Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye:

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, visible and hidden, temporary and permanent.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

The lamp of the body is the eye. When, in fact, it is, that eye of yours, focused, all that body of yours, shining light will be.

My Takeaway: 

To see the hidden, we must be focused.

KJV : 

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

NIV : 

Matthew 6:22  The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are several hidden plays on words in this verse, more if we consider it together with the following verse, Matthew 6:23. This verse makes more sense in the context of Jesus view of "light" and its connection to "truth" and "virtue". For more on the words used to mean "light" refer to this article.

In this context, the word translated as "single" in the KJV and "healthy" in the NIV makes sense both as the English phrase "single-minded" or, better, "focused." Double vision is a defect of the eye, a lack of focus. Single-vision good, double bad.

The Greek word translated as "light" is not the word for "light" but means "shining" and "bright."  Since Jesus uses light as a metaphor for knowing, the term "bright" works well because in English it means "intelligent." A word with the same ending is translated as "full of darkness" in the next verse.  However, there is also a sense of "successful" and "well-known," as we might say that someone has a "bright career" or is a "bright star" in their profession.  For more on the words used to mean "light" refer to this article. The final play on words is its use as a metaphor for seeing things clearly and distinctly, which makes perfect sense when talking about the eye or sight.

Wordplay: 

 The triple meaning of being "bright" as in intelligent and "well-known" and the eye seeing things clearly and distinctly. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

(article sg masc nom) "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. 

λύχνος [9 verses](noun sg masc nom ) "Light" is from lychnos, which means "portable light," or "lamp."

τοῦ (article sg neut gen) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

σώματός (noun sg neut gen) "Body" is soma, which is the physical substance of things, the body of men and animals or of heavenly bodies or groups of people.

ἐστιν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

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

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

ἐὰν (conj) "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.

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

(3rd sg pres subj act) "Be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

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

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

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

ἁπλοῦς , [2 verses](adj sg masc nom) "Single" is from haplous, which, as an adjective, it means "twofold", "single", "simple", "plain", "straightforward", "simple", "open", "frank", "simple-minded", "unalloyed[metals]," and "pure[metal].

ὅλον (adj sg neut nom ) "Whole" is from holos, which means "the whole", "entire", "complete", "complete in all its parts", "wholly", "altogether", "on the whole", "speaking generally", "utter," "actually", "really, "the universe," and "safe and sound."

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

σῶμά (noun sg neut nom) "Body" is soma, which is the physical substance of things, the body of men and animals or of heavenly bodies or groups of people.

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

φωτινὸν [3 verses](adj sg neut nom) "Full of light" is photeinos, which means "shining," and "bright." It is a metaphor for "clear," and "distinct."

ἔσται: (3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." It can also mean "must" with a dative.

KJV Analysis: 

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. 

light -- (WW) The word translated as "light" means a portable light, a lamp. Jesus uses "light" as a metaphor for knowledge and awareness, specifically that which allows use to perceive information.

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, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

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. 

body -- The words translated as "body" means "body" but it also means "the substance of things" generally, as we use the term "a body of evidence." So generally, it refers to material existence. Christ uses another Greek word to refer more specifically to his physical body or "flesh".

is -- The Greek word translated as "is" is the active, present form of "to be."

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. 

eye: -- The Greek word for "eye" is the more technical terms for "eye" but it also means "sight". It is a metaphor for "cheer."

if -- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

therefore -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative, "then," "therefore.

thine   -- The word translated as "thy" is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

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. 

eye -- The Greek word for "eye" is the more technical terms for "eye" but it also means "sight". It is a metaphor for "cheer."

be -- The Greek word translated as "be" here is in a form indicating something that "might be." In English, this form is assumed with the "if/when" that begins the phrase.

single, -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "single" means "single" which makes the KJV closer to the Greek than many more modern translated that render this word as "healthy/good". The adjective form means anything from "straightforward" to "simple-minded" In this context, the sense is the English phrase "single-minded" or, better, "focused." Double vision is a defect of the eye, a lack of focus. Single-vision good, double bad.

thy -- The word translated as "thy" is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

whole -- The word translated as "whole" means "complete" and "entire," but it also has a number of other meanings including "the universe" and "speaking generally."

