Matthew 19:11 All [men] cannot receive this saying,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Teaching about marriage and divorce. Jesus says this in response to the apostles commenting that if divorce is like adultery, it is not profitable or useful to marry.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Not everyone digests this idea rather for those ones, it has been given.

My Takeaway: 

Not everyone is given a choice about divorce.

KJV : 

Matthew 19:11All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

NIV : 

Matthew 19:11 Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The word translated as "receive/accept" is a rare word meaning "makes way." It is only used four times. Here, in the next verse, in Matthew 15:17, where it refers to food in the belly, and John 8:37, where it also refers to something sitting within you. So the negative sense is similar to how we say, you can't "stomach" or "digest" something. Or it "doesn't sit well." So it has a humorous feeling, the sense that some people are hard to stomach in marriage. Humorous meaning aside, the word means both "to contain" and "to make room for another." The last line can have both meanings at once when referring to staying married. We must both make room for another and contain ourselves. 

These two clauses in this verse do not seem to go together. Jesus often uses the conjunction between them to connect a negative clause, not doing something, with a positive one, instead of do this. Linguistically, the problem here is that the second active verb is missing, replaced with a participle. The problem is that we don't have an active verb we can assume here, so the verb may have been part of a question that was not recorded.

Wordplay: 

 The word translated as "can...receive" says something about the human capacity for receiving something so we can make progress. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐ (partic) "Not" is from ou 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.

πάντες [212 verses](adj pl masc nom) "All men" 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."

χωροῦσι [4 verses](verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Can...receive" is choreo, which means "to leave room for another," "to make way," "to withdraw," "to go forward," "to make progress," "to advance," "to proceed," [of gold] "to be spent," "to have room for," "to hold," "to contain," and "to be capable of."

τὸν (article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

λόγον, (noun sg masc acc) "Saying" is from logos, which means "word," "computation," "relation," "explanation," "law," "rule of conduct," "continuous statement," "tradition," "discussion," "reckoning," and "value."

ἀλλ᾽(conj) "But" is from alla, which means "otherwise," "but," "still," "at least," "except," "yet," nevertheless," "rather," "moreover," and "nay."

οἷς (pron pl masc dat) "They to whom" is from hos, which means "this," "that," "he," "she," "which," "what," "who," "whosoever," "where," "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

δέδοται. [147 verses](verb 3rd sg perf ind mp) "It is given" is didomi, which means "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," "appoint," "establish," and "to describe."

KJV Analysis: 

All  - The word translated as "all men" is one word meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas.

men -- (IW) The all above is male, plural, but the word for "man" is not here.

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

not The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

receive  - (CW) "Receive" is from a Greek verb that has three meanings 1) having the capacity for something, 2) making progress, and 3) making way or room for someone or something else. It is only used four times. Here, in the next verse, in Matthew 15:17, where it refers to food in the belly, and John 8:37, where it also refers to something sitting within you. So the negative sense is similar to how we say, you can't "stomach" or "digest" something. Or it "doesn't sit well." Humorous meaning aside, the word means both "to contain" and "to make room for another." The last line can have both meanings at once when referring to staying married. We must both make room for another and contain ourselves. 

this -- 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. 

saying,  - "Saying" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations usually translate this as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "idea" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types so "message" often works better.

save --  The Greek word translated as "save" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather" or "except." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." "Save" is an alternative to "except." Jesus often uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, not doing something, with a positive one, "instead do this." Linguistically, the problem here is that the second active verb is missing, and the participle is neither a subject or an object, but an indirect object of a missing verb.

they -- (IW) The all above is male, plural, but the word for "thye" is not here.

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. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context. The word "for" works much better here.

whom -- The word translated as "whom" 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. 

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

is -- (WT) This helping verb "is" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

given. -- "It is given" is from the usual verb translated as "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," "appoint," "establish," and "to describe."

KJV Translation Issues: 

5
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "men" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "can" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "receive" is not the common word usually translated as "receive."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "they" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  is the present tense, but Greek is in the past perfect.

NIV Analysis: 

Not  - The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

everyone - The word translated as "everyone " is one word meaning "all," "the whole," "every," and similar ideas.

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

accept - (CW) "Accept " is from a Greek verb that has three meanings 1) having the capacity for something, 2) making progress, and 3) making way or room for someone or something else. It is only used four times. Here, in the next verse, in Matthew 15:17, where it refers to food in the belly, and John 8:37, where it also refers to something sitting within you. So the negative sense is similar to how we say, you can't "stomach" or "digest" something. Or it "doesn't sit well." Humorous meaning aside, the word means both "to contain" and "to make room for another." The last line can have both meanings at once when referring to staying married. We must both make room for another and contain ourselves. 

this -- 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. 

word,  - (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations usually translate this as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "idea" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types so "message" often works better.

but --  The Greek word translated as "but " denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather" or "except." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise."  Linguistically, the problem here is that the second active verb is missing, and the participle is neither a subject or an object, but an indirect object of a missing verb.

only - (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "only" in the Greek source. It is added because the "but" above should be "except."

those -- (IW) The all above is male, plural, but the word for "those " is not here.

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. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context. The word "for" works much better here.

whom -- The word translated as "whom" 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. 

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

has -- This helping verb "has" indicates that the verb is the tense indicating an action completed in the past. This is not the tense of the verb here.

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

given. -- "It is given" is from the usual verb translated as "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," "appoint," "establish," and "to describe."

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "can" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "accept " is not the common word usually translated as "accept ."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" is not the Greek word for "word" but one that means "idea."
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "only" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "those" doesn't exist in the source.

Front Page Date: 

Apr 22 2021