Matthew 26:39 O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass

Spoken to: 

Father

Context: 

After the Last Supper and going up to Mt. Olive and the Garden of Gethsemane and after leaving Peter, James and John.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Father, if it is possible, it must away from me this cup, this one, except not as I myself desire, but as you.

My Takeaway: 

Even Jesus had some things he wanted to take a pass on.

KJV : 

Matthew 26:39 O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

NIV : 

Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

It is worth pointing out that, since Jesus was alone, either someone overheard this prayer or he related it to someone before his death. Otherwise, it could not have been recorded. However, since there are three different versions of this line, it was clearly reported as a paraphrase, not recorded at the time.

The word for "cup" means "a drinking-cup", "a wine-cup", "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple. The cup is used by Jesus as a symbol for sharing burdens. Jesus uses "drinking from the cup" as a sign of accepting a mission. It was first used that way in Matthew 20:22, but its repetition here clarifies the symbol. This idea changes the meaning of Christ's offering of the cup of wine in Matthew 26:27 and his statement, "Drink all of it!" Wine is Jesus's symbol for the mind and blood is his symbol from relationships. Accepting the wine as blood becomes a conscious acceptance of a relationship and, by extension, a mission from a superior.

Wordplay: 

"Father, if it is practical," he prayed, pass this cup away from me."

He paused as if thinking about his request.

"Except," he added, "not really as I want, but as you."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Πάτερ [191 verses](noun sg masc voc) "Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers." --

μου, [239 verses](noun sg masc gen)"Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine". -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

εἰ [90 verses](conj)  "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions. --

δυνατόν [9 verses](adj sg masc/fem/neut acc) "Possible" is from dynatos, which means "strong", "mighty", "possible," and "practicable."

ἐστιν, .[614 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

παρελθάτω , [5 verses](verb 3rd sg aor imperat act) "Let...pass" is parerchomai, which means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), "pass away", "outwit", "past events" (in time), "disregard", "pass unnoticed," and "pass without heeding." --

ἀπ[190 verses]​(prep) "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

ἐμοῦ [239 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

τὸ [821 verses](article sg neut nom/acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ποτήριον (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Cup" is from poterion, which means "a drinking-cup", "a wine-cup", "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

τοῦτο: [93 verses](adj sg neut acc) "This" is from touto, which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]." -- The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing."

πλὴν [20 verses](prep) "Nevertheless" is from plen, which is a preposition meaning "except", "save", "besides," and "in addition to." Often used with the negative as a conjunction, "except not."

οὐχ [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.

ὡς (167 verses](adv) "As" is from hos, an adverb which means to "thus", "as", "how", "when", "where", "like", "just as", "so far as", "as much as can be", "that", "in order that", "nearly (with numbers)," and "know that."

ἐγὼ [162 verses] (pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and "for myself."

θέλω [64 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind/subj act) "I will" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain", "to hold", "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

ἀλλ "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay."

ὡς (167 verses]((adv) "As" is from hos, an adverb which means to "thus", "as", "how", "when", "where", "like", "just as", "so far as", "as much as can be", "that", "in order that", "nearly (with numbers)," and "know that."

σύ.[26 verses](pron 2nd sg nom) "Thy" is from su which means "you" and "your."

KJV Analysis: 

O  - There is no exclamation "O" in the Greek source. It is added to make it clear that the word "father" is in the form of address, someone being talked to.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

Father,  - "Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own Father, though it can mean any male ancestor. When referring to others, Christ uses it to refer to their ancestors, that is, "forefathers."

if  - The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

it  - - -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

be  - "Be" is the common Greek verb of "to be". When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is".

possible,  - "Possible" is an adjective that means "strong", "mighty", "possible," and "practicable." This is the adjective form of the noun usually translated as "power." Power is what makes things possible.

let  - This verb doesn't exist in Greek, but it is used to communicate a third-party command. The cup here is being commanded. In Greek this form words a bit like our statement "it must." For more than you want to know about the 3rd-person imperative, see this article. Both Luke and Mark used a different verb that is not a command of any kind.

this -- The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing. It comes after the noun, "cup," emphasizing it.

