Mark 7:15 There is nothing from without a man,

Spoken to: 

audience

After the Pharisees accuse Jesus's followers of not washing.

KJV : 

Mark 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

NIV : 

Mark 7:15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.

Listeners Heard: 

Nothing exists from outside of the person entering into him that has the power to make him common. Instead, those emerging from that person are those making the person common.

My Takeaway: 

Common is as common does.

Lost in Translation: 

There is a lot more symmetry to the Greek than the English translations. Jesus could be referring to a specific person here, not a generic person because he uses the definite article meaning "the" or "this" to refer to the person. not the "a man" or "a person" we see in Biblical translation.

The Greek verbs translated as "entering/going" and "come/comes" are not the common words translated as "come" and "go." They are specific words from the same root word with different prefixes, "entering" and "emerging" better captures their feel. 

The Greek word that is translated here as "defiled" here is only translated that way in NT English. It is the verb from of the noun that means "common" and it means "make common." The normal translation of the word is to communicate, share, and impart, that is, make information public. Referring to a person, the sense of "making common" has the sense of making them lowly, part of the lowest classes. However, the Judaic idea of "holiness" is connected with having something "set apart" especially for the Divine, while what is shared among people is called "common" or "public," which is the opposite "holy" or "set apart."  The Jews consider themselves as "set apart" people. The foriegners were those who were common.

Wordplay: 

The idea of "make common" means "make dirty" and "make lowly" and "make public."

Original Word Order: 

οὐδὲν     ἔστιν           ἔξωθεν    τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰσπορευόμενον εἰς αὐτὸν
Nothing exists from outside of the person       entering              into him

     δύναται          κοινῶσαι              αὐτόν:
that has the power to make common. him

ἀλλὰ      τὰ             ἐκ     τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκπορευόμενά ἐστιν τὰ     κοινοῦντα            τὸν ἄνθρωπον.
Instead, those        from that person        emerging        are    those making common. the person

WORD-BY-WORD COMPARISON OF THE GREEK TO ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS: 

οὐδὲν  [69 verses] ( adj sg neut nom/acc ) "Nothing" is oudeis which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter."

ἔστιν .[614 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen",  and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.") -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

ἔξωθεν [8 verses] (adv) "From without" is from exothen, which "from without" and "outward."

τοῦ [821 verses](article sg masc gen) "A" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἀνθρώπου [209 verses](noun sg masc gen) "A man" is anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

εἰσπορευόμενον  [10 verses]( part sg pres mp masc acc ) "Entering" is eisporeuomai, which means "lead in", "go into," and "enter." It combines "eis," which means "in" with -poreuomai, which means "make to go", "carry", "convey", "bring", "go", "march," and "proceed."

εἰς [325 verses](prep) "Into" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

αὐτὸν [124 verses](pron/(adj sg masc acc)) "Him" is autos, is the masculine, accusative case of the third-person, singular adjective that is used as a pronoun. The word also means "the same,""one's true self," and "the soul" as opposed to the body. It also means "of one's own accord." -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek adjective that acts like our third-person pronoun. The form is the third person, singular, masculine as an object of a verb or preposition.  As a preposition's object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement. Events may show the amount of time

[294 verses](pro sg masc nom ) "That" is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

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

κοινῶσαι [7 verses]( verb aor inf act) "Defile" is from koinoo, which means "to communicate", "to impart", "to share," and "to make common."  Only in Matthew and Mark is it translated as "defile" from the idea that to make something "common" is to defile it.

αὐτὸν [124 verses](pron/(adj sg masc acc)) "Him" is autos, is the masculine, accusative case of the third-person, singular adjective that is used as a pronoun. The word also means "the same,""one's true self," and "the soul" as opposed to the body. It also means "of one's own accord."

ἀλλὰ [154 verses](conj) "But" is alla, which means "instead," "otherwise," "but," "still," "at least," "except," "yet," nevertheless," "rather," "moreover," and "nay."

