Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away:

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

This sky and this earth will surpassed themselves but these ideas of mine should never pass.

KJV : 

Mark 13:31  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The word translated as "words" doesn't mean "word," but has the sense more of ideas.  See this article.

We should not interpret the Greek word translated as "pass away" as referring to dying and death. The  Greek  means "passing" in the sense of one thing going by another, one thing surpassing by another,  or "passing" the time. It could also have the sense of "arrive" and "pass" like we use it to mean "passing" a test. In the Latin Vulgate, this verb was translated as "transient" which is the future, plural, active form of the word that means "to cross".

This word appears in two different forms here. The first occurence ("heaven and earth") acts on themselves, so the sense seems to be "surpassing themselves."  The second occurence referring to Jesus's idea, it is in the form of possibility, "should never pass."

NIV : 

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

NLT : 

Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

Wordplay: 

The statement can be taken to mean that the abstract as expressed in words surpasses the concrete as expressed in the world and the universe.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

(article pl masc nom) 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."

οὐρανὸς (noun pl masc nom) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

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."

(article sg fem nom) 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."

γῆ (noun sg fem nom) "Earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

παρελεύσεται, (verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall...pass away" is from parerchomai, which means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), "pass away", "outwit", "past events" (in time), "disregard", "pass unnoticed," "escape notice", and "pass without heeding."

οἱ (article sg masc nom) This is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

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"). λόγοι (noun pl masc nom) "Words" is from logos, which means "word", "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition", "discussion," "reckoning," and "value."

λόγοι (noun pl masc nom) "Word" is logos, which means "word", "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition", "discussion," "reckoning," and "value."

μου -- (pro sg masc gen) "My" is mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

οὐ μὴ "Not" is from ou me, the two forms of Greek negative used together. Ou is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. Mê (me) 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.

παρέλθωσιν. (verb 3rd pl aor subj act) "Shall...pass away" is from parerchomai, which means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), "pass away", "outwit", "past events" (in time), "disregard", "pass unnoticed," "escape notice", and "pass without heeding."

KJV Analysis: 

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. 

Heaven -- The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe." It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.

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, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

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. 

earth -- The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Christ describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the following verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

pass away, -- (CW) The "pass away" is from a verb that means  means one thing going by another, one thing surpassing by another,  or the "passing" the time. It also has the sense of arriving to a place and to "pass" a test. It does not mean "pass away" as in dying. The form indicates something acting on themselves. This is different than the form in the previous verse and later in this verse.

but -- The Greek word 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. 

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

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. 

words -- (WW) "Words" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." The sense is "ideas" or "concepts." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. More about this word in this article.

shall -- (CW)This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the following verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

not -- (CW) The "not" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying "you cannot really think" or, more simply, "never".

pass away. -- (CW) The "pass away" is from a verb that means  means one thing going by another, one thing surpassing by another,  or the "passing" the time. It also has the sense of arriving to a place and to "pass" a test. It does not mean "pass away" as in dying. The form is not the future tense, as implied, but in a form that means something is possible and "should" or "might" happen.

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "pass away" does not mean "die."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "words" means "ideas."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "no" is a stronger negative like "never."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "pass away" does not mean "die."

NIV Analysis: 

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. 

Heaven -- The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe." It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.

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, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

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. 

earth -- The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Christ describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the following verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

pass away, -- (CW) The "pass away" is from a verb that means  means one thing going by another, one thing surpassing by another,  or the "passing" the time. It also has the sense of arriving to a place and to "pass" a test. It does not mean "pass away" as in dying. The form indicates something acting on themselves. This is different than the form in the previous verse and later in this verse.

but -- The Greek word 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. 

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

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. 

words -- (WW) "Words" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." The sense is "ideas" or "concepts." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. More about this word in this article.

will -- (WW)This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the following verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

never -- The "never" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying "you cannot really think" or, more simply, "never".

pass away. -- (CW) The "pass away" is from a verb that means  means one thing going by another, one thing surpassing by another,  or the "passing" the time. It also has the sense of arriving to a place and to "pass" a test. It does not mean "pass away" as in dying. The form is not the future tense, as implied, but in a form that means something is possible and "should" or "might" happen.

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "pass away" does not mean "die."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "words" means "ideas."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "will" should be "should."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "pass away" does not mean "die."

NLT Analysis: 

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. 

Heaven -- The word translated as "heaven" means "sky," the "climate," and the "universe." It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.

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, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

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. 

earth -- The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Christ describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the following verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

dissappear, -- (WW) The "disappear" is from a verb that means  means one thing going by another, one thing surpassing by another,  or the "passing" the time. It also has the sense of arriving to a place and to "pass" a test. It does not mean "pass away" as in dying. The form indicates something acting on themselves. This is different than the form in the previous verse and later in this verse.

but -- The Greek word 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. 

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

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. 

words -- (WW) "Words" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." The sense is "ideas" or "concepts." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. More about this word in this article.

will -- (WW)This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the following verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

never -- The "never" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying "you cannot really think" or, more simply, "never".

dissappear. -- (WW) The "dissappear" is from a verb that means  means one thing going by another, one thing surpassing by another,  or the "passing" the time. It also has the sense of arriving to a place and to "pass" a test. It does not mean "pass away" as in dying. The form is not the future tense, as implied, but in a form that means something is possible and "should" or "might" happen.

NLT Translation Issues: 

7
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "dissappear" should be "pass."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "words" means "ideas."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "will" should be "should."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "dissappear" should be "pass."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus defines the universe and our world as the will of God coming into existence. I have written elsewhere that Christ's use of the term "heaven" does not conform at all to our modern idea of a Christian heaven. Rather it is a way of expressing the idea of existence outside the boundaries of our world. Both our world and the rest of what exists in an expression of God's will.

The line from the Lord's prayer translated as "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." is written from our modern Christian idea of "heaven." The Greek translated as "Your will is coming into existence as in the heaven and earth.' Heaven and earth are understood to encompass all of creation, which is why I prefer to translate as "the universe and our world."

As the universe and our world continue to change, the fullness of God's design is unfolded over time. This is understood to be the tangible result of God's will acting in the material world.

Here, Christ is saying that both the universe and our world continue to surpass themselves. It is their nature. The will of God is expressed over time. For God, the moment of creation is all time. When he pronounced the creation good, he was taking about its completeness over time. His perspective is not our perspective because we can only witness a small slice of that creation taking place during our lifetimes.

Here, however, Christ says that there is a different between the development of reality over time and the nature of his words. His words are timeless. They are not surpassed or improved upon over time. What changes over time is our perspective and understanding of his words.

Front Page Date: 

Jan 5 2020