Mark 13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Watch! Stay awake! Since you haven't seen when the time is. 

KJV : 

Mark 13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

While the English translation comes across as serious, there is a real playfulness to the original Greek.  In English, we might capture this feeling by saying something like, "Look and see what I am saying."  Jesus often uses this idea of seeing to refer to something that is being heard and not physically seen.

Jesus is talking about two types of knowing using the analogy of seeing. We know from the physical seeing. We know from perceiving, seeing in the mind's eye.

NIV : 

Mark 13:33  Be on guard! Be alert[fn]! You do not know when that time will come.

NLT : 

Mark 13:33  And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert

Wordplay: 

Both the word used here as "take heed"means "see with the eyes" and the word translated as "know" both mean "to see." The first tends to be used more for physically seeing something, and the second more to mean "seeing" in the sense of understanding what you are seeing. Those two types of seeing are contrasted with the two words used from time, the "unknown time" of "when" and the known "time."

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

As I get older and see more signs of my own end time as my body falls apart, I am drawn to reading these passages of the end times more in terms of each, individual physical death as "the end of an era." People get all confused because, at various times, during the apostolic era and perhaps every period since, everyone expected the "last days" to occur during their lifetimes. But in a sense, perhaps it really does. When our lives end individually, the next time we may experience as conscious individuals could well be the end times of the universe.

We do not know the time because we cannot understand how time works from God's perspective. We use the perspective of our human lives and recorded histories. This almost certainly has nothing to do with what is really going on in time.

Greek Vocabulary: 

βλέπετε (2nd pl pres imperat act) "Take ye heed" is blepo, which means "to look" and "to see." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding.

ἀγρυπνεῖτε (2 verses) ( verb 2nd pl imperf ind act )  "Watch" is from agrypneo, which means "to lie awake", "to pass sleepless night," and "to suffer from insomnia." It is described as a metaphor for being watchful.

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from οὐ ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences.

οἴδατε (verb 2nd pl perf ind act) "Ye Know" is oida which is a form of eido, (eido) which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar (gar) which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

πότε (adv) "When" comes from pote, which means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

ὁ  (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."

καιρός ( noun sg masc nom ) "Time" is from kairos, which means "due measure", "proportion", "fitness", "exact time," "season", "opportunity", "time", "critical times", "advantage," and "profit." It is the concept of time as a moment as opposed to a measurement. The ideas of good times or bad times as a part from seconds, minutes, and hours.

ἐστιν ( verb 3rd sg pres ind act ) "Is" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible."

KJV Analysis: 

Take -- (WW) -- The verb translated as "take heed" means "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to beware", and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding "look" in English. The sense is English is "look out!" or "watch out!"

ye -- (CW) -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb. However, using it makes the verb sound less like an imperative command.

heed, -- There is no noun here. This comes from the previous verb, which just means "see."

watch -- (WW) "Watch" is a verb that Jesus only uses twice that means "to lie awake", "to pass sleepless night," and "to suffer from insomnia."

and pray: -- (OS) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "and pray" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

for --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

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

know -- (CW and WT) The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the phrase "I see" to mean "I know" in English. However, though "know" works, not using it primary meaning hides the wordplay with the different word meaning "see" that starts the verse. The tense is also wrong. It should be "have known."

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

when  -- The Greek word for "then" means "at this time" or "then". 

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. 

time  -- "The time" is a noun that means "due measure", "season", "opportunity", "time," and "profit."

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. -- 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." 

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "take heed" means "look."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "ye" makes the verb seem as though it is not a command.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "watch" means "stay awake."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek words translated as "and pray" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "know" should reference "seeing" to connect to the wordplay.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "know" is the perfect tense, not the present, "have known."

NIV Analysis: 

Be on guard-- (WW) -- The verb translated as "be on guard" means "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to beware", and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding "look" in English. The sense is English is "look out!" or "watch out!"

Be alert -- "Be alert" is a verb that Jesus only uses twice that means "to lie awake", "to pass sleepless night," and "to suffer from insomnia."

untranslated "for"-- (MW) The untranslated word "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb.

do -- (WT) This helping verb "do" indicates that the following verb is the present tense, but it is the past perfect tense so the helping verb should be "have" as in "have known" and "have seen."

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

know -- (CW) The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the phrase "I see" to mean "I know" in English. However, though "know" works, not using it primary meaning hides the wordplay with the different word meaning "see" that starts the verse. The tense is also wrong. It should be "have known."

when  -- The Greek word for "then" means "at this time" or "then".

that -- The word translated as "that" 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. 

time  -- "The time" is a noun that means "due measure", "season", "opportunity", "time," and "profit."

will -- (WT) This helping verb "will" indicates that the following verb is the future tense, but it isn't. It is the present tense.

come. -- (WW) The verb "come" 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."

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "Be on guard" means "look."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "for" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The "do" should be a "have" because the verb "know" is the perfect tense, not the present, "have known."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "know" should reference "seeing" to connect to the wordplay.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The "will" indicates that the following verb is in the future tense but it isn't.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "come" means "exist"

NLT Analysis: 

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

since --The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb.

do -- (WT) This helping verb "do" indicates that the following verb is the present tense, but it is the past perfect tense so the helping verb should be "have" as in "have known" and "have seen."

n't -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

know -- (CW) The word translated as "know" means primarily "to see" and is used to mean "know' as we use the phrase "I see" to mean "I know" in English. However, though "know" works, not using it primary meaning hides the wordplay with the different word meaning "see" that starts the verse. The tense is also wrong. It should be "have known."

when  -- The Greek word for "then" means "at this time" or "then".

that -- The word translated as "that" 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. 

time  -- "The time" is a noun that means "due measure", "season", "opportunity", "time," and "profit."

will -- (WT) This helping verb "will" indicates that the following verb is the future tense, but it isn't. It is the present tense.

come. -- (WW) The verb "come" 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."

be on guard-- (WW) -- The verb translated as "be on guard" means "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to beware", and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding "look" in English. The sense is English is "look out!" or "watch out!"

Stay alert -- "Stay alert" is a verb that Jesus only uses twice that means "to lie awake", "to pass sleepless night," and "to suffer from insomnia."

untranslated "for"-- (MW) The untranslated word "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

NLT Translation Issues: 

6
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The "do" should be a "have" because the verb "know" is the perfect tense, not the present, "have known."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "know" should reference "seeing" to connect to the wordplay.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The "will" indicates that the following verb is in the future tense but it isn't.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "come" means "exist"
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "Be on guard" means "look."
     

Front Page Date: 

Jan 7 2020