Mark 13:28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree;

KJV Verse: 

Mar 13:28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

From the fig tree, learn this comparison, right after its branches become tender and it produces leaves, you can see that it is nearly harvest time.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse seems oddly out of place in a description of the end times. However, Christ uses it to send a very positive note that is lost in translation.

In ancient times, figs were a symbol for abundance. Here, the gathering of the chosen from the four corners of the earth indicates the coming of abundance, the summer of harvest. Christ compares it to a sign of the coming harvest.

There is a productive and positive aspect to Christ's eschatology that many people miss and, perhaps for historical reasons, gets filtered out in English translation. Yes, there is fire and pain, but Christ describes this suffering as "birth pains." Here, the changes he describes are not the only the end but the beginning. Religion focused on sin and punishment in a way that Christ never does. Yes, there are bad times, but Christ sees them as a prelude to better times. We must have winter for us to appreciate summer.

I am reminded of how in the Parable of the Weeds (Matt 13:24-30), Christ describes the weeds and wheat being gathered together. The weeds are bundled to be burned, but the Greek term used indicates being burned in an oven as in the making of bread. The wheat is needed for the bread, but so are the weeds to make the fire. They are both parts of the goodness of the final product. Religion sees only the threat of punishment, while Christ emphasizes the promise of fruition.

 

KJV Analysis: 

 Now -- The Greek word translated as "now" is almost always translated as "but" because it joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

untranslated -- (MW) The untranslated Greek word is usually translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

learn -- "Learn" is a word that means "to learn especially by experience or study." This is consistent with the different verb used below to translated as "you see".

a -- (WW)The word translated as "a" is the Greek definite article, "the" which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.  There is no indefinite article "a" in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

parable -- "Parable" is translated from a Greek word that means "comparison", "illustration," and "analogy." It is most often translated in the NT as "parable" but occasionally as "comparison." This word is introduced by a definitive article, so "the analogy."

of -- (WW) The word translated as "of" means "from" and "out of" in both location and when referring to a source. This is not a description of the parable, but an independent clause that begins the sentence.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

fig tree; -- The word for "fig tree" means "fig tree." In ancient times, figs were a symbol for abundance.

When -- The "when" word here can also mean "since". And since it is immediately followed by the word translated as "yet," a word that actually means proximity in time, the sense is "since right after".

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

untranslated -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

branch -- The word for "branch" means a new shoot of a tree as well as any type of branches, such as branches of learning. Notice, it is not plural but singular, so its seems to refer to a shoot of a tree, a new tree, rather than its branches. Fig trees are started from cuttings, that is, a spout is cut from a tree and planted. This is why this particular tree is used as an example here.

is -- (WW) The word translated as "is" 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. This word indicates a transformation. For events, it mean "happen."

yet -- (WW) "Yet" is a Greek adverb meaning "already," "by this time", "forthwith", "after", "immediately," and "now." It means proximity in time, but also place.

tender, -- The word translated as "tender" also means "soft to the touch", and "delicate." This section of verses generally contrasts the hard, cold, and dark with the soft, warm, and light.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

putteth forth -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

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

leaves, -- The word for "leaves" means "leaf", "foliage", "flower", "petals," and generally, "plant."

ye -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the following verb.

know -- The Greek verb translated as "know" means "to learn to know", "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive." It is not the ordinary form of knowing, but specifically gaining understanding by learning.

that -- "That" is translated from a Greek word that means "that" "because," and "since."

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

summer -- The word for "summer" primarily means "harvest" in Greek. We might think that the new leaves on the fig tree means "spring", but since the reference is to the propagation of a fig tree, it would start growing at harvest time. A little about the propagation of figs: typically, cutting are taken before the winter and growing out of the ground through the winter (to protect from cold) and planted in the spring. Figs are a technically a reed bush, not a tree, growing fruit only from new growth from the previous year.

is -- There is no verb "is" here in the Greek. However, when noun and pronouns appear in the form of a subject without a verb, the verb "to be" is assumed.

nigh: -- The adverb translated as "nigh" means near in time or distance.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἀπὸ (prep) "Of" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

δὲ (conj) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

τῆς (article sg fem gen) "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." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

συκῆς [6 verses] (noun sg fem gen) "Fig tree" is from syke, which means "fig tree."

μάθετε (verb 2nd pl aor imperat act) "Learn" is from manthano, which means "to learn" especially by study or practice, "acquire a habit of", "perceive", "understand," and "notice."

τὴν (article sg fem acc) "A" 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."

παραβολήν: (noun sg fem acc) "Parable" is from parabole, which means "comparison", "illustration," and "analogy." It is most often translated in the NT as "parable" but occasionally as "comparison."

ὅταν (adv) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)."

ἤδη (adv) "Yet" is from ede, which means "already", "by this time", "forthwith", "after", "immediately," and "now." It means proximity in time, but also place.

(article sg masc nom) "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." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

κλάδος (noun sg masc nom) "Branches" is from klados , which means "branches", "twig", "shoot," and "branch" of a blood vessel.

αὐτῆς (adj sg fem 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."

ἁπαλὸς [2 verses] (adj sg masc nom) "Tender" is from hapalos, which means "soft to the touch", "tender," and "delicate."

γένηται (verb 3rd sg aor subj mid) "Is" is from ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", "to be produced," 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.

καὶ (prep/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."

ἐκφύῃ, [2 verses] (verb 3rd sg aor subj act/passive) "Puteth forth" is from ekphyo, which means "generate," produce", "bear", "grow," and "engender."

τὰ (article pl neut nom/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." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

φύλλα [2 verses] (noun pl neut nom/acc) "Leaves" is from phyllon, which means "leaf", "foliage", "flower", "petals," and generally, "plant."

γινώσκετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "You know," is from ginosko which means "to learn to know", "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is from hoti (hoti) which means "that" "because," and "since."

ἐγγὺς (adv) "Nigh" is from eggys, which means "near", "nigh", "at hand," nearly", "coming near," and "akin."

τὸ (article pl neut nom/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." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

θέρος: [3 verses] (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Summer" is from theros, which means "summer", "summerfruits", "harvest," and "crop."

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.") -- 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. -- When the verb "to be" appears early in the clause before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." 

Wordplay: 

Christ use a word theros that combine the meaning of both "summer" and "harvest time."  In discussing the end of the age, this gives a most positive spin on the changing of the season.

Related Verses: 

KJV Translation Issues Count: 

8

KJV Translation Issues List: 

MW - Missing Word -- The conjunction "but" or "however" is not shown in the English translation.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "a" means "the." This is not the adverbial form.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "of" means "from" or "out of." It is not the "of" of possession as it looks.

MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "is" means "become." In many sense, the two words are opposites.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "yet" means "already."

MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.

MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Jan 2 2020