Matthew 16:13 Whom do men say that I

KJV Verse: 

Mat 16:13 Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

What do the people explain the child of humanity to be?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This question is much broader than it appears at first.

Christ is not asking "who" as much as "what." The word translated as "whom" means "someone, ""everyone," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." Here, the form is usually not masculine, but neutral, so this can be read "what" more readily than "who."

The Greek word translated as "men" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural. It is plural here, but introduced by an article ("the"), so "the people."

The word translated as "do say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

There is no Greek word that can be translated as "that" or "I".

The verb "am"  here that is the infinitive form of "to be" in Greek, a form that has no information about the subject or tense as do most Greek verbs. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

"The son of man" is a concept Christ uses frequently. It's meaning, with the other main "son of" phrase, is explored in the article here. That meaning is much broader than just a title that he claims for himself.

The word translated as "son" more generally means "child."

The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τίνα (irreg sg neutral/masc acc) "Whom" is from tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what."

λέγουσιν (verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Do...say" is from lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out, ""choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount."

οἱ ἄνθρωποι (noun pl masc nom)"Men" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "people." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

εἶναι (verb pres inf act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

τὸν υἱὸν (noun sg masc acc) "The Son" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child."

τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; (noun sg masc gen) "Of man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "people." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

 

Wordplay: 

The first word here means "what" more than it does "who." 

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