Matthew 21:29  He answered and said, I will not:

KJV Verse: 

Mat 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

But the one separated out said"I, master?" And he didn't in fact go away.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Current Greek sources reverse the two sons statements from what the KJV translators. The KJV has the first son saying he won't go and going, and the second son saying no and then going. However, current sources kind of reverse that, but in an entertaining way.

The Greek word translated usually as "but" appears here but is not translated. It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

"Answered" is from a verb that means to "set apart," "choose", "answer" a question, "answer charges," and "defend oneself." In the passive, it means "to be parted or separated." Here, it is used as a noun and in the passive so "the one separated out." We saw the first use of this verb in Mat 20:13, where it was used in exactly the same form.

"Said" is from a verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it has less a sense of teaching and more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

(Section below relates to Mat 21:30 since the verses are reversed in the KJV.)

The son's response is simple, "I, master?" Just thefirst-person pronoun and the word for "lord" or master." There is no "I go" as shown in translation of Mat 21:30.

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

"Went" is from a verb that means "to go away," and "to depart from."

Greek Vocabulary: 

(article sg masc nom) "He" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from its noun by the following conjunction.

δὲ "Untranslated" is de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). --

ἀποκριθεὶς (part sg aor pass masc nom) "Answered" is from apokrinomai that means to "set apart," "choose", "exclude," "reject on examination", "decide", "answer" the question, "answer charges," and "defend oneself" and, in the passive, "to be parted or separated." In the Gospels, it is always translated as "answered."

εἶπεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind) "Said" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

Ἐγώ, (pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and for myself. -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

κύριε: (noun sg masc/fem voc) "Lord" is from kyrios (kurios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

καὶ "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."

οὐκ "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.

ἀπῆλθεν. (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Went" is from aperchomai, which means "to go away," "to depart from", "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life."

The Spoken Version: 

But the one picked out said, "Me, sir?"
And he didn't go away.

Related Verses: