Mark 12:17 Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Give back everything of Caesar to Caesar and everything of the Divine to divinity.

KJV : 

Mark 12:17 Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The original Greek is short, sweet, and quite poetic. The translations try to inflate it and ruin its simplicity. One key difference between the Greek and "the things" (KJV) "what is" (NIV)  and "what belong" (NLT). The words can mean "everything" in the plural. So one sense is "everything of Caesar's" and "everything of the Divine." The poetry of the final phrase "of the Divine to divinity" is lost completely.

The alternation of "of Caesar" and "of the Divine"  with "to Caesar" and :"to divinity" is great wordplay, involving only changing the ending in Greek. This wordplay works especially well because the Greek verb means  " means literally "to give back."  The slight change in words captures the idea of returning to something to the original owner. Only the NIV renders (sic) this idea completely correctly.

NIV : 

Mark 12:17 Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

NLT : 

Mark 12:17 Well, then, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.

Wordplay: 

The contrast of tje possessive and indirect object word forms is emphasized by the "give back" meaning of the verb.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τὰ (irreg pl neut acc) "The things which are" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." -- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those."

Καίσαρος [3 verses](noun sg masc gen) "To Caesar" is Kaisar, which means "Caesar" primarily Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the emperor."

πόδοτε (verb 2nd pl aor imperat act) "Render" is apodidomi which means "to give back", "to restore," and "to deliver." It has the economic sense of "to sell" or "to give something for one's own profit." It begins with apo the preposition of separation and origin, the idea of "from" in English, didômi which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over," and "to describe."

Καίσαρι  [3 verses](noun sg masc dat) "Caesar" is Kaisar, which means "Caesar" primarily Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the emperor."

καὶ (conj/adv) "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."

τὰ (irreg pl neut acc) "The things which are" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

τοῦ  (article sg masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

θεοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "God" is from theos, which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

θεῷ. (noun sg masc dat) "God" is from theos, which means "God," the Deity.

KJV Analysis: 

Render -- The word translated as "render" means "to give back." In a financial sense, to "pay back." This word is translated "deliver" and "reward" elsewhere in the NT.

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

unto  -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

Caesar -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor."

the things -- The word translated as "the things" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

which are -- (IP) There is no Greek word(s) that are translated as "which are" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity.

Caesar's; -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor." The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

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

unto -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

God --  The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

the things -- The word translated as "the things" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

which are -- (IP) There is no Greek word(s) that are translated as "which are" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity.

untranslated -"the" - (MW) 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. 

God's. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods. The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

KJV Translation Issues: 

4
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "therefore" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "which are" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "which are" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

Give back-- The word translated as "give back " means "to give back." In a financial sense, to "pay back." This word is translated "deliver" and "reward" elsewhere in the NT.

to  -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

Caesar -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor."

what -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

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

Caesar's; -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor." The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

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

to -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

God --  The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

what -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

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

untranslated -"the" - (MW) 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. 

God's. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods. The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.

NLT Analysis: 

Well, then,  -- (IP) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "well then" in the Greek source.

Give -- (WW) The word translated as "give " means "to give back." In a financial sense, to "pay back." This word is translated "deliver" and "reward" elsewhere in the NT.

to  -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

Caesar -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor."

what -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

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

to  -- (WW) -his word "to"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  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. 

Caesar -- The Greek spelling of "Caesar" primarily  means Julius but also Augustus and, generally, "the Roman emperor."

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

give  -- (IW) There is no Greek word that can be translated as a repeat of "give" in the Greek source.

to -- This word comes from the dative case of the following word(s) that requires the addition of a preposition in English: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

God --  The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

what -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In the plural means "everything", "some", "they," and "those." Here, it is plural.

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

untranslated -"the" - (MW) 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. 

to  -- (WW) -his word "to"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  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. 

God's. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods. The apostrophe "s" is from the genitive case, "of "Caesar."

NLT Translation Issues: 

8
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "well then" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "give" means "give back."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "belongs" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "to" usually means "of."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "give" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "belongs" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "to" usually means "of."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

The verse brings in the larger idea of debt and free will in Jesus's words, which are easily misunderstood. We explain those concepts in some detail in this article.

Front Page Date: 

Nov 23 2019