Matthew 5:48 You will then be perfect,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

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

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

You will be certainly you yourselves complete as that Father of yours, the sky one, is complete.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The double meaning here is in the "perfect." We do not hear this word as Judeans did especially in the two different contexts. The word means something different when applied to people and when applied to God.

The Greek adjective means "perfect", "entire", and "complete," and it has a lot of different meanings depending on to what it is being applied. Jesus only uses it twice, but he uses a lot of related words. The noun is usually translated as "end," but it is used more like we would use "completed." The verb form is usually used in the sense of "to complete."  When applied to people, this word means either "accomplished," or "the best of a kind." However, when it refers to sacrifice to God, it means "without spot or blemish." Judean would have heard it this way because of the context sacrifice in "love your enemies."  However, if we think of people as in a process of becoming, it would mean "completed."  When the word is applied to God,  it means more clearly means  "perfect."

The word translated as "heaven" here is not the normal noun, but an adjective that Jesus only uses twice An appropriate translation would not be "heavenly" because that word is associated with the heaven of angels and clouds. Jesus uses the word "heaven" to mean "sky" usually in the plural "skies" with the sense of "ethereal" and "lofty."

NIV : 

Matthew 5:48  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

NLT : 

Matthew 5:48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Wordplay: 

This verse is a play on words because the word translated as "perfect" means something different when applied to God than when applied to people.

My Takeaway: 

God loves us as the perfect father. We must love others completely as brothers and sisters.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἔσεσθε” (2nd pl fut ind mid) "Be" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (this is the future form esomai. )

οὖν (partic) "Therefore" is from oun, which means "certainly", "in fact", "really", "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

ὑμεῖς (pron 2nd pl nom) "You" is from humeis, which are the nomi"You native form of the second person, "you."

τέλειοι” (adj pl masc nom) "Perfect" is  teleios, which means as an adjective "perfect", "entire", "complete", "without spot or blemish", "of full tally or number", "fully constituted", "valid", "full-grown [of animals]", "accomplished [of persons], "perfect in his kind,""absolute", "final [of judgment]", "fulfilled [of prayers]," "having power to fulfill prayer [of gods]", "all-powerful", "full point," and as an adverb "finally", "absolutely", "with full authority", "absolutely", "thoroughly," and "completely."

ὡς (adv) "As" is from hos, an adverb which means to "thus", "as", "how", "when", "where", "like", "just as", "so far as", "as much as can be", "that", "in order that", "nearly (with numbers)," and "know that."

(article sg masc nom )  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). --

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

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is from humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

(article sg masc nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). --

οὐράνιος [2 verses](adj sg masc nom) "Heaven" is ouranios, which is the adjective form of heaven meaning means "heavenly," dwelling in heaven " and as a metaphor, "colossal."

τέλειός [2 verses](adj sg masc nom ) "Perfect" is from teleios, which means as an adjective "perfect", "entire", "without spot or blemish", "of full tally or number", "fully constituted", "valid", "full-grown [of animals]", "accomplished [of persons], "perfect in his kind,""absolute", "final [of judgment]", "fulfilled [of prayers]," "having power to fulfill prayer [of gods]", "all-powerful", "full point," and as an adverb "finally", "absolutely", "with full authority", "absolutely", "thoroughly," and "completely."

ἐστιν.(verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (this is the future form esomai. )

KJV Analysis: 

Be -- (WF, WT) The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics It is not the form of a command, as translated. It is in the future tense. This is not the word "to become," which is often translated as "be" in the Bible referring to a change of state. The verb describes a stable state of being in the future.

ye -- (MW) The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

therefore -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" has two meanings. It has the meaning of "therefore" or "then," but it also means "certainly" and "in fact." To capture its feeling, both senses of the word can be used.

perfect, -- The Greek adjective means ""perfect", "entire", and "complete" Jesus only uses it twice, and it has a lot of different meanings depending on to what it is being applied. When applied to people, it means either "accomplished," or "the best of a kind." It could also mean "without spot or blemish," but that meaning is usually applied to sacrifices. It could also mean "complete" but that meaning is usually applied to numbers. It means something completely different when applied to God.

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

as -- The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

your -- The word translated as "your" is the plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers". It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father. 

which is in --  (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "which is in" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven  -- (WF)  The word translated as "heaven" is the adjective, not the noun, from the word for "sky." . It doesn't quite mean "heavenly" because that word is associated with the heaven of angels, clouds, and beauty generally. In Jesus's era meant, "sky" so the English adjective would be "sky" with the sense of "ethereal" and "lofty."

