Matthew 18:3 ...Except you be converted,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

The Apostles ask who is greatest in realm of the skies.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Truly I tell you, unless you are around and become like these little children, never might you enter into the realm of the skies.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:3 Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus is saying that we have to turn ourselves around and turn back time, not only to become a child again, but to become a little child again in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is one of the many places where Jesus indicated that the kingdom of heaven is a state of awareness more than it is a place. Note that Jesus doesn't specify which characteristics of a child are important.

NIV : 

Matthew 18:3 Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Wordplay: 

The "turn around" has the sens of going back in time.

My Takeaway: 

The childlike ability to trust and believe is easy to lose.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἀμὴν [88 verses](adv) "Verily" is from amen, which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT

λέγω [264 verses](1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" is from llego means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," "nominate," and "command."

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

ἐὰν μὴ (conj particle) "Except" is from ean me, which means "if not." "If" is from 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. "Not" is from (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no."

στραφῆτε [3 verses](verb 2nd pl aor ind pass) "Ye be converted" is strepho, which means "turn aside", "turn about," "turn over", "rotate", "sprain", "dislocate", "twist", "torture", "return", "plait", "to twist about", "turn and change", "to always be engaged in", "to turn about with oneself", "to wheel about", "give back," and "convert." It is a metaphor for pain. In the passive, it means "twist or turn oneself", "having turned face upward", "turn round or about", "turn to and fro," and "turn about."

καὶ (coj/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."

γένησθε [117 verses](verb 2nd pl aor subj mid) "Become" is ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", "to happen", "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state.

ὡς (adv) "As" is from hos, an adverb which means to "thus", "as", "how", "when", "where", "like", "just as", "so far as", "as much as can be", "that", "in order that", "nearly (with numbers)," and "know that." -- The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

τὰ (article pl neut nom/acc/voc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

παιδία, [13 verses](noun pl neut nom/acc/voc) "Little children" is paidon. which means "little child" or "young child," (up to seven years) "infant" or "young slave."

οὐ μὴ (partic) "Not" is from ou me, the two forms of Greek negative used together. Ou is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. Mê (me) 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.

εἰσέλθητε [68 verses](verb 2nd pl aor subj act) "Ye shall enter" is 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."

εἰς (prep) "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)." -- The word translated as "unto" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

τὴν (article sg fem acc/gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

βασιλείαν [98 verses](noun sg fem acc/gen) "The kingdom" is basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

τῶν (article )  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

οὐρανῶν. [111 verses](noun pl masc gen) "Heaven" is from the Greek 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."

KJV Analysis: 

Verily -- The word translated as "verily" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the following verb.

say -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc.

Except  - "Except" is from the Greek words for "if not." The "if" Greek word is from the form meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. The negative "not" used is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used. More about the Greek negative in this article.

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

converted,  - (CW) "Ye be converted" is translated from a Greek word that has nothing to do with religious conversion. It means "to twist" or "to turn." In the passive, it has the sense of being "turned around."

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

become -- The word translated as "become" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. When applied to events, this word means "to happen" or "take place." For things, it can be "to be produced." When the participle takes a predicate, the sense is "coming into" something.

as -- The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

little children,  - "Little children" is translated from a Greek word that means "a young child" or "little child." It is one of several words that Jesus uses that are translated as "child" or "children." (See this article.) One unique aspect of this word is that it is neither masculine or feminine, but neuter. What is the difference between a young child and an older child? Young children live much more "in the moment" than older ones do. They do not see the world through a layer of assumptions. They accept that they don't know anything about the world, but they are excited to discover what the world holds.

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

not -- (CW) The "not" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying, "never" or literally, "you cannot really think." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

enter  - "Ye shall enter" is from a word that means "go or come into" and has the double meaning of "coming into one's mind."

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

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") that 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. Jesus does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

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

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe."     It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "converted" is not the religious sense of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is the more extreme negative more like "never."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but he Greek word is plural, "skies."

NIV Analysis: 

Truly -- The word translated as "truly " is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the following verb.

tell -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc.

unless - "Unless " is from the Greek words for "if not." The "if" Greek word is from the form meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. The negative "not" used is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done. If it wasn't done, the objective negative of fact would be used. More about the Greek negative in this article.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

missing "be"  -- (MW) The untranslated helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

change   - (CW) "Change" is translated from a Greek word that means "to twist" or "to turn." In the passive, it has the sense of being "turned around."

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

become -- The word translated as "become" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. When applied to events, this word means "to happen" or "take place." For things, it can be "to be produced." When the participle takes a predicate, the sense is "coming into" something.

like -- The word translated as "like " has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

little children,  - "Little children" is translated from a Greek word that means "a young child" or "little child." It is one of several words that Jesus uses that are translated as "child" or "children." (See this article.) One unique aspect of this word is that it is neither masculine or feminine, but neuter. What is the difference between a young child and an older child? Young children live much more "in the moment" than older ones do. They do not see the world through a layer of assumptions. They accept that they don't know anything about the world, but they are excited to discover what the world holds.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

will -- (WW) This helping verb "will " does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

never -- The "never " here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying, "never" or literally, "you cannot really think." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

enter  - "Ye shall enter" is from a word that means "go or come into" and has the double meaning of "coming into one's mind."

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

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") that 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. Jesus does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

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

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe."     It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "be" is not shown in the English translation to indicate the passive.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "change" does not mean change as much as "turn."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "will" should be "should" or "might."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but he Greek word is plural, "skies."

Front Page Date: 

Mar 5 2021