Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth

KJV Verse: 

Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I tell you [the truth] backwards, because when two of you agree on the planet about every concrete fact, when you ask of that, it is going to change itself for them, issuing from my Father, the one in heaven

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Christ starts this verse by saying he teaches a contrary truth and the KJV may miss the point. Much of this verse is actually a joke about human nature and our inability to agree on anything and the fact that the Father can change our opinions. The mistakes regarding the translation of "anything" here seem to be repeated in most Bibles, so the information offer here about this verse is the contrary one.

"Again" is from a word that means "back", "backward", "contrarily", "again," and "once more." Given Christ's methods of turning ideas around, he probably uses it to express contradiction.

The "I tell you" phrase includes "verily" in some sources as it did in the previous verse, Mat 18:18="">="">="">="">="">="">. The "verily I tell you phrase" phrase is used frequently by Christ. Its meaning is discussed in detail in this article.

The Greek word translated as "if " indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone so it is more like our "when."

"Shall agree" is from a verb, which means "be in harmony", "make an agreement," and "express the same opinions."

"Earth" is from the noun which means "earth" (as the opposite of "heaven"), "land", "country," and "ground." It is used to refer to earthly matters and in a symbol for relationships. The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Christ describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

"Touching" is from a preposition which means "about."

The word translated as "any" doesn't mean "any." It means "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. Changing it to "any" completely changes what Christ is saying here. The whole point is how difficult it is to agree on everything.

"Thing" is from noun which does not mean "thing," except in a special way. It means primarily "deed", "act", "concrete reality", "thing of importance," and "matter at hand." It refers to some objective reality not to general ideas or opinions. The Greek word is our source of the word "pragmatic" as the opposite of "idealistic." Changing it to "thing" misses the whole point here.

The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun, though it often acts as a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause. Here it is in the possessive form so it means "of that."

There is an untranslated word here meaning "if might" or "when," the same word as occurs above, creating parallel phrases, not continuing the existing one.

The phrase "they shall ask" used here is from a verb that means "ask" but has shades of meaning from "demand" to "claim." It also is not in the future tense.

"Shall be done" is not from the verb usually translated as "to do" in the Bible. It means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Christ, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It means "to be done" in the sense of "to be changed." It is in the future tense and in a form which refers to something acting on itself.

"For them" is in a form which makes it the indirect object. This could mean "for their benefit" or simple that the change is "to them," that is, something that only they see as changed.

The Greek preposition translated a "of," primarily means "besides" and "beyond." It means "from" in the sense of "issuing from." Here, the sense is that the change issues from the Father.

The "your" in the KKV Greek source is a "my" in the better sources we use today.

The word translated as "which" is from the Greek article, "the," (masculine, possessive form) which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. Though "heaven" is used in Christianity as the place of the afterlife, Christ seldom uses it that way. It is also different than the "kingdom of heaven," which seems to be a different concept.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Πάλιν "Again" is from palin (palin), which means "back", "backward", "contrariwise (to express a contradiction)", "again", "once more," and "in turn."

[ἀμὴν] "Verily" is from amen, which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly", "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT.

λέγω (1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" 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." A less common word that is spelt the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

ὑμῖν "You" is from humas the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὅτι "That" is from 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."

ἐὰν "If" is from ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

δύο "Two" is from duo, which means the number "two", "a couple," and "a pair." -- The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

συμφωνήσωσιν (verb 3rd pl aor subj act) "Shall agree" is from symphoneo, which means "sound together", "be in harmony", "make an agreement", "conspire," and "expess the same opinions."

ἐξ "From" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from." -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" of "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "You" is from humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." -- The word translated as "you" is plural addressing a group of Jesus's listeners.

ἐπὶ "Against" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against." -- The word translated as "unto" means "against", "before", "by" or "on."

τῆς γῆς (noun sg fem gen) "Earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

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

παντὸς (adj sg neut gen) "any" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether."

πράγματος (noun sg neut gen) "Thing" is from pragma, which means "deed", "act", "concrete reality", "thing of importance," and "matter at hand."

οὗ (pron sg neut gen) "That" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐὰν "If" is from ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

αἰτήσωνται, (verb 3rd pl aor subj mid) "They shall ask" is from aiteo, which means "to ask", "to demand", "to beg", "to claim," and "to ask for one's own use."

γενήσεται (verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall be done" is from ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being," and "to be produced." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi) which indicates existence in the same state.

αὐτοῖς (adj pl masc dat) "For them" 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.

παρὰ "Of" is from para, which means "beside", "from the side of", "from beside,", "from", "issuing from", "near", "by", "with", "along", "past", "beyond", "parallel (geometry)", "like (metaphor)", "a parody of (metaphor)", "precisely at the moment of (time)," and "throughout (time)."

τοῦ πατρός (noun sg masc gen) "Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

μου "You" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

τοῦ "Which" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

οὐρανοῖς. "Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."


This verse is a joke saying how unlikely it is that two people can agree on everything and that, even if we do, that opinion will change for us when we hear from the Father. 

The Spoken Version: 

I tell you the opposite [truth] about when two of you agree about every fact on this planet. When you ask about it from my Father, the one in heaven, that "fact" is going to change for you.

Related Verses: