Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And, at that time, I will say the same thing to them, "Since I never ever recognized you, you are far distant apart from me, you self-employed workers of lawlessness.

KJV : 

Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is the punch line to a setup in the previous verse. It uses some uncommon words for Christ to express some common ideas. The effect is humorous. For more about Christ technique of humor, refer to this article.) However, the KJV translates it in a way makes the reader think that others more common words were used.

In the previous verse, Mat 7:22, Christ mimics people claiming to do things in his name. In this verse, he starts by saying that he is going to tell them all the same thing.


The punch line of a joke and an elegant insult. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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."

τότε (adv) "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

ὁμολογήσω [uncommon](1st sg fut ind act) "Will I profess" is from homologeo, which means "to agree with," "to say the same thing as", "to correspond," "to have to do with", "to be coordinated", "to be suitable for", "to agree to a thing," :"to grant", "to concede", "to acknowledge,"to promise to", "to come to terms", "not to deny," and "to praise." Literally, it means "to say the same."

αὐτοῖς (adj pl masc dat) "Unto Them" 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."

ὅτι (adv/conj) Untranslated is 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."

Οὐδέποτε (adv) "Never" is from oudepote, which means "and not ever", "but not when", "nor ever", "not even ever," and "never."

ἔγνων (1st sg aor ind act) "I...knew," is from ginosko which means "to learn to know", "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive." It also means "to recognize", "discern", or "distinguish".

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

ἀποχωρεῖτε [uncommon](2nd pl pres ind act) "Depart" is from apochoreo, which means to "go from" "go away from", "depart," "withdraw from", "give up possession of", "dissent from opinions", "turn out [people]", "to be successful", "to have recourse," and "to be distant [of places]." It also means "to excrete" when referring to bodily excretions. It is from two words, the preposition meaning "from" (the word below) and the root is choreo, (χωρεῖ) which means "to leave room for another", "to make way", "to withdraw", "to go forward", "to make progress", "to advance", "to proceed," [of money] "to be spent", "to have room for", "to hold", "to contain," and "to be capable of."

ἀπ᾽(prep) "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" "apart from", or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause. The root word is an adjective meaning "distant".

ἐμοῦ (pron 1st sg masc gen) "Me" is from emou, which means "me", and "mine".

οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι [uncommon](part pl pres mp masc nom/voc) "Ye that work" is from ergazomai, which means to "work at", "make", "do", "perform", "work [a material]", "earn by working," "work at a trade or business", " traffic," and "trade."

τὴν ἀνομίαν.” (noun sg fem acc/gen) "Inequity" is from anomia, which means "lawless", "lawless conduct," and "the negation of law."

KJV Analysis: 

The term translated as "profess" actually means "to say the same". This is a complicated and uncommon word used where Christ would normally use one of the two common words for "say" and "tell".

The word translated as "unto them" is the Greek word commonly translated as 3rd person pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same," and when used as a pronoun can mean "their true selves" as opposed to appearances. It is in the form of an indirect object, its use here.

An untranslated word here that means "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since, " and "wherefore." The "since" seems to work best here, making the following phase an explanation.

"Never" is from a Greek word that combine an extreme negative particle with the word that means "when." The Greek negative is an adverb that means "not at all" or "no even".  The second part means "when", "at what time", "at some time or other", "at some unknown time, and "at some time in the future."

The Greek word translated as "knew" means "to know" but Christ uses it more specifically to mean "come to know" but it also has the sense of "to recognize" someone. This is a specific response to the idea that these people were acting in his name. In Greek, the name is not just what people are called. It is also their authority. The sense is the same in English when we say that someone is "acting in someone's name". You cannot claim that you act in someone's name when they don't know you. This is a common word.

The next statement "depart" is not a command as it appears in the KJV. And it is not the usual word Christ uses to tell people to "depart." The Greek word means "to go away from" "to go forward", "to make progress", and "to advance". The prefix means "from" and it is repeated with the preposition below. The root word means 1) having the capacity for something, 2) making progress, and 3) making way or room for someone or something else. In English, we have no similar combination of ideas in one word. We have to go to the context, which is the fact that these people do not represent Christ even though they are acting in his name. The sense seems to be, "you have gone away from me".

The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source but it means "apart from" and its root word is an adjective meaning "distant".

The "ye that work" is a verb form that is very complicated, so it is explained in stages here. The word means "to labor", "to trade", "to do business", "to earn by working," and "to acquire". It is in the form of an adjective, so "laboring", "trading", and an "earning a living". This adjective is used as a plural noun, "the ones trading" or "the ones earning a living". That noun is in a form that is used to address people, so "you the ones trading" or "you the ones earning a living". It also in a form where the subject acts on or for themselves so we get "you the ones earning a living for yourselves" or "you the ones working for yourselves".

The word translated as "iniquity" means "lawlessness" or "immorality". It literally means "the condition of being without law.' It also means being in contempt or violation of the law, that idea of lawlessness. It is the negation of the word meaning "lawfulness" and "conforming with the norms". This root word is the source of our word "norm" and "normal". However, in Christ's culture, the "law" was not the rules made by kings and governors but the standards of traditional social morality. So this word has a sense of "immorality". Its form could either be the object of "working", so "working immorality for yourselves" or the possessive form, "those working for yourselves by immorality".

The Spoken Version: 

“And, at that time, I am going to say the same thing to them.” Then he announced grimly, “‘Since I never ever recognized you, you all are cut off from me, you self-employed workers—of immorality.’”



Front Page Date: 

Apr 15 2017