Mark 13:34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Just as a man from abroad, leaving that household of his, gave to those servants of his that authority to each that work of his. And to the door keeper, he commanded that he stay awake.

KJV : 

Mark 13:34  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

So much is added and changed in "translating" this verse, you should read the detailed analysis of the Greek and its translation below to see what is hidden. The problems start with the description of the man as "going away" in various ways. The actual adjective used seems to indicate that he was "from abroad," not going abroad. This makes complete sense if the householder is an analogy for God.

The Greek verse has a drumbeat running through it of "this xxx of his," which is repeated over and over. That rhythm is lost in translation because most of the definite articles are eliminated, but they are necessary if the man has more than one house, more than one set of servants, and so on. This is not "his house" but "this house of his." The servants are not "his servants," but "those servants of his," one group of his servants.

NIV : 

Mark 13:34  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

NLT : 

Mark 13:34 The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return.

Wordplay: 

God's distance from us as the "absent owner" gives us our freedom. We each have our own power to do our own work. However, we are commanded not to be distracted by the Lord's absence into thinking that this distance is permanent. We must wake up to the fact that it is temporary, changing at any moment.

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus uses the theme of the absentee landlord to describe our relationships to God, but he never explains it specifically. The "house" in this story would be our world or possibly his chosen people. The work we are given to do is what we are taught by the Bible. The doorkeeper would be the leaders to the people, those he is addressing.

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὡς (adv/conj) "As" is hos, an adverb which means to "thus", "as", "how", "when", "where", "like", "just as", "so far as", "as much as can be", "that", "in order that", "nearly (with numbers)," and "know that."

ἄνθρωπος (noun sg masc nom) "A man" is anthropos, which "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

ἀπόδημος [unique]( adj sg masc nom) "Taking a far journey" is from apodemos,which means "away from a one's country," and "abroad." The literal meaning is "from people." The sense is that the word means "from abroad."

ἀφεὶς ( part sg aor act masc nom ) "Who left" is aphiemi, which means "to let fall", "to send away", "give up", "hand over", "to let loose", "to get rid of", "to leave alone", "to pass by", "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself."

τὴν  (article sg fem acc) 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."

οἰκίαν (noun sg fem acc) "House" is oikia, which means "house", "building," and "household."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is 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."

δοὺς ( part sg aor act masc nom) "Gave" is didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

τοῖς (article pl masc dat) 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."

δούλοις (noun pl masc da) "Servants" is doulos, which means a "slave," a "born bondsman," or "one made a slave."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

τὴν  (article sg fem acc) 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."

ἐξουσίαν (noun sg fem acc) "Authority" is exousia which means "control", "the power of choice", "permission", "the power of authority", "the right of privilege", "abundance of means," and "abuse of power."

ἑκάστῳ [9 verses](adj sg masc dat) "To every man""Every man" is from hekastos, which means "each", "all and each severally," and "each by himself."

τὸ (article sg neut nom/acc) 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."

ἔργον ( noun sg neut nom/acc ) "Work" is ergon, which means "works", "tasks", "deeds", "actions", "thing," and "matter."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc 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." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is 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."

τῷ (article sg masc dat) "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."

θυρωρῷ [2 verses]( noun sg masc dat ) "Porter" is from thyrōros, which means "door keeper," and "porter."

ἐνετείλατο [6 verses] ( verb 3rd sg aor ind mid ) "Commanded" is entello, which means "to enjoin," and "to command."

ἵνα (adv/conj) "To" is hina, which means "in that place", "there", "where", "when", "that", "in order that", "when," and "because."

γρηγορῇ. ( verb 3rd sg pres subj act "Watch" is from gregoreo, which means "to become fully awake," and "to watch."

KJV Analysis: 

For the Son of man is -- (IP) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "For the Son of man is" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. 

as -- The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

man -- The Greek word for "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

taking a far journey, --  (WW) This clause is from a single adjective without a verb describing the man. The adjective means literally "away from a one's country," or "abroad." The sense is that the word describes the man as  "from abroad."

who left -- (WF) The word translated as "who left" primarily means "to let go" or "to send away." This same word is usually translated as "leave", "forgive", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament. The form is not an active verb by a participle, a verb in the form of an adjective.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. This word follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

house, -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

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".

gave -- The verb translated as "gave" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give."

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

authority -- The term translated as "power" isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object is the most common use.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. This word follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

servants, -- The noun translated as "servant" means "slave." It is translated as "servant" to update the Bible.

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

to -- This word "to" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object is the most common use.

every -- The Greek word translated as "every"  means "each", "all and each severally," and "each by himself."

man -- This "man" is from the masculine, singular form of the previous words.

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

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

work, -- The Greek word translated as "works" means "deeds", "actions," and "things" in the sense of "every thing."

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".

commanded -- "Commanded" is a verb that means "to enjoin," and "to command."

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

porter -- "Porter" is a noun that Jesus only uses here and in the same parable in another Gospel that means "door keeper," and "porter."

to -- (WW) The word translated as "to" is a word that means "there", "where," and "in order that." It is used with the word "command" to describe what is commanded.

watch. -- (WF) "Watch" is from a verb that means "to be or to become fully awake" or "watch." It is not an infinitive but the active verb in the clause

KJV Translation Issues: 

9
  • IP - Inserted Phrase -- The words "dor the Son of man is" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • WW - Wrong Form -- The word translated as "taking a far journey," means "from people" or "abroad." This is an adjective describing the man.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "who left" is not an active verb but a participle, "leaving."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "house" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "authority" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "servants" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "work" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Words -- The word translated as "to" means "that" and does not indicate that the next word is an infinitive.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "watch" is not an infinite, as translated, but an active verb.

NIV Analysis: 

It’s -- (IW) There are no Greek word that can be translated as "It's" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. 

like -- The word translated as "like" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

man -- The Greek word for "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

going away, --  (WW) This clause is from a single adjective without a verb describing the man. The adjective means literally "away from a one's country," or "abroad." The sense is that the word describes the man as  "from abroad."

He leaves -- (WF) The word translated as "he leaves" primarily means "to let go" or "to send away." This same word is usually translated as "leave", "forgive", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament. The form is not an active verb by a participle, a verb in the form of an adjective.

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. This word follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

house, -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

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".

puts -- (WW) The verb translated as "gave" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give."

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. This word follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

servants, -- The noun translated as "servant" means "slave." It is translated as "servant" to update the Bible.

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

in charge -- (WF) The word translated as "in charge" is a noun that means the power of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

each -- The Greek word translated as "each"  means "each", "all and each severally," and "each by himself."

untranslated "man" -- (MW) The untranslated word "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples".

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

their -- (WN) The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  It is singular, "his," not plural. This word follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

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

task, -- The Greek word translated as "task" means "deeds", "actions," and "things" in the sense of "every thing."

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".

tells -- (WW) "Tells" is a verb that means "to enjoin," and "to command." It is not one of the common words translated as "tell" or "say."

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

one at the door -- "One at the door" is a noun that Jesus only uses here and in the same parable in another Gospel that means "door keeper," and "porter."

to -- (WW) The word translated as "to" is a word that means "there", "where," and "in order that." It is used with the word "command" to describe what is commanded.

keep watch. -- (WF) "Watch" is from a verb that means "to be or to become fully awake" or "watch." It is not an infinitive but the active verb in the clause

NIV Translation Issues: 

13
  • IW- Inserted Word-- The words "it's" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "going away" means "abroad." This is an adjective describing the man.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "he leaves" is not an active verb but a participle, "leaving."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "house" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "puts" means "gives."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "servants" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "authority" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -- The word translated as "in charge" is a noun that means "authority." 
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "with" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "man" after "each."
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "their" is translated as plural but it is singular, "his."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "work" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "assigned" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Words -- The word translated as "tells" means "commanded."
  • WW - Wrong Words -- The word translated as "to" means "that."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "keep watch" is not an infinite, as translated, but an active verb, "stay awake,"

NLT Analysis: 

The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of -- (IP) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. 

untranslated "as"-- (MW) The untranslated word "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

man -- The Greek word for "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples". 

going on a long trip, --  (WW) This clause is from a single adjective without a verb describing the man. The adjective means literally "away from a one's country," or "abroad." The sense is that the word describes the man as  "from abroad."

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

he left -- (WF) The word translated as "he left" primarily means "to let go" or "to send away." This same word is usually translated as "leave", "forgive", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament. The form is not an active verb by a participle, a verb in the form of an adjective.

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

home, -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

untranslated "his" -- (MW) The untranslated word  "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. This word follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "and" -- (MW) The untranslated word "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".

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the following verb.

gave-- The verb translated as "gave" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give."

each -- The Greek word translated as "each"  means "each", "all and each severally," and "each by himself."

untranslated "man" -- (MW) The untranslated word "man" means "man", "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men", "people", and "peoples".

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

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. This word follows the noun so "of his."

untranslated "the" -- (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. 

servants, -- The noun translated as "servant" means "slave." It is translated as "servant" to update the Bible.

untranslated "the" -- (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.

instructions -- (WW) The word translated as "instructions" is a noun that means the power of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

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

the -- This 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.

work, -- The Greek word translated as "work" means "deeds", "actions," and "things" in the sense of "every thing."

they -- (WF, WN) The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as possessive pronouns in English.  It is singular, "his," not plural. This word follows the noun so "of his."

were to do, - (IP) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "were to do" in the Greek source.

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".

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the following verb.

told -- (WW) "Told" is a verb that means "to enjoin," and "to command." It is not one of the common words translated as "tell" or "say."

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

gatekeeper -- "Gatekeeper" is a noun that Jesus only uses here and in the same parable in another Gospel that means "door keeper," and "porter."

to -- (WW) The word translated as "to" is a word that means "there", "where," and "in order that." It is used with the word "command" to describe what is commanded.

watch. -- (WF) "Watch" is from a verb that means "to be or to become fully awake" or "watch." It is not an infinitive but the active verb in the clause.

for his return. - (IP) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "for his return" in the Greek source.

NLT Translation Issues: 

21
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "like" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "going on a long trip," means "abroad." This is an adjective describing the man.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "when" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "he left" is not an active verb but a participle, "leaving."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "home" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "of his" after "home" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" after "his" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "man" after "each."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "of" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "servants" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" before "instructions/authority" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word-- The word translated as "instructions" is a noun that means "authority." 
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "about" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "they" is translated as plural but it is singular, "his."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "they" is not a subject but a possessive pronoun, "his."
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "were to do" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Words -- The word translated as "told" means "commanded."
  • WW - Wrong Words -- The word translated as "to" means "that."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "watch" is not an infinite, as translated, but an active verb, "stay awake."
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "for his return" doesn't exist in the source.

Front Page Date: 

Jan 8 2020