Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, Filling up the Law

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You might not want to imagine that I've show up to annul the laws or the Shining Lights. I really didn't show up to break up but to fill up.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Since this verse reflects a change in topic, it is possibly a response to a question or accusation that what he was saying was annulling the laws. However, there is a hidden connection to the topic in the previous two verses (Matthew 5:14, Matthew 5:15), which was "light." The word "prophet" echoes that idea. The root of the word is "light" and "shine," as we would describe the enlightened as "shining lights." As "the law' refers to the biblical books of Moses (Torah), the "prophets" refers to the second group of books in the Jewish scripture, called "the Prophets" (Nevi'm).

The word translated as "think" is a verb form of the Greek word translated as "the law." This is lost in English translation.  So when Christ refers to the "law and the prophets" he is referring to the first two sections of Jewish scripture. There is a third section, called "the Writings" (Ketuvim).

NIV : 

Matthew 5:17  Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

NLT : 

Matthew 5:17 Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "think" is the verb form of the word translated as "law."

The idea of "breaking up" is contrasted with "filling up." 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Μὴ (partic) "Not" is from me, which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

νομίσητε [4 verses](2nd pl aor subj act) "Think" is from nomizo, which means "to use by custom", "to get accustomed to", "to enact [for a legislator]", "to own", "to acknowledge", "to esteem", "to hold in honor," and "to believe."

ὅτι (conj) "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."

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act) "I am come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

καταλῦσαι (aor inf act) "To destroy" is from katalyo, which means "to put down", "to destroy", "to dissolve", "to break up", "to dismiss", "to disband", "to abolish", "to bring to an end", "to unloose," and "to unyoke."

τὸν (article sg masc ac) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

νόμον (noun sg masc acc) "The law" is nomos, which means "anything assigned", "a usage", "custom", "law", "ordinance," or "that which is a habitual practice." It is the basis of the English words "norm" and "normal."

(conj) "Or" is from e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than."

τοὺς (article pl masc acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

προφήτας: (noun pl masc acc) "The prophets" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter", "keepers of the oracle", "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt", "interpreter," and "herald." It is a form of the verb, prophao. which means "to shine light forth," or "to shine light before." Its roots are  pros ("before"), phos ("light) and  phaino ("shine.)

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

ἦλθον (1st sg aor ind act) "I am come" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

καταλῦσαι (verb aor inf act) "To destroy" is from katalyo, which means "to put down", "to destroy", "to dissolve", "to break up", "to dismiss", "to disband", "to abolish", "to bring to an end", "to unloose," and "to unyoke."

ἀλλὰ (adv) "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay." It denotes an exception or a simple opposition.

πληρῶσαι: (aor inf act) "To fulfill" is from pleroo, which means "to fill", "to fulfill", "to make complete", "to pay in full", "to make pregnant," and "to fill full."

KJV Analysis: 

Think --(WF)  The word translated as "think" is the verb form of the Greek noun usually translated as "the law," which is discussed below. It is the basis for our word "normalize." For a legislator, it means to "enact a law," but it also means "to be used by custom" and "to be accustomed to." It comes from the meaning of the word as "traditions" or customary behavior. The KJV translation also makes it sound like it is a command, that is, an imperative verb. It isn't. It is an active verb indicating a possibility. "You might be getting accustomed to..." or "you might not assume."

not -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used.  This is the negative of commands/requests, but this is not a command.

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

am -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb but the tense indicates something happening at a specific point in time, past, present, and future. 

come  -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. 

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

destroy -- The verb "destroy" is the Greek word that means to "destroy" and "break up," but it has a specific meaning in relation to the law. It means to annul or abolish a law. However, here, the "break up" meaning is significant as a contrast to the last word, which means "fill up."

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") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

law, -- The word translated as "the law" throughout the Bible describes the social norms, which can be from "tradition", "common practice," or the "laws." Jesus also uses it to refer to the first five books of the OT written by Moses (Torah). It doesn't mean "law' in our modern legal sense of a legal statute.  It is the basis for our word "normal" and social "norms." It is also the noun form of the word translated as "think" above. Christ uses it to refer to the traditions of the Jewish people. Living according to the laws of Moses was the norm for Christ's society. The word, however, refers to social norms in general. We can assume that Christ is referring to all such social norms. These "traditions" were passed down from Moses.

or -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. The same word could also be the exclamation "hi" or the adverb meaning "in truth."

