Mark 4:5 And some fell on stony ground,

Spoken to: 

audience

The parable of the seeds, after the birds ate seeds from the path.

KJV : 

Mark 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

NIV : 

Mark 4:5  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

Listeners Heard: 

And another fell/failed on the stoniness also, where it didn't have much dirt. And it sprang up because of this not having a depth of earth.

My Takeaway: 

Some people are hard-headed, are not very deep, and don't want to be.

Lost in Translation: 

There are three key words here, "fell," "on," and "depth," that have double meanings here. This double meaning is important throughout the story. The story is rich with double meanings, which is what Jesus explains later.

The "some" here is singular as is the verb "fell." Both refer to the "seeding" of the previous verses not seeds. The word means meaning "another."

The word translated as "fell" also means "failed."  Specifically, it means to "fall short."

The word translated as "upon" also means "against." The "rocky" also means "hard-headed," and could even be a subtle joke about the follower Simon, called "Rocky."

The word translated as "depth" is a metaphor for depth of mind. "Earth" means "dirt" and the planets, but it also means "ground" in the sense of "arable land" that could be inherited, passed on from generation to generation.

There are two negatives here, an objective one of being and a subjective one of intending or wanting. Both negate the verb "to have" in different forms, as a verb and and as a verbal noun. The sense is not having but also not wanting to have or thinking to have.

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "fell" also means "failed." 

The word translated as "upon" also means "against." 

The word translated as "depth" is a metaphor for depth of mind. 

Original Word Order: 

καὶ   ἄλλο     ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸ πετρῶδες      [καὶ] ὅπου οὐκ  εἶχεν   γῆν πολλήν,
And another fell/failed   on the stoniness also where not it have dirt much

καὶ   εὐθὺςἐξανέτειλεν διὰ              τὸ     μὴ  ἔχειν       βάθος     γῆς:
And it sprang up        because of   this  not having a depth of earth.

WORD-BY-WORD COMPARISON OF THE GREEK TO ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS: 

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

ἄλλο [34 verses](adj sg neut nom) "Some" is allos, which means "another," "one besides," "of another sort," "different," "other than what is true," "as well," "besides," with numerals: "yet," "still," "further," "of other sort," "other than what is," "untrue," "unreal," "other than right," "wrong," "bad," "unworthy," [with an article] "the rest," "all besides," and [in series] "one...another."

ἔπεσεν [36 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Fell" is pipto, which means "to fall," "to fall down," "to be cast down," "fall upon," "intersect (geometry)," "meet," "pass through," "fall violently upon," "attack," "fall in battle," "sink{in water)," "fall short i.e. fail," " fall out of," "lose a thing," "escape from," "fall asleep," "to be accessible to perception," "to fall (between her feet, i.e. to be born)," "to let fall[dice)," "turn out," and "fall under (belong to a class)."

ἐπὶ [138 verses](prep) "On" is from epi which means "on," "upon," "at," "by," "before," "across," and "against." With a noun in the possessive, genitive, it means "upon," "on" but not necessarily of Place, "by (of persons)," "deep (with numbers)," "in the presence of," "towards," "in the time of," and "over (referring to a person of authority)." With a noun indirect object, dative, it means of place: "upon," "on," or "over," of people: "against (in a hostile sense)," regarding a situation: "towards" or "in reference to," of an accumulation: "upon," "after," "addition to," and "besides," of position: "after," "behind," "in dependence upon," and "in the power of," of time: "by," and "after," and. in a causal sense: "of the occasion or cause," "of an end or purpose," "of the condition upon which a thing is done," "on condition that," and "of price." With the objective noun, an accusative, it means of place: "upon or on to a height," "up to," "as far as," "a little way," "a little," "towards," "to," in hostile sense: "against," of extension: "over," "over (a space)," of time: "for," "during," "up to" or "till," in a causal sense: "of (the object)," for (this purpose)," "as regards," "according to," and "by (this cause)." With verbs of perceiving, observing, judging, it means "in the case of."

τὰ [821 verses](article pl neut acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πετρώδη [4 verses]( (adj pl neut acc) "Stony ground" is from petrôdês, which is an adjective meaning "like rock" "rocky," and "stony." 

[καὶ] [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). This doesn't appear in all popular codices.

ὅπου [32 verses] (adv/conj) "Where" is hopou, which means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

οὐκ [269 verses](partic) "Not" is ou , 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.

εἶχεν [181 verses](verb 3rd sg imperf) "It had" is echo, which means "to have," "to hold," "to possess," "to keep," "to have charge of," "to have due to one," "to maintain," "to hold fast," "to hold in," "to bear," "to carry," "to keep close," "to keep safe," and "to have means to do." In aorist, it can mean "acquire," or "get." The main sense when it has an object is "to have" or "to hold." It can also mean "to without" or "keep back" a thing. 

