Mark 12:29 The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel;

Greek : 

Mark 12:29 Πρώτη ἐστίνἌκουε, Ἰσραήλ, Κύριος ” “θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστίν, ”

Deu 6:4  ἄκουε Ισραηλ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν

Literal Verse: 

First is: Hear, Israel;  MASTER [is] that God of ours, one MASTER exists.

KJV : 

Mark 12:29 The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus plays the word "first" against the number "one." As we might say, "First is that God is number one." Or, "The number one [rule] is the God is first."  This is lost in the translations that change the word "first" to "most important."

Except for Jesus's wordplay introduction, "first is," This is a word-for-word quote from the Septuagint version of  Deu 6:4.

The word "Lord" is one of the many words whose meaning has been changed by the Bible. The process started with the Greek. In Greek, the term means "lord" and "master" in the sense of a master of a house, slaves, students, workers, etc. Today, we use "Lord" and "God" interchangeably, almost exclusively in a religious sense. This goes back to the Greek OT, the Septuagint, where the Greek term "lord" was used to translate Yehovah, the Hebrew name for God. The two uses of the word in this verse are references to Yehovah. in the OT  In English OT translation this is usually signified by the capitalization of the word as LORD. Only the NLT version does that here.

NIV : 

Mark 12:29 The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

NLT : 

Mark 12:29 The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.

Wordplay: 

Jesus plays the word "first" against the number "one." As we might say, "The first is that God is first." Or, "The number one rules is the God is number one."

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Πρώτη ( adj sg fem nom ) "First" is protos. In place, this means "before", "in front," and, as a noun, "the foremost." Of time, it means "former", "earlier," and, as a noun, "the initial." In order, it means "the first." In math, it means the prime numbers. Of rank or degree, it means "superior" or, as a noun, "the highest" or "the best."

ἐστίν ( 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.")

Ἄκουε, ( verb 2nd sg pres imperat act ) "Hear" is akouo, which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand."

Ἰσραήλ, (Hebrew name) "Israel" is from the Greek spelling of the Hebrew word.

Κύριος (noun sg masc nom) "Lord" is kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."  This Greek word is used to translation "Yehovah," the Hebrew name for God in the Septuagint.

(article sg masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

θεὸς (noun sg masc nom) "God" is theos, which means "God," the Deity."

ἡμῶν (pro 1st pl gen) "Our" is hemon, which is the plural possessive (genitive) form of the first-personal pronoun. 

κύριος  (noun sg masc nom) "Lord" is kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."  This Greek word is used to translation "Yehovah," the Hebrew name for God in the Septuagint.

εἷς ( noun sg masc nom ) "One" is heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." This adjective is irregular, having a number of forms depending on gender, number, and case.

ἐστίν, ” ( 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."

KJV Analysis: 

The -- There is no Greek word that is translated as "the" in the source but in English, the word "first" needs an article before it to make it act like a noun so it was added for clarity.

first -- The word translated as "first" takes a lot of different types of "first" meanings from its context. Here, it is technically an adjective but it plays the role of the English adverb "initially." The gender of this adjective matches the gender of the word "commandment" so it clearly refers to it from the question Jesus was asked.

of all the commandments  -- (OS)There is no Greek words that is translated as "of all the commandments" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

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.

Hear, -- "Hear" is translated from a Greek word that has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.

O -- (IW) There is no Greek word that is translated as "O" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for dramatic purposes.

Israel; -- This is the Hebrew name in Greek letters, but Jesus uses it to refer to the nation.

The  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, but this word precedes the word for "God" not the word for "Lord." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Lord -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." However, in both cases in this verse, it is used to translation the Hebrew Yehowah, which was the name of God. In translating the OT, this "lord" is always shown capitalized as "LORD" to make it clearer that the word for "master" isn't being translated.

our -- The "our" is the plural possessive first-person pronoun. 

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.

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. This verse is the ending word int the verse.

one -- The Greek word translated as "one thing" means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

Lord: -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." However, in both cases in this verse, it is used to translation the Hebrew Yehowah, which was the name of God. In translating the OT, this "lord" is always shown capitalized as "LORD" to make it clearer that the word for "master" isn't being translated.

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "of all the commandments" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "O" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.

NIV Analysis: 

The -- There is no Greek word that is translated as "the" in the source but in English, the word "first" needs an article before it to make it act like a noun so it was added for clarity.

most important one -- (WW) The word translated as "most important one" takes a lot of different types of "first" meanings from its context. Here, it is technically an adjective but it plays the role of the English adverb "initially." The gender of this adjective matches the gender of the word "commandment" so it clearly refers to it from the question Jesus was asked.

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.

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

Hear, -- "Hear" is translated from a Greek word that has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.

O -- (IW) There is no Greek word that is translated as "O" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for dramatic purposes.

Israel; -- This is the Hebrew name in Greek letters, but Jesus uses it to refer to the nation.

The  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, but this word precedes the word for "God" not the word for "Lord." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Lord -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." However, in both cases in this verse, it is used to translation the Hebrew Yehowah, which was the name of God.

our -- The "our" is the plural possessive first-person pronoun. 

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

Lord: -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." However, in both cases in this verse, it is used to translation the Hebrew Yehowah, which was the name of God.

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. This verse is the ending word int the verse.

one -- The Greek word translated as "one thing" means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "most important one" means "first."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "this" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "O" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.

NLT Analysis: 

The -- There is no Greek word that is translated as "the" in the source but in English, the word "first" needs an article before it to make it act like a noun so it was added for clarity.

most important -- (WW) The word translated as "most important one" takes a lot of different types of "first" meanings from its context. Here, it is technically an adjective but it plays the role of the English adverb "initially." The gender of this adjective matches the gender of the word "commandment" so it clearly refers to it from the question Jesus was asked.

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

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

Listen, -- "Listen" is translated from a Greek word that has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.

O -- (IW) There is no Greek word that is translated as "O" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for dramatic purposes.

Israel; -- This is the Hebrew name in Greek letters, but Jesus uses it to refer to the nation.

The  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, but this word precedes the word for "God" not the word for "Lord." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

LORD -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." However, in both cases in this verse, it is used to translation the Hebrew Yehowah, which was the name of God.

our -- The "our" is the plural possessive first-person pronoun. 

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.

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. This verse is the ending word int the verse.

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

one -- The Greek word translated as "one thing" means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

and only -- (IP) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "and only" in the Greek source.

LORD: -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family." However, in both cases in this verse, it is used to translation the Hebrew Yehowah, which was the name of God.

NLT Translation Issues: 

6
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "most important" means "first."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "commandment" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "this" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "O" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "and only" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.

Front Page Date: 

Nov 28 2019