Matthew 18:31 So when his fellow servants

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

In teaching about forgiving mistakes, Jesus offer a parable about forgiving and failing to forgive debts.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Seeing, then, these fellow slaves of his, these things happening, they were upset, extremely. And showing up, they detailed to that master of their own all these happenings.

My Takeaway: 

The natural tendency of people is to seek a balance

KJV : 

Matthew 18:31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

NIV : 

Matthew 18:31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The verses is constructed of series of seven clauses, only two of them independent, the rest are used as adjectives. This creates a lot of places for pauses a speaker to play with the words. Sadly, all the linguistic trickery in construction is lost in translation. The actual punchline is in the middle, the word translated as "very" in the KJV and not translated as all in the NIV.

As we have seen in all the verses of this parable, Jesus uses three new, uncommon words. Two of the words are translated as "very sorry" in KJV and "outraged" in the NIV. The actual phrasing is "they were distressed, extremely." The other is translated as, "told," which completely erases the fact Jesus used a fascinating and probably entertaining word. It means "they detailed."
 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἰδόντες [166 verses](part pl aor act masc nom) "Saw" is from eido which means "to see," "to examine," "to perceive," "to behold," "to know how to do," "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

οὖν [82 verses]"So" is from oun, which means "certainly," "in fact," "really," "in fact," "so" and "then" (continuing a narrative), and "then" and "therefore."

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

σύνδουλοι[5 verses](noun pl masc nom) "Fellowservant" is syndoulos, which means "slave of the same master," "companion in slavery," and "fellow slave."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "His" 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."

τὰ (article pl neut acc)  "What" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

γενόμενα (part pl aor mid neut acc) "Was done" 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.

ἐλυπήθησαν [3 verses](verb 3rd pl aor ind pass) "They were...sorry" is lypeo, which means "to cause harm," "to cause grief," "to vex," "to cause pain," and, in the passive, "to be grieved," "to be distressed," and "to be in pain."

σφόδρα, [2 verses](adv) "Very" is from sphodra, which means "very," "very much," and "exceedingly."

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

ἐλθόντες [198 verses](part pl aor act masc nom) "Came" is from erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out," "to come," "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place.

διεσάφησαν [1 verse](verb 3rd pl aor ind act) is diasapheo, which means to "make quite clear," "show plainly," "make a clear statement," "send clear information," and "instruct plainly."

τῷ (article sg masc dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

κυρίῳ [92 verses](noun sg masc dat) "Lord" is kyrios (kurios), which means "having power," "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family."

ἑαυτῶν  [75 verses](adj pl masc gen) "Their" is heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself," "herself," "itself" "themselves," and "ourselves." It is an alternative to autos.

πάντα [212 verses](adj pl neut acc) "All" 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." -

τὰ (article pl neut acc)  "That" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

γενόμενα. (part pl aor mid neut acc) "That was done" 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.

KJV Analysis: 

So  - The Greek word translated as "so" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly," "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative. It is usually translated as "so," "therefore," or "then."

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

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

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. 

fellowservants,  - The word translated as "fellow servants" means literally "slaves together."

saw  - --(WF)  The verb translated as "saw" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." In th KJV, it is almost translated as many times as "know" as it is "see," It is not an active verb, however by a verbal adjective describing the servants. It begins the verse.

what --- The word translated as "what" 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. 

was -- (WV) This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. However, the verb is not passive.

done,  - (WW) "Done" is from the word that means "to become," and "to produce," that is, to enter into a new state. In English in reference to events, we would say "happened." It is not a Greek word usually translated as "to do." Here, it is not an active verb, but in a form that is used as a noun, "the becoming" or "what happened."

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

were  - This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. In this case, it is passive.

very   - (CW) "Very" is  a Greek adverb that means "very," "very much," and "exceedingly."  Jesus only uses it twice. It is not the word he commonly uses to mean "very." It is more extreme,

sorry,  - (CW) "Sorry" is from a verb that, in the passive, as it is here, means "to be grieved," "to be distressed," and "to be in pain." This is not the common verb for saying on is sorry.

and  - -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

came -- (WF) The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more. This word is a participle as well.

and - (IW) There is no "and" because the previous verb is in the form of an adjective.

told  - (WW) "Told" is from a verb that means "to make clear" and "to show plainly." It is not one of the common verbs that are translated as "tell."

unto  -- This word "unto" 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.

their  - - The pronoun used for "their" in "their lord" is a reflexive pronoun, and after the "master" so "of their own."