γῆν[59 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Earth" is ge, which means "the element of earth," "land (country)," "arable land," "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

πολλήν, [61 verses](adj sg fem acc) "Much" is polus, which means "many (in number)," "great (in size or power or worth)," and "large (of space)." As an adverb, it means "far," "very much," "a great way," and "long."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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."

εὐθέως  [16 verses](adv)  "Immediately" is from eutheoswhich as an adverb, it means "straight," "simple," "straightway," forthwith," "immediately," "directly," and "at once."

ἐξανέτειλεν [2 verses](verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "It sprang up" is exanatellô, which means "to cause to spring from" and "to spring up from." It is a compound verb of the preposition ek- ("out") and the verb -anatello meaning "to rise"

διὰ  [88 verses](prep) "Because" is dia, which means with the genitive "through," "in the midst of," "in a line (movement)," "throughout (time)," "by (causal)," "for (causal)," "among," and "between." With the accusative, it can also be "thanks to," "because of,"  "by reasons of," and "for the sake of."

τὸ [821 verses](article sg neut acc) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -

μὴ [447 verses](partic) "No" is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective. With pres. or aor. subj. used in a warning or statement of fear, "take care" It can be the conjunction "lest" or "for fear that." Used before tis with an imperative to express a will or wish for something in independent sentences and, with subjunctives, to express prohibitions.

ἔχειν [181 verses] (verb pres inf act) "It had" is echo, which means "to have," "to hold," "to possess," "to keep," "to have charge of," "to have due to one," "to maintain," "to hold fast," "to hold in," "to bear," "to carry," "to keep close," "to keep safe," and "to have means to do." In aorist, it can mean "acquire," or "get." The main sense when it has an object is "to have" or "to hold." It can also mean "to without" or "keep back" a thing.

βάθος [3 verses](noun sg neut acc) "Deepness" is bathos, which means "height" or "depth" measuring up or down. In Greek, it was also used as a metaphor (as it is in English) for depth of mind, e.g. "He is deep."

γῆς, [59 verses](noun sg fem gen) "Of earth" is ge, which means "the element of earth," "land (country)," "arable land," "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

KJV Analysis: 

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

some  --  (WN) The word translated as "some" means "another," "one besides," "of another sort," "different," "other than what is true," "as well," "besides," with numerals: "yet," "still," "further." 

fell -- "Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class," "to prostrate," "to fall from power," "to perish," and so on. The verb is singular. The word translated as "fell" also means "failed."  Specifically, it means to "fall short."

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" "in the case of." or "on."

missing "the/this"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article," the," 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

stony - "Stony ground" is from an adjective that means "rocklike" and "stony." It is used as a noun, being introduced by an article ("the"), so "the stoniness" or "the rocky one." The metaphor here is a hardness of mind.

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

possible "also"  --  The Greek word translated as "also" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") but not in all versions of the Greek.

where  -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

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

had -- The word translated as "had" means to "have," "possess," "bear," "keep close," "hold in," "have means to do,"  "to have due to one," or "keep" and many specific uses. This verb isn't used to form past tenses as the helper verb does in English.

not -- (WP) The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause. It negates "had" not "much."

much -- The word translated as "much" means many in number, great in power or worth, and large in size.

earth; -- The word translated as "earth" means "ground," "land," "country," and "dirt." Translated as "earth," it refers to the physical planet, not society, which Jesus describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

and  -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

immediately -- "Immediately" is  an adverb, it means "straight," "simple," "straightway," forthwith," "immediately," "directly," and "at once."

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

sprang up-- "Sprang up" is from a verb that means "to cause to spring from." This verb is singular, not plural.

because  --  The preposition translated as "because" means with the accusative used here, means "thanks to," "because of,"  "by reasons of," and "for the sake of."

missing "the/this"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article," the," 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

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

had   --  (WF) The word translated as "have" means to "have," "possess," "bear," "keep close," "hold in," "have means to do,"  "to have due to one," or "keep" and many specific uses. However, the verb is not an active verb. It is an infinitive, "to have." With the negative, it works like "not that having" because of the form of negative used or, more simply, "not having."

no - (WP) The negative "no" used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is about appearances not necessarily reality. The use of this form makes sense if Jesus is addressing something that we cannot know for sure, that is, the depth of someone's mind, not the depth of soil. The sense of this word is "not the having."

depth   - "Depth" is a Greek noun that means "height" or "depth" measuring up or down. In Greek, it was also used as a metaphor (as it is in English) for depth of mind, e.g. "He is deep." The exact phrase here is "no seeming depthwhich we would describe in English as "shallowness." The exact phrase here is "no the one having depthwhich we would describe in English as "shallowness."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

earth: -- The word translated as "earth" means "ground," "land," "country," and "dirt." Translated as "earth," it refers to the physical planet, not society, which Jesus describes as the world. See this article for more on these words. The word for "earth" appears again, but if we interpret it in the context of a person's mind, it becomes someone's "ground" or "grounding" in reality.

