Matthew 20:32 What do you want me to do for you?

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

Two blind men ask Jesus for mercy.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

What do you desire? I will perform [it] for you.

My Takeaway: 

Don't forget to ask.

KJV : 

Matthew 20:32 What will ye that I shall do unto you?

NIV : 

Matthew 20:32 What do you want me to do for you?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

In Greek, this is a question followed by a promise. It says: "What do you desire? I will do it for you." When the "it" is assumed from the "what." The KJV inserts a "that" to change it meaning, but most Biblical translations change the form of the verbs to misrepresent it.  The form of the second verb would have to be an infinitive for it to say what the Bible translators want it to say, an infinitive object verb following the active verb meaning "to want" or "to desire." Jesus uses this construction dozens of times, but he does not use it here. He uses two active verbs. What do you want? I will do.

Notice here is that Jesus requires people ask him specifically for what they want. It should be obvious here, two blind men asking for mercy, they want to see. But Jesus still requires them to ask. The asking is part of the process, "ask, search, knock." Asking again and again can be part of the process. God already knows what we need, before we do, but we need to think about what we really want and verbalize it.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τί (irreg sg neut acc) "What" is from tis which can mean "someone," "any one," "everyone," "they [indefinite]," "many a one," "whoever," "anyone," "anything," "some sort," "some sort of," "each," "any," "the individual," "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who," "why," or "what." -

θέλετε [64 verses](verb 2nd pl pres/imperf ind act) "Will ye" is from thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)," "to wish," "to ordain," "to decree," "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain," "to hold," "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event)." As an adverb, "willingly," and "gladly." and "to desire." As an adjective, it means "wished for" and "desired."

ποιήσω [168 verses](verb 1st sg fut ind act) "That I shall do" is from poieo, which means "to make," "to produce," "to create," "to bring into existence," "to bring about," "to cause," "to render," "to consider," "to prepare," "to make ready," and "to do." -

ὑμῖν; (pron 2nd pl dat) "Unto you" is from humin, the 2nd person pronoun.

KJV Analysis: 

What  - There word translated as "what" primarily means "anything" or "anyone."

will  - The Greek word translated as "will ye" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something, so "want" or "desire."

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

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

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

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

do  - The Greek word translated as "to do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service.

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.

you?  -  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. 

KJV Translation Issues: 

1
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that" doesn't exist in the source.

NIV Analysis: 

What - There word translated as "what" primarily means "anything" or "anyone."

do -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English, but the Greek could be either a question or a statement.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

want - The Greek word translated as "want" is not the same as the helper verb "will" in English, which primarily expresses the future tense. Its primary purpose is to express consent and even a delight in doing something, so "want" or "desire."

me  - (WF) This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb. It is not an object pronoun.

to -- (WF) This "to" is added because the infinitive form of the verb requires a "to" in English. However, this is the wrong verb form. The verb is active.

do - (WT) The Greek word translated as "to do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. The tense is future and the verb is not an infinitive.

for - -- 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.

you?  -  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc. 

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "me" is the subject of an active verb, "I"
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "to do" is not an infinitive, but an active verb "I will do."
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The English verb  "to do" is the present tense, but Greek is in the future tense, "I will do."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

This is the concluding statement in a chapter that focuses on what God does for us. It began with the analogy of the land owner who paid the same wage to everyone, regardless of how long they had worked. Christ then addressed how his apostles would be rewarded in heaven. It then ends with Christ asking this question of two blind men who were begging for help as he passed while the rest of the crowd tried to silence them.

Front Page Date: 

May 30 2021