Matthew 18:10 Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones;

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

From making yourself like a child to avoiding stumbling and back to children.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Watch out! You don't want to look down on one of the little ones, these ones. Because I tell you that these messengers of theirs in skies? Through all, they see the face of my Father, the one in [the] heavens.

My Takeaway: 

Children see the Divine more clearly so we should look up to them.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:10 Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

NIV : 

Matthew 18:10 See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The first line is clearly humorous, saying, "watch out not to look down on one of these little ones." But obviously, because they are little, we have to look down on them. 

Jesus did not use the word "angels," but the Greek source of that word that means  "messengers," often in the sense of how the Divine inspires our thoughts. So the sense is that children are in closer communication with the Divine. 

The words translated as "do always," or "always" doesn't mean that. The phrase is "though all" in the sense of through all the illusions of the world" they see God's face. 

Wordplay: 

The first phrase is a joke in the form of a non sequitur: don't look down on the small. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ὁρᾶτε [20 verses](verb 2nd pl pres imperat act) "Take heed" is from horao, which means "to see with the eyes," "to look," "to observe," "see," "aim," "have sight," "behold," "keep in sight," and as a metaphor of mental sight, "discern," and "perceive."

μὴ (partic)"Not" is from me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

καταφρονήσητε [3 verses](verb 2nd pl aor subj act) "Despise" is from kataphroneô, which means "look down upon," "think slightly of," "to be disdainful," "deal contemptuously," "think contemptuously that," and "to despise."

ἑνὸς [85 verses](noun sg masc gen) "One" is heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

τῶν (article pl masc/fem/neut gen)  "Ones" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which without a noun, has the sense of "the one" or "the ones."

μικρῶν [13 verses](adj pl masc/fem/neut gen) "Little" is mikros, which means "small," "little," "unimportant," "petty," "trivial," "slight," and "young."It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children.

τούτων, [51 verses](adj pl masc gen) "These" is from toutou, which is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this," "here," "the nearer," and "the familiar."

λέγω [264 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind/subj act)"I tell" is from lego, which means "to recount," "to tell over," "to say," "to speak," "to teach," "to mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself," "pick up," "gather," "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelt the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

γὰρ (conj) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for," "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that," "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore." -

οἱ (article pl masc nom)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ἄγγελοι (noun pl masc nom) "Angels" is from aggelos, which means "messenger" and "envoys" though it became to mean "semi-divine beings" in later use.

αὐτῶν (adj pl Masc/fem/neut gen) "Their" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself," "yourself," "himself," "herself," "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him," "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

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."

οὐρανοῖς [111 verses](noun pl masc dat) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky," "heaven as the seat of the gods," "the sky," "the universe," and "the climate."

διὰ (prep) "Do" is from dia which means "through," "in the midst of," "in a line (movement)," "throughout (time)," "by (causal)," "among," and "between." -- The word translated as "through" means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)."

παντὸς "[212 verses](adj sg neut gen) "Always" is from pas, which means "all," "the whole," "every," "anyone," "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way," "on every side," "in every way," and "altogether."

βλέπουσι [46 verses](verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Behold" is from of blepo, which means "to look," "to see," "to look to," "to look like," "to rely on," "to look longingly," "to propose," "to beware," "to behold," and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding.

τὸ (article sg neut acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πρόσωπον (noun sg neut acc) "Face" is from prosopon, which means "face," "countenance." "in front," "facing," "front," "façade," "one's look," "dramatic part," "character," "in person," "in bodily presence," "legal personality," "person," and "feature [of the city, of a person]."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

πατρός (noun sg masc gen) "Father" is from pater, which means "father," "grandfather," "author," "parent," and "forefathers."

μου (noun sg masc gen) "My" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen) "Which" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which without a noun, has the sense of "the one."

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." -- The word translated as "in" also means "within," "with," or "among."

οὐρανοῖς. [111 verses](noun pl masc dat) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky," "heaven as the seat of the gods," "the sky," "the universe," and "the climate." -- The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods.

KJV Analysis: 

Take heed  - "Take heed" is from a verb that means "to see with the eyes," "to look," "to observe," and "see." It is a metaphor of mental sight, "discern," and "perceive." Used here like we use the phrase "watch out."

that -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "that" in the Greek source. It is inserted to make two sentences into one.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

despise  - (CW) "Despise" is from a verb that means "look down upon." Its prefix is the Greek prefix for "downward" and its base is the verb for knowing or understanding.

not -- (CW) The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.   With the verb "to be," the sense is "doesn't seem." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. This is the negative used with commands or requests.

one -- The Greek word translated as "one " means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. 

these -  -- "These" is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this," "here," "the nearer," and "the familiar." It follows the "little" so the sense is "these ones."

little  - "Little " is from an adjective, used as a noun, which means "small," "little," and "young." Christ uses this term to refer to children but also to his followers.

ones; -- The word translated as "ones" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

for  - The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

say -- The word translated as "I say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach." The form Jesus uses to describe his own speaking can be either indicative, "I say/tell" or subjunctive, "I should/could say/tell." 

unto -- This word "to" comes from the dative casThe form Jesus uses to describe his own speaking can be either indicative, "I say/tell" or subjunctive, "I should/could say/tell."  e of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object.

you, -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. 

