Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart...

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, Beatitudes, sky and ground, personal and social fulfillment

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Fortunate those free in the heart, because they themselves will see for themselves the Divine.

KJV : 

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse has a hidden connection to the previous verse, Matthew 5:7. The merciful in Jesus's time were those who forgive the debts of others. In this verse, a key meaning of "the pure" are those who are  debt-free.  Since the audience was primed by the idea of "debt," they would hear this word in that context as "debt-free." Then Jesus changes that means by adding the term "heart" to it.

"Heart" is the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. It is  in a form that requires adding a preposition in English. That preposition could be a  "to,"  "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at" or "on," depending on the context.  In also has an article before it, So it could mean "with the heart," "by the heart," "for the heart" and so on. If we relate this to being debt-free, the idea seems to describe those who don't carry emotional debts.

There are a number of patterns in the Beatitudes, which are discussed in this article on the Beatitudes.

NIV : 

Matthew 5:8  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

NLT : 

Matthew 5:8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

Wordplay: 

The form of the word heart can indicate a place of purity 

My Takeaway: 

Emotion can be a type of knowledge deeper than the rational mind.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

μακάριοι (adj pl masc nom) "Blessed" is from makarios which means "blessed", "prosperous", "happy", "fortunate," and "blissful."

οἱ (article pl masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

καθαροὶ (adj pl masc nom) "Pure" is katharos, which means "physically clean", "spotless", "clear", "pure (water)", "clear of objects", "free of contamination", "clear of debt", "genuine", "pure of birth", "without blemish," and "sound."

τῇ (article sg fem dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

καρδίᾳ, (noun sg fem dat) "In heart" is from kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)", "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)", "inclination", "desire," "purpose", "mind", "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

ὅτι (adv) "For" is from hoti, which means "for what," and "wherefore." A form of hostis, which means "that", "anyone who", "anything which", "whosoever," "whichsoever" and "anybody whatsoever."

αὐτοὶ (adj pl masc nom) "They" 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."

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." --  

θεὸν (noun sg masc acc) "God" is from theos (theos), which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

ὄψονται (3rd pl fut ind mid) "Shall see" is optanomai, which means "to see", "to look", "to aim at", "to look towards", "to have sight", "to take heed," (in transitive) "to behold", "to perceive", "to observe", "to look out for," and "to be seen (passive)." It is a metaphor for mental sight, "to perceive", "to discern", "to see visions", "to appear in visions (passion), and "to interview."

KJV Analysis: 

Blessed -- (CW) The word "blessed" in Greek is an adjective from a root word meaning "happy" or "fortunate." In Jesus's era, all luck was attributed to divine favor but this is not otherwise a religious word. It has no relationship to the Greek verb "bless" or the noun "blessings."

are -- There is no verb "are" in the Greek source. It is implied by the equating of "workman" with "worthy" both in the Greek form of subjects.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

pure -- The Greek word translated as pure means "physically clean", "spotless", "clear", free from that which corrupts or soils. It also means "debt-free," which connects this idea to the previous verse. 

in  -- This word "in" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

heart:  -- "Heart" is the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. However, this phrase can be read as defining the "heart" and both the "soul" and "the mind". The form as an indirect object, singular heart. The form could have two uses.

for -- The "for" here is a causal adverb that means "seeing that", "because", or "since."

they -- (CW) The "they" is the pronoun used explicitly as the subject of the final phrase. This is unnecessary in Greek because the subject is also a part of the verb ending. Jesus only uses the pronoun when he wants to emphasize i t as we would say "they themselves".

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

see -- "See" is a verb that means "to see", "to look", "to aim at", "to look towards", and similar meanings.  This is not one of the two most common words that Jesus means to means "to see," but this word also has the sense of referring to mental sight and visions.  The form of this verb acts on or for itself. So "perceiving for themselves" or "envisioning for themselves."  

missing "by/for themselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act "for themselves" or "by themselves."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

God. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "blessed" means "blessed" primarily in the sense of "lucky" or "fortunate" without a sense of a "blessing."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heart"  is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" here is repetitive, like "they themselves."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "themselves" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God"  is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

Blessed -- (CW) The word "blessed" in Greek is an adjective from a root word meaning "happy" or "fortunate." In Jesus's era, all luck was attributed to divine favor but this is not otherwise a religious word. It has no relationship to the Greek verb "bless" or the noun "blessings."

are -- There is no verb "are" in the Greek source. It is implied by the equating of "workman" with "worthy" both in the Greek form of subjects.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

pure -- The Greek word translated as pure means "physically clean", "spotless", "clear", free from that which corrupts or soils. It also means "debt-free," which connects this idea to the previous verse. 

in  -- This word "in" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

heart:  -- "Heart" is the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. However, this phrase can be read as defining the "heart" and both the "soul" and "the mind". The form as an indirect object, singular heart. The form could have two uses.

for -- The "for" here is a causal adverb that means "seeing that", "because", or "since."

they -- (CW) The "they" is the pronoun used explicitly as the subject of the final phrase. This is unnecessary in Greek because the subject is also a part of the verb ending. Jesus only uses the pronoun when he wants to emphasize i t as we would say "they themselves".

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

see -- "Shall see" is a verb that means "to see", "to look", "to aim at", "to look towards", and similar meanings.  This is not one of the two most common words that Jesus means to means "to see," but this word also has the sense of referring to mental sight and visions.  The form of this verb acts on or for itself. So "perceiving for themselves" or "envisioning for themselves."  

missing "by/for themselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act "for themselves" or "by themselves."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

God. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "blessed" means "blessed" primarily in the sense of "lucky" or "fortunate" without a sense of a "blessing."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heart"  is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" here is repetitive, like "they themselves."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "themselves" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God"  is not shown in the English translation.

NLT Analysis: 

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

blesses -- (CW, WF) The word "blesses" in Greek is an adjective from a root word meaning "happy" or "fortunate." In Jesus's era, all luck was attributed to divine favor but this is not otherwise a religious word. It has no relationship to the Greek verb "bless" or the noun "blessings." This is not a verb.

those -- The word translated as "those who" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

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

untranslated "in"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "in" (or another preposition) is required by the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object, a "with" for instruments, an "in" for locations, an "as" for purposes, an "of" for possession, a "by" for agents, an "as" for comparisons, "at" or "on" a time, and an "in" for area of affect.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

hearts:  -- (WN)  "Hearst" is the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. However, this phrase can be read as defining the "heart" and both the "soul" and "the mind". The form as an indirect object, singular heart. The form could have two uses. 

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

pure -- (WF) The Greek word translated as pure means "physically clean", "spotless", "clear", free from that which corrupts or soils. It also means "debt-free," which connects this idea to the previous verse.  The form is not one that can be equated with the form of "heart." It is equated with "blessed."

for -- The "for" here is a causal adverb that means "seeing that", "because", or "since."

they -- (CW) The "they" is the pronoun used explicitly as the subject of the final phrase. This is unnecessary in Greek because the subject is also a part of the verb ending. Jesus only uses the pronoun when he wants to emphasize i t as we would say "they themselves".

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

see -- "Shall see" is a verb that means "to see", "to look", "to aim at", "to look towards", and similar meanings.  This is not one of the two most common words that Jesus means to means "to see," but this word also has the sense of referring to mental sight and visions.  The form of this verb acts on or for itself. So "perceiving for themselves" or "envisioning for themselves."  

missing "by/for themselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act "for themselves" or "by themselves."

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

God. -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

NLT Translation Issues: 

12
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "God" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "blesses" means "blessed" primarily in the sense of "lucky" or "fortunate" without a sense of a "blessing."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "blesses" is not an active verb but an adjective.
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "whose" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "in" or similar preposition is not shown in the English translation but required by the form of "heart."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "hearts" is translated as plural but it is singular.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "are" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "pure" is not in a form that can be equated with "heart." It is equated with "blessed."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" here is repetitive, like "they themselves."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "themselves" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God"  is not shown in the English translation.

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus consistently uses the Greek term  "heart" to refer to the heart as the seat of emotions, so the sense is that we are purified by our emotions. In Greek, these were the strong, passionate, higher nobler emotions, "of the chest", rather than the lower, based passions "of the belly". 

The Spoken Version: 

“Fortunate! These spotless!” he called out with cheerful authority.
Some of us laughed at the strangeness of this statement referring to a pregnant leper woman and her children. Others booed in derision. Still others shushed those booing. Many had heard that the Master was a healer. Clearly he wasn’t worried about catching their disease. Some had come in hopes of seeing a healing. Was this it?
“Are they spotless because you are going to heal them?” someone called out.
He smiled warmly at the question but clearly shook his head “no.”
Many in the crowd sighed and murmured their disappointment.
“How can you see them as spotless?” another voice asked.
“With this heart!” the Teacher said gently, touching his chest. He looked down lovingly at the suffering family.
“What protects you from getting their disease and giving it to us?” another person called out.
The Master smiled and pointed to the sky.
“This realm of the skies?” the crowd responded weakly. It sounded like a question because so many were uncertainly.
The Master smiled broadly at our doubt. He then looked at us more sternly and pointed to the sky more strongly, making the signal a command.
“This realm of the skies!” we responded more boldly, led by his students. In repeating the phrase, we became more confident in the idea.  
As we digested this feeling, another voice called out.
“Why does your heart see them as spotless?” a woman asked.
“Because they themselves,” the Teacher said, touching Pisca’s mother’s pregnant belly, “shall see for themselves the Divine!”
He said this with a voice full of wonder, awe, and joy. It was a voice brimming with reverence.
But the statement was confusing.
He seemed to be referring to the birth of the child because every baby is a miracle the Divine. But these particular people were sick, possibly dying. Was he referring to their passage into the next life?

evidence: 

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Front Page Date: 

Apr 15 2020