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. 

cup  - The word for "cup" means "a drinking-cup", "a wine-cup", "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

pass  - The "pass" is a verb that means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), and "pass away". It is in the form of a command but in the third person. And, in Greek, the command form is also used for requests.

from  - The word translated as "from" means "from" referring either to location or to a source.

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

nevertheless  - "Nevertheless" is a preposition meaning "except" and it is often used with the negative, as here, so "except not."

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions, desires, or thoughts. It makes a negative statement of fact. This is strange because the context of the negative is "will" or "desire", which requires a different form of negative, the subjective not objective form.

as  - - The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

I  - - (MW) The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

will,  - - -- The Greek word translated as "will" expresses consent and even delight in doing something. It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose."

but  - The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things.

as  - - The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

thou  -  The "thou" here is the singular, subjective, second-person pronoun. Since pronouns are not usually used for subjects in Greek, its use implies a verb when no verb appears. The usual verb implied is "to be" so the sense is "you are

wilt. - This verb does not appear but Greek does not duplicate words as much as English. The use of the previous subjective pronoun could imply the repeat of the previous verb.

"Thy wilt" is from su which means "you." The "wilt" is assumed.

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "cust" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourself" is not shown in the English translation, but it is needed to capture the pronoun as well as the form of the verb.

NIV Analysis: 

“My -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

Father,  - "Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own Father, though it can mean any male ancestor. When referring to others, Christ uses it to refer to their ancestors, that is, "forefathers."

if  - The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

it  - - -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

is - "Is" is the common Greek verb of "to be". When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is".

possible,  - "Possible" is an adjective that means "strong", "mighty", "possible," and "practicable." This is the adjective form of the noun usually translated as "power." Power is what makes things possible.

may - This verb doesn't exist in Greek, but it is used to communicate a third-party command. The cup here is being commanded. In Greek this form words a bit like our statement "it must." For more than you want to know about the 3rd-person imperative, see this article. Both Luke and Mark used a different verb that is not a command of any kind. This is not a verb of possibility (a subjunctive) that usually used a "may."

this -- The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing. It comes after the noun, "cup," emphasizing it.

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. 

cup  - The word for "cup" means "a drinking-cup", "a wine-cup", "a jar," and "a receptacle" for offerings in the temple.

be -- (WV) This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. This is not a verb in the passive voice.

taken - (WW) The word "taken" is a verb that means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), and "pass away". It is in the form of a command but in the third person. And, in Greek, the command form is also used for requests. It is not the word that means "taken."

from  - The word translated as "from" means "from" referring either to location or to a source.

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

Yet - "Nevertheless" is a preposition meaning "except" and it is often used with the negative, as here, so "except not."

not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions, desires, or thoughts. It makes a negative statement of fact. This is strange because the context of the negative is "will" or "desire", which requires a different form of negative, the subjective not objective form.

as  - - The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

I  - - (MW) The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

will,  - - -- The Greek word translated as "will" expresses consent and even delight in doing something. It is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose."

but  - The Greek word translated as "but" denote an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things.

as  - - The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

you -  The "you" here is the singular, subjective, second-person pronoun. Since pronouns are not usually used for subjects in Greek, its use implies a verb when no verb appears. The usual verb implied is "to be" so the sense is "you are

will - . - This verb does not appear but Greek does not duplicate words as much as English. The use of the previous subjective pronoun could imply the repeat of the previous verb.

"Thy wilt" is from su which means "you." The "wilt" is assumed.

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "cust" is not shown in the English translation.
  • be -- (WW) This helping verb "be" seems to indicate that the verb is passive but it isn't.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "taken" should be "pass away."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "yourself" is not shown in the English translation, but it is needed to capture the pronoun as well as the form of the verb.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 22 2021