Mark 11:23 For ...That whosoever shall say unto this mountain...

KJV Verse: 

Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Truly I tell you that he when he says to the mule who may, this one, to this barrier, "Be raised up and tossed into the sea!" And he might not want to be divided in that heart of his instead what he might  proclaim happens. It will be for him.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are many differences between the Greek source  that we use today and the source used by the KJV translators. Both the words that this verse starts and ends with are not part of the source we use today.  There is also some major league wordplay going on here with the word translated as "mountain" and the word mistranslated as "doubt."

However, there are so many issues with this translation that you really need to read the detailed analysis section. There are many major issues. For example, the Greek word for "becoming" and "being" are contrasted in the last part of the verse. The word for becoming is translated as "come to pass." Even more strangely, the word for being  is translated as "shall have." 

KJV Analysis: 

For -- There is no Greek word "for" in the source that we use today.

verily -- The word translated as "verily" is the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." This verse starts with the "amen" phrase, which we discuss in this article.

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

say -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Jesus uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself."

unto -- This is from the form of the following pronoun, which is an indirect object and requires a preposition in English.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc. 

That -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

who-  -- The word translated as "who-" 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.

soever -- The Greek word translated as "-soever" means"if might" and indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

shall -- This does not indicate the future tense. It indicates that the verb is in the form of possibility. A "might" is more appropriate, but if the verb appears in an "if" statement, the possibility rather than certainty is assumed.

say -- "Say" is from the Greek verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also.  This is a different word than the "say" above.

unto -- This is from the form of the following pronoun, which is an indirect object and requires a preposition in English.

untranslated -- The untranslated word is the Greek definite article.  The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

this -- "This" is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar."  It appears after the following noun.

mountain, The word translated as "mountain" means "mountain" or "hill" but it could also be the word which means "mule." It could also be a third word, spelled just like the Greek word "mountain" means "boundary," "barrier," and "the decision of judges." Both word, "mountain" and "mule" are in the form of an indirect object and the surround definite article and demonstrative pronoun agree with both, even though they are different genders, "mule" being masculine and "mountain" being neutral. The feeling of the word is a stubborn barrier.

Be -- This comes from the passive form of the following verb.

thou -- This comes from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

removed, -- "Removed" is one of Jesus's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up", "elevate", "to bear", "to carry off", "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease." Jesus uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

be -- This comes from the passive form of the following verb.

thou -- This comes from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

cast -- The word translated as "cast" has a number of meanings revolving around "throw" as we do in English with both "throw" and "toss." Jesus often uses this word in the same way we use "dump" in English. In dice, it means "to throw" the dice, but with the sense of being lucky.

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

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

sea; -- The "sea" is from the Greek word for "sea" and "sea water." Water is Christs symbol for the temporary, physical reality.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

shall -- This does not indicate the future tense. It indicates that the verb is in the form of possibility. A "might" is more appropriate.

not -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used.

untranslated -- The following verb is clearly passive so a "be" helping verb should appear here before it.

doubt -- The verb translated as "doubt" means to "separate" and "divide." Its root is a common word that means "separate" and it is usually translated as "judge" in the Gospels. The form is passive in the form of possibility so "might be divided." This verb is still part of the "if" statement.  This idea of "being divided" creates a play on word with the word translated as "mountain," which also means "barrier" and the "decision of judges."

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

untranslated -- The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

his-- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English. This word follows the noun so "of his."

heart, -- "Heart" is the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. However, this phrase can be read as defining the "heart" and both the "soul" and "the mind".

but  -- The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather" and "instead."

shall -- This does not indicate the future tense. It indicates that the verb is in the form of possibility. A "might" is more appropriate.

believe -- The Greek word translated as "believe" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Christ usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words.

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

those -- The word translated as "those" 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.  The form that works best here is "what" because the gender is neutral.

things -- This seems to indicate a that the word above is plural, but it is singular.

which -- This comes from the demonstrative pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

he -- This comes from the singular, third person of the verb.

saith -- The Greek word translated as "speak" is not the ordinary "to say" or "to speak" in Greek. This word means both "idle chatter", "gossip," and "the proclamations of an oracle." Christ uses it to capture the idea of "pass on," because that captures both someone gossiping and an oracle does. The word is somewhat self-effacing.

shall -- The following verb is neither in the future tense nor in a form of possibility so this word doesn't make much sense here.

come to pass; -- The word translated as "be" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. When speaking of events, this word means "happens," which seems to be the sense here.

he -- This comes from the third person, singular form of the following verb. But since the subject seems to be "what happens," an "it" is better.

shall -- This comes from the future tense of the following verb.

have -- -- The verb translated as "have" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. The tense is the future.

untranslated -- The form of the following pronoun requires a preposition.  The form of this word requires that addition of a preposition in English to capture its meaning, a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, "for" a benifit, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, and an "in" for area of affect.

