Matthew 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Concerning, however, the awakening of the dead, you really don't recognize that which was being promised to you under the protection of the God, teaching:

KJV : 

Mat 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Since the afterlife is a cornerstone of Christianity, this and the previous verse referring directly to the afterlife should be the focus of a lot of attention. However, like many of Christ's statements, these verses don't lend themselves to a simple explanation, so they are often ignored or at least their complexities are.

The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

"As touching" is from a preposition which means " "around", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to," and "all around."

While the Greek word translated as "resurrection" is understood that way today, during Christ's time, it would have meant simply "a rising up" or "awakening." It was used to indicate someone standing up especially when awakening from sleep.

The word translated as "the dead" means "corpse", "a dying man," and "inanimate, non-organic matter." Christ uses it in all three senses, referring to the actual dead, the spiritually dead, and inanimate matter.

"Have" is from a verb that means to "know well", "recognize," and "know again." It is not from the verb meaning "to read."

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

The Greek verb translated as "that which is spoken" is not one of the two common verbs used to describe speaking or saying. It is a fairly uncomon term with the sense of "to announce," or "to proclaim." However, here it is in the passive, where it means "to be pronounced", "to be agreed," and "to be promised." It is in the form of a verb used as a noun, "that which being agreed."

The word translated as "of" primarily means "by", "under," or "with" (with the genitive and a passive verb). Its primary meaning is "under" both in the sense of moving under, being under, and being under different forms of compulsion.

The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

The word translated as "saying" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

About the Afterlife

Some ancient Jews (specifically Job) don't seem to have believed in an afterlife. It wasn't until Isaiah (Isa 26:19) that the resurrection of the dead is spoken of directly, instead of indirectly. The Hebrew word Olam Ha-Ba ("the world to come") is used to describe both the messianic age and the afterlife. Many Christians seem to look at "the kingdom of heaven" in the same way: the future world and the afterlife. However, Christ talks extensively about the kingdom of heaven and most of his statements are not consistent with the afterlife and his refferences to resurrection.

Among the Jews of Christ's time, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead into bodies, but the Sadducees did not. One group of Sadducees didn't believe in an afterlife of any form. In other words, they followed the ancient tradition. They didn't believe in angels, the soul, or resurrection. Life was literally "dust to dust." While some Sadducees believed in a spiritual afterlife, they didn't agree with the Pharisees regarding "the rising." The view of the Pharisees was similar to that of the Egyptians, that people would rise from the dead with their bodies. This idea can be traced directly to Isaiah in the verse cited above. It is important to note that, especially for the Pharisees, this resurrection was connected to the coming of the Messiah, which, for them, was the end time like Christians see the Last Judgment.

Christ's first message here is, that, though Christ taught that there was a "rising" as taught by the Pharisees, it was not what the Pharisees taught, that is, something that happened at some end time when the Messiah comes.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

περὶ "As touching" is from peri, which means "round about (Place)", "around", "about", "concerning", "on account of", "in regard to", "before", "above", "beyond," and "all around."

δὲ "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). --

τῆς ἀναστάσεως (noun sg fem gen) "Resurrection" is from anastasis, which means, "a standing up", "removal", "a rising up", "a setting up," and "rising from a seat." It is the noun form ofanistêmi, which means "to make stand up", "to raise", "to wake up", "to build up", "to restore", "to rouse to action", "to stir up," and "to make people rise."

τῶν νεκρῶν (adj pl masc/fem gen)"The dead" is from nekros, which specifically means "a corpse" as well as a "dying person", "the dead as dwellers in the nether world", "the inanimate," and "the inorganic"

οὐκ "Not" is from ou which is 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.

ἀνέγνωτε (verb 2nd pl aor ind act) "Have" is from anaginosko, which means "to recognize", "to know well", "to know certainly", "to know again", "to own," and "to acknowledge."

τὸ ῥηθὲν (part sg aor pass neut nom/acc) "The which is spoken," is from ero, which means "to speak", "to say", "to pronounce", "to tell", "to let suffice", "to announce", "to proclaim," (in passive) "to be pronounced", "to be mentioned", "to be specified", "to be agreed," and "to be promised."

ὑμῖν (pron 2nd pl dat) "Unto you" is from humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὑπὸ "Of" is from hypo (hupo), which means [with genitive] "from under (of motion)", "down under," under, beneath," indicating a cause with passive verbs, "by", "under," or "with", "under the cover or protection of", "of the agency of feelings, passions," "expressing subjection or dependence," "subordinate", "subject to;" [with accusative] "towards" and "under" (to express motion), "under" (without a sense of motion), "subjection", "control", "dependence," of Time, "in the course of", "during", "about," as an adverb, "under", "below," beneath, the agency or influence under which a thing is done"by", "before,' and "under," (with genitive and passive verbs of cause).

τοῦ θεοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "God" is from theos, which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

λέγοντος (part sg pres act masc gen) "Saying" is from 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 spelt the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep." --