Matthew 5:23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;​

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

If when you present your offering before the altar, you make amends for yourself. You might be reminded that your brother has something against you.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is verse indicates that it is given in answer to a specific question. Christ goes from addressing the crowd with a plural "you", to addressing someone specific with a singular "you". In English, they look the same, but not in Greek.

The Greek word translated as "therefore" primarily means "certainly". This "certainty" contrasts with the "possibility" of the first word. However, this word is also used to continued a discussion so it best might be translated as "then." This word refers back to the previous verse, Mat 5:22, describing getting angry with your brother.

The word translated as "if" is a conjunction of two words meaning "if might". The word indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone.

The Greek word translated as "thou bring" is not that common word for "bring", but one that has the additional meaning of "to offer" and "to present." It is in the form of something that "might" happen, as it should be with the leading "if". The word is specifically used to describe offering sacrifices. The "you" here is singular. While Christ generally addresses his listeners in the plural, this might indicate he is addressing someone specifically as in answering a question.

The Greek word translated as "gift" also specifically means "votive offerings" so it is again, a specific word. However, the word is introduced by a definitive article, "the gift" not "a gift." So there is a specific gift being referred to here, so this statement seems to be the answer to a question about a gift. The "your" is also singular.

The word translated as "to" is not the preposition normally translated as "to," but the one that primarily means "on", "before", or "against." The sense here is "before".

There is no "and' in the Greek text. It was added by the translators. The "if" clause seems to end here.

The word translated as "there" is the most interesting of all choices in this verse. It is not the common word for "there," but a special word that means "in that place" However, it is also is a form of a verb that means "you (singular) heal yourself", and, specifically "you make amends". Obviously, the topic here is "making amends". However, the form makes verb's form means to "heal yourself" or to "make amends to yourself".

The Greek verb translated as "remember" is in the passive: "you might or should be reminded." Since this phase begins with the word meaning "in that place" and "cure," the idea is that being at the altar should remind us of our mistakes. This verb is also in the form of something that might happen so it looks like it is part of an "if" statement as well.

The word translated as "brother" means a biological brother, any kinsmen, and more broadly and friend or associate.

The word translated as "hath" 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 word translated as "ought" means "something", "someone", "anything," and similar ideas.

The "against" primarily "down" but it is often used in our sense of "against". It has the sense that we have in English of someone being "down on" something as being "against" it.

The final you here is singular as well.

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἐὰν (conj) "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.

οὖν (adv) "Therefore" is from oun, which means "certainly", "in fact", "really", "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore." However, with the introductory "if" the sense becomes more "when."

προσφέρῃς (2nd sg pres subj act) "Thou bring" is from prosphero, which means "to bring to, " "to bring upon", "to apply to," [without dat] "to apply, use, or use", "to add to", "to present", "to offer", "to address [proposals]", "to convey [property]", "to contribute", "to pay", "to be carried towards [passive]", "to attack", "to assault", "to go toward", "to deal with", "to take [food or drink]," to exhibit", "to declare," and "to lead to."

τὸ δῶρόν (noun sg neut acc) "Gift" is from doron which means "gift", "present," and specifically a "votive gift" or "offering" to a god. The simpler term without the sense of a votive offering is "dorea."

σου (adj sg masc gen) "Thy" is from su which means "you" and "your."

ἐπὶ" (prep) "To" is from epi which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

τὸ θυσιαστήριον (noun sg neut acc) "The altar" is from thysiastērion , which means "altar."

κἀκεῖ (adv) "And there" is from kakei, which means "there", "in that place", "what is or happens there", "events there", "then [rarely of time]," and "in an intelligible world." OR (verb 2nd sg pres ind mp) "And there" is from akeomai, which means "to heal", "to cure", "to mend", "to repair" and "make amends."

μνησθῇς (2nd sg aor subj pass) "Rememberest" is from mnaomai, which means "to remind", "to put in mind", "to recall to memory", "to remember," and "to give heed to."

ὅτι (adv) "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."

ἀδελφός (noun sg masc nom) "Brother" is from adelphos (adelphos),which means "son of the same mother", "kinsman", "colleague", "associate," and "brother."

σου (adj sg masc gen) "Thy" is from su which means "you" and "your."

ἔχει (3rd sg pres ind act) "Hath" 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."

τι (pron sg neut nom) "Ought" 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."

κατὰ (prep) "Against" is from kata, which means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally."

σοῦ, (adj sg masc gen) "You" is from sou which means "you" and "your."


 The word form translated as "and there" is also the form of a noun meaning "a cure" or "a remedy," and a verb (2nd sg pres ind mp) meaning "to heal" and "to cure," which provide more meaning to the context. 

The Spoken Version: 

“Can an offering at the temple make up for my offenses against a brother?” A sad voice asked quietly.
“If you present a gift on the altar, do you make amends for yourself?” The speaker repeated for the crowd. He then silently acted out a scene of someone bringing an offering toward the temple’s altar. He suddenly stopped and hit the side of his head with his palm. “You might be reminded,” he explained, “That your brother has something against you.”

Related Verses: 



Front Page Date: 

Jan 19 2017