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Matthew 13:12 For whoever has,

Parable, the Sower, explanation

Spoken to:
Greek Verse:

Matthew 13:12 ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται: ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ.

KJV Verse:

Matthew 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

NIV Verse:

Matthew 13:12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

Literal Alternative:

Because whoever possesses, it will be given to him and it will be made greater. Whoever, however, doesn't have? Even what he has, it will be lifted away from him.

Hidden Meaning:

Though this is usually translated in a way that makes us think, "the rich get richer," Jesus is saying more than this.

First note that this verse begins with a "because." To use this indicates that Jesus could well be answering a question that was not recorded (the Unrecorded Dialogue Theory). Notice also that "it" that people have and the "it" they are given is not defined. This is because objects are assumed from the previous context. Though the context could have changed in the question asked, Matthew 13:11 established the context of knowledge of the secrets of the realm of the skies. In that context, this verse is more specific, those with more basic understanding can build on that understanding more easily than those that cannot. However, there is also the more general idea that more general knowledge leads to more abundance in the form of wealth, friends, and other valuable things.


This entire phrase can be interpreted as either positive or negative, depending on what a person as blessings or burdens.The word translated as "remove" also has positive meanings such as "lifted up" and "exalt." 

The Spoken Version:

“Do you call this learning ‘mysteries,’ because the realm cannot be held in our minds in earthly terms but only analogies?” Brother James asked.
The Master nodded.
“Because whoever holds it,” the Master clarified, “it will be given to him and it will be made greater. Whoever, however, doesn’t hold it?” he continued, indicating the Distinguished leader. “Even what he has, it will be lifted away from him.”
He then fluttered his hands up to the sky like birds, connecting his statement to the seed on the path that was carried away by the birds.

My Takeaway:

The more we understand the nature of the word, the more abundant our lives become.

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About this Site

I started this site fifteen years ago.  My original award-winning work as a "techno-linguist" was in ancient Chinese. I wanted to bring the same computer search and analysis techniques to explore something more important: the original Greek of Jesus's words.

This site does not promote any religious point of view. Indeed, it seeks to avoid the competing and evolving religious dogmas that have shaped Biblical translation for centuries.  I purposely use "nonreligious" sources for Greek word meaning, rejoining the study of Biblical Greek with the broader study of ancient Greek. My goal is simply to identify how listeners of his time heard him.

Jesus' words are unique for three reasons.

  1. They were spoken, not written. Spoken language is inherently different than written language.
  2. They changed the meaning of words, determining even how later NT authors' used the Greek.
  3. They were the basis of a unique historical revolution in they way people think.

Most of the on-line material on "Biblical Greek" is largely tautological. It explains the Greek only in terms of how it has been historically translated into English. It flows from the ways that the  Gospel was taught from the Latin Vulgate. I respect this work and use it daily. However,  most of my work takes place outside of this tradition, researching the use of the Greek closer to the time of Jesus, especially the Greek OT, the Septuagint.

The Bible has been such a powerful force in history that it has changed the meaning of many words in English, Latin, and Greek. However, the Greek of Jesus's words has been faithfully preserved for centuries from the changing religious fashions of history. These fashions, unfortunately, affect each successive English translation of the Bible, moving it further and further from the Greek.  I stopped analyzing the NLT version because so much of it fails to connect to anything in the Greek. The Message version is much worse.

This site is offered for those who care about fidelity to Scripture in any sense of the word.

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