Matthew 9:12 Those who are whole do not need

Spoken to: 

The Pharisees

Context: 

After calling a tax collectors as a disciple, Jesus dines with tax collectors. The Pharisees asks him why he eats with them

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

No need do they have, those having strengths, of a healer, but those having illnesses.

My Takeaway: 

God doesn't expect people to be perfect, but he does expect us to let him help us get better.

KJV : 

Matthew 9:12 They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

NIV : 

Matthew 9:12  It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are more problems with the translation than there are words.

This verse is another play on words. It contrasts the strong and weak in a humorous way. It uses a term that is often translated as a moral condemnation, "evil" to mean "weaknesses." More about the word used for "the sick" in this article.

Wordplay: 

 The word translated as "sick" is commonly translated in the NT as "evil" but it is not the Greek word most commonly translated as "evil."

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.

χρείαν (noun sg fem acc) "Need" is from chreia, which means "need", "want", "poverty", "a request of a necessity", "business", "military service", "a business affair", "employment", "familiarity", "intimacy," and "maxim."

ἔχουσιν (3rd pl pres ind act) "Be" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

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

ἰσχύοντες [8 verses](part pl pres act masc nom) "Whole" is from ischyo which means "to be strong", "to have power,"to be powerful", "to prevail", "to be worth," and "to be equivalent to."

ἰατροῦ [3 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Physician" is from iatros, which means "one who heals", "medic", "surgeon," or "midwife."

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

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

κακῶς (adj pl masc acc) "Sick" is from kakos, which means "bad", "mean", "base", "ugly", "ill-born", "evil", "worthless", "sorry", "pernicious," and "ill."

ἔχοντες. (part pl pres act masc nom) "They that are" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

KJV Analysis: 

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

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

be  - (WW, WF) The Greek word translated as "be" means "to have," "to possess" or "to keep." It is almost always translated as "to have." This is not the common word used for "to be." It is in the form of a participle, acting with the article as an adjective, "those having."

whole  - (WW, WN) The word translated as "whole" is a verb that means "to be strong", to be able," or "to have power." It is in the form of a plural adjective, "being strong" but it is used as a noun, used as the sentence's subject. The verb is plural, so the only way to translated it is "having strengths."

need  - -- (WF) The word translated as "need" means "need" and "poverty," but it also means "familiarity" and "intimacy." It is a noun, not a verb.

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.

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

physician,  -  The word translated as "physician" generally means "he who heals." It is in the form of a possessive, "of a healer."

but  - The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition based on the word "other" like we used "otherwise". It is not the most common word Christ uses that is translated as "but" a "gentler" form of opposition. The sense is "on the other hand".

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

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

are - (WW, WF) The Greek word translated as "are" means "to have," "to possess" or "to keep." It is almost always translated as "to have." This is not the common word used for "to be." Its form is "they have." It's subject is "need."

sick - (WW, WN) The word translated as "sick" is an adjective which means many different forms of "bad," including "ugly", "low born", "craven," and "ill." In the NT, it is often translated as "evil." More about it in this article. It is used here as a noun. It is plural and the object of the prior participle. It is in the form of a plural adjective, "having illnesses" but it is used as a noun, used as the sentence's subject.

KJV Translation Issues: 

10

IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "be" should be "have."

WN - Wrong Number-  The "be" is not singular, but plural, "they have."

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "whole" should be "strengths."

WN  - Wrong Number- The word "whole" is translated as singular but it is plural, "having strengths.

IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.

WF - Wrong Form -  The "need" is not an active verb, but a noun. It is the object of "they have."

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "are" should be "having."

WF - Wrong Form -  The "are" is not an active verb but a participle, "having."

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "sick" should be "ills" or, the balance the verse, "weaknesses."

WN  - Wrong Number- The word "sick" is translated as singular but it is plural, "weaknesses."

NIV Analysis: 

It- -(WW) The subject from the verb is plural, masculine, "they ."

not  - (WP) The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. The negative doesn't negate the verb but the word "need."

is - (WW, WN) The Greek word translated as "is" means "to have," "to possess" or "to keep." It is almost always translated as "to have." This is not the common word used for "to be."  It is plural, "they have."

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

healthy  - (WW, WF) The word translated as "healthy" is a verb that means "to be strong", "to be able," or "to have power." It is in the form of a plural adjective, "having strengths."

who -- (IW) There is no singular Greek word here that means "who."

need  - -- The word translated as "need" means "need" and "poverty," but it also means "familiarity" and "intimacy."

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

doctor,  -  The word translated as "doctor" generally means "he who heals." It is in the form of a possessive, "of a healer."

but  - The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition based on the word "other" like we used "otherwise". It is not the most common word Christ uses that is translated as "but" a "gentler" form of opposition. The sense is "on the other hand".

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") that the English "the." See this article for more.

untranslated "having"  -- (MW) The untranslated word means "to have," "to possess" or "to keep." It is almost always translated as "to have." This is not the common word used for "to be." It is in the form of a participle, acting with the article as an adjective, "those having."

sick - (WW, WF) The word translated as "sick" is an adjective which means many different forms of "bad," including "ugly", "low born", "craven," and "ill." In the NT, it is often translated as "evil." More about it in this article. It is used here as a noun. It is plural and the object of the prior participle. It is in the form of a plural adjective, "having illnesses" but it is used as a noun, used as the sentence's subject.

NIV Translation Issues: 

13

WW- Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" should be "they" from the plural verb.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "is" should be "have."

WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "not" doesn't negate the verb but the noun "need."

WW - Wrong Word -- The word "healthy" is a plural,  participle, "having strengths.

WF - Wrong Form -  The "healthy" is not an adjective but a participle, "having strengths."

IW - Inserted Word -- The word "who" doesn't exist in the source.

WF - Wrong Form -  The "need" is not an active verb, but a noun. It is the object of "they have."

WF - Wrong Form -  The "be" is not an active verb but a participle, "having."

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "healthy" should be "having strengths."

WN  - Wrong Number- The word "healthy" is translated as singular but it is plural, "having strengths.

MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" is not shown in the English translation.

WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "sick" should be "ills" or, the balance the verse, "weaknesses."

WN  - Wrong Number- The word "sick" is translated as singular but it is plural, "weaknesses."

Front Page Date: 

Aug 8 2020