KJV Translation Issues: 

7
  • WN  --Wrong Number- The word "some" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular, "another."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "stoniness" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "ground" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "not" doesn't negate "much" but "had."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "having" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WF --Wrong Form -  The "had" is not an active verb but an infinitive, used as a gerund, "having."
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "not" doesn't negate "depth" but "having."

NIV Analysis: 

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

Some  --  (WN) The word translated as "some" means "another," "one besides," "of another sort," "different," "other than what is true," "as well," "besides," with numerals: "yet," "still," "further." 

fell -- "Fall" is translated from a Greek word that means "to fall" and "to fall down." It is the root word for dozens of Greek terms involving moving from a higher state to a lower one. Like our word "to fall" it has a number of special meanings including "to fall into a given class," "to prostrate," "to fall from power," "to perish," and so on. The word translated as "fell" also means "failed."  Specifically, it means to "fall short." The verb is singular.

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" "in the case of." or "on."

missing "the/this"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article," the," 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

rocky - "Rocky" is from an adjective that means "rocklike" and "stony." It is used as a noun, being introduced by an article ("the"), so "the stoniness" or "the rocky one." The metaphor here is a hardness of mind.

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

possible "also"  --  The Greek word translated as "also" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") but not in all versions of the Greek.

where  -- The word translated as "where"  means "somewhere," "anywhere," "wherever," and "where."

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

 did -- This helping verb is used to create questions, commands, negative statements, and smooth word flow in English.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause.

have -- The word translated as "have" means to "have," "possess," "bear," "keep close," "hold in," "have means to do,"  "to have due to one," or "keep" and many specific uses. This verb isn't used to form past tenses as the helper verb does in English.

much -- The word translated as "many" means many in number, great in power or worth, and large in size.

soil; -- (CW) The word translated as "soil" means "ground," "land," "country," and "dirt." Translated as "earth," it refers to the physical planet, not society, which Jesus describes as the world. See this article for more on these words. Unlike "soil," our word "earth," like the Greek word can mean both the planted, the ground and dirt.

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

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

sprang up-- "Sprang up" is from a verb that means "to cause to spring from." This verb is singular, not plural.

quickly-- "Quickly" is  an adverb, it means "straight," "simple," "straightway," forthwith," "immediately," "directly," and "at once."

because  --  The preposition translated as "because" means with the accusative used here, means "thanks to," "because of,"  "by reasons of," and "for the sake of."

 the -- (WP) 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.  The article appears before "depth" not "ground" or "soil."

soil -- (CW) The word translated as "soil" means "ground," "land," "country," and "dirt." Translated as "earth," it refers to the physical planet, not society, which Jesus describes as the world. See this article for more on these words. The word for "earth" appears again, but if we interpret it in the context of a person's mind, it becomes someone's "ground" or "grounding" in reality. Unlike "soil," our word "earth," like the Greek word can mean both the planted, the ground and dirt. Unlike "soil," our word "earth," like the Greek word can mean both the planted, the ground and dirt.

was --  (WW, WF) The word translated as "was" means to "have," "possess," "bear," "keep close," "hold in," "have means to do,"  "to have due to one," or "keep" and many specific uses. However, the verb is not an active verb. It is an infinitive, "to have." With the negative, it works like "not that having" because of the form of negative used or, more simply, "not having."

shallow. -- (CW) This word comes from two Greek words meaning "no depth," However, the Greek "not" doesn't not negate "depth" but the verb "have." The negative "no" used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion, commands, and requests. The sense is about appearances not necessarily reality. The use of this form makes sense if Jesus is addressing something that we cannot know for sure, that is, the depth of someone's mind, not the depth of soil. The sense of this word is "not the having."  "Depth" is a Greek noun that means "height" or "depth" measuring up or down. In Greek, it was also used as a metaphor (as it is in English) for depth of mind, e.g. "He is deep." The exact phrase here is "no seeming depthwhich we would describe in English as "shallowness." The exact phrase here is "no the one having depthwhich we would describe in English as "shallowness."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

earth: 

NIV Translation Issues: 

11
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  --Wrong Number- The word "some" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular, "another."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "rocky" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "places" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "soil" does not capture the word's more general meaning, "earth."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WP -- Wrongly Placed -- The word "the" does not come before "earth" but "having."
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "soil" does not capture the word's more general meaning, "earth."
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "was" should be something more like "having."
  • WF --Wrong Form -  The "was" is not an active verb but an infinitive, used as a gerund, "having."
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "shallow" does not capture two words becaise the "not" negates the verb not "depth."

Related Verses: 

Unimportant Opinions and Imaginings: 

Front Page Date: 

Mar 10 2023