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") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

prophets: --  (UW) The Greek word translated as "prophets" means "one who speaks for God", "interpreter" and was the highest level of priesthood in Egypt, but its root words mean "shine light before" and so "shining lights" or "enlightened" seems to capture the idea better. . Christ uses it to refer not only to divine spokespeople, but their books in the OT. It is the verb that means "to shine before." Our word "luminaries" captures the idea very well. 

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

am -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb but the tense indicates something happening at a specific point in time, past, present, and future. 

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

come  -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

destroy,-- The verb "destroy" is the Greek word that means to "destroy" and "break up," but it has a specific meaning in relation to the law. It means to annul or abolish a law. However, here, the "break up" meaning is significant as a contrast to the last word, which means "fill up."

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather". It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise".

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

fulfil.  -- "Fulfill" is a verb that means "to fill", "to fulfill," and "to fill full." Finally, we have "fulfill" from a word that means to fill full of something, like being filled full of food. It also means to impregnate or make complete.

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  •  
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "think" is not a command.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "prophets" means "Shining Lights." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.

NIV Analysis: 

Do  -- This helping verb is used to create commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement.

not -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used.  This is the negative of commands/requests, but this is not a command.

think -- (WF)  The word translated as "think" is the verb form of the Greek noun usually translated as "the law," which is discussed below. It is the basis for our word "normalize." For a legislator, it means to "enact a law," but it also means "to be used by custom" and "to be accustomed to." It comes from the meaning of the word as "traditions" or customary behavior. The KJV translation also makes it sound like it is a command, that is, an imperative verb. It isn't. It is an active verb indicating a possibility. "You might be getting accustomed to..." or "you might not assume."

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

have -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb but the tense indicates something happening at a specific point in time, past, present, and future. 

come  -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. 

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

abolish -- The verb "abolish " is the Greek word that means to "destroy" and "break up," but it has a specific meaning in relation to the law. It means to annul or abolish a law. However, here, the "break up" meaning is significant as a contrast to the last word, which means "fill up."

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") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

Law, -- The word translated as "the law" throughout the Bible describes the social norms, which can be from "tradition", "common practice," or the "laws." Jesus also uses it to refer to the first five books of the OT written by Moses (Torah). It doesn't mean "law' in our modern legal sense of a legal statute.  It is the basis for our word "normal" and social "norms." It is also the noun form of the word translated as "think" above. Christ uses it to refer to the traditions of the Jewish people. Living according to the laws of Moses was the norm for Christ's society. The word, however, refers to social norms in general. We can assume that Christ is referring to all such social norms. These "traditions" were passed down from Moses.

or -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. The same word could also be the exclamation "hi" or the adverb meaning "in truth."

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") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

Prophets: --  (UW) The Greek word translated as "prophets" means "one who speaks for God", "interpreter" and was the highest level of priesthood in Egypt, but its root words mean "shine light before" and so "shining lights" or "enlightened" seems to capture the idea better. . Christ uses it to refer not only to divine spokespeople, but their books in the OT. It is the verb that means "to shine before." Our word "luminaries" captures the idea very well. 

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

have -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb but the tense indicates something happening at a specific point in time, past, present, and future. 

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

come  -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

abolish ,-- The verb "abolish " is the Greek word that means to "destroy" and "break up," but it has a specific meaning in relation to the law. It means to annul or abolish a law. However, here, the "break up" meaning is significant as a contrast to the last word, which means "fill up."

them - This English objective pronoun is added though not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather". It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise".

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

fulfill  -- "Fulfill" is a verb that means "to fill", "to fulfill," and "to fill full." Finally, we have "fulfill" from a word that means to fill full of something, like being filled full of food. It also means to impregnate or make complete.

them - This English objective pronoun is added though not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

NIV Translation Issues: 

2
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "think" is not a command.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "prophets" means "Shining Lights." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.