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. 

lord -- The word translated as "lord" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored. It was the term people used to address Christ, even though he had no formal authority. Today, we would say "boss" or "chief."

everything -- The word translated as "everything " 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."

that --- The word translated as "that" 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. 

had -- (WV) This helping verb "had " indicates that the verb is passive. However, the verb is not passive.

happened,  -  "Happened" is from the word that means "to become," and "to produce," that is, to enter into a new state. In English in reference to events, we would say "happened." It is not a Greek word usually translated as "to do." Here, it is not an active verb, but in a form that is used as a noun, "the becoming" or "what happened."

KJV Translation Issues: 

13
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "when" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "fellowservants" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "saw" is not an active verb but a participle, "seeing."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is not the passive voice.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "done" should be something more like "becoming" or "happening."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "very" is not the common word usually translated as "very."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "sorry" is not the common word usually translated as "sorry."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "came" is not an active verb but a participle, "showing up."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "told" should be something more like "detailed."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "lord" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is not the passive voice.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "done" should be something more like "becoming" or "happening."

NIV Analysis: 

When - (WW) The Greek word translated as "when" either emphasizes the truth of something ("certainly," "really") or it simply continues an existing narrative. It is usually translated as "so," "therefore," or "then."

the   --  The  "the" s 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. 

other - (IW) The word "other" doesn't exist in the source.

servants ,  - (CW) The word translated as "servants" means literally "slaves together" and is usually translated as "fellow servants." It is not the word "servant."

missing "of his"  -- (MW) The untranslated word"his" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  This pronoun follows the noun so "of his."

saw  - --(WF)  The verb translated as "saw" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." In th KJV, it is almost translated as many times as "know" as it is "see," It is not an active verb, however by a verbal adjective describing the servants. It begins the verse.

what --- The word translated as "what" 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.

had -- (WV) This helping verb "had" indicates that the verb is passive. However, the verb is not passive.

happened,  - "Happened" is from the word that means "to become," and "to produce," that is, to enter into a new state. In English in reference to events, we would say "happened." It is not a Greek word usually translated as "to do." Here, it is not an active verb, but in a form that is used as a noun, "the becoming" or "what happened."

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

were  - This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. In this case, it is passive.

missing "exceedingly"  -- (MW) The untranslated word"exceedingly" is  a Greek adverb that means "very," "very much," and "exceedingly."  Jesus only uses it twice. It is not the word he commonly uses to mean "very." It is more extreme,

outraged -   "Outraged" is from a verb that, in the passive, as it is here, means "to be grieved," "to be distressed," and "to be in pain." This is not the common verb for saying on is sorry.

and  - -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

went -- (WW, WF) The word translated as "come" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. See this article for more. This word is a participle as well.

and - (IW) There is no "and" because the previous verb is in the form of an adjective.

told  - (WW) "Told" is from a verb that means "to make clear" and "to show plainly." It is not one of the common verbs that are translated as "tell."

their  - The pronoun used for "their" in "their lord" is a reflexive pronoun, and after the "master" so "of their own."

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. 

master -- The word translated as "master" is the same word that is often translated as "Lord" or "the Lord" in the NT. It also means "lord," "master of the house," and "head of the family." It is the specific terms for the master of slaves or servants, but it was a common term of respect both for those in authority and who were honored. It was the term people used to address Christ, even though he had no formal authority. Today, we would say "boss" or "chief."

all -- The word translated as "all" 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."

that --- The word translated as "that" 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. 

was -- (WV) This helping verb "was" indicates that the verb is passive. However, the verb is not passive.

done,  - (WW) "Done" is from the word that means "to become," and "to produce," that is, to enter into a new state. In English in reference to events, we would say "happened." It is not a Greek word usually translated as "to do." Here, it is not an active verb, but in a form that is used as a noun, "the becoming" or "what happened."

NIV Translation Issues: 

14
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "when" should be something more like "then."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "other" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "servants" is not the common word usually translated as "servants."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "of his" after "servants" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "saw" is not an active verb but a participle, "seeing."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is not the passive voice.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "very" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "very" is not the common word usually translated as "very."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "went" should be something more like "showing up."
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "went" is not an active verb but a participle, "showing up."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "and" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "told" should be something more like "detailed."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "master" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is not the passive voice.

Front Page Date: 

Apr 12 2021