Matthew 6:4 Your charity should be in secret:

Spoken to: 

an individual

Context: 

Sermon on Mount, law and fulfillment, visible and hidden, debts and repayment, virtue and virtue signaling

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

So that it might be yours that kindness, in the hidden as that Father of yours, the one watching in the hidden, is going to give back to you.

KJV : 

Matthew 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.​

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The normal order of Greek words follows the importance of the words in the concept expressed. However, Jesus often puts his most important ideas at the end of the sentence, often for humorous effect. However, here, the word order is not typical. We must remember that these words were spoken, not written (see this article on the differences) and that none of the punctuation is part of the original Greek but was added centuries later.

When using a possessive pronoun, Jesus usually uses the Greek word structure "article>noun>possessive pronoun" for example, "that Father of yours."  Here, however, Jesus uses a different structure with the word translated as "alms/giving." That word is closer in meaning to "kindness" or "mercy. The structure he uses is "yours, this kindness." By putting the possessive pronoun first, Jesus emphasizes it. In Greek, word-order is mostly dictated by importance with most important words first. So here, the most important thing about what you do is that it is yours.

NIV : 

Matthew 6:4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Wordplay: 

The "and" between the two "in secret" phrases compares them. Hidden kindness is likened the Divine's ability to see what is secret.

My Takeaway: 

Hiding our virtue is a sacrifice that transforms us in the way that allows us to perceive a higher realm.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ὅπως (conj) "That" is hopos, which is a conjunction that means "in such a manner as", "in order that", "in the manner in which", "how," [with negative] "there is no way that," and [in questions] "in what way."

(3rd sg pres subj act) "May be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible."

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

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

ἐλεημοσύνη (noun sg fem nom ) "Alms" is from which means "pity", "mercy", "charity," and "alms." It is the noun for of the verb eleeo, which means "to have pity on," "to show mercy to," and "to feel pity." In the passive, "to be shown pity," and "to be pitied."

ἐν (prep) "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῷ (article sg masc dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

κρυπτῷ: (adj sg masc dat) "Secret" is kryptos, which is an adjective meaning "hidden", "secret", "concealed", "in disguise [of people]", "secret service," and "deep-seated."

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."

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

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

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

(article sg masc nom) "The" 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."

βλέπων (part sg pres act masc nom) "Seeth" is from of blepo, which means "to look," "to have the power of sight," "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to rely on", "to look longingly", "to propose", "to beware", "to behold," and "to look for."

ἐν (prep) "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

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

κρυπτῷ (adj sg masc dat ) "Secret" is from kryptos, which is an adjective meaning "hidden", "secret", "concealed", "in disguise [of people]", "secret service," and "deep-seated."

ἀποδώσει (3rd sg fut ind act) "Shall reward" is apodidomi which means "to give back", "to restore," and "to deliver." It has the economic sense of "to sell" or "to give something for one's own profit." It begins with apo the preposition of separation and origin, the idea of "from" in English, didômi which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over," and "to describe."

σοι. (pron 2nd sg dat) "You" is from soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you".

KJV Analysis: 

That -- The word translated as "that" is one of those Greek words that introduce a new phrase that offers an explanation, so "in order that". It can be used to describe the reason or the manner in which an action is performed "in such a manner as".

thine -- The "thine" is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. As we saw in the previous verse, Matthew 6:3, all the forms of "you" here are singular, addressed to a single person, not the crowd.  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. 

alms -- The Greek word translated as "alms" is the Greek source for our word "eleemosynary", which in English means "charitable". However, the Greek word primarily means "pity" or "mercy." It is another form of the word used in the Beatitudes as "merciful" and "obtain mercy." It can be translated as any of our synonyms for a charitable act but "donation" or "kindness" works pretty well because in English we say that we "make donations" and "perform kindnesses", which conforms with the Greek verb used with this word in the previous two verses. In contrast, we "give alms". This noun is introduced by an article, so if refers to a specific kindness, not kindness in general.

may-- This helping verb "may" indicates that the verb indicates a possibility. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be -- The "be" is the verb "to be" but when it appears early in the sentence before the subject, as it does here, the sense is more like "it is." Here, the verb is in the subjunctive, so it is something that "should" or "could" exist in a certain state.

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can means "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

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. 

secret: -- The Greek word translated as "secret" means "secret" but its primary meaning is "hidden." Jesus uses this particular word because it is the other Greek word for hidden that is the opposite of the Greek word for "truth." However, it is used as a noun, not an adjective. It is introduced with an article, "in the secret".

and -- (CW)  The Greek word translated as "and" can be translated as "as" in situations applying sameness, here, the hidden charity and the hidden Father.

thy  -- The "thy" is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. As we saw in the previous verse, Matthew 6:3, all the forms of "you" here are singular, addressed to a single person, not the crowd.  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  -- (WW) The word translated as "which" 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. 

seeth  -- (WF)  The verb translated as "seeth" means "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to beware", and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding  so  "watch" works better.  

