Mark 11:33 Neither do I tell you by what authority...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Nor am I myself telling you on what authority I do these things.

KJV : 

Mark 11:33 Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things. 

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

the humor in this line is lost in translation. It is identical to Matthew 21:27 and Luke 20:8 for a reason: it is memorable. It is memorable because of its rhyming wordplay. Jesus says "I tell you" or "I say to you" a lot, so much so that it is one of this "catch phrases," but here he adds the unnecessary first-person pronoun to it to create a rhyme, "ego lego" ("I myself tell). The words translated as "what" and "I do" also are a near rhyme:  poia...poio ("what...I do."). You can easily imagine Jesus saying these lines in a fun way.

NIV : 

Mark 11:33 Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

NLT : 

Mark 11:33 Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things

Wordplay: 

This verse consists of two almost rhyming repetitions:  ego legô (translated as "I tell") and poios poieô (translated as "what...I do."), whose specific forms in this case are even closer: poia poio.  This play on words is clearly intentional, because Christ changes from the word, apokrinô used in the two previous verses, to the word legô for the same idea in order to make the first play on words. The "ego" in this first verse is entirely optional because the verb form is in the first person and is just added for fun.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐδὲ  (partic) "Neither" is oude, which, as a conjunction, means "but not", "neither", and "nor." As an adverb, it means "not at all" and "not even."-- The Greek word for "neither" is an adverb that means "not at all" or "no even". As a conjunction, it works as both parts of the "neither/nor" constructions.

ἐγὼ (pron sg masc nom) "I" is ego, which is the firs-person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and "for myself." -- The pronoun "I" is added to add emphasis that he is referring to his own words. It is unnecessary because the first-person indication is part of the verb ending. Christ sometimes uses it humorously to refer to himself.

λέγω (verb sg pres act ind) "Tell I" is lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "To you" is humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." 

ἐν (prep) "By" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". When referring to an instrument or manner, it means "by."

ποίᾳ (adj sg fem dat) "What" is from poios, which means "of what kind", "whose", "what," and "which."

ἐξουσίᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "Authority" is exousia which means "control", "the power of choice", "permission", "the power of authority", "the right of privilege", "abundance of means," and "abuse of power."

αῦτα (adj pl neut acc) "These things" is from tauta, which is a referring pronoun meaning "these", "this", "that," and "here." It can mean the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why."

ποιῶ. (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "I do" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

KJV Analysis: 

Neither "Neither" is from a Greek negative meaning "but not" and as both parts of "neither...nor."

do -- This helper verb is not in the Greek but added to indicate the verb's present tense and to make the sentence flow better.

I -- (MW) The "I" is in the verb. Here, an additional pronoun is added to add emphasis. In English, we do this by adding a reflexive pronoun, "I myself." Jesus uses this form humorously when referring to himself.  Here it is combined with the rhyming word to create "ego lego."

tell -- The word translated as "tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," and Jesus usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

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

by -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to an instrument or manner, it means "by."

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" means "of what kind", "whose", "what," and "which." 

authority -- The term translated as "authority" means "power" but this isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

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

do -- The Greek word translated as "do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do", which covers all actions, productive or not. 

these -- The "this" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why." It is not typically used as an adjective.

things. -- This comes from the neutral plural form of the previous adjective.

KJV Translation Issues: 

1

MW - Missing Word -- The reflexive "myself" is needed to indicate the use of a subject pronoun.

NIV Analysis: 

Neither "Neither" is from a Greek negative meaning "but not" and as both parts of "neither...nor."

will -- (WT) This helper verb seems to indicate that the following verb is the future tense. It is the present tense.

I -- (MW) The "I" is in the verb. Here, an additional pronoun is added to add emphasis. In English, we do this by adding a reflexive pronoun, "I myself." Jesus uses this form humorously when referring to himself.  Here it is combined with the rhyming word to create "ego lego."

tell -- The word translated as "tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," and Jesus usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

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

by -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to an instrument or manner, it means "by."

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" means "of what kind", "whose", "what," and "which." 

authority -- The term translated as "authority" means "power" but this isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

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

am -- This helper verb indicates that the following verb is in the present tense.

doing -- The Greek word translated as "doing" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do", which covers all actions, productive or not. 

these -- The "this" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why." It is not typically used as an adjective.

things. -- This comes from the neutral plural form of the previous adjective.

NIV Translation Issues: 

2

WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" seems to indicate  the future tense, but the following verb is the present tense.

MW - Missing Word -- The reflexive "myself" is needed to indicate the use of a subject pronoun.

NLT Analysis: 

Then   -- (IW) There is no Greek word that can be translated as "then" in the Greek source.

I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things

Neither

will -- (WT, WF) This helper verb seems to indicate that the following verb is the future tense. It is the present tense. The negative is from a Greek negative meaning "but not" and as both parts of "neither...nor."

I -- (MW) The "I" is in the verb. Here, an additional pronoun is added to add emphasis. In English, we do this by adding a reflexive pronoun, "I myself." Jesus uses this form humorously when referring to himself.  Here it is combined with the rhyming word to create "ego lego."

tell -- The word translated as "tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," and Jesus usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

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

by -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to an instrument or manner, it means "by."

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" means "of what kind", "whose", "what," and "which." 

authority -- The term translated as "authority" means "power" but this isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

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

am -- This helper verb indicates that the following verb is in the present tense.

doing -- The Greek word translated as "doing" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do", which covers all actions, productive or not. 

these -- The "this" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why." It is not typically used as an adjective.

things. -- This comes from the neutral plural form of the previous adjective.

NLT Translation Issues: 

4
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "then" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "won't" seems to indicate  the future tense, but the following verb is the present tense.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The  negative isn't a simple "no" but a "nor" or "but not."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The reflexive "myself" is needed to indicate the use of a subject pronoun.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

In the previous verse, Christ uses baptism as a symbol for rebirth, asking if that idea is a human concept or a universal one. Here, Christ extends that suggestion to his own powers, not revealing if they are based on the power of human faith (people curing themselves) or a divine power.

Front Page Date: 

Nov 10 2019