Matthew 13:38 The field is the world;

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

Parables, Parable of the Weeds, Explanation ,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

The, however, field is the world order. The, however, beautiful seed? These are the are the children of the realm. The false wheat, however, are children of this worthless one.

My Takeaway: 

The world order has both people with good ideas and people with bad ones.

KJV : 

Matthew 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

NIV : 

Matthew 13:38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one,

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are a number of untranslated "buts" or "howevers" in the Greek verse that are left out of translation. Since this word indicates opposition, their existence indicates that each of these lines was spoken as part of an unrecorded dialogue where Jesus was objecting to what was said (see this article on the Unrecorded Dialogue Theory).

This explanation of the "seed" as the "children of the kingdom" expands on his earlier explanation of the Parable of the Sower where the "good seeds" were the  ones understanding and using the news of the kingdom.  If the message was not received, the seed would not have been "good" or "beautiful"  (see this article on the Parable of the Sower and Information Theory). These equating of "seeds" and "children" is less obscure in Greek than they seem in English because the Greek word "seed" is a common word used to refer to "offspring."

Wordplay: 

The word for "seed" is also translated as "offspring" in the NT and also means "source." 

The word for "tares" or "weeds" is a kind of false wheat and is a metaphor for that which appears to be one thing but is really another. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

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

δὲ (conj) 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").

ἀγρός (noun sg masc nom) "Field" is from agros (agros), which means "field," "lands," or "country.""Field" is from ἀγρὸν agros (agros), which means "field," "lands," or "country."

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act ) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible."

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

κόσμος: (noun sg masc nom) "The world" is from kosmos, which mean "order," "good order," "ruler," "world order," "universe," and "the world of men."

τὸ (article sg neut nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from the noun by the conjunction.

δὲ (conj) 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").

καλὸν (adj sg neut nom/acc/voc) "Good" is from kalos, which means "beautiful," "good," "of fine quality," "noble," and "honorable." It is most often translated as "good" juxtaposed with "evil" in the New Testament, but the two ideas are closer to "wonderful" and "worthless," "noble" and "base."

σπέρμα, (noun sg neut nom/acc/voc) “Seed” is from sperma, which means both “seed” of plants and the “sperm” of animals. It also means “origin,” “offspring,” and “descent.” Children are the offspring of seed.

οὗτοί (adj pl masc nom) Untranslated is from houtos, which means "this," "that," "the nearer."

εἰσιν (verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible."

οἱ (article pl masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from the noun by the conjunction.

υἱοὶ (noun pl masc nom) "The children" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child."

τῆς (article sg fem gen) "The" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from the noun by the conjunction.

βασιλείας: (noun sg fem gen) "Of the kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom," "dominion," "hereditary monarchy," "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

τὰ (article sg neut nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from the noun by the conjunction.

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").

ζιζάνιά (noun pl neut nom)The term translated as "tares" is zizanion, which was a weed that grows in wheat, a kind of imitation wheat, that had black kernels instead of real wheat when it mature. It comes from a Sumerian word for "wheat."

εἰσιν (verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible."

οἱ (article pl masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from the noun by the conjunction.

υἱοὶ (adj sg masc gen) "The children" is from huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child."

τοῦ(article sg masc/neutgen) "The" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun but here is separated from the noun by the conjunction.

πονηροῦ, (adj sg masc/neut gen) "Evil" is from poneros, which means "burdened by toil," "useless," and "worthless." In a moral sense, it means "worthless," "base," and "cowardly."

KJV Analysis: 

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. 

untranslated "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "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.  

field  - "The field" is from the Greek word that means "field," "lands," or "country."

is  - The word "is" is from the verb "to be," which is used to equate things or describe the characteristics of a thing in its current state of existence.

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. 

world;  - "World" is from a Greek noun that means "order" that Christ uses to mean to world of men, society and especially its power structures. More about the terms for "heaven" and "earth" in this article.

