Matthew 9:12 Those who are whole do not need

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 9:12 They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

No need have those who are strong of a healer, but the illnesses those are having. [those having the illnesses]

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is actually a play on words. It contrasts the powerful and weak. It uses a term that is often translated as a moral condemnation. More about the word used for "the sick" in this article.

The Greek word translated as "They that be" means "to possess" or "to keep." It is almost always translated as "to have." This is not the common word used for "to be."

The word translated as "whole" is a verb that means "to be strong", "to be able," or "to have power." It is in the form of an adjective, "being strong" but it is used as a noun, used as the sentence's subject.

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

The word translated as "physician" generally means "he who heals." It is in the form of a possessive, "of a healer."

The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition based on the word "other" like we used "otherwise". It is not the most common word Christ uses that is translated as "but" a "gentler" form of opposition. The sense is "on the other hand".

The word translated as "They that are" means "to possess" or "to keep." It is almost always translated as "to have." This is not the common word used for "to be." It is in the form of an adjective, "having" used as a noun, "those having."

The word translated as "sick" is an adjective which means many different forms of "bad," including "ugly", "low born", "craven," and "ill." In the NT, it is often translated as "evil." More about it in this article. It is used here as a noun. It is plural and the object of the prior verb.

This is one of the few cases where Greek word order does not work, even when spoken. The last phrase comes out as "the illnesses those having" when the sense in English is "those having the illnesses.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

χρείαν (noun sg fem acc) "Need" is from chreia, which means "need", "want", "poverty", "a request of a necessity", "business", "military service", "a business affair", "employment", "familiarity", "intimacy," and "maxim."

ἔχουσιν (3rd pl pres ind act) "They that be" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

οἱ ἰσχύοντες (part pl pres act masc nom) "Whole" is from ischyo which means "to be strong", "to be powerful", "to prevail", "to be worth," and "to be equivalent to."

ἰατροῦ (noun sg masc gen) "Physician" is from iatros, which means "one who heals", "medic", "surgeon," or "midwife."

ἀλλὰ (adv) "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay."

οἱ κακῶς (adj pl masc acc) "Sick" is from kakos, which means "bad", "mean", "base", "ugly", "ill-born", "evil", "worthless", "sorry", "pernicious," and "ill."

ἔχοντες. (part pl pres act masc nom) "They that are" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

Wordplay: 

 The word translated as "sick" is commonly translated in the NT as "evil." 

Related Verses: 

May 6 2017