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

whatsoever he saith. There is no Greek for this phrase in the source that we use today.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἀμὴν "Verily" is from amen, which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT.

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" is from llego means "pick up", "choose for oneself", "pick out," and "count," "recount", "tell over", "say", "speak", "teach", "mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," "nominate," and "command."

ὑμῖν, (pron 2nd pl dat) "Unto you" is from humin, the 2nd person pronoun.

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore." --

ὃς ( pron sg masc nom ) "Who-" is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἂν (conj) "-Ever" is 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.

εἴπῃ ( verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "Shall say" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

τῷ (article sg neut dat) Untranslated 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."

ὄρει (noun sg masc/neut dat) "Mountain" is from oros, which means "mountain", "hill", "canton," and "parish." In Egypt, it was also used to mean the "desert" and a place of burial. It's homonym oros means a "boundary", "landmark", "time limits", "decisions of judges", "memorial stones and pillars," "standard", "measure", "term (in logic)", "definition", "terms," and "conditions." Another, similar word, oreus, ( noun sg masc dat ) which matches oros in this form and means "mule."

τούτῳ (adj sg masc/neut dat)"Unto this" is from toutou, which is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar."

Ἄρθητι   (verb 2nd sg aor imperat pass) "Be thou removed" is from airo, which means "to lift up", "to raise", "to raise up", "to exalt", "to lift and take away," and "to remove."

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

βλήθητι (verb 2nd sg aor imperat pass) "Cast" is from ballo, which means "to throw", "to let fall," "to cast," "to put", "to pour", "to place money on deposit", "push forward or in front [of animals]", "to shed", "to place", "to pay,"to throw [of dice,]" "to be lucky", "to fall", "to lay as foundation", "to begin to form", "to dash oneself with water," and "to bathe."

εἰς "Into" is from 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)."

τὴν (article sg fem acc) "The 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." Untranslated 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."

θάλασσαν, ((noun sg fem acc)"Sea" is from thalassa (thalassa), which means also means "sea" or "sea water."

καὶ (adv/conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

μὴ (partic) "Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

διακριθῇ [uncommon]( verb 3rd sg aor subj pass ) "Doubt" is from diakrino, which means "to separate," "to separate one from another," "to discriminate", "to distinguish", "to decide," and "to separate into elemental parts."

ἐν (prep) "In" is en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῇ (article sg fem dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

καρδίᾳ ( noun sg fem dat) "Heart" is from kardia (kardia), which means "heart" and which we discuss in a larger Greek context here. It is a metaphor for "deep."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "His"  is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

ἀλλὰ (adv) "But" is alla, which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay."

πιστεύῃ ( verb 3rd sg pres subj act ) "Believe" is pisteuo, which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person", "to believe in someone's words", "to comply", "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing."

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

( pron sg neut acc/nom) "Those " is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

λαλεῖ ( verb 3rd sg pres/imperf ind act )  "He saith"  is laleo, which means "to talk," "to speak" "to prattle", "to chat," and [for oracles] "to proclaim." It also means "chatter" as the opposite of articulate speech.

γίνεται, ( verb 3rd sg pres ind mp ) "Shall come to pass" is ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", of things "to be produced," of events "happen," "take place", "come to pass", "to be engaged in", math "to be multiplied into", "become one of", "turn into".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.

ἔσται  ( verb 3rd sg fut ind mid ) "Shall have" 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.")

αὐτῷ ( adj sg masc dat ) Untranslated is 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "mountain," oros, has a homonym (two words spelled and pronounced the same but with different meanings) oros. This word means a "boundary" or "landmark," which is used to indicate time limits, decisions of judges, and various types of standards (see vocabulary). And for the oros that means mountain, in Egypt, where Jesus learned his Greek, it was also used to describe the desert and a place of burial. So Jesus is making an analogy between a mountain and barriers of all kinds. He is also making a little joke about the desert being cast into the sea.

The verb translated as "doubt" actually means "separated" or "being divided." This idea of "being divided" creates a play on word with the word translated as "mountain," which also means "barrier" and the "decision of judges."

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

 Here, the idea is that confidence in God is the force that drives "becoming" into "be."Jesus constantly contrasts these two ideas, being and becoming, though most of that is lost in translation of the two words. For Jesus this world of physical, mental, and emotional change is the world of becoming. The eternal world of spirit is the world of being.

 

Front Page Date: 

Nov 4 2019