Matthew 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead,

Spoken to: 

The Sadducees

Context: 

Jesus is asked about the resurrection and a woman who was married to multiple brothers.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Concerning, however, the awakening of the dead, you really don't recognize the thing being promised to you by the Divine, saying:

My Takeaway: 

We do not have the right perspective to understand the nature of life or death. 

KJV : 

Matthew 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

NIV : 

Matthew 22:31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you,

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Since the afterlife is a cornerstone of Christianity, this and the previous verse referring directly to the afterlife should be the focus of a lot of attention. However, like many of Jesus's statements, these verses don't lend themselves to a simple explanation, so they are often ignored or at least their complexities are.

Some ancient Jews (specifically Job) don't seem to have believed in an afterlife. It wasn't until Isaiah (Isa 26:19) that the resurrection of the dead is spoken of directly, instead of indirectly. The Hebrew word Olam Ha-Ba ("the world to come") is used to describe both the messianic age and the afterlife. Many Christians seem to look at "the kingdom of heaven" in the same way: the future world and the afterlife. However, Christ talks extensively about the kingdom of heaven and most of his statements are not consistent with the afterlife and his references to resurrection.

Among the Jews of Christ's time, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead into bodies, but the Sadducees, the sect of Temple priests, didn't believe in an afterlife of any form. In other words, the Sadducees followed the ancient Judaic tradition. They didn't believe in angels, the soul, or resurrection. Life was literally "dust to dust." While some Sadducees believed in a spiritual afterlife, they didn't agree with the Pharisees regarding "the rising." The view of the Pharisees was similar to that of the Egyptians, that people would rise from the dead with their bodies. This idea can be traced directly to Isaiah in the verse cited above. It is important to note that, especially for the Pharisees, this resurrection was connected to the coming of the Messiah, which, for them, was the end-time like Christians see the Last Judgment.

Jesus's first message here is, that, though Christ taught that there was a "rising" as taught by the Pharisees, it was not what the Pharisees taught, that is, something that happened at some end time when the Messiah comes.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

περὶ [73 verses](prep)  "As touching" is from peri, which means "round about (Place)," "around," "about," "concerning," "on account of," "in regard to," "before," "above," "beyond," and "all around."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "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").

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

ἀναστάσεως [7 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Resurrection" is anastasis, which means, "a standing up," "removal," "a rising up," "a setting up," and "rising from a seat." It is the noun form ofanistêmi, which means "to make stand up," "to raise," "to wake up," "to build up," "to restore," "to rouse to action," "to stir up," and "to make people rise."

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

νεκρῶν [21 verses](adj pl masc/fem gen)"The dead" is from nekros, which specifically means "a corpse" as well as a "dying person," "the dead as dwellers in the nether world," "the inanimate," and "the inorganic"

οὐκ [269 verses](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.

ἀνέγνωτε [9 verses](verb 2nd pl aor ind act) "Have ye...read" is anaginosko, which means "to recognize," "to know well," "to know certainly," "to know again," "to own," and "to acknowledge."

τὸ (article sg neut nom/acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ῥηθὲν [9 verses](part sg aor pass neut nom/acc) "The which is spoken," is ero, which means "to speak," "to say," "to pronounce," "to tell," "to let suffice," "to announce," "to proclaim," (in passive) "to be pronounced," "to be mentioned," "to be specified," "to be agreed," and "to be promised."

ὑμῖν [289 verses](pron 2nd pl dat) "Unto you" is humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὑπὸ [29 verses](prep) "Of" is from hypo (hupo), which means [with genitive] "from under (of motion)," "down under," under, beneath," indicating a cause with passive verbs, "by," "under," or "with," "under the cover or protection of," "of the agency of feelings, passions," "expressing subjection or dependence," "subordinate," "subject to;" [with accusative] "towards" and "under" (to express motion), "under" (without a sense of motion), "subjection," "control," "dependence," of Time, "in the course of," "during," "about," as an adverb, "under," "below," beneath, the agency or influence under which a thing is done"by," "before,' and "under," (with genitive and passive verbs of cause).

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

θεοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "God" is from theos, which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

λέγοντος [264 verses](part sg pres act masc gen) "Saying" is from lego, which means "to recount," "to tell over," "to say," "to speak," "to teach," "to mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself," "pick up," "gather," "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelt the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep." --

KJV Analysis: 

But  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

as touching  - "As touching" is from a preposition which means " "around," "concerning," "on account of," "in regard to," and "all around."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

resurrection  - While the Greek word translated as "resurrection" is understood that way today, during Christ's time, it would have meant simply "a rising up" or "awakening." It was used to indicate someone standing up especially when awakening from sleep.

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, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

dead,  - The word translated as "dead" means "corpse," "a dying man," and "inanimate, non-organic matter." Jesus uses it in all three senses, referring to the actual dead, the spiritually dead, and inanimate matter.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here, which indicates only something performed at some specific time.

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

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

read  - "Read" is from a verb that means to "know well," "recognize," and "know again." It is not from the verb meaning "to read."

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.

which -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "which" in the Greek source. It was added because the next verb was translated as active rather than a participle.

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

spoken  - (CW) The Greek verb translated as "spoken" is not one of the two common verbs used to describe speaking or saying. It is a fairly uncommon term with the sense of "to announce," or "to proclaim." However, here it is in the passive, where it means "to be pronounced," "to be agreed," and "to be promised." It is in the form of a verb used as a noun, "the one being agreed."

unto - This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object

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

by -- The word translated as "by" primarily means "by," "under," or "with". Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

God -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God," "the Divine" or "the divine one." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

saying,  - The word translated as "saying" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Jesus uses it more frequently.

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "which" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "spoken" is not the common words usually translated as "spoken."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

But  - The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

about   - "About" is from a preposition which means " "around," "concerning," "on account of," "in regard to," and "all around."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

resurrection  - While the Greek word translated as "resurrection" is understood that way today, during Christ's time, it would have meant simply "a rising up" or "awakening." It was used to indicate someone standing up especially when awakening from sleep.

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, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

dead,  - The word translated as "dead" means "corpse," "a dying man," and "inanimate, non-organic matter." Jesus uses it in all three senses, referring to the actual dead, the spiritually dead, and inanimate matter.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here, which indicates only something performed at some specific time.

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

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

read  - "Read" is from a verb that means to "know well," "recognize," and "know again." It is not from the verb meaning "to read."

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. 

missing "being promised"  -- (MW) The untranslated word has the sense of "to announce," or "to proclaim." However, here it is in the passive, where it means "to be pronounced," "to be agreed," and "to be promised." It is in the form of a verb used as a noun, "being promised."

missing "by"  -- (MW) The untranslated word primarily means "by," "under," or "with". Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

missing "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. 

God,  - The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

said  - (WF) The word translated as "said" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Jesus uses it more frequently. It is not an active verb but a participle, "saying/

to - This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object

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

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "being promised" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "by" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "said" is not an active verb but a participle, "saying."

Front Page Date: 

Jul 14 2021