Matthew 26:11 For you have the poor always with you...

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

Events leading to the Last Supper and crucifixion. This is in response to the woman who poured perfume on Christ's feet and washed them with her hair. The apostle criticized her because of the money the perfume cost and what that money could have bought for the poor.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because always you have beggars among yourselves, but me you don't always have.

My Takeaway: 

Poverty is a condition of life that cannot be elimnated.

KJV : 

Matthew 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

NIV : 

Matthew 26:11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The Greek word translated as "always" is only used by Jesus eight times. It is not a word Jesus uses loosely, like many of us. However, it is used twice in this verse.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

πάντοτε [8 verses](adverb) "Always" is from pantote, which means "always," "at all time", and literally breaks down to "all then." "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether." "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

γὰρ [205 verses] (partic) "For" comes from 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."

τοὺς [821 verses](article pl masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πτωχοὺς [17 verses](adj pl masc acc) "The poor" is ptochos, which means "beggar", "beggar-woman," and "beggarly."

ἔχετε [181 verses](verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Ye have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

μεθ᾽ [103 verses](prep) "With" is from meta, which means "with", "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to," and "next afterward."

ἑαυτῶν,  [75 verses](adj pl masc gen) "You" is from heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself", "itself" "yourselves." and "themselves." It is an alternative to autos.

ἐμὲ [31 verses](pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my". -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

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 an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

οὐ [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.

πάντοτε [8 verses](adverb) "Always" is from pantote, which means "always," "at all time", and literally breaks down to "all then." "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether."

ἔχετε: [181 verses](verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Ye have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

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." 

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

have -- The word translated as "have" means to "have," "possess," "bear," "keep close," "have means to do,"  "to have due to one," or "keep" and many specific uses.

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. 

poor  - "Poor" is from an adjective, used as a noun, which means "beggaring", and "beggarly." The sense is "the begging. Christ uses this term a number of times, and through it, he gives a clear sense of the role that beggars play in the world. The first time he uses the word is it in the context of being "beggars of spirit,"that is, lacking spirit in the Beatitudes and throughout the Gospels, Christ separates beggars into two types: those who are spiritually afflicted and those that are physically incapacitated.

always  - The word translated as "always" means "at all times" but what makes it interesting is that Christ seldom uses this word but it occurs twice in this verse.  This word actually starts the sentence.

with - "With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of".

you;  - The word translated as "you" does not mean "you." It is the reflexive pronoun, "themselves." It can be combined with a second person pronoun to means "yourselves" but there is no such pronoun here. Typically, another Greek word (autos) is used to create the reflexive for the first and second person. However, this translation is as "with you" goes back to the Latin Vulgate and it is continued in all other Biblical translations. The sense, just reading the words, is "among themselves" or"by means of themselves."

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. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

me  - "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

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

have -- The word translated as "have" means to "have," "possess," "bear," "keep close," "have means to do,"  "to have due to one," or "keep" and many specific uses.

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. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea.

always. The word translated as "always" means "at all times" but what makes it interesting is that
Christ seldom uses this word but it occurs twice in this verse. Most people uses the terms "always" whenever they discuss something that it done frequently. Christ never makes this mistake. This word actually starts the sentence.

KJV Translation Issues: 

0

NIV Analysis: 

missing "because"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "because" 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." 

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. 

poor  - "Poor" is from an adjective, used as a noun, which means "beggaring", and "beggarly." The sense is "the begging. Christ uses this term a number of times, and through it, he gives a clear sense of the role that beggars play in the world. The first time he uses the word is it in the context of being "beggars" in the Beatitudes.

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

will -- (WT) This helping verb "will" indicates the future tense, but the verb is not the future.

always  - The word translated as "always" means "at all times" but what makes it interesting is that Christ seldom uses this word but it occurs twice in this verse.  This word actually starts the sentence.

have -- The word translated as "have" means to "have," "possess," "bear," "keep close," "have means to do,"  "to have due to one," or "keep" and many specific uses.

with - "With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of".

you;  - The word translated as "you" does not mean "you." It is the reflexive pronoun, "themselves." It can be combined with a second person pronoun to means "yourselves" but there is no such pronoun here. Typically, another Greek word (autos) is used to create the reflexive for the first and second person. However, this translation is as "with you" goes back to the Latin Vulgate and it is continued in all other Biblical translations. The sense, just reading the words, is "among themselves" or"by means of themselves."

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. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

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

will -- (WT) This helping verb "will" indicates the future tense, but the verb is not the future.

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. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea.

always  - The word translated as "always" means "at all times" but what makes it interesting is that Christ seldom uses this word but it occurs twice in this verse.  This word actually starts the sentence.

have -- The word translated as "have" means to "have," "possess," "bear," "keep close," "have means to do,"  "to have due to one," or "keep" and many specific uses.

me  - "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

NIV Translation Issues: 

2
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 5 2021