τὰ [821 verses](article pl neut nom )  "The things which" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἐκ [121 verses](prep) "From" is ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

τοῦ [821 verses](article sg masc gen) "A" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἀνθρώπου [209 verses](noun sg masc gen) "A man" is anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

ἐκπορευόμενά [11 verses](part pl pres mp neut nom) "Come" is from ekporeuomai, which means "to make to go out", "to fetch out," and "to march out."  --

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

τὰ [821 verses](article pl neut nom )  "Those" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

κοινοῦντα [7 verses]( part pl pres act neut nom ) "Defile" is from koinoo, which means "to communicate", "to impart", "to share," and "to make common."  Only in Matthew and Mark is it translated as "defile" from the idea that to make something "common" is to defile it.

τὸν [821 verses](article sg masc acc) "A" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἄνθρωπον. [209 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Man" is anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

KJV Analysis: 

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

is  -- -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.  The word also means "to exist" and where it doesn't connect to characteristics or conditions.When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is," "there is," or, in the plural, "there are." However, here the subject "nothing" begins the sentence.

nothing -- The Greek word translated as "nothing" also means "no one" and other negatives nouns.

from without  -  "From without" is an adverb that means "from without" and "outward."

a -- (WW) The word translated as "a" 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. -- The form of this word and the following usually requires the addition of extra words in English to capture its meaning.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of", "which is", "than" (in comparisons), or  "for", "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

man, -- The Greek word for "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

that --- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "that" in the Greek source.  It is added because the sentence doesn't begin with "nothing." 

entering -- "Entering" is a Greek verb that means "lead in", "go into," and "enter." It combines  a prefix that means "in" with a root verb that means "make to go", "carry", "convey", "bring", "go", "march," and "proceed."  The same root is used for the word later in the verse with a prefix meaning the opposite.

into -- The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

him -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." 

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

can -- (CW) The word translated as "can" means having the power or possibly a desire to accomplish something. Often, in English, "can" is a helper verb, indicating a possibility. In Greek, it indicates ability or power. This is the active verb here, not a helper verb. It takes an infinitive as "have the ability" does in English.

defile -- (CW, WF) "Defile" is a verb that means "to communicate", "to impart", "to share." Only in Matthew and Mark is it translated as "defile." The difference between "defile" and "communicate" is not a trivial one. However, the Judaic idea of "holiness" is connected with having something "set apart" for the Divine, while what is shared among people is consider "common" instead of holy. So sharing something does "defile" something dedicate to the Divine.

him: -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." 

but -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "instead," "but instead,"or "rather." It is not the common word usually translated as "but." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." Jesus often uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, "not this," with a positive one, "instead this."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. 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. 

things   - There is no word, "things," in the Greek source, but this word comes from the neuter, plural form of the previous pronoun.

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 as a participle.

come  - (CW WF)  "Come" is a verb that means literally, "to make to go or carry out of" and is translated regularly as "to make to go out of", "to fetch out," and "to march out," but in modern English, we would probably say "exit" here. It is in the form of an adjective used as a noun, where the subject affects itself "the things bringing themselves " This is not the common word translated as "come." This is not an active verb but a participle.

out of -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

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

missing "the/this"  -- (OS) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article," the," 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

missing "man"  -- (OS) The untranslated word is word for "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

those  -- The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. 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. 

are -- The verb "are" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. The form is singular, but the subject is a plural, neuter, which is treated like a singular in Greek.

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

defile -- (CW, WF) "Defile" is a verb that means "to communicate", "to impart", "to share." Only in Matthew and Mark is it translated as "defile." The difference between "defile" and "communicate" is not a trivial one. However, the Judaic idea of "holiness" is connected with having something "set apart" for the Divine, while what is shared among people is consider "common" instead of holy. So sharing something does "defile" something dedicate to the Divine. This is not an active verb but a participle.

the -- The word translated as "the" 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.

man. -- The Greek word for "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples".

