Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences!

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

After Jesus talks about the fate of those who trip up a child.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Oy-vey to the world order from these traps. Because it is natural to show up, these traps, except oy-vey for the person through whom that trap shows up.

My Takeaway: 

Dealing with life's problems is natural, but we should avoid creating even one more.

KJV : 

Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

NIV : 

Matthew 18:7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!

What is Lost in Translation: 

It may seem strange to claim that the word translated as "woe" in the sense of "to bad" is basically humorous. but that is the way we hear it most frequently, especially in the Jewish form of "oy-vey." Jesus is saying that it is sad that there are traps, snares, or "stumbling blocks" in our world, but that it is natural for the world to be this way. However, it is even sadder that people create problems for themselves. However, Jesus says that a person only makes one problem for themselves at a time. I notice in some modern translations this "stumbling block" idea is translated as "temptation," which is no part of its meaning. See the article on this word here.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐαὶ [27 verses](exclam) "Woe" is from ouai, which is an exclamation of pain or anger meaning "woe" or "alas."

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

κόσμῳ [63 verses](noun sg masc dat) "World" is kosmos, which means "order," "good order," "ruler," "world order," "universe," and "the world of men."

ἀπὸ (prep) "Because of" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

τῶν (article sg masc dat)  "Of" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

σκανδάλων: [6 verses](noun pl neut gen) "Offences" is skandalon, which means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. It is not Greek, but based on the Hebrew and Aramaic word. This is one of the words that first occurs in the Greek version of the Old Testament from the Hebrew word for "noose" or "snare."

ἀνάγκη [2 verses](noun sg fem nom ) "It must needs" is anagke which means "force," "constraint," " necessity," and "natural need." It means the natural forces that require things to be as they are.

γὰρ (partic) "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."

ἐλθεῖν [198 verses](verb aor inf) "Come" 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. --

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

σκάνδαλα, [6 verses](noun pl neut acc) "Offences" is from skandalon, which means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. It is not Greek, but based on the Hebrew and Aramaic word. This is one of the words that first occurs in the Greek version of the Old Testament from the Hebrew word for "noose" or "snare."

πλὴν (prep) "But" is from plen, which is a preposition meaning "except," "save," "besides," and "in addition to." Often used with the negative as a conjunction, "except not."

οὐαὶ (exclam) "Woe" is from ouai, which is an exclamation of pain or anger meaning "woe" or "alas."

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

ἀνθρώπῳ (noun sg masc dat) "To the man" is from anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

δι᾽ (prep) "By" is from dia which means "through," "in the midst of," "in a line (movement)," "throughout (time)," "by (causal)," "among," and "between."

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

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

σκάνδαλον (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Offence" is from skandalon, which means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. It is not Greek, but based on the Hebrew and Aramaic word. This is one of the words that first occurs in the Greek version of the Old Testament from the Hebrew word for "noose" or "snare."

ἔρχεται. (verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Come" 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.

KJV Analysis: 

Woe -- "Woe" is an exclamation of grief, meaning "woe" or "alas." However, Christ seems to use it humorously. Every verse in which it appears have the hallmarks of Christ's humor. Today we would say "so sad [for you]" or "boo-hoo to you." The word is very like the Jewish, "oy veh" which can be used to express sorry but with is more commonly used cynically. More about this phrase in this article on Christ's humor, under the subtitle, "exaggeration."

unto -- This word "to" 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.

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 --- Jesus uses the word translated as "the world" to mean "the world order," specifically the powers-that-be. Today, we use the word "society" in this sense. More about this word in this article.

because - (CW) The word translated as "because of" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source or cause.

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, but here the form is required by the preposition.

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. 

offences!   - The word translated as "offenses" is another noun from an Aramaic word that means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. See the article on this word here.

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.

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

needs  - "Needs" is from a noun that means "force," "constraint," "necessity," and "natural need." It means the natural forces that require things to be as they are. We would typically use the word "nature" or perhaps "necessity" here. It is in the form of a subject.

be  - With a noun in the form of a subject with not active verb, the verb "to be" can be assumed. 