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. 

untranslated "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "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.  

good  - The word translated as "good" referring to the "fruit" means "beautiful," "noble," or "of good quality." It is different than the verb above. See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."

seed  - “Seed” is from a Greek noun for plant “seed,” animal “sperm,” and “origin,” “offspring," and “descent.” This word is singular, so it cannot be the subject of the sentence. In is interesting because it refers to both the "offspring" of something and the "source" of something, so it covers both sides of the same idea.

untranslated "these"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "these" is translated from a Greek word that means "this," "that," "the nearer." The word is plural.

are - The word "are" is from the verb "to be," which is used to equate things or describe the characteristics of a thing in its current state of existence.

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. 

children   - The word translated as "children" specifically means "sons" but more generally means "child." More about Jesus's use of this term in this article.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

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. 

kingdom;  - -- The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

but -- The word translated as "but" 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.  

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

tares  - The term translated as "tares" is from a weed that grows among wheat crops, a kind of imitation wheat, that had black kernels instead of real wheat when it mature. It comes from a Sumerian word for "wheat."

are - The word "are" is from the verb "to be," which is used to equate things or describe the characteristics of a thing in its current state of existence. 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. 

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. 

children   - The word translated as "children" specifically means "sons" but more generally means "child." More about Jesus's use of this term in this article.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

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. 

wicked  - The word translated as "wicked " means "second-rate" or "worthless." It is an adjective, treated as a noun because it is introduced by an article "the" so "the one worthless." This article explores its meaning in more detail. It is an adjective, but when used as a noun, therefore, "what is worthless."

one; -- This is from the singular form of the article preceding the adjective. The form is masculine or neuter so it cannot refer back to the "realm," which is a feminine word. It could however mean "thing" rather than personalizing evil.

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The second word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "these" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

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. 

untranslated "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "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.  

field  - "The field" is from the Greek word that means "field," "lands," or "country."

is  - The word "is" is from the verb "to be," which is used to equate things or describe the characteristics of a thing in its current state of existence.

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. 

world;  - "World" is from a Greek noun that means "order" that Christ uses to mean to world of men, society and especially its power structures. More about the terms for "heaven" and "earth" in this article.

and  -- (WW) The 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.  

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.

good  - The word translated as "good" referring to the "fruit" means "beautiful," "noble," or "of good quality." It is different than the verb above. See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."

seed  - “Seed” is from a Greek noun for plant “seed,” animal “sperm,” and “origin,” “offspring," and “descent.” This word is singular, so it cannot be the subject of the sentence. In is interesting because it refers to both the "offspring" of something and the "source" of something, so it covers both sides of the same idea.

untranslated "these"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "these" is translated from a Greek word that means "this," "that," "the nearer." The word is plural.

stands - (WW) The word "stands" is from the verb "to be," which is used to equate things or describe the characteristics of a thing in its current state of existence.

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. 

people - (WW) The word translated as "people" specifically means "sons" but more generally means "child." More about Jesus's use of this term in this article. It is not the word for "people."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

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. 

kingdom;  - -- The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

untranslated "but"  -- (MW) The untranslated word " 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.  

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

weeds - The term translated as "weeds" is from a weed that grows among wheat crops, a kind of imitation wheat, that had black kernels instead of real wheat when it mature. It comes from a Sumerian word for "wheat."

are - The word "are" is from the verb "to be," which is used to equate things or describe the characteristics of a thing in its current state of existence. 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. 

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. 

people - (WW) The word translated as "people" specifically means "sons" but more generally means "child." More about Jesus's use of this term in this article. It is not the word for "people."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

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. 

evil - The word translated as "evil" means "second-rate" or "worthless." It is an adjective, treated as a noun because it is introduced by an article "the" so "the one worthless." This article explores its meaning in more detail. It is an adjective, but when used as a noun, therefore, "what is worthless."

one; -- This is from the singular form of the article preceding the adjective. The form is masculine or neuter so it cannot refer back to the "realm," which is a feminine word. It could however mean "thing" rather than personalizing evil.

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be "but."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "these" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "stands" should be "are."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "people" should be "children."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "people" should be "children."

Front Page Date: 

Dec 24 2020