Matthew 13:19 When any one hears the word

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Parables, Sower, Explanation

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

About everyone hearing the idea of the realm and not putting it together, it shows up, a worthlessness,  and it snatches away that having been seeded in that heart of his. This is the one by the way seeded.

KJV : 

Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

A lot is added to the KJV that is not in the source and may be misleading. The KJV translators wanted this verse to conform more closely to Matthew 13:4 than it actually does.

This is another good example of the translators working to create "the devil" in the text when it doesn't say that. There is no "the" before "evil one" and the word translated as "evil" means "worthless." A more accurate translation is "a worthless one." "Worthless ones" in life are common.

The word "word" is discussed here in detail, but here the NIV translates is as "message," which works best. You might also be interesting in this article on Jesus and Information Theory, which mentions this verse.

NIV : 

Matthew 13:19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

Wordplay: 

The same word meaning "sowing" appears in a form indicating something that has finished sowing itself and again in the form of something that is sown at some time. 

My Takeaway: 

Worthless ideas can snatch away good ideas.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Παντὸς (adj sg masc gen) "Any" is 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." This word's genitive case requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

ἀκούοντος (part sg pres act masc gen) "One heareth" is from akouo, which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand." --

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

λόγον (noun sg masc acc) "The word" is from logos, which means "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition," "word," "discussion," "reckoning," and "value."

τῆς (article sg fem gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

βασιλείας (noun sg fem gen) "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

καὶ (conj) "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." -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

μὴ (partic) "Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

συνιέντος, (part sg pres act masc gen) "Understandeth" is syniemi, which means "to bring together" or "to set together." It is also a metaphor for "perceive", "hear," and "understand" as we would say that we "put it all together" when figuring something out.

ἔρχεται (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Cometh" 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. --

πονηρὸς (adj sg masc nom) "The wicked" is from poneros, which means "burdened by toil", "useless," and "worthless." In a moral sense, it means "worthless", "base," and "cowardly."

καὶ (conj) "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." -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

ἁρπάζει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Catches away" is from harpazo which means which means "to snatch away", "to carry off", "to be a robber", "to seize hastily", "to grasp with the senses", "to captivate", "to ravish," and "to plunder."

τὸ (article sg neut acc)  "That which" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἐσπαρμένον (part sg perf mp neut acc) "Was sown" is from speirô, which is a verb, not a noun. It means "to sow seed", "to scatter like seed," and "to beget offspring. All of these shades of meaning are at work here.

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".

τῇ (article sg fem dat)  "That which" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

καρδίᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "Heart" is from kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)", "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)", "inclination", "desire," "purpose", "mind", "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

αὐτοῦ: (adj sg masc gen) "His" 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."

οὗτός (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." --

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible."

 (article sg masc nom ) "He which" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

παρὰ (prep)  "By" is from para, which means "beside", "from the side of", "from beside,", "from", "issuing from", "near", "by", "with", "along", "past", "beyond", "parallel (geometry)", "like (metaphor)", "a parody of (metaphor)", "precisely at the moment of (time)," and "throughout (time)."

τὴν (article sg neut dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ὁδὸν (noun sg fem acc) "The way" is from hodos, which means literally "the way" or "the road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." It is interesting that a term joining a path with philosophy exists in many languages from the west to the east.

σπαρείς. (part sg aor pass masc nom) "Received the seed" is from speirô, which is a verb, not a noun. It means "to sow seed", "to scatter like seed," and "to beget offspring.

KJV Analysis: 

When - (WW) This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

any one -  (WW) The word translated as "any one" is one word meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas.  The "one" comes from its singular form. This is the word from "everyone" not "anyone," which is a different word.

heareth  - (WF) Heareth" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding. However, it is in the form of a noun, hearing" or "everyone hearing."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

word  -  (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "explanation" or "calculation." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom,  - The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also")

understandeth  - (WF) "Understandeth" is from a Greek verb which means "to bring together" or "to set together." It is also a metaphor for "perceive", "hear," and "understand" as we would say that we "put it all together" when figuring something out. It is also in the form of a noun or adjective, "understanding".

it -- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

not,  - The negative "not" used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something or it "doesn't seem" to be done, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used. Here it is used because "understanding" is about thought.

then  - (IW) There is no Greek source for "then" here either. Like the "when" that began this section, it was added by the KJV translators.

cometh  -- The word translated as "cometh" primarily means "to start out" but Jesus usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. 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." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

the  - (WW) There is no definite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article ("a", "an")  can be added in English translation.

wicked  -  (WW) The word translated as "wicked" means "second-rate" or "worthless." This article explores its meaning in more detail. It is an adjective, but when used as a noun, therefore, "what is worthless." See this article for more.

one,  - This is added to capture the masculine form of the adjective.

and-- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). I

catcheth away - "Catches away" is from a Greek verb that means "to snatch away", "to carry off," and "to seize hastily." It is from the root that means "lift up."

that which -- The word translated as "that which" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

was -- (WT) This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. Howewver, this is the simple past, but the Greek is the past perfect so "has been sown."

sown  - "Sown" is from the verb meaning "to sow," which itself is a verbal form of the Greek word for "seed." However, here, the verb is in the form of a adjective, "seeding." It is passive and in the perfect tense, indicating an action that completed in the past.

