Mark 4:32 But when it is sown, it grows up...

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And when it may be sown, it shoots up and becomes greater than all the garden plants and produces branches, great so to have power under the shadow of it the winged ones of the sky to camp.

KJV : 

Mark 4:32  But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is the only time that Jesus uses the word "shadow." Here, the Greek word for "grow up" also means "ascend to higher knowledge," which is the continued theme of this section about the seed bearing fruit. The seed in knowledge and united with the earth, our relationships, we ascend to higher knowledge.

The Greek term translated as "herb" here is also an interesting choice. It means a cultivated plant as opposed to a wild plant. This is interesting because it infers the idea of cultivation, that is, work by people as opposed to a wild plant. Unlike, Matthew and Mark, Luke doesn't use this term, but the term for "tree." In northern climes, the mustard plant only grows to about three feet. In the Middle East, it can grow to fifteen feet with a thick central stalk. The seed itself is only about a sixteenth of an inch, which is very small compared to other trees of the region.

Historically, mustard was not just used as flavoring for food and wine, but it was prominently used in medicine. In the sixth century B.C., Greek scientist Pythagoras used mustard as a remedy for scorpion stings. One hundred years later, Hippocrates used mustard in a variety of medicines and poultices. This makes it even better for this analogy regarding the growth of knowledge because this knowledge isn't just about flavoring food but curing disease.In this analogy, we also have those winged creatures that stole away the seeds in the parable of the sower making a reappearance. The same non-standard word for "birds" is used, indicating angels or demons. Here, however, those same creatures seek shelter in the shade of this tree. Interestingly, however, the term used for "shade" also means a ghost or evil spirit. What is the ghost or evil spirit of a tree of knowledge?

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." 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."

ὅταν (adv/conj) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)." --

σπαρῇ, ( verb 3rd sg aor subj pass) "Sown" is from speirô (speiro), which means "to sow a seed", "to beget offspring", "to scatter like a seed," and "to sow a field."

ἀναβαίνει ( verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Groweth up" is from anabaino, which means "go up", "mount", "shoot up" [of plants], "rise" [of rivers], "ascend to higher knowledge", "come to an end," and "turn out."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you).

γίνεται ( verb 3rd sg pres ind mp) "Becometh" is from gignomai (ginomai), which means "to become", "to come into being", "to happen", "to be produced," and "to be."

μεῖζον ( adj sg neut nom comp ) "Greater" is meizon which means "bigger", "higher", "longer," and "greater" and is the comparative form of megas, which means "big" and "great." The superlative form "greatest" is megistos, μέγιστος.-- "Greatest" is an adjective which is the comparative form of the word meaning "big" or "great." It means "bigger", "higher", "longer", "greater" and simply, "superior." When it is introduced by an article, it means "the greater." It is not the superlative form.

πάντων ( adj pl masc gen ) "Than all" is 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." --

τῶν  (article pl neut gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, 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", "those"). See this article for more. 

λαχάνων [uncommon]( noun pl neut gen )  "Herbs" is lachanon, which means "garden herbs," and "vegetables." It is the opposite of "wild plants."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you).

ποιεῖ ( verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Shooteth outs" is from poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

κλάδους [uncommon]( noun pl masc acc) "Branches" is from klados, which means "branches", "twig", "shoot," and "branch" of a blood vessel.

μεγάλους,  (adj pl masc acc) "Great" is megas, which means "big", "full-grown", "vast", "high", "great", "mighty", "strong (of the elements)","loud" (of sounds), "over-great (with a bad sense), "impressive" (of style), and "long" ( of days).

ὥστε (adv/conj) "So that" is hoste, which marks the power or virtue by which one does a thing, "as being", "inasmuch as," expresses the the actual or intended result of the action in the principal clause: "as", "for," implying " on condition that," at the beginning of a sentence, to mark a strong conclusion, "and so", "therefore," and with subj. " in order that." --

δύνασθαι ( verb pres inf mp ) "May" is the verb, dynamai, which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities", "to be able," and "to be strong enough." -

ὑπὸ (prep) "Under" is 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). --

τὴν ( article sg fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." --

σκιὰν [unique]( noun sg fem acc ) "Shadows" is from skia, which means "shadow", "reflection", "image,
""shade [of dead]", "phantom", "evil spirit", "shade [of trees]," silhouette," and "profile."

