Matthew 5:46 For if you love those who love you,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, visible and hidden, debts and repayment, parents and children

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Because when you care for a reason, you all care for those who care for you, what pay do you have due? Certainly not! And tax collectors act the same.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The same Greek word is translated as "ye love" and "them which love". The Greek word indicates the love that is required by personal responsibility. Another Greek word is translated as "love" in English, but it means the affinity of friendship.  (See this article on love for more information.)

The word translated as "reward" describes compensation for effort, what we call "pay." If we look for a common theme, the topic of "debt"  has been the focus of this section of the Sermon. Murder, family rifts, adultery, divorce, vows, and fair compensation are all reduced to debts and what one person owes either to God or to one another. The opposing idea of "hidden" and "visible" are also the topics here, but we have to understand the idea that the concept of "hidden" is closely tied with the future. A "hidden" debt is one repaid in the future. In asking people to go the extra mile, literally, Jesus sees us as doing work that we will be compensated for at a future time. We should do what is difficult but because doing what is difficult is more rewarding than doing what is easy.

NIV : 

Matthew 5:46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

NLT : 

Matthew 5:46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

Wordplay: 

Here, Christ contrasts the kind of payment we expect from God with the kind of payment a corrupt officials expect

My Takeaway: 

We are not compensated for loving our families, and we must think of ourselves as children of God.

Related Verses: 

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.

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ἀγαπήσητε (2nd pl aor subj act) "Ye love" is from agapao, which means "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", "to caress", "to prize", "to desire", "to be pleased with," and "to be contended with." This love is more associated with affection than passion. See this article on love for more information.

τοὺς (article pl masc acc) "Them which" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which, when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἀγαπῶντας (part pl pres act masc acc) "love" is from agapao, which means "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", "to caress", "to prize", "to desire", "to be pleased with," and "to be contended with." This love is more associated with affection than passion.

ὑμᾶς, (pron pl 2nd acc) "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

τίνα (pron sg masc acc) "What" 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."

μισθὸν (noun sg masc acc) "Reward" is from misthos, which means "wages" in the sense of compensation for work done, "pay", "hire", "fee", "recompense," and "reward."

ἔχετε; (2nd pl pres ind act) "Have ye" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to have due to one", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

οὐχὶ (adv) "Not" is from ouchi, an adverb which means "no", "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," "notwithstanding", "yet", "still", "never yet", "for not", "indeed", "for surely not", "no,—certainly not", "for I don't suppose," and "for in no manner."

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

οἱ  (article pl masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

τελῶναι (noun pl masc nom) "Publicans" is from telones, which means "farmer," and "collector of toll, custom, and taxes."

τὸ (article sg neut nom/acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

αὐτὸ (adj sg neut nom/acc ) "Same" 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."

ποιοῦσιν; (3rd pl pres ind act) "Do" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

KJV Analysis: 

For -- The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "as an explanation" or "as a cause". 

if -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

love  -- (CW) The word translated as "love" expresses a lot of different ideas including "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", and "to be contented with." Jesus however, applies it to relationships where we have a duty to care for others: family, God, etc. Another word, also translated as "love" is used to for relationships of affectionate friendship that are more voluntary. To distinguish this word, translated it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information.

them -- The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

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

love - (WF) - The word translated as "love" expresses a lot of different ideas including "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", and "to be contented with." Jesus however, applies it to relationships where we have a duty to care for others: family, God, etc. Another word, also translated as "love" is used to for relationships of affectionate friendship that are more voluntary. To distinguish this word, translated it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information. The form is that of an adjective, "loving", used as a noun, "the ones loving."

you, -- The "you" here is the second-person, plural pronoun in the form of an object.

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" in "what reward" has a lot of different uses, including introducing questions as it does here. However, here, its form matches both "reward" the object of the sentence, and "you" the subject of the sentence. Since this cause is an explanation, probably the best question is "what?" This sense matches the beginning of this verse.

reward  -- (CW)  The Greek word translated as "reward" really means "compensation," "pay," and "recompense," what you receive from others for providing service for them. In Jesus's era, compensation was not just money but it took many forms: food, housing, salt, and so on. Jesus saw that there is both spiritual compensation and worldly compensation. It is a reward that is earned. It is not a gift.

have -- The word translated as "have" means to "have", "possess", "bear", "keep close", "have means to do",  "to have due to one", or "keep" and many specific uses. Here, it clearly has the sense of "have due to one". 

ye? -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

do -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "do" means primarily "to make", "to produce", or "to perform." However, most Biblical translations habitually translated it is "do" because the English "do" covers the broadest possible description of the activity. The Greek word is not as broad. Here, this refers back to "loving" so the sense of "perform" seems to work best.

not -- (CW) The "not" used here is not the common, everyday Greek word for the negation of a fact. It is a more extreme form, almost an exclamation. It actually begins the phrase.

even -- The word translated as "even" is most commonly translated as the conjunction "and," but it can be translated as "also" and "even." However, it appears at the beginning of this phrase, right after the "not". It seems to work in the position at the beginning of the phrase as its normal "and".

