Mark 12:38 Beware of the scribes...

Greek Verse: 

Literal Translation: 

Look out from these writers the ones wanting to walk about in their outfits and want embraces in public...

KJV Verse: 

Mark 12:38 Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and [love] salutations in the marketplaces,

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

 

The word translated here as "love" is one of the words usually translated as "love" in the Gospels and is a good example of how translation can be misleading regarding the source material. See this article on the Greek words translated as "love."

The verb translated as "go" is not the normal word translated as "go" but a rarer word that means "to walk up and down" how we might use "parade."

The word translated as "beware" is a good example of how different languages converge on the same idea. The word means "see" normally but "beware" in the sense we say "watch out" or "look out!"

Greek Vocabulary: 

Βλέπετε ( verb 2nd pl pres imperat act ) "Beware" is from of blepo, which means "to look", "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to rely on", "to look longingly", "to propose", "to beware", "to behold," and "to look for."

ἀπὸ (prep) "Of" is apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

τῶν (article pl masc gen) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

γραμματέων ( noun pl masc gen) "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).

τῶν (article pl masc gen ) "Which" 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."

θελόντων ( part pl pres act masc gen) "Love" is thelo, which as a verb means "to be willing (of consent rather than desire)", "to wish", "to ordain", "to decree", "to be resolved to a purpose" "to maintain", "to hold", "to delight in, and "will (too express a future event with inanimate objects)." As a participle, it means "being willing" or, adverbially, "willingly," and "gladly".

ἐν (prep) "In" is en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for." 

στολαῖς [3 times](noun pl fem dat )  "Long clothing" is from stolê (stole), which means "equipment", "fitting out", "armament", "equipment in dress", "raiment", "garment", "robe," and "the act of dressing."

περιπατεῖν ( verb pres inf act ) "Go" is peripateo, which means "to walk up and down", "to walk about," and "to walk about while teaching."

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."

ἀσπασμοὺς [4 times]( noun pl masc acc ) "Salutations" is aspasmos, which means "greeting", "embrace," and "affection."

ἐν (prep) "In" is en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for."  -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for."

ταῖς (article pl fem dat) "Which" 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."

ἀγοραῖς ( noun pl fem dat ) "Marketplaces" is from agora, which means "an assembly", "place of assembly," and "marketplace. "

KJV Analysis: 

Beware  -- The verb translated as "beware" means "to see", "to look to", "to look like", "to beware", and "to look for." It is the more tangible sense of seeing, such as seeing what is right in front of you rather than understanding "look" in English.

of  -- The word translated as "of" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source.

the -- The word translated as "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. 

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."

which -- 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." Here, it precedes a participle, that is, a verbal adjective. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. 

love . -- The Greek word translated as "love" expresses consent and even a delight in doing something. It means "to consent" and "to be resolved to a purpose". The form here is a verbal adjective, "wanting." With the article before it, the sense is like a noun, "the ones wanting."

to -- This "to" is from the infinitive form of the following verb.

go -- -- "Go" is a Greek verb that means "to walk up and down", "to walk about," and "to walk about while teaching." Jesus uses it somewhat humorously in the sense that we use "parade." 

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for."

long clothing, -- "Long clothing" is a Greek word that means "equipment", "fitting out", "armament", "equipment in dress", "raiment", "garment", "robe," and "the act of dressing." Jesus uses it only three times, always to mean a piece of clothing. This word is the source of our word "stole."

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

love -- There is no Greek word that is translated as "love" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity because there following word is the object of this verb not an object of the preposition "in."

salutations -- "Salutations" is another uncommon terms, used only four times by Jesus, that means "greeting", "embrace," and "affection." Jesus always uses it to refer to the Pharisees or scribes.

in -- The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among." With the accusative, it means "into," "on," and "for."

the -- The word translated as "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. 

marketplaces, -- The word translated as "marketplaces" means "a place of assembly." Its verb form that means "to buy in a market" and its root means "a field." 

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus discusses reality in terms of three worldly dimensions of the physical, mental, and emotional relationships (Three Plus One: The Pattern of Christ’s Words). In this system, clothing is one of the most important symbols (The Loaf, the Cup, and the Cloak), quoting from that article:

Clothing is symbolic of social status and pretense (Mat 23:5).  Clothing, that is, social position, can also disguise something that is dangerous as something good (Mat 7:15). Kingship is the highest social position, but not necessarily the most important position (Mat 11:8). ...The choice of clothing is important because it expresses our opinion about relation ships.  At the wedding feast, the guest without a wedding garment is thrown out Mat 22:12. To humble himself during the last supper, Christ removed his garments before washing the feet of his apostles (Jhn 13:4).

The public greetings are also part of this same pattern of wearing fancy clothes to get public attention.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 5 2019