Matthew 13:21 Yet he has no root...

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Parables, Sower, Explanation

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

He does not have, however, root within himself so it is temporary. But coming into pressure or harassment because of the message, immediately he trips himself up.

KJV : 

Matthew 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Here, the original Greek is actually closer to the way we say things in English today than the KJV translation. The NIV tried for a more natural statement but only by sacrificing a large number of words and word forms. Both translations make it sound like it is the person that doesn't last, but in the Greek the sense is that 

The punchline is the word that means "tripped up," which is an Aramaic word that Jesus often uses. It is translated as "offended/falls away." The form can mean either that "trips himself up" or "is tripped up." Because it is about himself, the "trips himself up" seems more obvious.

NIV : 

Matthew 13:21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Wordplay: 

Instead of stumbling over roots, we stumble without roots. 

My Takeaway: 

To "get it" a message has to connect with something deep within us.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

οὐκ (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.

ἔχει (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Hath" 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."

δὲ (conj)  "But" is from 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"). --

ῥίζαν [5 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Root" is rhiza, which means "root" and anything that springs from a root. It includes the roots of hairs, feathers, and teeth. It is also a metaphor for roots as a foundation, such as "the roots of the earth."

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".

ἑαυτῷ (adj sg masc dat) "Himself" is from heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself", "itself ""themselves," and "ourselves." It is an alternative more reflexive to autos.

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

πρόσκαιρός [2 verses](adj sg masc nom) "For awhile" is proskairos, which means "occasional", "temporary", "opportune," and "lasting for a time."

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Dureth" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

γενομένης (part sg aor mid fem gen) "Ariseth" is from ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", "to happen", "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state. I

δὲ (partic) "For" is from 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").

θλίψεως [9 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Tribulation" is thlipsis, which means simply "pressure," or "crushing," and is a metaphore for "oppression" and "affliction."

 (conj) "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." --

διωγμοῦ [3 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Persecution" is diôgmos, which means "the chase", "pursuit," and "harassment." Related to the much more common dioko.

διὰ (prep) "Because" is from dia which means "through", "in the midst of", "in a line (movement)", "throughout (time)", "by (causal)", "among," and "between."

τὸν (article sg neut dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

λόγον (noun sg masc acc) "Of the word" is from logos, which means "word", "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition", "discussion," "reckoning," and "value."

εὐθὺς (adv) "By and by" is from euthys, which means "straight", "direct," and "straight forward."

σκανδαλίζεται. (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "He is offended" is from skandalizo, which means "to cause to stumble", "to give offense," and "to scandalize."

KJV Analysis: 

Yet  - The Greek word translated as "yet" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. It is not commonly translated as "yet."

hath  - The word translated as "hath he" means "to possess" or "to keep" but it isn't used in the same way as a "helper" verb that the English "have" is.

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

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

root  - "Root" is from the Greek word for a plant's "root" and anything that springs from a root. It includes the roots of hairs, feathers, and teeth. It is also a metaphor for roots as a foundation, such as "the roots of the earth."

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within", "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

himself, -- "Himself" is a special reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself," and so on.

but - This second "but" is from a different Greek conjunction which also means "but," but also means "moreover", "still", "at least", "except," and, interestingly, "yet." It denotes an exception or a simple opposition.

dureth  - (CW) The verb translated here as "dureth" (or "endures") is the common form of "to be" in Greek, It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

for a while:  - "For awhile" is from an adjective that means "occasional", "temporary", "opportune," and "lasting for a time." It is in a form the refers to a masculine subject.

for  - (CW) The Greek word translated as "for" joins phrases in an adversarial way and it usually translated as "but." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  We saw it above translated as "yet." In this case, it's meaning of "so" works best.

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

tribulation  - "Tribulation" is from a noun that means simply "pressure," or "crushing;" It is a metaphor for "oppression" and "affliction." This is a common word in the Septuagint for "distress," but it appears in Greek literature more as a scientific term than a social description.

or  - -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

persecution  - "Persecution" is from a noun which means "the chase", "pursuit," and "harassment."

ariseth  - (WW)  "Ariseth" is from a verb in the form of an adjective (or noun), which means "to become," and "to come into existence, so "becoming" or "coming into being." For event, it means "take place" or "happens." When the participle takes a predicate, the sense is "coming into" something.

