Matthew 26:42 O my Father, if this cup may not pass away

Spoken to: 

Father

Context: 

The Garden of Gethsemane and after leaving Peter, James and John again. Said to his Father in prayer

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Father of mine, if it does not have the power by itself this to pass away when I don't want to drink. It must happen, this will of yours.

My Takeaway: 

Doing the Father's will meant doing what the son did not want.

KJV : 

Matthew 26:42 O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

NIV : 

Matthew 26:42  “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are a number of important changes from the earlier, similar verse is Matthew 26:39 that are hidden in translation.

This "is possible" in the earlier verse is the verb "is" plus an adjective, "possible." Here the "may" (NIV) and "is possible" is a verb meaning "to have power." It is in the middle voice, indicating that the subject ("this") acts by or for itself, so "if it does not have power in itself." In the earlier verse, the "pass away" was an active verb, a third-person command, "it must pass," but here it is an infinitive not a command, "to pass away."

The previous clause continues the use of the idea "having power" we've seen in a number of the earlier verses in this section that also have words indicating power and strength that are lost in translation. In Matthew 26:41 and Matthew 26:40: "could ye" means "have you the power"; Matthew 26:39: "possible" means "strong" and "mighty."

The phrase translated as "except I drink it" (KJV) and "unless I drink it" is more literally translated (and I think more accurately) as "when I don't want to drink." The word for "drink" also means "celebrate."

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.

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) "My" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

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.

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.

δύναται [61 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "May" is from the verb, dynamai, which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities", "to be able," and "to be strong enough."

τοῦτο [93 verses](adj sg neut nom/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."

παρελθεῖν [5 verses](verb aor inf act ) "Pass" is from parerchomai, which means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), "pass away", "outwit", "past events" (in time), "disregard", "pass unnoticed," and "pass without heeding."

ἐὰν μὴ [8 verses](conj particle)"Except" is from ean me, which means "if not." "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.  "Not" is from (me) is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no."

αὐτὸ [720 verses](adj sg neut nom/acc) "It" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

πίω, [36 verses](verb 1st sg aor subj act) "I drink" is pino, which means "to drink", "to celebrate," and "soak up."

γενηθήτω [117 verses](verb 3rd sg aor imperat pass) "Be done" is from ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", "to happen", "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state.

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

θέλημά [16 verses](noun sg neut nom) "Will" is from the noun, thelema, which means "will" and "pleasure."

σου. [144 verses](pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your." -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person pronoun.

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 the condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

this  - - -- The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing.

cup -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "cup" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

may -- (WW, WV) This indicates that the following verb is a subjunctive, a verb of possibility, but this is its own verb that means "to have power." And it is in the middle voice, "to have power by itself."

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.

pass  - (WF) The "pass" is a verb that means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), and "pass away". This is an infinitive, not an active verb.

away -- This is from the prefix of the verb that means "beyond" among other things."

from me,  -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "from me" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

except  - "Except" is from phrase which literally means "when not". The negative used in it is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.  Here, Jesus is saying "when I don't want to drink."

I  - - -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

drink  - (WF) "Drink" also means "I celebrate." It is the only word Christ uses from "drink" whether drinking water or wine. This verb is a verb of possibility, which is usually assumed after an "if" or "when."

it, " -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

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."

will -  The word translated as "will" means what someone "wants" or "desires" as well as the "will" of character. It mostly means what one wishes or has determined shall be done. It also means a desire or a choice.

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

done. -- (CW, WF) The word translated as "done" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. When applied to events, this word means "to happen" or "take place." For things, it can be "to be produced." It is not the Greek word commonly translated as "done."  It is a third-party command, "it must happen" or "it must be produced."

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "cup" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "may" should be "have power."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "pass" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to pass."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "from me" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "drink" is in the form of something that "should" or "might" be done.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "done" is not the common word usually translated as "done."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "done" is a third-person command.

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."

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

is -- This helping verb indicates the present tense 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. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea.

possible -- (WW, WV) This indicates that the following verb is a subjunctive, a verb of possibility, but this is its own verb that means "to have power." And it is in the middle voice, "to have power by itself."

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

this  - - -- The word translated as "this" means "from here" or "this/that thing.

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

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

be -- (WF) This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. It isn't.

taken - (WW)  The "taken" is a verb that means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), and "pass away". This is an infinitive. It is not the Greek word usually translated as "taken."

away -- This is from the prefix of the verb that means "beyond" among other things."

unless - (CW) "Except" is from phrase which literally means "when not". The negative used in it is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.  Here, Jesus is saying "when I don't want to drink."

I  - - -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

drink  - (WF) "Drink" also means "I celebrate." It is the only word Christ uses from "drink" whether drinking water or wine. This verb is a verb of possibility, which is usually assumed after an "if" or "when" but otherwise should have a "should" or "could."

it, " -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

may -- (WF) This indicates that the following verb is a subjunctive but it isn't that form. Since this is a third-person command, this should be an "it must" or a "let" because it commands that something to act or happen in a certain way.

your -- 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."

will -  The word translated as "will" means what someone "wants" or "desires" as well as the "will" of character. It mostly means what one wishes or has determined shall be done. It also means a desire or a choice.

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

done. -- (CW, WF) The word translated as "done" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. When applied to events, this word means "to happen" or "take place." For things, it can be "to be produced." It is not the Greek word commonly translated as "done."  It is a third-party command, "it must happen" or "it must be produced."

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "possible" should be "have power."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "for" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "cup" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "pass" is not a passive verb.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "taken" should be "pass."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "unless" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "drink" is in the form of something that "should" or "might" be done.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "may" indicates a subjunctive verb form, but the verb is a third-person command.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "done" is not the common word usually translated as "done."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "done" is a third-person command.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 25 2021