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. 

body -- The first time the Greek word for "body" was used, it was generic. Here, it is specific, "your body" so the sense it gives is of an individual's physical life.

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

be -- The Greek word translated as "be" is the future tense of the common form of "to be." It appears at the end of the sentence.

full of --  (IP) There are no Greek words here that can be translated as "full of" nor is the concept part of the following word related to "light."

light. -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "light" is not the word for "light" but means "shining" and "bright." Since Jesus uses light as a metaphor for knowing, the term "bright" works well because in English it means "intelligent." However, there is also a sense of "successful" and "well-known," as we might say that someone has a "bright career" or is a "bright star" in their profession.  For more on the words used to mean "light" refer to this article. The final play on words is its use as a metaphor for seeing things clearly and distinctly, which makes perfect sense when talking about the eye or sight.

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "light" should be "lamp."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "eye" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "single" is more like "single-minded" or "focused" in the context of sight.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "body" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "full of" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "light" should be "shining light" or "bright."

NIV Analysis: 

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. 

eye: -- (WP) The Greek word for "eye" is the more technical terms for "eye" but it also means "sight". It is a metaphor for "cheer."

is -- The Greek word translated as "is" is the active, present form of "to be."

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. 

lamp -- The word translated as "lamp" means a portable light, a lamp. Jesus uses "light" as a metaphor for knowledge and awareness, specifically that which allows use to perceive information.

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, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

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. 

body -- The words translated as "body" means "body" but it also means "the substance of things" generally, as we use the term "a body of evidence." So generally, it refers to material existence. Christ uses another Greek word to refer more specifically to his physical body or "flesh".

If-- The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

untranslated "really"-- (MW) The untranslated word "really" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly", "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative, "then," "therefore.

your -- The word translated as "your " is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

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. 

eyes -- (WN) The Greek word for "eye" is the more technical terms for "eye" but it also means "sight". It is a metaphor for "cheer."

are -- The Greek word translated as "are " here is in a form indicating something that "might be." In English, this form is assumed with the "if/when" that begins the phrase.

healthy, -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "single" means "single" which makes the KJV closer to the Greek than many more modern translated that render this word as "healthy/good". The adjective form means anything from "straightforward" to "simple-minded" In this context, the sense is the English phrase "single-minded" or, better, "focused." Double vision is a defect of the eye, a lack of focus. Single-vision good, double bad.

your -- The word translated as "your " is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

whole -- The word translated as "whole" means "complete" and "entire," but it also has a number of other meanings including "the universe" and "speaking generally."

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. 

body -- The first time the Greek word for "body" was used, it was generic. Here, it is specific, "your body" so the sense it gives is of an individual's physical life.

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

be -- The Greek word translated as "be" is the future tense of the common form of "to be." It appears at the end of the sentence.

full of --  (IP) There are no Greek words here that can be translated as "full of" nor is the concept part of the following word related to "light."

light. -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "light" is not the word for "light" but means "shining" and "bright." It is a combination of the words that means "light" and "shining." Since Jesus uses light as a metaphor for knowing, the term "bright" works well because in English it means "intelligent." However, there is also a sense of "successful" and "well-known," as we might say that someone has a "bright career" or is a "bright star" in their profession.  For more on the words used to mean "light" refer to this article. The final play on words is its use as a metaphor for seeing things clearly and distinctly, which makes perfect sense when talking about the eye or sight.

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "eye" doesn't appear before the verb, but after.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "eye" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "eyes" is translated as plural but it is singular.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "healthy" is more like "single-minded" or "focused" in the context of sight.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "body" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "full of" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "light" should be "shining light" or "bright."

evidence: 

69.00

Front Page Date: 

Jun 14 2020