NLT Analysis: 

Do  -- (WF) This helping verb is used to create commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement.

n’t -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used.  This is the negative of commands/requests, but this is not a command.

misunderstand -- (WW)  The word translated as "misunderstand " is the verb form of the Greek noun usually translated as "the law," which is discussed below. It is the basis for our word "normalize." For a legislator, it means to "enact a law," but it also means "to be used by custom" and "to be accustomed to." It comes from the meaning of the word as "traditions" or customary behavior. The KJV translation also makes it sound like it is a command, that is, an imperative verb. It isn't. It is an active verb indicating a possibility. "You might be getting accustomed to..." or "you might not assume."

why -- (WW) The word translated as "why" is usually translated as "that" and introduces a statement of fact or cause.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

have -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb but the tense indicates something happening at a specific point in time, past, present, and future. 

come  -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. 

I did not come -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "I did not come " in the Greek source.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

abolish -- The verb "abolish " is the Greek word that means to "destroy" and "break up," but it has a specific meaning in relation to the law. It means to annul or abolish a law. However, here, the "break up" meaning is significant as a contrast to the last word, which means "fill up."

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") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

Law, -- The word translated as "the law" throughout the Bible describes the social norms, which can be from "tradition", "common practice," or the "laws." Jesus also uses it to refer to the first five books of the OT written by Moses (Torah). It doesn't mean "law' in our modern legal sense of a legal statute.  It is the basis for our word "normal" and social "norms." It is also the noun form of the word translated as "think" above. Christ uses it to refer to the traditions of the Jewish people. Living according to the laws of Moses was the norm for Christ's society. The word, however, refers to social norms in general. We can assume that Christ is referring to all such social norms. These "traditions" were passed down from Moses.

of Moses -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "of Moses" in the Greek source.

or -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. The same word could also be the exclamation "hi" or the adverb meaning "in truth."

the writings of -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "the writings of " in the Greek source.

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") that the English "the." See this article for more. 

Prophets: --  (UW) The Greek word translated as "prophets" means "one who speaks for God", "interpreter" and was the highest level of priesthood in Egypt, but its root words mean "shine light before" and so "shining lights" or "enlightened" seems to capture the idea better. . Christ uses it to refer not only to divine spokespeople, but their books in the OT. It is the verb that means "to shine before." Our word "luminaries" captures the idea very well. 

No,  -- The Greek word translated as "no" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

came -- The word translated as "came" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas.

to -- This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English.

untranslated "abolish "-- (MW) The untranslated word "abolish " is the Greek word that means to "destroy" and "break up," but it has a specific meaning in relation to the law. It means to annul or abolish a law. However, here, the "break up" meaning is significant as a contrast to the last word, which means "fill up."

untranslated "but"-- (MW) The untranslated word "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather". It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise".

accomplish -- (WW) "Accomplish " is a verb that means "to fill", "to fulfill," and "to fill full." Finally, we have "fulfill" from a word that means to fill full of something, like being filled full of food. It also means to impregnate or make complete.

their purpose. -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "their purpose" in the Greek source.

NLT Translation Issues: 

11
  •  
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "do" is not a command.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "misunderstand" should be "get accustom."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "why" should be "that."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "I did not come" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "of Moses" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "the writings of " doesn't exist in the source.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "prophets" means "Shining Lights." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "abolish" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "accomplish" should be "fulfill."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "their purpose" doesn't exist in the source.

The Spoken Version: 

A voice from among the Dedicated shouted, “Are you overturning our traditional laws, the writings of the shining lights?”
The crowd murmured, but the speaker smiled more broadly. Before answering, he went back to the foreigners and obtained a small loaf of bread.
“You all might not want to assume that I have shown up to tear up—,” he said as he tore off a piece of bread and held it up, “the laws or the shining lights. I really haven’t shown up to tear up—,” he said as he tore off and held up another piece of bread.
Many chuckled at the contradiction.
“But to fill up!” He announced gleefully, as he began putting the pieces of bread in his mouth.

evidence: 

16.00

Front Page Date: 

Apr 23 2020