KJV Translation Issues: 

17
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "there" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be something more like "the."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "can" is not a helper verb, but the active verb in the sentence. This is not an active verb, but an infinitive.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "defile" does not capture the word's general meaning.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "defile" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to defile."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "which" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "come" is not the common word usually translated as "come."
  • WF -- Wrong Form -  The "come" is not an active verb but a participle, "emerging."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "him" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the source we use today.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek missing word "the" is in the source we use today.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek missing word "man" is in the source we use today.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "they that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "defile" does not capture the word's general meaning.
  • WF -- Wrong Form -  The "defile" is not an active verb but a participle, "defiling."

NIV Analysis: 

Nothing -- The Greek word translated as "nothing" also means "no one" and other negatives nouns.

missing "is"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.  The word also means "to exist" and where it doesn't connect to characteristics or conditions.When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is," "there is," or, in the plural, "there are." However, here the subject "nothing" begins the sentence.

outside -  "Outside" is an adverb that means "from without" and "outward."

a -- (WW) The word translated as "a" 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.

person , -- The Greek word for "person " means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

can -- (CW) The word translated as "can" means having the power or possibly a desire to accomplish something. Often, in English, "can" is a helper verb, indicating a possibility. In Greek, it indicates ability or power. This is the active verb here, not a helper verb. It takes an infinitive as "have the ability" does in English.

defile -- (CW, WF) "Defile" is a verb that means "to communicate", "to impart", "to share." Only in Matthew and Mark is it translated as "defile." The difference between "defile" and "communicate" is not a trivial one. However, the Judaic idea of "holiness" is connected with having something "set apart" for the Divine, while what is shared among people is consider "common" instead of holy. So sharing something does "defile" something dedicate to the Divine.

them -- (WN) The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This word is not singular but plural.

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

going-- (CW) "Going" is a Greek verb that means "lead in", "go into," and "enter." It combines  a prefix that means "in" with a root verb that means "make to go", "carry", "convey", "bring", "go", "march," and "proceed."  The same root is used for the word later in the verse with a prefix meaning the opposite.

into -- The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

them -- (WN) The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." This word is not singular but plural.

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

him: -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

Rather-- The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "instead," "but instead,"or "rather." It is not the common word usually translated as "but." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." Jesus often uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, "not this," with a positive one, "instead this."

it -- (WW, WN) The word translated as "it" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. 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. 

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. The form is singular, but the subject is a plural, neuter, which is treated like a singular in Greek.

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

comes  - (CW WF)  "Comes" is a verb that means literally, "to make to go or carry out of" and is translated regularly as "to make to go out of", "to fetch out," and "to march out," but in modern English, we would probably say "exit" here. It is in the form of an adjective used as a noun, where the subject affects itself "the things bringing themselves " This is not the common word translated as "come." This is not an active verb but a participle.

out of -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

-- (WW) The word "a" is the Greek definite article," the," 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

person   -- The "person" is the word for "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples".

that -- (WN) The word translated as "that" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. 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. 

defiles -- (CW, WF) "Defiles" is a verb that means "to communicate", "to impart", "to share." Only in Matthew and Mark is it translated as "defile." The difference between "defile" and "communicate" is not a trivial one. However, the Judaic idea of "holiness" is connected with having something "set apart" for the Divine, while what is shared among people is consider "common" instead of holy. So sharing something does "defile" something dedicate to the Divine. This is not an active verb but a participle.

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

missing "the/this"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article," the," 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

missing "man"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is word for "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

NIV Translation Issues: 

22
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "is" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be something more like "the."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "can" is not a helper verb, but the active verb in the sentence. This is not an active verb, but an infinitive.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "defile" does not capture the word's general meaning.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "defile" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to defile."
  • WN  --Wrong Number- The word "them" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "by" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "going" is not the common word usually translated as "going."
  • WN  --Wrong Number- The word "them" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" should be something more like "the."
  • IP - Inserted Word -- The word"what" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "comes" is not the common word usually translated as "come."
  • WF -- Wrong Form -  The "comes" is not an active verb but a participle, "emerging."
  • WN  --Wrong Number- The word "that" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" should be something more like "the."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "they that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "defile" does not capture the word's general meaning.
  • WF -- Wrong Form -  The "defile" is not an active verb but a participle, "defiling."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "them" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "person" is not shown in the English translation.

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

May 2 2023