Mark 12:35 How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

How can they say, those writers, that this anointed is a son of David?

KJV : 

Mark 12:35 How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The "how" beginning this question has the sense of "how is it possible?" It the modern translations, this is changed, less correctly, to "why."

In the KJV, the term "Christ" is used, for christos, which is the untranslated Greek for "anointed." It is introduced with an article, "the,"  which is closer to "this" in Greek, so "this anointed."   In the more modern translations, this is changed to "the Messiah" a concept that no one in Jesus's era would have understood.

This is also one of those verses where a "the" is added to make Jesus seem more important than he made himself. There is no "the" in front of "son" so the sense is "a son." A "son" is not only a child of someone, but by the definition of the time, an inferior, that is, a subordinate. This was both a legal and cultural matter, especially in Jewish culture where the superiority of parents was part of the ten commandments.

NIV : 

Mark 12:35 Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David?

NLT : 

Mark 12:35 Why do the teachers of religious law claim that the Messiah is the son of David?

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Πῶς (adv/conj) "How" is pos, which means "how", "how in the world", "how then", "in any way", "at all", "by any mean", "in a certain way,"and "I suppose."

λέγουσιν ( verb 3rd pl pres ind act ) "Say " is 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 spelled the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

οἱ (article sg masc 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. 

γραμματεῖς ( noun pl masc nom)  "Scribes" is grammateus, which is generally a "secretary", "recorder," and "scholar," but specifically means someone who uses gramma which is Greek for "drawings", "a letter," (as in an alphabet)"diagrams," and "letters" (as in correspondence).

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore."

(article sg masc nom) 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."

χριστὸς ( noun sg masc nom) "Christ" is christos, which means "to be rubber with salve", "used as an ointment," and, of persons, "anointed." ---

υἱόν; ( noun sg masc acc ) "Son" is huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." It is used generally to refer to any male descendant.

Δαυεὶδ  (Hebrew Name) "David" is from is from the Greek Daueid, which is the Greek form of the Hebrew name.

ἐστιν;( verb 3rd sg pres ind act)   "Is" is from eimi (eimi), which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

KJV Analysis: 

How -- "How" is the adverb that means "how", "by any means", and "I suppose". 

say -- The word translated as "say " 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."

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. 

scribes -- "Scribes" is translated from a Greek word describing anyone who used written records in their job, "secretary", "registrar,' and "scholar." However, Christ used it to name those scholars who specifically studied the Bible and wrote about its meanings. A modern equivalent would be "academics."

that  -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

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

Christ -- (UW) The word translated as "Christ" means "anointed." In the NT, it is understood to mean the Messiah, following the anointing of the kings of Israel. The Jews of Jesus's era thought they understood who the Messiah was and the source of his authority. He was a descendant of David, and his authority came from David as "the anointed" king of the Jews.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. However, it is not an active verb in but an infinitive. It is part of what it said.

the -- (WW) There is no Greek word that is translated as "the" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation. The sense here is "a son" not "the son,"

Son? -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children". It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

of -- There is no Greek word or word form that needs to be translated as "of" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity. The following word is a Hebrew name so it lack the Greek form that could create a possessive so it acts more like an adjective, "son David." 

David? --"David" is from is a Greek form of the Hebrew name.

KJV Translation Issues: 

3
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "christos" means "anointed." It is not translated but a title is substituted.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "the" should be "a."

NIV Analysis: 

Why -- "How" is the adverb that means "how", "by any means", and "I suppose". 

do -- This helping verb is added to make this a question.

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. 

teachers of the law-- (WW) "Scribes" is translated from a Greek word describing anyone who used written records in their job, "secretary", "registrar,' and "scholar." However, Christ used it to name those scholars who specifically studied the Bible and wrote about its meanings. A modern equivalent would be "academics."

say -- The word translated as "say " 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."

that  -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

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

Messiah -- (WW) The word translated as "Messaih" means "anointed." In the NT, it is understood to mean the Messiah, following the anointing of the kings of Israel, but that is not what the Jews of the period heard. The Jews of Jesus's era thought they understood who the Messiah was and the source of his authority. He was a descendant of David, and his authority came from David as "the anointed" king of the Jews.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. However, it is not an active verb in but an infinitive. It is part of what it said.

the -- (WW) There is no Greek word that is translated as "the" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation. The sense here is "a son" not "the son,"

Son? -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children". It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

of -- There is no Greek word or word form that needs to be translated as "of" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity. The following word is a Hebrew name so it lack the Greek form that could create a possessive so it acts more like an adjective, "son David." 

David? --"David" is from is a Greek form of the Hebrew name.

NIV Translation Issues: 

4
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "teachers of the law" means "writers."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "Messiah" means "anointed."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "the" should be "a."

NLT Analysis: 

Why -- "How" is the adverb that means "how", "by any means", and "I suppose". 

do -- This helping verb is added to make this a question.

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. 

teachers of religious law-- (WW) "Scribes" is translated from a Greek word describing anyone who used written records in their job, "secretary", "registrar,' and "scholar." However, Christ used it to name those scholars who specifically studied the Bible and wrote about its meanings. A modern equivalent would be "academics."

say -- The word translated as "say " 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."

that  -- The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

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

Messiah -- (WW) The word translated as "Messaih" means "anointed." In the NT, it is understood to mean the Messiah, following the anointing of the kings of Israel, but that is not what the Jews of the period heard. The Jews of Jesus's era thought they understood who the Messiah was and the source of his authority. He was a descendant of David, and his authority came from David as "the anointed" king of the Jews.

is -- The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics. However, it is not an active verb in but an infinitive. It is part of what it said.

the -- (WW) There is no Greek word that is translated as "the" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a word doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation. The sense here is "a son" not "the son,"

Son? -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children". It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

of -- There is no Greek word or word form that needs to be translated as "of" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity. The following word is a Hebrew name so it lack the Greek form that could create a possessive so it acts more like an adjective, "son David." 

David? --"David" is from is a Greek form of the Hebrew name.

NLT Translation Issues: 

4
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "teachers of religious law" means "writers."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "Messiah" means "anointed."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "the" should be "a."

Front Page Date: 

Dec 2 2019