Matthew 21:27 Neither shall I tell you by what authority...

Spoken to: 

The Pharisees

Context: 

Jesus is asked for his authority by the chief priests and elders. And he asks them a question first but they cannot answer it.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Neither am I telling you in whose power I perform these.

My Takeaway: 

No tit? Then not tat! Life is a trade.

KJV : 

Matthew 21:27 Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

NIV : 

Matthew 21:27 Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus seems to be having fun with word sounds here. He uses the "ego lego" construction when "ego" is already understood. He also uses "poia...poio" (what...I do) alliteration. What is interesting is that when his questioners admit that "they do not know" the answer to his question, he refuses to answer theirs. The implication is that their ignorance makes it unnecessary for him to answer. However, in his response, his phrasing implies the truth: that he is doing these things under the power of someone else.

Wordplay: 

The "ego lego" and "poia...poio" play on word sounds. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Οὐδὲ "[51 verses](partic) Neither" is from oude, which means "but not," "neither," "nor,"and "not even."

ἐγὼ [162 verses](pron 1st sg masc nom) Ἐγὼ "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least," "for my part," "indeed," and "for myself."

λέγωv [264 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind act) "Tell" is lego, which means "to recount," "to tell over," "to say," "to speak," "to teach," "to mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself," "pick up," "gather," "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

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

ἐν (prep) "By" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with".

ποίᾳ [13 verses](adj sg fem dat) "What" is poios, which means "of what kind," "whose," "what," and "which."

ἐξουσίᾳ [23 verses](noun sg fem dat) "Authority" is exousia which means "control," "the power of choice," "permission," "the power of authority," "the right of privilege," "abundance of means," and "abuse of power."

ταῦτα [96 verses](adj pl neut acc) "These things" is tauta, which is a referring pronoun meaning "these," "this," "that," and "here." It can mean the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why."

ποιῶ. [168 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind act) "I do" is 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."

KJV Analysis: 

Neither  - "Neither" is from a Greek negative meaning "but not" and as both parts of "neither...nor."

tell  - The word translated as "tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching. This is a different word used by Jesus asking his questioners to answer his question and it is also different from the word they used.

I -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

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

by - The word translated as "by" also means "within," "with," or "among." It means "by" in a physical sense of closeness, not "by" as a cause. The sense is of being in one's power.

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" means "of what kind," "whose," "what," and "which."

authority  - The term translated as "authority" is the idea of authority, control, and the ability to choose. It isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

I  - - The term translated as "power" isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

do -- The Greek word translated as "to do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do," which covers all actions, productive or not. 

these  - The "these things" is from a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. It is in the plural so simple "these."

things - The "these things" is from a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. It is in the plural so simple "these."

KJV Translation Issues: 

1
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "myself" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

Neither  - "Neither" is from a Greek negative meaning "but not" and as both parts of "neither...nor."

will  -- (WT) This helping verb "will" indicates the future tense, but the verb is not the future.

I -- The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

tell  - The word translated as "tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching. This is a different word used by Jesus asking his questioners to answer his question and it is also different from the word they used.

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

by - The word translated as "by" also means "within," "with," or "among." It means "by" in a physical sense of closeness, not "by" as a cause. The sense is of being in one's power.

what -- The Greek word translated as "what" means "of what kind," "whose," "what," and "which."

authority  - The term translated as "authority" is the idea of authority, control, and the ability to choose. It isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose.

I  - - The term translated as "power" isn't the "power" of skill or energy but of authority, control, and the ability to choose

am -- This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb..

doing -- The Greek word translated as "to do" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  It is not as broad a word as the English "do," which covers all actions, productive or not.

these  - The "these things" is from a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. It is in the plural so simple "these."

things - The "these things" is from a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. It is in the plural so simple "these."

NIV Translation Issues: 

2
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "myself" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "myself" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Jun 9 2021