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can means "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

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. 

secret -- The Greek word translated as "secret" means "secret" but its primary meaning is "hidden." Jesus uses this particular word because it is the other Greek word for hidden that is the opposite of the Greek word for "truth." However, it is used as a noun, not an adjective. It is introduced with an article, "in the secret".

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

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.

reward -- (WW) The verb translated as "reward" means simply "to give back" or, in an economic sense, selling something you own, repaying a debt, discharging a duty, or restoring something taken. The idea is restoring a balance. It does not have the same root as the noun translated as "reward" in previous verses.  This word is from the root "give" 

thee -- The word for "thee" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

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

KJV Translation Issues: 

10
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "alms" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "secret" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "and" is more like "as" when comparisons between similar things are made like the two types of secret.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "Father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "which" should be "the one."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "see" is not an active verb but a participle, "seeing."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "secret" is not shown in the English translation.
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "himself" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "reward" should be "give back."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "openly" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.

NIV Analysis: 

So that -- The word translated as "so that" is one of those Greek words that introduce a new phrase that offers an explanation, so "in order that". It can be used to describe the reason or the manner in which an action is performed "in such a manner as".

your -- The "your" is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. As we saw in the previous verse, Matthew 6:3, all the forms of "you" here are singular, addressed to a single person, not the crowd.  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. 

giving -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "giving" is the Greek source for our word "eleemosynary", which in English means "charitable". However, the Greek word primarily means "pity" or "mercy." It is another form of the word used in the Beatitudes as "merciful" and "obtain mercy." It can be translated as any of our synonyms for a charitable act but "donation" or "kindness" works pretty well because in English we say that we "make donations" and "perform kindnesses", which conforms with the Greek verb used with this word in the previous two verses. In contrast, we "give alms". This noun is introduced by an article, so if refers to a specific kindness, not kindness in general.

may-- This helping verb "may" indicates that the verb indicates a possibility. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be -- The "be" is the verb "to be" but when it appears early in the sentence before the subject, as it does here, the sense is more like "it is." Here, the verb is in the subjunctive, so it is something that "should" or "could" exist in a certain state.

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can means "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

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. 

secret: -- The Greek word translated as "secret" means "secret" but its primary meaning is "hidden." Jesus uses this particular word because it is the other Greek word for hidden that is the opposite of the Greek word for "truth." However, it is used as a noun, not an adjective. It is introduced with an article, "in the secret".

Then -- (WW)  The Greek word translated as "and" can be translated as "as" in situations applying sameness, here, the hidden charity and the hidden Father.

your -- The "your " is the genitive form of the singular, second-person pronoun, which is most commonly the possessive form. As we saw in the previous verse, Matthew 6:3, all the forms of "you" here are singular, addressed to a single person, not the crowd.  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.

who -- (WW) The word translated as "which" 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. 

sees -- (WF)  The verb translated as "sees" means "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to beware", and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding  so  "watch" works better.  

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

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." When referring to time, it means "during." It can means "on," "at," or "by" in the sense of "near." 

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. 

secret -- The Greek word translated as "secret" means "secret" but its primary meaning is "hidden." Jesus uses this particular word because it is the other Greek word for hidden that is the opposite of the Greek word for "truth." However, it is used as a noun, not an adjective. It is introduced with an article, "in the secret".

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.

reward -- (WW) The verb translated as "reward" means simply "to give back" or, in an economic sense, selling something you own, repaying a debt, discharging a duty, or restoring something taken. The idea is restoring a balance. It does not have the same root as the noun translated as "reward" in previous verses.  This word is from the root "give" 

you -- The word for "you" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun.

NIV Translation Issues: 

10
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "alms" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "secret" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "giving" should be "mercy" or "kindness." It has no relationship to the Greek word "giving" as does the word later in the verse.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "Then" should be "and" or "also."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "Father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "who" should be "the one."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "sees" is not an active verb but a participle, "seeing."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "what is done" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "secret" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "reward" should be "give back."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

So the "payments" that we get for doing good works, what we are given by God, is a restoration of what we have given. The form of the verb is the simple future.

The Spoken Version: 

At our laugh, Abbiah flushed with embarrassment, pulled her hands away from the Master, and covered her cheeks..
“In that way, it might be yours, that kindness,” he continued warmly and more quietly, indicating Abbiah’s hidden face, “in the hidden. “nd that Father of yours, the one seeing into the hidden?”
He paused and indicated the woman’s heart.
“My admission to the realm of the skies!” she exclaimed eagerly, moving her hands from her face to her heart.
We chuckled a little but then quieted, waiting for his next words.
“He will repay you!” the Teacher assured her, giving her a hug and sending her back into the crowd.

evidence: 

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Front Page Date: 

May 27 2020