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. 

publicans -- The Greek term translated as "publican" means "farmer" and "tax collector." by Jesus's time, tax collectors were not tax-farmers, that is, private individuals who bought the right to collect taxes. Tax collectors worked directly for Rome, but the term "farmer" stuck from an earlier era when they were tax-farmers. Historically, these tax-collectors or rent collectors were notoriously corrupt, especially as tax farmers. They were made into government employees to reform them.

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. 

same? -- The Greek word translated as the same" is usually translated as a pronoun, referring to a previously used noun. Here, however, it appears with an article, which gives it the meaning of "the same," but it refers to the "compensation" being the same as that of tax collectors. Here, Christ contrasts the kind of payment we expect from God with the kind of payment a corrupt officials expect

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "if" has more of a probability of "if" alone, more like our "when."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "love" is one of two different Greek word translated as "love."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "which" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "love" is not an active verb but a participle, "loving."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "reward" is more like compensation that an award.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "do" is not the helper verb but means "make" or "perform."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "not" is not one of the common negatives but more of an exclamation.

NIV Analysis: 

If -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

untranslated "for"-- (MW) The untranslated word s "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "as an explanation" or "as a cause". 

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

love  -- (CW) The word translated as "love" expresses a lot of different ideas including "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", and "to be contented with." Jesus however, applies it to relationships where we have a duty to care for others: family, God, etc. Another word, also translated as "love" is used to for relationships of affectionate friendship that are more voluntary. To distinguish this word, translated it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information.

those -- The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

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

love - (WF) - The word translated as "love" expresses a lot of different ideas including "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", and "to be contented with." Jesus however, applies it to relationships where we have a duty to care for others: family, God, etc. Another word, also translated as "love" is used to for relationships of affectionate friendship that are more voluntary. To distinguish this word, translated it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information. The form is that of an adjective, "loving", used as a noun, "the ones loving."

you, -- The "you" here is the second-person, plural pronoun in the form of an object.

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" in "what reward" has a lot of different uses, including introducing questions as it does here. However, here, its form matches both "reward" the object of the sentence, and "you" the subject of the sentence. Since this cause is an explanation, probably the best question is "what?" This sense matches the beginning of this verse.

reward  -- (CW)  The Greek word translated as "reward" really means "compensation," "pay," and "recompense," what you receive from others for providing service for them. In Jesus's era, compensation was not just money but it took many forms: food, housing, salt, and so on. Jesus saw that there is both spiritual compensation and worldly compensation. It is a reward that is earned. It is not a gift.

will -- (WT) This helper verb indicates the future tense, but the verb is not the future.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

get? -- The word translated as "have" means to "have", "possess", "bear", "keep close", "have means to do",  "to have due to one", or "keep" and many specific uses. Here, it clearly has the sense of "have due to one". 

Are -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb, which is expressed here as an adjective.

not -- (CW) The "not" used here is not the common, everyday Greek word for the negation of a fact. It is a more extreme form, almost an exclamation. It actually begins the phrase.

even -- The word translated as "even" is most commonly translated as the conjunction "and," but it can be translated as "also" and "even." However, it appears at the beginning of this phrase, right after the "not". It seems to work in the position at the beginning of the phrase as its normal "and".

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. 

tax collectors -- The Greek term translated as "publican" means "farmer" and "tax collector." by Jesus's time, tax collectors were not tax-farmers, that is, private individuals who bought the right to collect taxes. Tax collectors worked directly for Rome, but the term "farmer" stuck from an earlier era when they were tax-farmers. Historically, these tax-collectors or rent collectors were notoriously corrupt, especially as tax farmers. They were made into government employees to reform them.

doing -- The Greek word translated as "do" means primarily "to make", "to produce", or "to perform." However, most Biblical translations habitually translated it is "do" because the English "do" covers the broadest possible description of the activity. The Greek word is not as broad. Here, this refers back to "loving" so the sense of "perform" seems to work best

untranslated "the"-- (MW) The untranslated word "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.

that? --  (WW) The Greek word translated as the same" is usually translated as a pronoun, referring to a previously used noun. Here, however, it appears with an article, which gives it the meaning of "the same," but it refers to the "compensation" being the same as that of tax collectors. Here, Christ contrasts the kind of payment we expect from God with the kind of payment a corrupt officials expect

NIV Translation Issues: 

10
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "if" has more of a probability of "if" alone, more like our "when."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "for" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "love" is one of two different Greek word translated as "love."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "love" is not an active verb but a participle, "loving."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "reward" is more like compensation that an award.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "will" indicates the future tense but the tense of the verb is the present.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "not" is not one of the common negatives but more of an exclamation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "same" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "that" should be "same."