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within", "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

heart.  - The "heart" is from a word that means the physical heart as well as the seat of emotions. It was used by Jesus to mean the seat of the "higher" emotions or desires that motivate people. Symbolically, it connects with the realm of relationships and emotions.

This  - "This" is translated from a Greek word that means "this", "that", "the nearer."

is  - The verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

he which -- The word translated as "he which" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

received seed " - Received seed" is from the verb meaning "to sow," which itself is a verbal form of the Greek word for "seed." However, here, the verb is in the form of an adjective describing something that is sown at sometime in the passive, "was seeded".

by  - The Greek preposition translated "by," primarily means "besides" and "beyond." It also has a number of specialized meanings.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

way side.  - "Way side" is from a word meaning "the way" or "the road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." In Acts, followers of Jesus are described as those "belonging to the way".

KJV Translation Issues: 

9
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "when" should be "about."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "anyone" should be "everyone."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "heareth" is not an active verb but a participle, "hearing."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" is not the actual Greek word for "word."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "understandeth" is not an active verb but a participle, "understanding."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "then" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "the" should be "a."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "wicked" should be "worthless."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "was" indicates the simple past tense, but that is not the tense here.

NIV Analysis: 

When - (WW) This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

anyone -  (WW) The word translated as "any one" is one word meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas.  The "one" comes from its singular form. This is the word from "everyone" not "anyone," which is a different word.

hears  - (WF) Hears" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding. However, it is in the form of a noun, hearing" or "everyone hearing."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

message -  "Message " is translated from a Greek word that means "explanation" or "calculation." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons.

about -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession but  "about" works better here.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom,  - The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

does - This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement.

not,  - The negative "not" used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something or it "doesn't seem" to be done, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used. Here it is used because "understanding" is about thought.

understand  - (WF) "Understand" is from a Greek verb which means "to bring together" or "to set together." It is also a metaphor for "perceive", "hear," and "understand" as we would say that we "put it all together" when figuring something out. It is also in the form of a noun or adjective, "understanding".

it -- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

the  - (WW) There is no definite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article ("a", "an")  can be added in English translation.

evil -  (WW) The word translated as "evil" means "second-rate" or "worthless." This article explores its meaning in more detail. It is an adjective, but when used as a noun, therefore, "what is worthless." See this article for more.

one,  - This is added to capture the masculine form of the adjective.

comes -- The word translated as "comes" primarily means "to start out" but Jesus usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. 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." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

and-- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). I

snatches away - "Snatches away" is from a Greek verb that means "to snatch away", "to carry off," and "to seize hastily." It is from the root that means "lift up."

what  -- The word translated as "what" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

was -- (WT) This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. However, this is the simple past, but the Greek is the past perfect so "has been sown."

sown  - "Sown" is from the verb meaning "to sow," which itself is a verbal form of the Greek word for "seed." However, here, the verb is in the form of a adjective, "seeding." It is passive and in the perfect tense, indicating an action that completed in the past.

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within", "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.

their -- (WN) The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

heart.  - The "heart" is from a word that means the physical heart as well as the seat of emotions. It was used by Jesus to mean the seat of the "higher" emotions or desires that motivate people. Symbolically, it connects with the realm of relationships and emotions.

This  - "This" is translated from a Greek word that means "this", "that", "the nearer."

is  - The verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

seed sown - "Seed sown" is from the verb meaning "to sow," which itself is a verbal form of the Greek word for "seed." The verb is in the form of an adjective describing something that is sown at sometime in the passive.

along - The Greek preposition translated "along ," primarily means "besides" and "beyond." It also has a number of specialized meanings.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

path.  - "Path" is from a word meaning "the way" or "the road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." In Acts, followers of Jesus are described as those "belonging to the way".

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "when" should be "about."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "anyone" should be "everyone."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "hears" is not an active verb but a participle, "hearing."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "understands" is not an active verb but a participle, "understanding."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "the" should be "a."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "evil" should be "worthless."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "was" indicates the simple past tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "their" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

"Seeds" are Jesus's symbol for knowledge or the beginning of knowledge. We might also describe them as "memes" today.

The Spoken Version: 

“About everyone hearing the message of the realm and not putting it together.”
The Master fluttered his hand down from over his head.
“It shows up,” said the Master, indicating his hand, “a worthlessness, and it snatches it away:  that message having been seeded in that heart of his. This is the one seeded by the way.”
The Master pretended to scatter a handful of seed.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 8 2020