Matthew 5:20 ...unless your righteousness exceeds

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, visible and invisible.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because I am telling you that unless it is more, yours, this virtue, more than the writers and Distinguished, never should you enter into the realm of the skies.

My Takeaway: 

Those who are truly virtuous do not display it through virtue signalling.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.​

NIV : 

Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

3rd Translation: 

Matthew 5:20 But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is Jesus's first use of the word, "Pharisees." The word is untranslated Hebrew meaning "distinguished."

There is an untranslated word here that means "more." It is a special neutral form of the adjective that means "more" in the sense of a "higher degree."  The Since the verb already has the sense of "more" in it "more" is redundant but that is part of Jesus's humor.

Nor does the verse say that such people "will" never enter into the realm as translated.  The "enter" is not the future tense, but a form indicating that something "might" or "should" happen. The possibility is intentionally left open, The form of the conditional statement is called "future probable."

Wordplay: 

The untranslated phrase "more than the scribes and Pharisees" also means "a majority of the scribes and Pharisees."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act) "I say" is from legô (lego) means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," but it used to mean "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command."

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar (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."

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

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

ἐὰν μὴ (conj+part) "Except" is from ei me, which is the conjunction that means "if not", "but," and "except."  "If" 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. The εἰ is the particle use with the imperative usually to express conditions "if" or indirect questions, "whether." The me is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no."

περισσεύσῃ [7 verses](verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "Exceed" is from perisseuo which means "to be over and above", "to go beyond", "to abound in", "to be superior," and, in a negative sense, "to be superfluous." It is usually translated as "to have abundance" in the KJV.

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

(article sg fem nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). --

δικαιοσύνη (noun sg fem nom) "Righteousness" is from dikaiosyne, which means "righteousness", "justice", "fulfillment of the law," and "the business of a judge." It carries the sense of virtue but specifically that of fulfilling legal or social requirements.

πλεῖον (adj sg neut nom/acc) Untranslated is pleion which means "more [in number, size, or extent]", "surpassing", "greater than", "longer [of time]", "the greater number", "a higher degree", "superior," and "beyond."

τῶν (article pl masc gen)) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

γραμματέων (noun pl masc gen) "Scribes" is from grammateus, which is generally a "secretary", "recorder," and "scholar," but specifically means someone who uses gramma which is Greek for "drawings", "a letter," (as in an alphabet)"diagrams," and "letters" (as in correspondence).

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."

Φαρισαίων (noun pl masc gen) "Pharisees" is from Pharisaios, which means in Hebrew "the separate ones" and refers to the religious sect. The word comes from the Hebrew, pharash, which means "to distinguish." This is the primary meaning of the Greek word krino, which is usually translated as "judge" in the Gospels.

οὐ μὴ (partic) "Ye shall in no case" 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 (2nd pl aor subj act) "Enter" is from 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) "In" 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)."

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

βασιλείαν (noun sg fem acc) "The kingdom" is from 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"). -- untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

οὐρανῶν. (noun pl masc gen) "Of 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."

KJV Analysis: 

For --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

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.

That -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

except -- (CW) The word translated as "except" literally means "when not."  The Greek phrase that is usually translated as "except" is "if not" using a different conditional conjunction. The difference is important because the "when" put the condition of the sentence into a form called "future probably."  The negative is the negative of opinion, which has the sense of "not wanting" something when Christ uses it, but that feeling might be minimized when used in a construction such as this.

your -- (CW) The word translated as "your" is plural addressing a group of Jesus's listeners and it comes after the verb, not the noun.  It modifies the noun in a different way than normal. The sense is "of you," "part of you", "than you" (in comparisons), or "about you" with transitive verbs. 

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

righteousness -- The word translated as "righteousness" has a lot of meanings. It most contexts, Christ uses it to mean "doing what is best." We can call this simply "virtue." It is the subject of the sentence. It follows the verb here, following the word for "of yours", which is unusual.

