Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

What is bound and untied on heaven and earth

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Again, honestly, I tell you that when two agree, from you all, on this earth about every fact for that reason when they ask for themselves, it might happen for them issuing from that Father of mine, the one in [the] skies.

My Takeaway: 

People can never agree on every fact.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

NIV : 

Matthew 18:19 Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

What is Lost in Translation: 

Jesus starts this verse by saying he teaches a contrary truth and the KJV may miss the point. Much of this verse is actually a joke about human nature and our inability to agree on anything and the fact that the Father can change our opinions. The mistakes regarding the translation of "any thing," which means "every fact," here is repeated in most Bibles.

Wordplay: 

This verse is a joke saying how unlikely it is that two people can agree on everything and that, even if we do, that opinion will change for us when we hear from the Father. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Πάλιν [23 verses](adv)"Again" is palin, which means "back," "backward," "contrariwise (to express a contradiction)," "again," "once more," and "in turn."

[ἀμὴν] [88 verses](exclaim) "Verily" is amen, which is the Hebrew, meaning "truly," "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek of this meaning before the NT. However, this is also the infinitive form of the Greek verb amao, which means "to reap" or "to cut." -- The word translated as "verily" is the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap."

λέγω [264 verses](1st sg pres ind act) "I say" is 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 spelled the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

ὑμῖν, (pron 2nd pl dat) "To you" is humin the 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."

ἐὰν (conj) "If" is from ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

δύο. [36 verses](numeral) "Two" is from duo, which means the number "two," "a couple," and "a pair." -- The Greek word for "two" means "two" or a "couple."

συμφωνήσωσιν (verb 3rd pl aor subj act) "Shall agree" is symphoneo, which means "sound together," "be in harmony," "make an agreement," "conspire," and "expess the same opinions."

ἐξ (prep) "From" is from ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of," "from," "by," "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond," "outside of," "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after," "from;" 4) [of rest] "on," "in," 5) [of time] "since," "from," "at," "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of," "made from."

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "You" is from humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἐπὶ (prep) "Against" is from epi. which means "on," "upon," "at," "by," "before," "across," and "against." -- The word translated as "unto" means "against," "before," "by" or "on."

τῆς(article sg fem gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

γῆς [59 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth," "land (country)," "arable land," "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

περὶ (prep) "As touching" is from peri, which means "round about (Place)," "around," "about," "concerning," "on account of," "in regard to," "before," "above," "beyond," and "all around."

παντὸς [212 verses](adj sg neut gen) "any" 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."

πράγματος [1 verse] (noun sg neut gen) "Thing" is pragma, which means "deed," "act," "concrete reality," "thing of importance," and "matter at hand."

οὗ (partic) (pron sg neut gen) "That" is from hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐὰν (conj) "If" is from ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

αἰτήσωνται, (verb 3rd pl aor subj mid) "They shall ask" is aiteo, which means "to ask," "to demand," "to beg," "to claim," and "to ask for one's own use."

γενήσεται [117 verses](verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall be done" is ginomai, which means "to become," "to come into being," and "to be produced." 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.

αὐτοῖς (adj pl masc dat) "For them" 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.

παρὰ (prep) "Of" is from para, which means "beside," "from the side of," "from beside,," "from," "issuing from," "near," "by," "with," "along," "past," "beyond," "parallel (geometry)," "like (metaphor)," "a parody of (metaphor)," "precisely at the moment of (time)," and "throughout (time)."

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

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

μου (pron 1st sg masc gen)"You" 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."

οὐρανοῖς. (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."

KJV Analysis: 

Again "Again" is from a word that means "back," "backward," "contrarily," "again," and "once more." Given Christ's methods of turning ideas around, he probably uses it to express contradiction.

The word translated as "verily" is here only in some sources we used today. It is  from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

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

say -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case 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."

if -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "if " indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone so it is more like our "when."

two -- The "twain" is the numeral, "two," which, like numbers in English, plays a lot of roles. Often, it acts as an adjective, but without a noun to modify, so it takes on the role of a noun.

of -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a proposition for the types of phrases usually use "of."

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

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" 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.

agree -- "Agree" is from a verb, which means "be in harmony," "make an agreement," and "express the same opinions."