That -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

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

heaven -- (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article. The word is plural.

their  - The "their" here is the possessive plural pronoun, in a form that can only refer to "the small ones" of the previous section. It follows "angels" so "of theirs."

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

angels  -(UW)  "Angels" is from a noun meaning "messenger" and "envoys" though it became to mean "semi-divine beings" in later use from its use in the NT. It is the noun form of the verb meaning "bearing messages," "announce," and "report."

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

missing "through"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "through" means "through," "in the midst of," or "by (a cause)." It indicates movement through a place or time, but it also means "by" the sense of "by means of" a given method.

always -- (WW) The word translated as "always" is the Greek adjective meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way," "on every side," and "altogether."

behold -- (CW) The verb translated as "behold" means "to see," "to look to," "to look like," "to beware," and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding so  "watch" works better.  "Look" does not work as well because it doesn't take a direct object and this word does. This is not the word usually translated as "behold."

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. 

face -- The Greek word translated as "faces" primarily means "face" but it also has many other more general meanings. When referring to actors, it specifically means the "dramatic part" and "character."

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.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."  

Father - "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers." It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father. 

which -- (CW) The word translated as "which" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

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

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

heaven -- (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article. The word is plural.

KJV Translation Issues: 

13
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "despise" really means "look down on."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is the subjective negative of opinion with the sense of "not wanting," "not thinking" or not seeming when used with a non-opinion verb.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "angels" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "angels" means "messengers." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "do" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "through" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "always" should be something more like "all."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "behold" is not the word usually translated as "behold."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "which" is not the word usually translated as "which."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."

NIV Analysis: 

See  - "See" is from a verb that means "to see with the eyes," "to look," "to observe," and "see." It is a metaphor of mental sight, "discern," and "perceive." Used here like we use the phrase "watch out."

that -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "that" in the Greek source. It is inserted to make two sentences into one.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

do -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement.

not -- (CW) The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is that "you don't want" or "think" something, not that it isn't done or thought.   With the verb "to be," the sense is "doesn't seem." When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. When it precedes other words, its force is limited to those words. This is the negative used with commands or requests.

despise  - (CW) "Despise" is from a verb that means "look down upon." Its prefix is the Greek prefix for "downward" and its base is the verb for knowing or understanding.

one -- The Greek word translated as "one " means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. 

these -  -- "These" is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this," "here," "the nearer," and "the familiar." It follows the "little" so the sense is "these ones."

little  - "Little " is from an adjective, used as a noun, which means "small," "little," and "young." Christ uses this term to refer to children but also to his followers.

ones; -- The word translated as "ones" is the Greek definite article, which when not preceding a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

For - The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

tell - The word translated as "I say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach." The form Jesus uses to describe his own speaking can be either indicative, "I say/tell" or subjunctive, "I should/could say/tell." 

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

that -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause, "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

their  - The "their" here is the possessive plural pronoun, in a form that can only refer to "the small ones" of the previous section. It follows "angels" so "of theirs."

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

angels  -(UW)  "Angels" is from a noun meaning "messenger" and "envoys" though it became to mean "semi-divine beings" in later use from its use in the NT. It is the noun form of the verb meaning "bearing messages," "announce," and "report."

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

heaven -- (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article. The word is plural.

missing "through"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "through" means "through," "in the midst of," or "by (a cause)." It indicates movement through a place or time, but it also means "by" the sense of "by means of" a given method.

always -- (WW) The word translated as "always" is the Greek adjective meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way," "on every side," and "altogether."

behold -- (CW) The verb translated as "behold" means "to see," "to look to," "to look like," "to beware," and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding so  "watch" works better.  "Look" does not work as well because it doesn't take a direct object and this word does. This is not the word usually translated as "behold."

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. 

face -- The Greek word translated as "faces" primarily means "face" but it also has many other more general meanings. When referring to actors, it specifically means the "dramatic part" and "character."

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.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."  

Father - "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers." It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father. 

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

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

heaven -- (WN) The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article. The word is plural.

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "despise" really means "look down on."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "not" is the subjective negative of opinion with the sense of "not wanting," "not thinking" or not seeming when used with a non-opinion verb.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "angels" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "angels" means "messengers." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "through" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "always" should be something more like "all."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "behold" is not the word usually translated as "behold."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the one" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."

Front Page Date: 

Mar 23 2021