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 as it is here. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

exceed -- The verb translated as "shall exceed" also means to "to go beyond" or "to surpass." It is in a form where the subject affects itself. It is in the second person singular.

untranslated "more"-- (MW) The untranslated word "more" is an adjective that means "more" in many different senses of the word.   The word is in a form that can be either a subject or an object, but its gender (neutral) doesn't match the earlier "righteousness" so it is more likely to object of the "great than" sense of the verb. Used as a noun, it means "a majority."

the righteousness -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "the righteousness" in the Greek source.

of -- (WW) This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following words that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it here it would be the  "than" of comparison.

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. 

scribes -- "Scribes" is a Greek word describing anyone who used written records in their job, "secretary", "registrar,' and "scholar." However, Christ used it to name those scholars who specifically studied the Bible and wrote about its meanings. A modern equivalent would be "academics." It is in the possessive form, modifying the "greater."

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

Pharisees, -- (UW) "Pharisees" is an example of where we use the Greek word as the name of the religious sect, instead of translating it. In Greek, the word means the "separatists" or "the judgmental," but it is from a Hebrew word meaning "distinguished" or "elite."

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. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

in no case -- The "in no case" 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 "you cannot really think" or, more simply, "never."

enter -- The word translated as "enter" means to "come into" or "go into."

into  -- The word translated as "unto" 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." 

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: 

9
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "except" is similar to the normal words meaning "except" but it more like "when not."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "your" before "righteousness" isn't a normal possessive form.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "righteousness" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word  "more" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "of" should be "than."
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "Pharisees" means "distinguished." It is the untranslated Hebrew/Aramaic word adopted into English.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • 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 it is plural, "skies."

NIV Analysis: 

For --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

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

tell -- The word translated as "tell" 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.

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

unless -- (CW) The word translated as "unless " literally means "when not."  The Greek phrase that is usually translated as "except" is "if not" using a different conditional conjunction. The difference is important because the "when" put the condition of the sentence into a form called "future probably."  The negative is the negative of opinion, which has the sense of "not wanting" something when Christ uses it, but that feeling might be minimized when used in a construction such as this.

your -- (CW) The word translated as "your" is plural addressing a group of Jesus's listeners and it comes after the verb, not the noun.  It modifies the noun in a different way than normal. The sense is "of you," "part of you", "than you" (in comparisons), or "about you" with transitive verbs. 

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

righteousness -- The word translated as "righteousness" has a lot of meanings. It most contexts, Christ uses it to mean "doing what is best." We can call this simply "virtue." It is the subject of the sentence. It follows the verb here, following the word for "of yours", which is unusual.

surpasses -- The verb translated as "surpasses" also means to "to go beyond" or "to surpass." It is in a form where the subject affects itself. It is in the second person singular.

untranslated "more"-- (MW) The untranslated word "more" is an adjective that means "more" in many different senses of the word.   The word is in a form that can be either a subject or an object, but its gender (neutral) doesn't match the earlier "righteousness" so it is more likely to object of the "great than" sense of the verb. Used as a noun, it means "a majority."

that -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "that " in the Greek source.

of -- (WW) This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following words that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it here it would be the  "than" of comparison.

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. 

Pharisees, -- (UW) "Pharisees" is an example of where we use the Greek word as the name of the religious sect, instead of translating it. In Greek, the word means the "separatists" or "the judgmental," but it is from a Hebrew word meaning "distinguished" or "elite."

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

the -- There is no "the" here but it can be assumed from the previous article.

teachers -- (WW) "Teachers" is a Greek word describing anyone who used written records in their job, "secretary", "registrar,' and "scholar." However, Christ used it to name those scholars who specifically studied the Bible and wrote about its meanings. A modern equivalent would be "academics." It is in the possessive form, modifying the "greater."

of the law, -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "of the law," in the Greek source.

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. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

certainly not -- The "in no case" 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 "you cannot really think" or, more simply, "never."

enter -- The word translated as "enter" means to "come into" or "go into."

into  -- The word translated as "unto" 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." 

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: 

11
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "unless " is similar to the normal words meaning "except" but it more like "when not."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "your" before "righteousness" isn't a normal possessive form.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "righteousness" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "more" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "of" should be "than."
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "Pharisees" means "distinguished." It is the untranslated Hebrew/Aramaic word adopted into English.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "teachers" should be "writers."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "of the law" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "will" should be "might" or "should."
  • 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 it is plural, "skies."

