Matthew 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Jesus is speaking to a crowd including his disciples.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

They prefer, however, the front recliners in meals and the front seats at meetings.

My Takeaway: 

Some people want to be the center of attention.

KJV : 

Matthew 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

NIV : 

Matthew 23:6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The "love" here means "prefer" or "like," but no Greek word that Jesus used really means "love" as we use it. See this article.

This verse continues to use words that are uncommon for Jesus. However, here, the words are very simple and easy to understand and a couple, "first couches" and "first chairs" are similar. The Greek is somewhat confused in translation, however. Starting with the fact it begins with a "but" or "however" indicating a conflict with a previous statement, probably an unrecorded question,  but it is changes to "and" in the KJV and left out I NIV.  Neither the KJV nor the NIV attempt to translate the "first couches" and "first chairs" at all honestly, choosing to characterize them rather than translation.

Wordplay: 

And emphasis on the word for "first" and "foremost", repeating it as the prefix of two words. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

φιλοῦσι [12 verses](verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "They love" is phileo, which means "to love", "to regard with affection", "to kiss," and "to approve of."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πρωτοκλισίαν [5 verses] (noun sg fem acc) "Uppermost rooms" is protoklisia, which means "first seat at table," literally "foremost couches." The prefix in this word means "first" and "highest" from protos. In place, this means "the foremost." In order, it means "the first." Of rank or degree, it means "the highest" or "the best." It's root is klisia, which means "a place for lying down or reclining", "anything for lying or sitting upon," a "couch for reclining at a table", "nuptial bed," and a "company" of people reclining at meals.

ἐν [413 verses](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".

τοῖς (article pl masc dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

δείπνοις [7 verses] (noun pl masc dat) "Feasts" is deipnon, which means "a meal", "noonday meal," and, generally, "food."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "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."

τὰς (article pl fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πρωτοκαθεδρίας [3 verses] (noun pl fem acc) "Chief seats" comes protokathedria which literally means "first seats." The prefix in this word means "first" and "highest" from protos. In place, this means "the foremost." In order, it means "the first." Of rank or degree, it means "the highest" or "the best." It's root is kathedra, which means a "seat" to sit on, the "posterior," the "sitting posture", "sitting idle", "inaction," the "chair of a teacher," and "a throne."

ἐν [413 verses](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". -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

ταῖς (article pl fem dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

συναγωγαῖς [14 verses](noun pl fem dat) "Synagogues" is synagoge, which means a "bringing together", "assembly", "place of assembly", "contracting", "collection", "combination", "conclusion," and "demonstration." It comes from a Greek word Christ uses commonly, sunagô, to mean "gather" or "bring together."

KJV Analysis: 

And  - -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

love  - "Love" is from the Greek word that many normally described as "brotherly love." It's meaning is more like "like" that "love" in English. More on the two Greek words translated as "love" in this article.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

uppermost rooms  - (WW) "Uppermost rooms" is from a word that means "foremost recliners" describing the best or initial recliners at a table for eating. Jesus only uses it five times. Its prefix means "first," "front" or "superior." The root means "couch" or "recliner."

at  - (CW) The word translated as "at" also means "in," "within", "with," or "among." The problem is that it is translated below as "in," which is its more common meaning.

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. 

feasts,  - (CW)  "Feasts" is from a word that means "a meal", "noonday meal," and, generally, "food."

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

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

chief seats  - The Greek word for "chief seats" comes from Greek words which literally means "best seats". It has the same prefix as the previous words, which means "highest", "best," or "foremost." We would probably say "front seats."

in - The word translated as "at" also means "within", "with," or "among."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

synagogues, -- (UW) The Greek word translated as "synagogues" is the source of our English word. It simply means an assembly or place of assembly. It comes from a Greek verb Jesus uses commonly to mean "gather" or "bring together."

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be "but."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "chief seats" should be "front couches."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "at" is translated as "in" later in verse.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "feasts" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "feasts" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "synagogues" means "meeting." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.

NIV Analysis: 

missing "but"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

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

love  - "Love" is from the Greek word that many normally described as "brotherly love." It's meaning is more like "like" that "love" in English. More on the two Greek words translated as "love" in this article.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

place of honor   - (WW) "Place of honor " is from a word that means "foremost recliners" describing the best or initial recliners at a table for eating. Jesus only uses it five times. Its prefix means "first," "front" or "superior." The root means "couch" or "recliner." While the term "place of honor" may characterize these places, the words have nothing to do with what Jesus actually said. It is

at  - (CW) The word translated as "at" also means "in," "within", "with," or "among." The problem is that it is translated below as "in," which is its more common meaning.

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.

banquets ,  - "Banquets " is from a word that means "a meal", "noonday meal," and, generally, "food."

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

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

most important seats  - The Greek word for "chief seats" comes from Greek words which literally means "best seats". It has the same prefix as the previous words, which means "highest", "best," or "foremost." We would probably say "front seats."

in - The word translated as "at" also means "within", "with," or "among."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

synagogues, -- (UW) The Greek word translated as "synagogues" is the source of our English word. It simply means an assembly or place of assembly. It comes from a Greek verb Jesus uses commonly to mean "gather" or "bring together."

NIV Translation Issues: 

5
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but"is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "chief seats" should be "front couches."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "at" is translated as "in" later in verse.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "banquets" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "synagogues" means "meeting." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.

Front Page Date: 

Jul 28 2021