Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.

Spoken to: 

Apostles

The beginning of the explanation of the parable of the sower.

KJV : 

Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.

NIV : 

Mark 4:14 The farmer sows the word.

Listeners Heard: 

The one seeding this idea seeds.

My Takeaway: 

Jesus's idea is a seed that can grow.

Lost in Translation: 

The word "sower/farmer" and "soweth/sows" are both the same verb in different forms. The verb means specifically to sow seeds so "to sow" or "to seed." It is from the root meaning "seed." That connection between "seed" and "word" is lost when you translated these words as something different from "seed" and seeding."

The word translated as "word" means something closer to "idea"  or "concept." More about this word in this article. The information in a seed is comparable to the information content of a new idea or concept. Jesus is talking here about information.

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

[821 verses] (art sg masc nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

σπείρων [31 verses](part sg pres act masc nom) "Sower" is from speiro, which means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

τὸν [821 verses](article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").  -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun. 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. 

λόγον [80 verses] (noun sg masc acc) "Word" is logos, which means "word," "computation," "relation," "explanation," "law," "rule of conduct," "continuous statement," "tradition," "discussion," "reckoning," "reputation" (when applied to people), and "value."

σπείρει. [31 verses](verb 3rd sg pres/imperf ind act) "Soweth" is speiro, which means "to sow a seed," "to beget offspring," "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

KJV Analysis: 

The  - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."   Since is preceded a verbal adjective, "the one" works best. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

sower  -  (WF) "The sower" is the Greek verb that means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field." It is from the root word for "seed" so "to seed" is closer to its meaning. The form is a verbal adjective, "seeding."

soweth  -  "Soweth" is the Greek verb that means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field." It is from the root word for "seed" so "to seed" is closer to its meaning. The form is either the present or the imperfect, "sows" or "sowed."

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

word.  -- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning," but it has many, many specific meanings from "deliberation" to "narrative."  It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. However, when applied to people, it means "repute" or "reputation." More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "logic," "concept, or "reasoning" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types, so "message" often works. "Teaching" might work but it is unrelated to the common words for "to teach," "teacher," and "student" that all have the same root. 

KJV Translation Issues: 

2
  • WF -- Wrong Form -  The "sower" is not an active verb but a participle, "sowing."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" does not capture the word's specific meaning.

NIV Analysis: 

The  - The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one."   Since is preceded a verbal adjective, "the one" works best. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more.

farmer -  (WW, WF) "Farmer " is the Greek verb that means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field." It is from the root word for "seed" so "to seed" is closer to its meaning. The form is a verbal adjective, "seeding."

sows  -  (WT) "Sows" is the Greek verb that means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field." It is from the root word for "seed" so "to seed" is closer to its meaning. The form is either the present or the imperfect, "sows" or "sowed."

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

word.  -- (CW) "Word" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning," but it has many, many specific meanings from "deliberation" to "narrative."  It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. However, when applied to people, it means "repute" or "reputation." More about this word in this article. In English, we would say "logic," "concept, or "reasoning" to describe it but it also means the communication of various types, so "message" often works. "Teaching" might work but it is unrelated to the common words for "to teach," "teacher," and "student" that all have the same root. 

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "farmer" should be something more like "sowing."
  • WF -- Wrong Form -  The "farmer" is not an active verb but a participle, "sowing."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "word" does not capture the word's specific meaning.

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Mar 18 2023