Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side,

Spoken to: 

Apostles

The  explanation of the parable of the sower.

KJV : 

Mark 4:15  And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

NIV : 

Mark 4:15  Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.

Listeners Heard: 

These, however, are those beside the way where the message is sown, and when they hear straightaway the adversary shows up and he lifts away the message, the one having been sown into them. 

Lost in Translation: 

It is easy for the personalization of adversity, that is, "satan," an artifact of misleading  translation, to get in the way of understanding Jesus's ideas. The birds take the seeds on the wayside away because they get their first, but these seeds never had a chance anyway. The path gets too much traffic. The ground on the wayside is literally a path for adversity, that is, suffering. Their traffic prevents any plants from growing up there because they "instantly" get trampled down, which is said explicitly in the Matthew 13:19 version of this verse.

Jesus may use birds as a symbol for speed. In other verses, birds are positive images, not negative. Here, they are simply a rhetorical device for adversity to get to the seeds quickly. Even without this speed, these seeds were doomed to adversity anyway because they were on the pathway where something was going to come along sooner or later to destroy them.

Original Word Order: 

οὗτοι   δέ           εἰσιν οἱ      παρὰ   τὴν ὁδὸν ὅπου  σπείρεται λόγος,
These, however, are   those beside the way  where is sown    the message

καὶ  ὅταν  ἀκούσωσιν εὐθὺς            ἔρχεται        Σατανᾶς
and when they hear    straightaway shows up the adversary

καὶ  αἴρει             τὸν λόγον     τὸν        ἐσπαρμένον         εἰς αὐτούς.
and he lifts away the message, the one having been sown into them. 

WORD-BY-WORD COMPARISON OF THE GREEK TO ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS: 

οὗτοι  [83 verses](adj pl masc nom) "These" is houtos, which as an adjective means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" 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 an explanation of indirect cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). In an  "if" (εἰ ) clause or temporal "when" (ὅταν) clause the sense is "if/when... then." In a series begun by men, its means "on the other hand." In a series begun by men, its means "on the other hand."

εἰσιν [614 verses](verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Are" is eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," of circumstance and events "to happen,"  and "is possible." With the genitive object, the sense is "belongs to." With the dative, it means "have" where the subject and object are reversed.

οἱ ]294 verses](article pl masc nom) "They" is hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "it," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

παρὰ  [45 verses](prep) "With" is para, has many meanings, which depend on the case of its object and the sense of the verb.With the genitive, the sense is always motion, "from the side of," "from beside," "issuing from", and generally "from." With the dative, the sense is always static, "by the side of," "near," "in the presence of," and "before." With the accusative, its has a number of specialized meanings depending on the character of the verb, with coming/going "near," "beside," with placing "side-by-side," as a metaphor, "like" or "as a parody of, of comparison, "compared with" and many more including "along", "past", "beyond", "parallel (geometry)", "precisely at the moment of (time)," and "throughout (time)."

τὴν [821 verses](article sg fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ὁδόν, [27 verses] ( noun sg fem acc ) "Way side" is hodos, which means literally "way" or "road" but it also means "travel" and "journey."  It is interesting that a term joining a path with philosophy exists in many languages from the west to the east.

 ὅπου [32 verses] (adv/conj) "Where" is hopou, which means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

σπείρεται [31 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Is sown" is speiro, which means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. Without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

λόγος [80 verses] (noun sg masc nom) "Word" is logos, which means "word," "computation," "relation," "explanation," "law," "rule of conduct," "continuous statement," "tradition," "discussion," "reckoning," "reputation" (when applied to people), and "value."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

ὅταν [70 verses](adv/conj) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)."

ἀκούσωσιν [95 verses] (verb 3rd pl aor subj act)  "They that have heard" is akouo,  which means "hear of," "hear tell of," "what one actually hears," "know by hearsay," "listen to," "give ear to," "hear and understand," and "understand." The accusative object is the person/thing heard about, while the genitive is the person/thing heard from.  However, two genitives can be used with the sense of "hear of a thing from a person." - -- "Hear" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.   It also means "to listen" and "to understand," but amusingly, it also means "to be silent." The accusative object is the person/thing heard about, while the genitive is the person/thing heard from.  However, two genitives can be used with the sense of "hear of a thing from a person."

εὐθέως [16 verses](adv)  "Immediately" is from eutheoswhich as an adverb, it means "straight," "simple," "straightway," forthwith," "immediately," "directly," and "at once."

