Mark 7:6 Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites,...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Isaiah concerning you: these actors!  As it has been written that this group with these lips me it honors. That, however, heart of theirs? Too far it keeps away from me. 

KJV : 

Mark 7:6 Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse starts with a phrase that does not exist in the Greek. It has a number of uncommon words because it is a reference to Isaiah 29:13. However, that verse in Isaiah starts with an contrast, a line saying "they come close to me" to contrast with the "are far from me."   Jesus doesn't use this in his quote, which is unusual given his love of word play. However, he begins the verse with one of his favorite wordplay words, "hypocrites."

Wordplay: 

The use of the word "hypocrites" is always a play on words, making fun of the Pharisee idea of "holiness." See this article on the word. 

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus's symbols refer to three aspects of our temporal lives: the physical, mental, and emotional. Hearing and lips represent the mental . Hearts represent the emotion. This follows from the idea that language and ideas form Jesus sees all three aspect of our temporal existence as important, but he describes life as a process that starts with the physical, moves to the mental, goes to the emotional, which ends at the spiritual.

Jesus describes the problem of life as getting stuck in one of these areas, creating an imbalance in our lives and a lack of progress. Our lives become worth less when we get so attached to life's physical aspects (physical pleasure) or its mental aspects (conceptual ideas) or its emotional aspects (social praise) that we cannot move on another aspect of life. Of course, the idea is to prepare for the bigger transition from the temporal to the spiritual.

However, there is also the sense in Christ's words that our personal emotional relationships are closer to our relationship to God. We cannot really understand God with our minds. He is too far beyond us. However, we can understand God through our relationships. This is why Christ teaches the the "pure of heart" will see God.

This is the same idea using the same symbol of the heart for relationships. Of course, both Greek and Hebrew use the heart symbolically as the seat of emotions, though in Greek, it is specifically the seat of the feelings (courage, love), while the belly is the seat of the lower, more base desires (sex, food).

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἠσαίας "Elias" is from  Esaias, which is the Hebrew name  Isaiah spelled in a Greek manner.

περὶ (prep) "Of" is peri, which means "round about (Place)", "around", "about", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to", "before", "above", "beyond," and "all around."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "You" is humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." --

τῶν (article pl masc 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. 

ὑποκριτῶν ( article pl masc gen) "Hypocrites" is hypokrites, which means "an interpreter", "an actor", "a stage player," and "a dissembler."

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."

γέγραπται (verb 3rd sg perf ind mp) "It is written" is grapho which means "to mark", "to express by written characters", "to write a letter", "to write down [a law]", "to proscribe", "to ordain", "to write for oneself", "to enroll oneself", "to draw signs", "to describe a figure" "to brand," and "to indict." --

ὅτι (adv/conj) Untranslated is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

Οὗτος (adj sg masc nom) "This" is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

(article sg 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." -- 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. 

λαὸς [uncommon](noun sg masc nom) "People" is from the Greek laos, which means "men (of the army), ""the common men", "subjects (of a ruler)", "work people", "people assembled", "the multitude", "a specific group or tribe of people," and "a people."

τοῖς (article pl neut dat) "Their" 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."

χείλεσίν [ucommon](noun pl neut dat) "Lips" is from cheilos, which means a "lip," for birds, "bill", "beak," and is a metaph. the "edge", "brink," and "rim."

με (pron 1st sg masc/fem acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my".

τιμᾷ(verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Honoureth" is from the Greek timaô , (timao) which means "to revere", "to honor," and "to value."

( article sg fem nom) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun, but which is separated from its noun here by the conjunction.

δὲ "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").

καρδία (noun sg fem nom) "Heart" is from kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)", "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)", "inclination", "desire, ""purpose", "mind", "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

αὐτῶν (adj pl fem gen) "Their" is from 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."

πόρρω [uncommon} (adv) Untranslated is porro, which is an adverb that means "forwards", "onwards," generally with a notion of motion, of Distance, "far off", "too far," of Time, "forward," of Place, "further into."

ἀπέχει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is far" is from apecho, which means "to keep off or away from", "to hold one's hands off or away from", "to hold oneself off a thing", "to abstain or desist from it, ""to project", "to extend", "to be far from," and "to receive payment in full."

ἀπ᾽ "From" 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.

ἐμοῦ: (adj sg masc gen) "Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

Septuagint version:

ἐγγίζει μοι ὁ λαὸς οὗτος τοῖς χείλεσιν αὐτῶν τιμῶσίν με ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ 

ἐγγίζει (verb verb 3rd sg pres ind act) This is eggizo, which means "to bring near", "to join one things to another," to draw near," and "to approach." This word does not appear in ancient Greek literature except in the Bible. It comes from an adverb ἐγγύς, keggus, which means 1) (of place) "near", "nigh", "at hand," 2) (of time) "nigh at hand" 3) (of numbers) "nearly", "almost", "coming near," and 4) (of relationship) "akin to."

