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

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, visible and hidden, temporary and permanent, criticism and acceptance

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

What, however, do you see? That chaff in the eye of that brother of yours? That one, however, in this, your eye?  A plank you don't consider.

My Takeaway: 

What is visible and hidden depends on our perspective and beliefs.

KJV : 

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?

NIV : 

Matthew 7:3  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is one of those verses where the "you" changed from plural, with Jesus addressing  the  audience to the singular, addressing a single person in this verse. This is hidden in translation because we cannot see singular and plural pronouns for "you."

Since very early in the Sermon, Jesus has been contrasting the visible but temporary with the invisible and permanent. It seems almost contradictory that "light" and "sight" are the metaphors that Jesus 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/plank" and "considereth" play into this. The "beam" holds up the house or bars the door. The word translated as "considereth" has a specific sense of coming to understand something. This word appears at the end of the verse, so it is the verses "punchline."

In the phrase "thine own eye/your 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 Jesus. The literal sense of the actual phrase is "this, your eye." Given that Jesus was talking to an individual here, this strong suggests he was pointing out the person's eye as he says this.

Wordplay: 

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

Related Verses: 

Luke 6:41 And why beholdest thou the mote

Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge,

Greek 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 aso 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 (article sg neut acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

κάρφος [5 verses](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 (article sg masc dat) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

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 (article sg masc gen) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

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 definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

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 definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

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/fem 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; [5 verses](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."

KJV Analysis: 

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

why  - 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. Its form matches the form of the word translated as "mote."  Its use at the beginning of a sentence usually indicates a question.

beholdest  - 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.

thou  - -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

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. 

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

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

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

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."

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. 

brother's 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 apostrophe "s" comes from the word's genitive form indicating possession.

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

but  - 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.

considerest  - 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".

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no", "not," or"no truly."

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

beam  - 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 ialso means the bar on a door.

that  -- The word translated as "that" 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.  The form of this of this article matches the "beam" but it does not modify it because they are widely separated in the text.  

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

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within", "with," or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.  With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can mean "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

thine -- The word translated as "thine" 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."

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

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

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be "but."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "that is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "brother" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "eye" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "beam" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "own" doesn't exist in the source.

NIV Analysis: 

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

Why - 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. Its form matches the form of the word translated as "mote."  Its use at the beginning of a sentence usually indicates a question.

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

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

look at - The word translated as "look at" is a common Greek 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 -- 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. 

speck - The Greek term translated as "mote"  means something small like "twig", "straw," or "chaff."

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

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

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. 

brother's 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 apostrophe "s" comes from the word's genitive form indicating possession.

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

and - (WW) 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.

pay - The word translated as "pay...attention" 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.

no  - The Greek word translated as "no" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no", "not," or"no truly."

attention to -- This completes the idea of the verb. 

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

plank - The term translated as "plank ", 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.

untranslated "the one"-- (MW) The untranslated word "the one" 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.  The form of this of this article matches the "beam" but it does not modify it because they are widely separated in the text.  

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within", "with," or "among"  with a dative object as the one here.  With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can mean "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near."

your -- The word translated as "thine" 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."

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

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

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted Word -- The word "of sawdust" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "brother" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "eye" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be "but."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "plank" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the one" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "own" doesn't exist in the source.

evidence: 

84.00

Front Page Date: 

Jun 29 2020