αὐτοῦ  (adj sg masc/neut gen) "Of it"  is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

τὰ (article pl neut nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, 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", "those"). See this article for more. 

πετεινὰ( adj pl neut nom) "Fowls" is from the Greek, peteinos, which means "fully-fledged", "able to fly" or "winged." In the form used, peteinon, it refers to any winged thing. There was clearly a conscious choice here not to use the Greek word for bird, which is ornis, or, in the diminutive, ornithion. All the English words referring to birds coming from Greek begin with this "ornith" prefix, including ornithology, the study of birds. This is the same word used in the parable of the sower.

τοῦ (article  sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, 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", "those"). See this article for more. 

οὐρανοῦ ( noun sg masc gen )  "Air" is from the Greek ouranos., which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

κατασκηνοῖν.” [uncommon](verb pres act inf) "Lodge" is from kataskenoo, which means "taking up one's quarters", "encamp," and "rest."

KJV Analysis: 

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

when The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

it This word comes from the singular form of the following verb.

is This word comes from the passive form of the following verb.

sown, The Greek word translated as "sown" means specifically to "sow seeds" and "to scatter" as in sowing seeds.

it This word comes from the singular form of the following verb.

groweth up, "Groweth up" is  a Greek verb means "go up", "mount", "shoot up" [of plants], "rise" [of rivers], "ascend to higher knowledge", "come to an end," and "turn out."

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

becometh The word translated as "becometh" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Jesus, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is a verb where the subject affects itself as opposed to someone else changing it.

greater -- The word translated as "greater" means "big", "high" "great," and "impressive."  It is in the comparative form so "greater."

than This word is from the form of the next adjective.

all The word translated as "all" is the Greek adjective meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." As an adverb, it means "in every way", "on every side," and "altogether."

untranslated The word tusually ranslated as "the" is the Greek definite article, 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", "those"). See this article for more.

herbs, The term translated as "herbs" but generally means "garden plants" as an opposite of wild plants. The point here is cultivation. "Cultivation" was a sign of civilization rather than the wild state of things. Mustard plant are one of the oldest known cultivated plants. Cultivation is also symbolic of educating children.

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

shooteth out The Greek word translated as "shooteth out" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.

great The word translated as "great" means "big", "high" "great," and "impressive."

branches The word translated as "branches" also means "twigs" or "offshoots."

; so that "So that" is an adverb that marks the power or virtue by which one does a thing. At the beginning of a sentence, it marks a strong conclusion.

the The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. 

fowls The Greek word translated as "fowls" is normally an adjective means "able to fly" and "winged," but it is used as a noun here, so "those that can fly" or, more simply, "birds." Christ always uses this term when referring to birds rather than the actual Greek noun for "birds."

of This is from the form of the next noun.

the The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article.

air The word translated as "air" is from a word that is almost always translated as "heaven" in te NT. It also means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. Though heaven is used in Christianity as the place of the afterlife, Christ never uses it that way though he does use it to mean the home of the Father.

may The word translated as "may" means having the power or possibly a desire to accomplish something. Often, in English, "can" is a helper verb, indicating a possibility. In Greek, it indicates ability or power.

lodge The word translated as "lodge" is a verb that means "to camp" and "to take up quarters" but specifically means "to settle" when applied to birds. The description is more "nesting."

under 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 The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article.

shadow "Shadow" is a word that Jesus only uses here. The Greek noun means "shadow", "reflection", "image," "shade [of dead]", "phantom", "evil spirit", "shade [of trees]," silhouette," and "profile."

of This is from the form of the next word.

it. The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there." 

Front Page Date: 

Jul 8 2019