ἔρχεται  [198 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Cometh" is  erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out," "to come," "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

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

Σατανᾶς  [16 verses](noun sg masc nom) "Satan" is satanas, which is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary," "opponents," or "one who opposes another in purpose or act. " -- "Satan" is from an Aramaic word meaning "adversary" or "opponent." Jesus uses it to refer both to external opposition and our own desire to make mistakes.  See this article on the word and this article on this word and related terms.

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

αἴρει[56 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Take away" is airo, which means "to lift up," "to raise," "to raise up," "to exalt," "to lift and take away," and "to remove." In some forms, it is the same as apaomai, which means to "pray to," or "pray for."

τὸν [821 verses](article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. Without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

λόγον [80 verses] (noun sg masc acc) "Word" is logos, which means "word," "computation," "relation," "explanation," "law," "rule of conduct," "continuous statement," "tradition," "discussion," "reckoning," "reputation" (when applied to people), and "value."

τὸν [821 verses](article sg masc acc)  "That" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

 ἐσπαρμένον [31 verses](part sg perf mp masc acc) "That was sown" is speirô (speiro), which means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

εἰς [325 verses](prep) "Into" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)," "until (of time)," "as much as (of measure or limit)," "as far as (of measure or limit)," "towards (to express relation)," "in regard to (to express relation)," "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

αὐτοὺς [62 verses](pron pl masc acc) "Them"  is autos, in the form of the plural, object, masculine pronoun "them"

KJV Analysis: 

And  - (WW)The Greek word translated as "and" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  It can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

these -- "This" is translated from a Greek adjective that means "this," "that," "the nearer." Without a noun, it has the sense of "this one" or "that one." It is in the form of a subject.

are -- The verb "are" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.  The word also means "to exist" and where it doesn't connect to characteristics or conditions.

they -- (CW) The word translated as "they" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun, "he," "she," "it," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings. The sense is "those," which contrasts with the "these." It is not the common pronoun "they."

by -- The Greek preposition translated as "from" has many meanings, many of which depend on the case of its object. With the accusative, its has a number of specialized meanings depending on the character of the verb, with coming/going "near," "beside," with placing "side-by-side," as a metaphor, "like" or "as a parody of, of comparison, "compared with" and many more.

the  - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun.

way side, -- "Way side" is from a word meaning "way" or "road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." In Acts, followers of Jesus are described as those "belonging to the way."

where  - "Where" is the adv that means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

the  - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun.

word  -- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning," but it has many, many specific meanings from "deliberation" to "narrative."  It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. However, when applied to people, it means "repute" or "reputation." More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "logic," "concept, or "reasoning" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types, so "message" often works. "Teaching" might work but it is unrelated to the common words for "to teach," "teacher," and "student" that all have the same root. 

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

sown; -- The Greek word translated as "sown" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds. It is, however, from the same root word as the Greek word for "seeds" so "seeding" is closer to its meaning.

but  -  (WW) The Greek word translated as "but" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

when   - The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

have -- (WT) This helping verb "have" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

heard,   - The Greek word translated as "Satan" is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary", "opponents," or "one who opposes another in purpose or act." It is a noun, not a name, introduced by an article, "the adversary".  

missing "the/this"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article," the," 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

Satan  -  (UW) "Satan" is from an Aramaic word meaning "adversary" or "opponent". This is the closest Jesus comes to using it to refer to the OT "Lucifer".  See this article on the word and this article on this word and related terms

cometh -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "start," "come," or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

immediately,  - "Immediately" is  an adverb, it means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

and  - The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

taketh away "Taketh away"  is one of Christ's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up," "elevate," "to bear," "to carry off," "to take and apply to any use," "lifted" in the sense of "removed," and "to cause to cease." Jesus uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross. The verb also came to mean "remove" in the same way we describe stealing as "shoplifting."

the  - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun.

word -- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning," but it has many, many specific meanings from "deliberation" to "narrative."  It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. However, when applied to people, it means "repute" or "reputation." More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "logic," "concept, or "reasoning" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types, so "message" often works. "Teaching" might work but it is unrelated to the common words for "to teach," "teacher," and "student" that all have the same root. 

that -- (CW) The word translated as "that" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. Without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

was -- (WT) This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. The tense is the simple past but the verb is the past perfect, indicating an action completed in the past.

sown  -- The Greek word translated as "sown" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds. It is, however, from the same root word as the Greek word for "seeds" so "seeding" is closer to its meaning.

in  - The word translated as "in" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

their -- The word translated as "their" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English in the form of a plural object of a verb or preposition. As the object of a preposition, an accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement. In the source used by the KJV, it is a possessive form.