NLT Analysis: 

If -- (CW) The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".

untranslated "for"-- (MW) The untranslated word s "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "as an explanation" or "as a cause". 

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

love  -- (CW) The word translated as "love" expresses a lot of different ideas including "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", and "to be contented with." Jesus however, applies it to relationships where we have a duty to care for others: family, God, etc. Another word, also translated as "love" is used to for relationships of affectionate friendship that are more voluntary. To distinguish this word, translated it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information.

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

those -- The word translated as "those" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

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

love - (WF) - The word translated as "love" expresses a lot of different ideas including "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", and "to be contented with." Jesus however, applies it to relationships where we have a duty to care for others: family, God, etc. Another word, also translated as "love" is used to for relationships of affectionate friendship that are more voluntary. To distinguish this word, translated it as "cares for" seems to work best. See this article on love for more information. The form is that of an adjective, "loving", used as a noun, "the ones loving."

you, -- The "you" here is the second-person, plural pronoun in the form of an object.

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" in "what reward" has a lot of different uses, including introducing questions as it does here. However, here, its form matches both "reward" the object of the sentence, and "you" the subject of the sentence. Since this cause is an explanation, probably the best question is "what?" This sense matches the beginning of this verse.

reward  -- (CW)  The Greek word translated as "reward" really means "compensation," "pay," and "recompense," what you receive from others for providing service for them. In Jesus's era, compensation was not just money but it took many forms: food, housing, salt, and so on. Jesus saw that there is both spiritual compensation and worldly compensation. It is a reward that is earned. It is not a gift.

is  -- (WW) The word translated as "is" means to "have", "possess", "bear", "keep close", "have means to do",  "to have due to one", or "keep" and many specific uses. Here, it clearly has the sense of "have due to one". 

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

Even -- The word translated as "even" is most commonly translated as the conjunction "and," but it can be translated as "also" and "even." However, it appears at the beginning of this phrase, right after the "not". It seems to work in the position at the beginning of the phrase as its normal "and".

untranslated "certainly not"-- (MW) The untranslated word "not" used here is not the common, everyday Greek word for the negation of a fact. It is a more extreme form, almost an exclamation. It actually begins the phrase.

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

untranslated "the"-- (MW) The untranslated word "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. 

tax collectors -- The Greek term translated as "publican" means "farmer" and "tax collector." by Jesus's time, tax collectors were not tax-farmers, that is, private individuals who bought the right to collect taxes. Tax collectors worked directly for Rome, but the term "farmer" stuck from an earlier era when they were tax-farmers. Historically, these tax-collectors or rent collectors were notoriously corrupt, especially as tax farmers. They were made into government employees to reform them.

do -- The Greek word translated as "do" means primarily "to make", "to produce", or "to perform." However, most Biblical translations habitually translated it is "do" because the English "do" covers the broadest possible description of the activity. The Greek word is not as broad. Here, this refers back to "loving" so the sense of "perform" seems to work best

that -- The word "that" 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.

much? --  (WW) The Greek word translated as the same" is usually translated as a pronoun, referring to a previously used noun. Here, however, it appears with an article, which gives it the meaning of "the same," but it refers to the "compensation" being the same as that of tax collectors. Here, Christ contrasts the kind of payment we expect from God with the kind of payment a corrupt officials expect

NLT Translation Issues: 

12
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "if" has more of a probability of "if" alone, more like our "when."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "for" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "love" is one of two different Greek word translated as "love."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "love" is not an active verb but a participle, "loving."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "only" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "reward" is more like compensation that an award.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "is" should be "have."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "certainly not" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "corrupt" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "tax collectors" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "much" should be "same."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Notice that Jesus doesn't suggest that we love others out of the goodness alone. He says specifically that we do this for compensation, that is, becoming the children of God. Today's social moralizers preach selfless for the common man, that we sacrifice ourselves for the "common good." This is not what Jesus teaches.

However, a bribe is, by its nature, quid pro quo, this for that. But God's reward for loving our enemies is taken on trust. Perhaps, loving our enemies is its own reward because it makes us happier than hating our enemies. Perhaps we are rewarded by creating a better world for us and our children. Perhaps we are rewarded in the afterlife when the scales of justice are balanced. Perhaps all of these are true.

The Spoken Version: 

Some laughed. Others applauded. The Distinguish complained.
“Why claim that the Divine doesn’t reward those who take care of their own?” Simeon shouted.
“Because when you care for those caring for you...” began the Teacher.
Then, he wrapped his arms around himself. He hugged himself with his eyes closed until we began laughing
“What payment do you have?” he continued, ending his self-hug and holding out his empty arms. “Nothing, really. Even the tax collectors act the same way!”
He gestured toward the back of the crowd where the tax collectors sat.

evidence: 

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Front Page Date: 

May 22 2020