Mark 4:23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Spoken to: 

Apostles

After explaining the parable of the seeds.

KJV: 

Mark 4:23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

NIV : 

Mark 4:23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

LISTENERS HEARD: 

If anyone has ears to hear, they must hear.

MY TAKE: 

We must allow our ears to hear.

GREEK (Each Word Explained Bottom of Page): 

GREEK ORDER: 

LOST IN TRANSLATION: 

Christ repeats similar statements at least nine times in the Gospels. Most recently in Mark 4:9 at the first telling of this parable. As pointed out in that previous verse, this may have been a more general phrase referring to speaking on coded terms, as this parable does. However, the use of this phrase here means that even the explanation of the parable requires some decoding or thought to understand. This raises a question about a possible reason for the parables: so Jesus could say more revolutionary things about the coming of the kingdom of heaven without triggering laws against sedition.  Jesus uses a phrase similar to this a number of times. See the related verses below. It makes a point but in a humorous way. 

However, this phrase was later used by Plutarch, a Greek historian living after Christ. He used it to refer to spies in Persia. It may have been a more general phrase referring to speaking on coded terms This raises a question about a possible reason for the parables.

# KJV TRANSLATION ISSUES: 

3
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "man" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "let" is not the common word usually translated as "let."
  • WF -- Wrong Form -  The "him" is not the object of the verb but the subject, "he."

# NIV TRANSLATION ISSUES: 

0

EACH WORD of KJV : 

If -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not when used with the subjective negative. It also means "if ever" and "whenever." However, when used in an "if" clause, the verb is the subjunctive form of possibility. When citing a fact with a declarative verb, indicative, instead of one of possibility with the objective negative, the sense is more "since" or "as sure as." When this word is paired with the conjunction translated as "but" or "however," the structure works like an "if then" statement in English. With an imperative, it is used to express a wish. The sense is "I wish that."

any -- The Greek word translated as "any" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." The same forms are used both for the masculine or feminine so "anyone" works best for a person. In the plural, it means "everyone," "some," "they," and "those." Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," or even "why."

man -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "man" in the Greek source. The form is singular and can be either masculine or feminine.

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. Nor does it has the sense of "must" when used with infinitives.

ears -- The term translated as "ears" means "ear," things resembling a handle and is a metaphor for understanding.

to This comes from the infinitive form of the following verb.

hear, -- "Hear" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.   It also means "to listen" and "to understand," but amusingly, it also means "to be silent." The accusative object is the person/thing heard about, while the genitive is the person/thing heard from.  However, two genitives can be used with the sense of "hear of a thing from a person."

let  - (CW) This word is added to translate the third-person command form of this word but this makes it a second person command. In English, we would probably use "must." This is not the common word that means "let."

him  - (WF) This comes from the singular form of the verb, but it is a subject not an object.

hear. -- "Hear" is translated from a Greek word that has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.

EACH WORD of NIV : 

If -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not when used with the subjective negative. It also means "if ever" and "whenever." However, when used in an "if" clause, the verb is the subjunctive form of possibility. When citing a fact with a declarative verb, indicative, instead of one of possibility with the objective negative, the sense is more "since" or "as sure as." When this word is paired with the conjunction translated as "but" or "however," the structure works like an "if then" statement in English. With an imperative, it is used to express a wish. The sense is "I wish that."

any one -- The Greek word translated as "any" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." The same forms are used both for the masculine or feminine so "anyone" works best for a person. In the plural, it means "everyone," "some," "they," and "those." The form is singular and can be either masculine or feminine.

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. Nor does it has the sense of "must" when used with infinitives.

ears -- The term translated as "ears" means "ear," things resembling a handle and is a metaphor for understanding.

to This comes from the infinitive form of the following verb.

hear, -- "Hear" is from a Greek verb that means "to hear" and "to listen." It has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.   It also means "to listen" and "to understand," but amusingly, it also means "to be silent." The accusative object is the person/thing heard about, while the genitive is the person/thing heard from.  However, two genitives can be used with the sense of "hear of a thing from a person."

let  - This word is added to translate the third-person command form of this word. In English, we would probably use "must."

him  - This comes from the singular form of the verb, but the preceding pronoun could be either

hear. -- "Hear" is translated from a Greek word that has the same sense as the English not only of listening but of understanding.

COMPARISON: GREEK to KJV : 

Εἴ [90 verses] (conj) "If" is ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions. --

τις [252 verses]( pron sg masc/fem nom ) "Any man" is 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." --

ἔχει  [181 verses]( verb 3rd sg pres ind act ) "Has" 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 bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

ὦτα [15 verses](noun pl neut acc/nome)  "Ears" is from ous, which means "ear" and things that resemble an ear, such as a handle on pitchers, cups, etc. -- 

ἀκούειν [95 verses ( verb pres inf act ) "to hear" is akouo, which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand." --

ἀκουέτω. ( verb 3rd sg pres imperat act ) "Let him hear" is akouo, which means "hear of", "hear tell of", "what one actually hears", "know by hearsay", "listen to", "give ear to", "hear and understand," and "understand."

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Mar 26 2023