Matthew 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

A teaching that combines elements of the Sermon on the Mount with more advanced forms.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

In this way, it is not a desire in front of that father of mine, the one in [the] skies, that he might be destroyed, one of these little ones, these ones.

My Takeaway: 

The Divine seeks to rescue, not to lose, even the smallest thing.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

NIV : 

Matthew 18:14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The first part doesn't say "the will of your/my Father," a phrase Jesus commonly used but something unusual. more like "a desire before that father of your" or a decision in front of that father of yours." And the verb translated as "perish" here is not the same as the verb translated as "astray" in the previous two verses, but a passive  verb that means "be destroyed" or "destroy themselves" but which can also mean "lost."

Wordplay: 

The "little ones" here simultaneously refers to the sheep in the previous parable, children, and Christ's followers generally. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

οὕτως [137 verses](adj sg masc nom) "This" 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." There are two other common forms, the genitive toutou, [51 verses] and the accusative, touto, [93 verses].

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is ou ( οὒ ) 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.

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

θέλημα [16 verses](noun sg neut nom) "Will" is from the noun, thelema, which means "will" and "pleasure." -- The word translated as "will" means what someone wants or desires as well as the "will" of character. It mostly means what one wishes or has determined shall be done. It also means a desire or a choice.

ἔμπροσθεν [18 verses](adv, prep) "Of" is emprosthen, which as an adverb means [of place]"in front of," "before," "forwards," [of time] "before," "of old," and as a preposition, "facing," "opposite," "in front," [of time] beforehand," and [of degree] "preferred before." It also denotes a ranking. -

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

πατρός [191 verses](noun sg masc gen) "The Father" is from pater, which means "father," "grandfather," "author," "parent," and "forefathers."

μου ( noun sg masc gen) "Your" is from emou, which means "me," and "mine."

τοῦ (article sg masc gen) "Which" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning 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) "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."

ἵνα (adv/conj) "That" is from hina, which means "in that place," "there," "where," "when," "that," "in order that," "when," and "because."

ἀπόληται [43 verses](verb 3rd sg aor subj mid) "Should perish" is apollymi, which means "to demolish," "to lay waste," "to lose," "to perish," "to die," "to cease to exist," and "to be undone."

ἓν (noun sg neut nom) "One" is from 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)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the")

μικρῶν (adj pl masc/fem/neut gen) "Little ones" is from mikros, which means "small," "little," and "young." It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children.

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

KJV Analysis: 

Even so -- (CW) The word translated in KJV as "even so" is in its adverbial form, so it means "in this manner" or "in this way."

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

is -- 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. In fact, it really makes a negative statement of fact something like adding "really" and "in fact" in English.

the -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "the" in the Greek source. The sense here is "a desire."

will  -- The Greek word translated as "will" primarily expresses consent and even delight in doing something.  The sense here is "desire" thought it could be stretched to "decision." It is not preceded by an article so "a desire" or "a decision."

of -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "of" means "in front of" referring to place and when used to apply to time means "beforehand." This is not the "of" of possession, but a preposition of place and time. This is not the way Jesus says "my Father's will," which is something he says frequently. The sense here is that this is not something that the Father desires at all.

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

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

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 -- 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 "is" 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, -- 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.

that -- The word translated as "that" is an adverb "in that place," "there," "where," "when," or as a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "in order that" or "because."

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.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

these -- "These" is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this," "here," "the nearer," and "the familiar."

little  - "Little ones" is from an adjective which means "small," "little," and "young." Christ uses it to refer to children, but also to his followers. The sheep in the previous two verses were also symbolic of 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." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

should --  This helping verb "should" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

perish  - (WW) "Perish" is from a verb that is a very strong form of "to destroy," "to kill," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." Most importantly, this verb is in the passive, so "be destroyed," or the middle voice, "destroy themselves." These senses are destroyed by translating it as "perish."

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "even so" is the common word better translated as "in this way."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "of" should be something more like "before."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "is" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "perish" should be something more like "be destroyed."

NIV Analysis: 

In the same way -- The word translated in KJV as "in the same way" is in its adverbial form, so it means "in this manner" or "in this way."

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

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

Father -- (WF) "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. This is not the subject

missing "the one"  -- (MW) The untranslated word 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.

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

heaven, -- 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.

is -- 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. In fact, it really makes a negative statement of fact something like adding "really" and "in fact" in English.

willing -- (WF) The Greek word translated as "willing" primarily expresses consent and even delight in doing something.  The sense here is "desire" thought it could be stretched to "decision." It is not preceded by an article so "a desire" or "a decision."

missing "in front of"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  means "in front of" referring to place and when used to apply to time means "beforehand." This is not the "of" of possession, but a preposition of place and time. This is not the way Jesus says "my Father's will," which is something he says frequently. The sense here is that this is not something that the Father desires at all.

that -- The word translated as "that" is an adverb "in that place," "there," "where," "when," or as a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "in order that" or "because."

any -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "any" 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.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

these -- "These" is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this," "here," "the nearer," and "the familiar."

little  - "Little ones" is from an adjective which means "small," "little," and "young." Christ uses it to refer to children, but also to his followers. The sheep in the previous two verses were also symbolic of 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." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

should --  This helping verb "should" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

perish  - (WW) "Perish" is from a verb that is a very strong form of "to destroy," "to kill," and "to lose." It means "to destroy utterly." Most importantly, this verb is in the passive, so "be destroyed," or the middle voice, "destroy themselves." These senses are destroyed by translating it as "perish."

NIV Translation Issues: 

7
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "father" is not a subject but an object of a preposition.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the one" before "in heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "willing" is not a verb but a noun, the subject of the sentence.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "in front of" before "father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "any" should be something more like "one."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "perish" should be something more like "be destroyed."

Front Page Date: 

Mar 27 2021