calling others morons and booed.
The speaker laughed.
“What, however,” the speaker asked playfully, “do you see?”
The Watcher, realizing his mistake, amended his statement. “I meant to say my brother has a little problem seeing, just a little speck in his eye.”
“The speck? In the eye of that brother of yours?” The speaker asked.
The man nodded.
“The one, however in your own eye?” He queried.
The man looked confused.
“A plank!” The speaker described it, holding the flat of his hand over an eye. “You really don’t understand?”

Vocabulary: 

τί (irreg sg neut acc) "Why" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

δὲ (partic) "And" 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").

βλέπεις (2nd sg pres ind act) "Beholdeth" is from of blepo, which means "to look", "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to rely on", "to look longingly", "to propose", "to beware", "to behold," and "to look for."

τὸ κάρφος (noun sg neut acc) "Mote" is from karphos, which means "any small dry body", "dry stalk", "dry twigs", "chips," "chaff," "straws", "bits of wool", "toothpick", "a small piece of wood on which the watchword was written," and "ripe fruit[plural],."

ἐν (prep) "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ (noun sg masc dat) "Eye" is from ophthalmos, which means "eye", "sight", "the dearest and best", "light", "cheer", "comfort," and "the bud [of a plant]."

τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "Brother's" is from adelphos, which means "son of the same mother", "kinsman", "colleague", "associate," and "brother."

σου, (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

τὴν (article sg fem acc) Untranslated is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Here it is separated from its noun by a conjunction.

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").

ἐν (prep "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῷ (article sg masc dat) Untranslated is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." Here it is separated from its noun by a conjunction.

σῷ (adj sg masc dat ) Thine" is from sos, which means "thy", "thine" "of thee," or "from thee."

ὀφθαλμῷ (noun sg masc dat) "Eye" is from ophthalmos, which means "eye", "sight", "the dearest and best", "light", "cheer", "comfort," and "the bud [of a plant]."

δοκὸν (noun sg masc acc) "Beam" is from dokos, which means "bearing-beam", "main beam", "plank", "support", "beam", "strut", "brace", "firewood", "bar [of a gate or door]," and "a kind of meteor."

οὐ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

κατανοεῖς; [uncommon](2nd sg pres ind act) "Considerest" is from katanoeo, which means to "observe well", "understand", "apprehend", "perceive", "learn", "consider", "look at", "view", "to be in one's right mind," and "to be in one's senses."

Related Verses: 

Luke 6:41 And why beholdest thou the mote

Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge,

Mar 26 2017

evidence: 

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