Mark 12:16 Whose is this image and superscription?

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Whose? This likeness, this one, and this title?

KJV : 

Mark 12:16 Whose is this image and superscription?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Again, Jesus is clearly playing dumb for humorous effect. This sentence is much more casual in the Greek. Jesus asks this question in the most off-hand way possible. The sentence doesn't even have a verb. This sense is lost in translation where the verbs are added and, in the case of NLT, completely imagined.

This verse also shows the importance of recognizing how much more similar the Greek article, "the," is to our demonstrative pronouns,"this" and "that." Here, two Greek articles are not translated, but Jesus is clearly saying "this image" and "this title." He even emphasizes this, using the formal demonstrative pronoun between the two phrases. This is completely lost in translations that drop these key words and mix up all the  other words.

NIV : 

Mark 12:16  Whose image is this? And whose inscription?

NLT : 

Mark 12:16 Whose picture and title are stamped on it?

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Τίνος (pron sg gen) "What" is from 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."

(article sg fem nom) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). -- 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. 

εἰκὼν [3 verses](noun sg fem nom) "Image" is eikôn, which means "likeness", "image", "image in a mirror", "personal description", "semblance", "comparison," and "archetype." It is the source of our word "icon."

αὕτη (adj sg fem nom) "This" is from houtos, which means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why." -- "This" is translated from a Greek word that means "this", "that", "the nearer."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is from 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."

(article sg fem nom"The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). -- 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. 

ἐπιγραφή; [3 verses](noun sg fem nom) "Superscription" is epigraphê, which means "inscription", "title", "ascription," and "description." It is from the verb that means, literally, "to write upon."

KJV Analysis: 

Whose -- The word translated as "whose" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." It is in the possessive form, so "of whom" or "whose." The form is genitive, so "of whom."

is -- There is no Greek word that is translated as "is" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used, but when a word in the form of a subject appears without a verb, "to be" can be assumed.

this  -- "This" is translated from a Greek word that means "this", "that", "the nearer."

untranslated "the" -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

image -- "Image" is from eikôn, which means "likeness", "image", "image in a mirror", "personal description", "semblance", "comparison," and "archetype." It is the source of our word "icon."

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

untranslated -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

superscription? -- "Superscription" is from epigraphê, which means "inscription", "title", "ascription," and "description." It is from the verb that means, literally, "to write upon."

  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

Whose -- The word translated as "whose" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." It is in the possessive form, so "of whom" or "whose." The form is genitive, so "of whom."

untranslated "the" -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

image -- "Image" is from eikôn, which means "likeness", "image", "image in a mirror", "personal description", "semblance", "comparison," and "archetype." It is the source of our word "icon."

is -- There is no Greek word that is translated as "is" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used, but when a word in the form of a subject appears without a verb, "to be" can be assumed.

this  -- "This" is translated from a Greek word that means "this", "that", "the nearer."

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

whose -- (WW) The word here is not "whose" but it is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

inscription? -- "Inscription" is from epigraphê, which means "inscription", "title", "ascription," and "description." It is from the verb that means, literally, "to write upon."

  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "whose" means "the" or "this."

NLT Analysis: 

Whose -- The word translated as "whose" means primarily "anything" or "anyone." In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." It is in the possessive form, so "of whom" or "whose." The form is genitive, so "of whom."

untranslated "the" -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

picture -- "Picture" is from eikôn, which means "likeness", "image", "image in a mirror", "personal description", "semblance", "comparison," and "archetype." It is the source of our word "icon."

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

untranslated -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

title? -- "Title" is from epigraphê, which means "inscription", "title", "ascription," and "description." It is from the verb that means, literally, "to write upon."

are stamped  on -- (IP) There are no Greek words that can be translated as "are stamped on" in the Greek source.

it? -- (WW)  "It" is translated from a Greek word that means "this", "that", "the nearer."

NLT Translation Issues: 

4
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IP - Inserted phrase-- The phrase "are stamped on" doesn't exist in the source and isn't otherwise justified.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "it" means "this."

Front Page Date: 

Nov 22 2019