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

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. 

earth  - "Earth" is from the noun which means "earth" (as the opposite of "heaven"), "land," "country," and "ground." It is used to refer to earthly matters and in a symbol for relationships. The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Jesus describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

as touching  - "As touching" is from a preposition which means "about."

any  - (WW) The word translated as "any" doesn't mean "any." It means "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. Changing it to "any" completely changes what Christ is saying here. The whole point is how difficult it is to agree on everything.

thing  - (WW) "Thing" is from a noun that does not mean "thing," except in a special way. It means primarily "deed," "act," "concrete reality," "thing of importance," and "matter at hand." It is not the neuter adjective that is usually translated as a thing. The noun refers to some objective reality not to general ideas or opinions. The Greek word is our source of the word "pragmatic" as the opposite of "idealistic." Changing it to "thing" misses the whole point here.

that -- (WF) The word translated as "that" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause. This word is in the genitive, which can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. The sense is "for which" here.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

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

shall -- (CW) This helping verb "shall" 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.

ask,  - The "ask" used here is from a verb that means "ask" but has shades of meaning from "demand" to "claim." It also is not in the future tense. It is the probable form required by the preceding "when."

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

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

be -- (WV) This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive, but it isn't. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. It is the middle voice, meaning that verb acts on/for/by itself.

done  - (WW) "Done" is not from the verb usually translated as "to do" in the Bible. It means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is in the future tense and in a form that refers to something acting on itself. The sense is like our "happens."

for -- This word "for" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

them -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

of  -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" has many meanings, many of which depend on the case of its object. With the genitive, as used here, the sense is motion, "from the side of," "from beside," and generally "from."

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

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. 

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 from the Greek article, "the," (masculine, possessive form) which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

is -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "it" 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.

KJV Translation Issues: 

16
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "if" has more of a probability of "if" alone, more like our "when."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" is the common word usually translated as "from" or "out of."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "earth" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "any" should be something more like "every" or "all."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "thing" should be something more like "deed" or "fact."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "that" is the genitive so "for that."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object not the helping verb be" of the passive.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "done" should be something more like "happens" or "becomes."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" is the common word usually translated as "from" or "out of."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "which" is not the common 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: 

Again "Again" is from a word that means "back," "backward," "contrarily," "again," and "once more." Given Christ's methods of turning ideas around, he probably uses it to express contradiction.

Truly -- The word translated as "truly " is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

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

tell -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

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."

if -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "if " indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone so it is more like our "when."

two -- The "twain" is the numeral, "two," which, like numbers in English, plays a lot of roles. Often, it acts as an adjective, but without a noun to modify, so it takes on the role of a noun.

of -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a proposition for the types of phrases usually use "of."

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

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

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. 

earth  - "Earth" is from the noun which means "earth" (as the opposite of "heaven"), "land," "country," and "ground." It is used to refer to earthly matters and in a symbol for relationships. The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Jesus describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

agree -- "Agree" is from a verb, which means "be in harmony," "make an agreement," and "express the same opinions."

about   - "About" is from a preposition that means "about."

any-  - (WW) The word translated as "any" doesn't mean "any." It means "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas. Changing it to "any" completely changes what Christ is saying here. The whole point is how difficult it is to agree on everything.

-thing  - (WW) "Thing" is from a noun that does not mean "thing," except in a special way. It means primarily "deed," "act," "concrete reality," "thing of importance," and "matter at hand." It is not the neuter adjective that is usually translated as a thing. The noun refers to some objective reality not to general ideas or opinions. The Greek word is our source of the word "pragmatic" as the opposite of "idealistic." Changing it to "thing" misses the whole point here.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

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

ask,  - The "ask" used here is from a verb that means "ask" but has shades of meaning from "demand" to "claim." It also is not in the future tense. It is the probable form required by the preceding "when."

for  -- (MW) The untranslated word "for" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause. This word is in the genitive, which can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs.

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

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

be -- (WV) This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive, but it isn't. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English. It is the middle voice, meaning that verb acts on/for/by itself.

done  - (WW) "Done" is not from the verb usually translated as "to do" in the Bible. It means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is in the future tense and in a form that refers to something acting on itself. The sense is like our "happens."

for -- This word "for" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

them -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.

by -- (CW) The Greek preposition translated as "of" has many meanings, many of which depend on the case of its object. With the genitive, as used here, the sense is motion, "from the side of," "from beside," and generally "from."

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

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. 

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 one"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "the one" is from the Greek article, "the," (masculine, possessive form) which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."

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.

NIV Translation Issues: 

14
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "if" has more of a probability of "if" alone, more like our "when."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "of" is the common word usually translated as "from" or "out of."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "earth" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "any" should be something more like "every" or "all."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "thing" should be something more like "deed" or "fact."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "which" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object not the helping verb be" of the passive.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "done" should be something more like "happens" or "becomes."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "by" is the common word usually translated as "from" or "out of."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "father" is not shown in the English translation.
  • 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: 

Apr 1 2021