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

offences - The word translated as "offenses" is another noun from an Aramaic word that means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. See the article on this word here. This word could be the subject of the verb, becaus, though in the from of an object, the verb is an infinitive, but this looks more like a case where the previous subject shares the infinitive.

come; -- (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. The form is that of an infinitive.

but - (CW) The word translated as "but" here is not the normal conjunction translated as "but" be an uncommon preposition that means "except."

woe  - The "woe" here is the same exclamation as used to begin this phrase.

to -- This word "to" 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.

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. 

man The Greek word for "man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

by  - The preposition translated as "by" means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)."

whom -- The word translated as "whom" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

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. 

offence  - "The offence" is the same word as used twice before, but here it is singular and in the form of a subject.

cometh!  - - (WV) 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 "come" here is the same word as the earlier "come," so "start out" or "show up," but it is singular. The form is either passive of the middle voice where the subject (the trap) acting on itself. If the sense is "start" the word is probably passive, "be started." If the sense is "shows up," the sense is that it does it itself.

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "because" is not the common word usually translated as "because."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "offenses" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "it must" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "come" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to come."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.

NIV Analysis: 

Woe -- "Woe" is an exclamation of grief, meaning "woe" or "alas." However, Christ seems to use it humorously. Every verse in which it appears have the hallmarks of Christ's humor. Today we would say "so sad [for you]" or "boo-hoo to you." The word is very like the Jewish, "oy veh" which can be used to express sorry but with is more commonly used cynically. More about this phrase in this article on Christ's humor, under the subtitle, "exaggeration."

to -- This word "to" 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.

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 --- Jesus uses the word translated as "the world" to mean "the world order," specifically the powers-that-be. Today, we use the word "society" in this sense. More about this word in this article.

because - (CW) The word translated as "because of" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source or cause.

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, but here the form is required by the preposition.

the things that -- The word translated as "the things that" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than th English "the." See this article for more. 

cause people to stumble!  - (CW) The word translated as "cause people to stumble" is another noun from an Aramaic word that means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. See the article on this word here.

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

Such things -- (CW) The word translated as "such things" 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. 

must - (WW) "Needs" is from a noun that means "force," "constraint," "necessity," and "natural need." It means the natural forces that require things to be as they are. We would typically use the word "nature" or perhaps "necessity" here. It is in the form of a subject.

missing "traps"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "traps" is another noun from an Aramaic word that means a "trap" or "snare" for an enemy. See the article on this word here. This word could be the subject of the verb, becaus, though in the from of an object, the verb is an infinitive, but this looks more like a case where the previous subject shares the infinitive.

 

come; -- (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. The form is that of an infinitive.

but - (CW) The word translated as "but" here is not the normal conjunction translated as "but" be an uncommon preposition that means "except."

woe  - The "woe" here is the same exclamation as used to begin this phrase.

to -- This word "to" 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.

the -- The word translated as "th3" 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. 

person  - The Greek word for "person " in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural.

through - The preposition translated as "through " means "through," in the midst of," or "by (a cause)."

whom -- The word translated as "whom" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

they - (CW, WN) The word translated as "they" 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. 

missing "trap"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "trap" is the same word as used twice before, but here it is singular and in the form of a subject.

cometh!  - - (WV) 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 "come" here is the same word as the earlier "come," so "start out" or "show up," but it is singular. The form is either passive of the middle voice where the subject (the trap) acting on itself. If the sense is "start" the word is probably passive, "be started." If the sense is "shows up," the sense is "shows itself."

  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "because" is not the common word usually translated as "because."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "cause people to stumble" is not a phrase but a word, "trap" or "stumbling block."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "for" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "such things" is just the article, a "the" or "these" not the word for "such."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "must" should be something more like "necessary."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "traps" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "come" is not an active verb but an infinitive, "to come."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "they" is just the article, a "the" or "this" not the plural pronoun.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "they" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "trap" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.

Front Page Date: 

Mar 20 2021