Mark 7:19

7:19 ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν, ἀλλ̓ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν, καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται, καθαρίζον πάντα τὰ βρώματα.

καθαρίζον πάντα τὰ βρώματα. This is an interesting example of how the difference in grammatical gender can cause a different understanding and much confusion. In the Byzantine Text as seen in the Patriarchal Text above, καθαρίζον is present active participle nominative neuter singular of καθαρίζω, and due to it being neuter, we get the understanding of “purging/cleansing all foods” and is apart of what Jesus is explaining to the disciples. However, the non-Byzantine reading (I have seen it in the Alexandrian and Caesarian Text-types, which is not difficult to find) is καθαρίζων, being masculine rather than neuter, and thus referring back to Jesus in verse 18 (which begins, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς·) and leads to the understanding that the words are not a part of what Jesus is explaining, but rather a comment by St. Mark, namely that Jesus in explaining the parable is “cleansing all foods” (the participle is present tense); and this is the reading Origen, St. Gregory The Wonder-Worker, and St. John Chrysostom have, καθαρίζων.

The Patristic witness leads me to conclude two textual options: 1. The Byzantine text has the wrong reading here, and it should be the masculine, or 2. The Byzantine text has the original reading here, and the Text that Origen and St. Gregory used had been corrupted. A problem that comes to mind is that if St. Chrysostom used the Byzantine Text (as most people say), then why does his Byzantine Text read καθαρίζων and our current Byzantine Text(s) read καθαρίζον? I need to find time to look through von Soden’s manuscripts (K, Kx, Kr etc.) to see the texts for myself to go further here; at any rate, the UBS5 apparatus does inform us that the Byzantine Text is divided on this reading whereas Byz2005 doesn’t (my Byz2018 is in a box in another Province, so I cannot check it at the moment). But also we could think of the wording as constructio ad sensum, which is what David Bentley Hart (who translated from the Critical Text, thus καθαρίζων) appears to have done: “purging away everything that has been eaten?” (UBS5 has a Greek question mark at the end, as Hart translated.)

A few words about how we see this played out in Orthodox translations. First, we ignore The Orthodox Study Bible here because its New Testament is unfortunately translated from the Textus Receptus. Secondly, The Holy Apostles Convent Evangelistarion mistranslated this passage; they translated from the Patriarchal Text thus: this He said making all the foods clean. We read in the notes that the translator arrived at this translation probably under the influence of Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament or A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament and from misidentifying the neuter καθαρίζον for the masculine καθαρίζων. However, the translator does support their translation by appealing to St. John Chrysostom (as discussed above). And finally, the EOB New Testament has both readings, but the translator put the correct reading—καθαρίζον, according to the Greek of the Patriarchal Text—in the footnote, “thus purging all foods” and added a question mark in the main text, as found in the Critical Text(s).

Footnotes can be found here.

How to Read Greek (and What to Read)

A funny thing is that Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics who actually know some Greek (as opposed to the “codebreaker types within those religions) answer the question of how to improve one’s Greek with something along the lines of “Read, read, read; and then read some more.”

The Greek Orthodox Church in North America, on the other hand, will teach Neohellenic Greek in their Greek schools (to be fair, I’ve found three Greek parishes in all of North America that teach “New Testament Greek”) to keep the culture alive while the Orthodox Church in Greece commends ignorance of Koine as “Koine has contributed to the “mystery” of the liturgy” The Fathers of the Church would be livid, as anyone familiar with St. Basil can assure you.

Lets us of the Greek Orthodox tradition remember that all Greek—from Homeric to Attic to Hellenistic/Koine to Medæval/Byzantine to Katharevousa to Demotic to Neohellenic—are all very much and absolutely an inextricable part of our Modern Hellenic culture, but more importantly, a part of our Eastern Roman religious heritage.

With that said, here are some suggestions on how to improve one’s Greek that I’ve found helpful and of which I implement:

9 October 2012 – N.T. Wright on learning Greek, and a review of A Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible by Zondervan

24 November 2012 – Do You Need to Speak Greek in Order to Read it?

1853? – The Greek of Homer a Living Language

11 December 2013 – Daily Greek Reading Setup

5 August 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Don’t Lose Your Vocabulary

17 September 2015 – 5 Ways to Improve Your Greek Speaking Skills

27 June 2017 – A Strategic Approach to Reading Background Texts of the New Testament (tangent to this is Increase Your Brain Power with Classics)

4 July 2017 – This Is Why You Should Study the Apocrypha Alongside the New Testament

6 July 2017 – Practice Greek Like a Master Violinist

Greek Passage Guide Lessons

[I am truly sorry for the Erasmian pronunciations, but the good these people provide via the rest of their work outweighs the bad they do with their various North American Anglo-centric un-Greek Erasmian pronunciations.]