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. 

perfect -- The Greek word translated as "perfect" at the end of this verse can only be the adjective,  because of its form. However, when this word is applied to the divine, it means "having the power to answer prayers" or "all-powerful."

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "be" is not a command but a statement.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "be"is not in the present tense, but the future tense.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "even" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "which is in" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "heaven" is not a noun but an adjective.

NIV Analysis: 

Be -- (WF, WT) The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics It is not the form of a command, as translated. It is in the future tense. This is not the word "to become," which is often translated as "be" in the Bible referring to a change of state. The verb describes a stable state of being in the future.

missing "you/yourselves"-- (MW) A phrase is necessary because the pronoun is used as a subject, repeating the information on the end of the verb.

perfect, -- The Greek adjective means ""perfect", "entire", and "complete" Jesus only uses it twice, and it has a lot of different meanings depending on to what it is being applied. When applied to people, it means either "accomplished," or "the best of a kind." It could also mean "without spot or blemish," but that meaning is usually applied to sacrifices. It could also mean "complete" but that meaning is usually applied to numbers. It means something completely different when applied to God.

therefore -- The Greek word translated as "therefore" has two meanings. It has the meaning of "therefore" or "then," but it also means "certainly" and "in fact." To capture its feeling, both senses of the word can be used.

as -- The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

your -- The word translated as "your" is the plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

heavenly -- The word translated as "heavenly" is the adjective from the word for "sky." It doesn't quite mean "heavenly" because that word is associated with the heaven of angels, clouds, and beauty generally. In Jesus's era meant, "sky" so the English adjective would be "sky" with the sense of "ethereal" and "lofty."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers". It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. 

perfect -- The Greek word translated as "perfect" at the end of this verse can only be the adjective,  because of its form. However, when this word is applied to the divine, it means "having the power to answer prayers" or "all-powerful."

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "be" is not a command but a statement.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "be"is not in the present tense, but the future tense.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "father" is not shown in the English translation.

NLT Analysis: 

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

you -- (MW) The pronoun "you" is used explicitly as the subject of the sentence. Since it is already part of the verb, its use here creates emphasis on the "you" as we might say "you yourselves." It is plural.

are to be -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics It is not the form of a command, as translated. It is in the future tense. This is not the word "to become," which is often translated as "be" in the Bible referring to a change of state. The verb describes a stable state of being in the future.

perfect, -- The Greek adjective means ""perfect", "entire", and "complete" Jesus only uses it twice, and it has a lot of different meanings depending on to what it is being applied. When applied to people, it means either "accomplished," or "the best of a kind." It could also mean "without spot or blemish," but that meaning is usually applied to sacrifices. It could also mean "complete" but that meaning is usually applied to numbers. It means something completely different when applied to God.

untranslated "therefore"-- (MW) The untranslated word "therefore" has two meanings. It has the meaning of "therefore" or "then," but it also means "certainly" and "in fact." To capture its feeling, both senses of the word can be used.

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

as -- The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

your -- The word translated as "your" is the plural, second-person pronoun in the genitive case. This pronoun follows the noun so "of yours."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers". It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father.

in

heaven  -- (WF)  The word translated as "heaven" is the adjective, not the noun, from the word for "sky." . It doesn't quite mean "heavenly" because that word is associated with the heaven of angels, clouds, and beauty generally. In Jesus's era meant, "sky" so the English adjective would be "sky" with the sense of "ethereal" and "lofty."

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. 

perfect -- The Greek word translated as "perfect" at the end of this verse can only be the adjective,  because of its form. However, when this word is applied to the divine, it means "having the power to answer prayers" or "all-powerful."

NLT Translation Issues: 

8
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "But" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "you yourselves."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "therefore" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "even" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "in" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "heaven" is not a noun but an adjective.

The Spoken Version: 

“What would we Romans become if we cared about all these other worthless peoples rather than our own?” he asked, gesturing jovially toward the rest of the crowd.
We booed and laughed at this insult. The Militants among us tried to make something of it, but we ignored them. It was clearly meant in jest.
“You all will be, in fact,” the Teacher answered with a smile, “yourselves!”
We laughed again.
“But what would that be like?” Decimus wondered aloud.
“Complete!” the Nazarene answered, saluting the man. “Like that Father of yours, the sky one.”
He pointed his finger to the sky.
“This realm of the skies!” we responded.
We applauded ourselves for saying it in unison.
“And what is this sky Father of yours like?” the Roman asked.
“He is perfect!” the Teacher exclaimed brightly.

evidence: 

47.00

Front Page Date: 

May 23 2020