Matthew 26:11 For you have the poor always with you...

KJV Verse: 

Mat 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Because at all times you keep beggars among themselves, but me you do not keep at all times.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is interesting because it does not really say what the translation of it says but something perhaps more interesting.. First, it uses a common word that Christ seldom uses, and, second, because a key part is stretched rather than translated directly. It is one of the rare verses which is longer in Mark, rather than shorter.

The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation. To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

The word translated as "ye have" means "to possess" or "to keep."

"The poor" is from an adjective, used as a noun, which means "beggaring", and "beggarly." The sense is "the begging. Christ uses this term a number of times, and through it, he gives a clear sense of the role that beggars play in the world. The first time he uses the word is it in the context of being "beggars of spirit,"that is, lacking spirit in the Beatitudes and throughout the Gospels, Christ separates beggars into two types: those who are spiritually afflicted and those that are physically incapacitated.

The word translated as "always" means "at all times" but what makes it interesting is that Christ seldom uses this word but it occurs twice in this verse. Most people uses the terms "always" whenever they discuss something that it done frequently. Christ never makes this mistake. He also uses the word for "never" (in the sense of "at not time") just as rarely. This word actually starts the sentence.

"With" is from the Greek word that is almost always translated as "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of".

The word translated as "you" does not mean "you." It is the reflexive pronoun, "themselves." It can be combined with a second person pronoun to means "yourselves" but there is no such pronoun here. Typically, another Greek word (autos) is used to create the reflexive for the first and second person. However, this translation is as "with you" goes back to the Latin Vulgate and it is continued in all other Biblical translations. The sense, just reading the words, is "among themselves" or"by means of themselves."

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. When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

"Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

The word translated as "ye have" is the same as above and means "to possess" or "to keep".

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

The word translated as "always" means "at all times" but what makes it interesting is that Christ seldom uses this word but it occurs twice in this verse. Most people uses the terms "always" whenever they discuss something that it done frequently. Christ never makes this mistake. This word actually starts the sentence.

Greek Vocabulary: 

πάντοτε [uncommon](adverb) "Always" is from pantote), which means "always," "at all time", and literally breaks down to "all then." "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether." "Then" is from tote, which means "at that time" and "then."

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question, it means "why" and "what."

τοὺς πτωχοὺς (adj pl masc acc) "The poor" is from ptochos, which means "beggar", "beggar-woman," and "beggarly."

ἔχετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Ye have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

μεθ᾽ "With" is from meta, which means "with", "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to," and "next afterward."

ἑαυτῶν, (adj pl masc gen) "You" is from heautou, is a reflexive pronoun that means "himself", "herself", "itself" and "themselves." It is an alternative to autos.

ἐμὲ (pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is from eme, which means "I", "me", and "my". -- "Me" is from the regular first-person pronoun in Greek.

δὲ (conj) "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").

οὐ "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.

πάντοτε [uncommon](adverb) "Always" is from pantote), which means "always," "at all time", and literally breaks down to "all then." "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether."

ἔχετε: (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Ye have" is from echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do."

The Spoken Version: 

"this is because at all time you have beggars," he continued, "with themsselves. Me, however, you do not really keep at all times."

Related Verses: 

Nov 5 2016