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

KJV Translation Issues: 

11
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be something more like "however."
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "they" is not the common word usually translated as "they."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "but" should be something more like "and."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, but the tense is something that happens at a specific point in time (past, present, or future).
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "satan" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW --Untranslated Word -- The word "satan" means "adversary." It is an untranslated Aramaic word adopted into English.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "that" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • WT --Wrong Tense - The English verb "was" is part present tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, a completed action, "have been."
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "hearts" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the source we use today.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "however" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  It can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

Some -- (WW) "Some " is translated from a Greek adjective that means "this," "that," "the nearer." Without a noun, it has the sense of "this one" or "that one." It is in the form of a subject.

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

are -- The verb "are" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.  The word also means "to exist" and where it doesn't connect to characteristics or conditions.

like seed -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as "it" in the Greek source.

missing "these"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "these" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun, "he," "she," "it," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings. The sense is "those," which contrasts with the "these." It is not the common pronoun "they."

along -- The Greek preposition translated as "from" has many meanings, many of which depend on the case of its object. With the accusative, its has a number of specialized meanings depending on the character of the verb, with coming/going "near," "beside," with placing "side-by-side," as a metaphor, "like" or "as a parody of, of comparison, "compared with" and many more.

the  - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun.

path,, -- "Way side" is from a word meaning "way" or "road" but which is used symbolically to mean "a way of doing things" or "a philosophy of life." In Acts, followers of Jesus are described as those "belonging to the way."

where  - "Where" is the adv that means "somewhere", "anywhere", "wherever," and "where."

the  - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun.

word  -- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning," but it has many, many specific meanings from "deliberation" to "narrative."  It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. However, when applied to people, it means "repute" or "reputation." More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "logic," "concept, or "reasoning" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types, so "message" often works. "Teaching" might work but it is unrelated to the common words for "to teach," "teacher," and "student" that all have the same root. 

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

sown; -- The Greek word translated as "sown" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds. It is, however, from the same root word as the Greek word for "seeds" so "seeding" is closer to its meaning.

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

As soon as - (CW)  The Greek word translated as "as soon as " introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

hear,   - The Greek word translated as "Satan" is an Aramaic word meaning "adversary", "opponents," or "one who opposes another in purpose or act." It is a noun, not a name, introduced by an article, "the adversary".  

it, -- This English objective pronoun is added and not in the Greek source.   In Greek, pronoun objects are not repeated after each verb because they are implied by their first occurrence.

missing "the/this"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article," the," 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

Satan  -  (UW) "Satan" is from an Aramaic word meaning "adversary" or "opponent". This is the closest Jesus comes to using it to refer to the OT "Lucifer".  See this article on the word and this article on this word and related terms

comes -- The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "start," "come," or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more.

missing "immediately"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "immediately" is  an adverb, it means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

and  - The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

takes away "Taketh away"  is one of Christ's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up," "elevate," "to bear," "to carry off," "to take and apply to any use," "lifted" in the sense of "removed," and "to cause to cease." Jesus uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross. The verb also came to mean "remove" in the same way we describe stealing as "shoplifting."

the  - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun.

word -- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning," but it has many, many specific meanings from "deliberation" to "narrative."  It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. However, when applied to people, it means "repute" or "reputation." More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "logic," "concept, or "reasoning" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types, so "message" often works. "Teaching" might work but it is unrelated to the common words for "to teach," "teacher," and "student" that all have the same root.  CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" does not capture the word's specific meaning.

that -- (CW) The word translated as "that" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. Without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

was -- (WT) This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

sown  -- The Greek word translated as "sown" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds. It is, however, from the same root word as the Greek word for "seeds" so "seeding" is closer to its meaning.

in  - The word translated as "in" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

them-- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English in the form of a plural object of a verb or preposition. As the object of a preposition, an accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement. In the source used by the KJV, it is a possessive form.

NIV Translation Issues: 

14
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "some" should be something more like "those."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "people" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The phrase "like seed" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "these" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "as soon as" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "satan" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW --Untranslated Word -- The word "satan" means "adversary." It is an untranslated Aramaic word adopted into English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "immediately" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "that" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • WT --Wrong Tense - The English verb "was" is part present tense, but Greek is in the past perfect, a completed action, "have been."

Related Verses: 

Matthew 13:19 When any one hears the word

Luke 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; 

Front Page Date: 

Mar 19 2023