μοι (pron 1st sing dat) This is moi, which means to "I", "me", and "my".  The form of this word requires that addition of a preposition in English to capture its meaning, a "to" as an indirect object is the most common, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, and an "in" for area of affect.

The rest of this verse uses the same vocabulary as Jesus's quote of it with a slightly different word order.

(article sg 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." -- 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. 

λαὸς [uncommon](noun sg masc nom) "People" is from the Greek laos, which means "men (of the army), ""the common men", "subjects (of a ruler)", "work people", "people assembled", "the multitude", "a specific group or tribe of people," and "a people."

οὗτος (adj sg masc nom) "This" is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings. -- The word translated as "this" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

τοῖς (article pl neut 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." -- 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. 

χείλεσίν (noun pl neut dat) "Lips" is from cheilos, which means a "lip," for birds, "bill", "beak," and is a metaph. the "edge", "brink," and "rim."

αὐτῶν (adj pl fem gen) "Their" is from 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."

τιμᾷ( verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Honoureth" is from the Greek timaô , (timao) which means "to revere", "to honor," and "to value."

με (pron 1st sg masc/fem acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my".

( article sg fem nom) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun, but which is separated from its noun here by the conjunction.

δὲ "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").

καρδία (noun sg fem nom) "Heart" is from kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)", "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)", "inclination", "desire, ""purpose", "mind", "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

αὐτῶν (adj pl fem gen) "Their" is from 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."

πόρρω Untranslated is porro, which is an adverb that means "forwards", "onwards," generally with a notion of motion, of Distance, "far off", "too far," of Time, "forward," of Place, "further into."

ἀπέχει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is far" is from apecho, which means "to keep off or away from", "to hold one's hands off or away from", "to hold oneself off a thing", "to abstain or desist from it, ""to project", "to extend", "to be far from," and "to receive payment in full."

ἀπ᾽ "From" 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.

ἐμοῦ: (adj sg masc gen) "Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

KJV Analysis: 

Well There is no Greek word meaning "well" or "good" here.

hath...prophesied There is no Greek verb at all in this first phrase. There is certainly no word meaning "prophesied." This was added to make a spoken phrase sound like a written sentence.

Esaias This is  from the Greek rendering of the name for the prophet Isaiah.

of -- The Greek word translated as "of" means means "around" when referring to a place, but, in this context, it means "about", "concerning", "on account of," and "in regard to." This is the way Jesus usually uses it.

you The word translated as "you" is plural addressing a group of Jesus's listeners.

hypocrites, -- The Greek for "the hypocrites" is a great example of a word that has taken its English meaning from how it is used in the Bible rather than the original Greek. The primary meaning during Jesus's era was "an actor." See this article on the word and its wordplay. 

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

it This comes from the singular form of the following verb.

is This is from the form of the following verb, but it is incorrect. The verb tense is perfect, an action completed in the past, which is best translated with the English verbs "has been."

written,  "Written" is the Greek verb that  means "to mark", "to express by written characters", "to write a letter", "to write down [a law]", and so on. It has the same root as the "letter" above. It is a common. 

untranslated -- The Greek word that introduces a statement of fact or cause meaning "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", and  "because."

This -- The word translated as "this" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

people -- People" is an uncommon Greek word for Jesus. It means "men (of the army), ""the common men", "subjects (of a ruler)", "work people", "people assembled", "the multitude", "a specific group or tribe of people," and "a people." Jesus uses it because it was the word used to translated Isaiah in the Septuagint.

honoureth --"Honoureth" is from the Greek verb that means "to revere", "to honor," and "to value."

me "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

with The form of the word "lips" requires that addition of a preposition in English to capture its meaning, a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, and an "in" for area of affect.

their -- The word translated as "their" 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. 

lips, -- "Lips" is an uncommon noun for Jesus to use that means a "lip," for birds, "bill", "beak," and is a metaph. the "edge", "brink," and "rim." It is only uses in this verse and the parallel verse in Matthew.

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  

their -- The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective.

heart -- "Heart" is the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. However, this phrase can be read as defining the "heart" and both the "soul" and "the mind".

untranslated -- An adverb that means "forwards", "onwards," generally with a notion of motion, of distance, "far off", "too far," of yime, "forward," of place, "further into." This is also an uncommon word for Jesus.

is far -- The verb translated as "is far" is a verb that means "to keep off or away from", "to abstain or desist from it", "to be far from," and "to receive payment in full." The Hebrew is rachaq , which means "to be or become distant."

from -- The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source.

me. -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

Front Page Date: 

Jul 27 2019