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Examining the Greek: Emphatic Negations (Conclusion & Review)

Editor’s note:

Justin Alfred, a Biblical language expert, has been walking us through “emphatic negations” in Biblical Greek. Emphatic negations are an explicitly strong way to express a negative. While a normal negative might mean “that will not happen,” an emphatic negative further tells the reader that  there is not even the slightest possibility that something will occur.

To illustrate the use of emphatic negations, Justin began with a small blog series on emphatic negations in the Sermon on the Mount. Then, he began our current series on the emphatic negations found in Matthew 13.

In the first post, Justin introduced the text of Matthew 13:1-17 and passive verbs; he pointed out that God foreordained that Jesus’ disciples would have the ability to know the mysteries of the kingdom. In the second post, Justin continued expounding on the text, explaining that one must be born again in order to accept the things of God.

In the third and fourth post, Justin showed us that Jesus confirmed all of this in John 3, with his encounter with Nicodemus. He gave three important passages in regards to the new birth, showing that:

  1. The new birth is not a new concept.
  2. There is no relationship with God apart from the new birth.
  3. Jesus was not talking about water baptism when he used the term “born of water”

Justin’s conclusion:


Thus, we can now see even more clearly why Jesus said what He did in Matthew 13:14, and it has been stated in the Greek using οὐ μή (ou mē) with the Aorist Subjunctive, which is the strongest form of emphasis in the Greek New Testament – NO ONE CAN ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD BEING RELIGIOUS, BUT RATHER THAT ENTRANCE MUST BE THROUGH THE MEANS OF A SPIRITUAL REBIRTH GENERATED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD! And once again, as Paul said, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

There are some very religious people who are very “natural,” but tragically, they do not have a relationship with God, and consequently, apart from the spiritual rebirth, THEY WILL NEVER AT ANY TIME EVEN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:11).