3rd Analysis: 

But -- (WW) The word translated as "but" introduces a reason or explanation so "for" or "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

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

warn -- (WW) The word translated as "warn" 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.

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

unless -- (CW) The word translated as "unless " literally means "when not."  The Greek phrase that is usually translated as "except" is "if not" using a different conditional conjunction. The difference is important because the "when" put the condition of the sentence into a form called "future probably."  The negative is the negative of opinion, which has the sense of "not wanting" something when Christ uses it, but that feeling might be minimized when used in a construction such as this.

your -- (CW) The word translated as "your" is plural addressing a group of Jesus's listeners and it comes after the verb, not the noun.  It modifies the noun in a different way than normal. The sense is "of you," "part of you", "than you" (in comparisons), or "about you" with transitive verbs. 

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

righteousness -- The word translated as "righteousness" has a lot of meanings. It most contexts, Christ uses it to mean "doing what is best." We can call this simply "virtue." It is the subject of the sentence. It follows the verb here, following the word for "of yours", which is unusual.

is better -- The verb translated as "is better " also means to "to go beyond" or "to surpass." It is in a form where the subject affects itself. It is in the second person singular.

untranslated "more"-- (MW) The untranslated word "more" is an adjective that means "more" in many different senses of the word.   The word is in a form that can be either a subject or an object, but its gender (neutral) doesn't match the earlier "righteousness" so it is more likely to object of the "great than" sense of the verb. Used as a noun, it means "a majority."

than the righteousness -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "than the righteousness " in the Greek source.

that -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "that " in the Greek source.

of -- (WW) This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following words that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it here it would be the  "than" of comparison.

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. 

teachers -- (WW) "Teachers" is a Greek word describing anyone who used written records in their job, "secretary", "registrar,' and "scholar." However, Christ used it to name those scholars who specifically studied the Bible and wrote about its meanings. A modern equivalent would be "academics." It is in the possessive form, modifying the "greater."

of the religious law, -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "of the religious law," in the Greek source.

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

the -- There is no "the" here but it can be assumed from the previous article.

Pharisees, -- (UW) "Pharisees" is an example of where we use the Greek word as the name of the religious sect, instead of translating it. In Greek, the word means the "separatists" or "the judgmental," but it is from a Hebrew word meaning "distinguished" or "elite."

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. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

never  -- The "in no case" 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 "you cannot really think" or, more simply, "never."

enter -- The word translated as "enter" means to "come into" or "go into."

into  -- The word translated as "unto" 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." 

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." 

3rd Issue Count: 

13
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "but" should be "because."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "warn" should be "tell."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "unless " is similar to the normal words meaning "except" but it more like "when not."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "your" before "righteousness" isn't a normal possessive form.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "righteousness" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "more" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "of" should be "than."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "teachers" should be "writers."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "of the religious law" doesn't exist in the source.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "Pharisees" means "distinguished." It is the untranslated Hebrew/Aramaic word adopted into English.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "will" should be "might" or "should."
  • 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 it is plural, "skies."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

In the last post, Jesus seems to say that people who loosen small commandments can still get into the kingdom of heaven, even if they are the least of those there. However, here, Jesus says that to get into heaven, our virtue must exceed that of others who obey at least the obligations of the law.

The answer requires that we think about the kingdom of heaven as a process happening here on earth that not everyone is aware of. We can all, good and evil, be part of the process, but not everyone is necessarily aware of it and driving it. The term used here for "enter" is the Greek word that not only means to come into a place but also means entering into a state or condition, to come into existence, and to come to life.

So what Christ is saying here is that both the good and evil are caught up in the net of the kingdom of heaven or planted in the field of the kingdom of heaven, but that only those who are virtuous are aware of what is happening and that only the virtuous are driving this process, that is, changing the nature of earth.

This idea is not that difficult if we just look at how much the world has changed since the coming of Christ. The moral questions that we wrestle over today were not even considered 2,000 years ago. Even the most tragic parts of modern history, such as the communist movement, has its foundations in Christian thoughts and ideals that are basically good. This goodness and the spread of goodness only arose from the coming of the kingdom of heaven. Christ was the catalyst that changed the world.

evidence: 

19.00

Front Page Date: 

Apr 26 2020