because of -   The word translated as "because of" means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)." It is not one of the two common Greek words translated as "because" but the causal sense of "by" is close to our sense of "because of."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

word,-- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "explanation" or "calculation." 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, but its meaning is closer to "idea" or "message" as Jesus uses it.

by and by  - "By and by" is from an adverb which means "straightly", "directly", "forthwith", "as soon as," and "straightway." In the last verse, Matthew 13:20, it was translated in the KJV as "anon."

he -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

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

offended.  -The key word here, "offended," is from a  verb that means "to cause to stumble", "to give offense," and "to scandalize" and is found only in the Bible. It refers to putting a stumbling block before someone so that they trip and thereby offending them. In English, we would simply say, "trips you up." It is in a form the is either the passive voice or the middle voice, indicating the subject doing something to himself.

  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "dureth" is usually translated as "is."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "for" is usually translated as "but" or "however."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "when" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "ariseth" should be "takes place" or "happens."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "for" is means "message" or "idea."

NIV Analysis: 

But - The Greek word translated as "But" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

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

have -- (WN) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb. It is not plural.

hath  - The word translated as "hath he" means "to possess" or "to keep" but it isn't used in the same way as a "helper" verb that the English "have" is.

no  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Here, it negates the verb not the word "root."

root  - "Root" is from the Greek word for a plant's "root" and anything that springs from a root. It includes the roots of hairs, feathers, and teeth. It is also a metaphor for roots as a foundation, such as "the roots of the earth."

untranslated "in"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means "in," "within", "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

untranslated "himself"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "himself" is a special reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself," and so on.

untranslated "but"  -- (MW) The untranslated word second "but" is from a different Greek conjunction which also means "but," but also means "moreover", "still", "at least", "except," and, interestingly, "yet." It denotes an exception or a simple opposition.

they -- (WN) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

last - (CW) The verb translated here as "last" is the common form of "to be" in Greek, It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

only a short time. - "Only a short time" is from an adjective that means "occasional", "temporary", "opportune," and "lasting for a time." It is in a form the refers to a masculine subject.

untranslated "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word s "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way and it usually translated as "but." Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  We saw it above translated as "yet." In this case, it's meaning of "so" works best.

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

trouble - "Trouble " is from a noun that means simply "pressure," or "crushing;" It is a metaphor for "oppression" and "affliction." This is a common word in the Septuagint for "distress," but it appears in Greek literature more as a scientific term than a social description.

or  - -- "Or" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

persecution  - "Persecution" is from a noun which means "the chase", "pursuit," and "harassment."

comes - (WF)  "Comes" is from a verb in the form of an adjective (or noun), which means "to become," and "to come into existence, so "becoming" or "coming into being." For event, it means "take place" or "happens." When the participle takes a predicate, the sense is "coming into" something.

because of -   The word translated as "because of" means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)." It is not one of the two common Greek words translated as "because" but the causal sense of "by" is close to our sense of "because of."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

word,-- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "explanation" or "calculation." 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, but its meaning is closer to "idea" or "message" as Jesus uses it.

they -- (WN) This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

quickly  - "Quickly" is from an adverb which means "straightly", "directly", "forthwith", "as soon as," and "straightway." In the last verse, Matthew 13:20, it was translated in the KJV as "anon."

fall away.   - (WW, WF) The key word here, "fall away," is from a  verb that means "to cause to stumble", "to give offense," and "to scandalize" and is found only in the Bible. It refers to putting a stumbling block before someone so that they trip and thereby offending them. In English, we would simply say, "trips you up." It is in a form the is either the passive voice or the middle voice, indicating the subject doing something to himself.

NIV Translation Issues: 

14
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "since" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "have" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "in " is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "himself" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "they" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "last" is usually translated as "is."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "when" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -- The word translated as "comes" should be "coming into."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "for" is means "message" or "idea."
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "they" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "fall away" should be "trip up."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "falls away" is not an active verb but a passive one, "is tripped up."

The Spoken Version: 

“He does not have, however, root within himself,” the Master continued, touching his chest,“So it is temporary.”
“It must connect within him for him to really get it,” someone suggested
“But what happens to that message,” someone else asked. “Doesn’t be still remember it?”
“Encountering, however, pressure or harassment because of the message,” the Mast continued, gesturing toward the Distingguished, “he immediately trips himself up.”
The Master pretended to trip, as he often did in his teaching sessions.

The crowd laughed.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 10 2020