Matthew 11:15 He who has ears to hear,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

The one having ears? He must hear!

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Christ uses a phrase similar to this a number of times. See the related verses below. It makes a point but in a humorous way.  However, this phrase was later used by Plutarch, a Greek historian living after Christ. He used it to refer to spies in Persia. It may have been a more general phrase referring to speaking on coded terms, as this parable does. This raises a question about a possible reason for the parables: so Jesus could say more revolutionary things about the coming of the kingdom of heaven without triggering laws against sedition.

KJV Analysis: 

The word translated as "He" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

The Greek verb translated as "haveth" means "to possess" or "to keep" but it isn't used in the same way as a "helper" verb that the English "have" is. The form of the verb is that of an adjective, "having", but used as a noun, introduced by an article, "the one having."

The term translated as "ears" means "ear," things resembling a handle and is a metaphor for understanding.

The Greek verb for "to hear," means "to hear", "to listen", "to obey," and "to understand." It is in a Greek form that the KJV and most other Bible translations translate as "let him hear", but in modern English "let" has the sense of allowing something. That is not the sense in Greek. This is a command, something that must happen. A more accurate translation is "he must hear." 

Greek Vocabulary: 

 (article sg masc nom ) "He" 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." Here it is separated from its noun by a conjunction. ​

ἔχων (part sg pres act masc nom) "He that haveth" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

ὦτα (noun pl neut acc)  "Ears" is from ous, which means "ear" and things that resemble an ear, such as a handle on pitchers, cups, etc.

ἀκουέτω. (3rd sg pres imperat act) "Hears" is from akouo, which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand."

The Spoken Version: 

The one with the ability to hear, he must understand. 

Related Verses: 

Jun 30 2017