1:1-3 – 1:4-5 – 1:6-8 – 1:9-10 – 1:11-12 – 1:13-15 – 1:16-19 – 1:20-21 – 1:22-23 – 1:24-25 – 1:24-25 – 1:26-27 – 1: 28 – 1:29-30 – 1:31 – [Unfortunately, that is all LPD is doing for now.] – [in 1 Clement 4:1-4:6 St. Clement of Rome quotes Genesis 4:3-8] 4:3-4a – 4:4b-5a – 4:5b-7a – 4:7b-8 – 





14:6 – 14:7 – 14:8 – 14:9 – 14:10 – 14:11 – 14:12 – 14:13 – 14:14 – 14:15 – 14:16 – 14:17 – 14:8 – 14:19 – 14:20 – 14:21 – 14:22 – 14:23 – 14:24 (In the video here for 14:24 Dr. Plummer mentions Jeremiah 31:31, which is the Jewish Masoretic Text (sometimes listed as 31:30). The older Christian Greek Text is Ieremias 38:31.) – 14:25 – 14:26 – 14:27 (In the video here Dr. Plummer mentions Zachariah 13:7; I believe here St. Mark quotes, in Greek, Jesus quoting from the Jewish proto-Masoretic Text, as the LXX of Zacharias 13:7 reads slightly different.) – 14:28 – 14:29 – 14:30 – 14:31 – 14:32 – 14:33 – 14:34 – 14:35 – 14:36 – 14:37 – 14:38 – 14:39 – 14:40 – 14:41 (Apollonios Dyskolos) – 14:42 – 14:43 – 14:44 – 14:45 – 14:46 – 14:47 – 14:48 – 14:49 (Zerwick’s Biblical Greek & diachronic Greek) – 14:50 – 14:51 – 14:52 – 14:53 – 14:54 – 14:55 – 14:56 – 14:57 – 14:58 – 14:59 – 14:60 – 14:61 – 14:62 – 14:63 – 14:64 – 14:65 – 14:66 – 14:67 – 14:68 – 14:69 – 14:70 – 14:71 – 14:72 – 15:1 – 15:2 – 15:3 – 15:4 – 15:5 – 15:6 – 15:7 – 15:8 – 15:9 – 15:10 – 15:11 – 5:12 – 5:13 – 15:14 – 15:15 – 15:16 – 15:17 – 15:18 – 15:19 – 15:20 – 15:21 – 



1:1 (In the video here, “Baptist-type” Dr. Varner is incorrect, as the 2000 year witness of the Greek Orthodox Church testifies that the correct understanding here is with the English words “bishops” and “deacons;” this is even attested by Presbyterian minister Marvin R. Vincent:

Bishops (ἐπισκόποις). Lit., overseers. See on visitation, 1 Peter 2:12. The word was originally a secular title, designating commissioners appointed to regulate a newly-acquired territory or a colony. It was also applied to magistrates who regulated the sale of provisions under the Romans. In the Septuagint it signifies inspectors, superintendents, taskmasters, see 2 Kings 11:19; 2 Chronicles 34:12, 17; or captains, presidents, Nehemiah 11:9, 14, 22. In the apostolic writings it is synonymous with presbyter or elder; and no official distinction of the episcopate as a distinct order of the ministry is recognized. Rev. has overseers in margin.

Deacons (διακόνοις). The word means servant, and is a general term covering both slaves and hired servants. It is thus distinct from δοῦλος bond-servant. It represents a servant, not in his relation, but in his activity. In the epistles it is often used specifically for a minister of the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 3:7. Here it refers to a distinct class of officers in the apostolic church. The origin of this office is recorded Acts 6:1–6. It grew out of a complaint of the Hellenistic or Graeco-Jewish members of the Church, that their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food and alms. The Palestinian Jews prided themselves on their pure nationality and looked upon the Greek Jews as their inferiors. Seven men were chosen to superintend this matter, and generally to care for the bodily wants of the poor. Their function was described by the phrase to serve tables, Acts 6:2, and their appointment left the apostles free to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. The men selected for the office are supposed to have been Hellenists, from the fact that all their names are Greek, and one is especially described as a proselyte, Acts 6:5; but this cannot be positively asserted, since it was not uncommon for Jews to assume Greek names. See on Romans 16:5. The work of the deacons was, primarily, the relief of the sick and poor; but spiritual ministrations naturally developed in connection with their office. The latter are referred to by the term helps, 1 Corinthians 12:28. Stephen and Philip especially appear in this capacity, Acts 8:5–40; 6:8–11. Such may also be the meaning of ministering, Romans 12:7. Hence men of faith, piety, and sound judgment were recommended for the office by the apostles, Acts 6:3; 1 Timothy 3:8–13. Women were also chosen as deaconesses, and Phoebe, the bearer of the epistle to the Romans, is commonly supposed to have been one of these. See on Romans 16:1.

Ignatius says of deacons: “They are not ministers of food and drink, but servants (ὑπηρέται, See on Matthew 5:25) of the Church of God” (“Epistle to Tralles,” 2.). “Let all pay respect to the deacons as to Jesus Christ” (“Tralles,” 3.). “Respect the deacons as the voice of God enjoins you” (“Epistle to Smyrna,” 8.). In “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” the local churches or individual congregations are ruled by bishops and deacons. “Elect therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord; men meek and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved; for they too minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers. Therefore despise them not, for they are those that are the honored among you with the prophets and teachers” (15:1, 2). Deaconesses are not mentioned.

Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. 4 vols.; 2004), paragraph 15298.


or from the great Greek grammarian and Southern Baptist A.T. Robertson:

With the bishops (sun episkopois). “Together with bishops,” thus singled out from “all the saints.” See Acts 20:17, 28 for the use of this most interesting word as equivalent to presbuteros (elder). It is an old word from episkeptomai, to look upon or after, to inspect, so the overseer or superintendent. In the second century episcopos (Ignatius) came to mean one superior to elders, but not so in the N.T. The two New Testament church officers are here mentioned (bishops or elders and deacons). The plural is here employed because there was usually one church in a city with several pastors (bishops, elders). And deacons (kai diakonois). Technical sense here of the other church officers as in 1 Tim. 3:8-13, not the general use as in Matt. 22:13. The origin of the office is probably seen in Acts 6:1-6. The term is often applied to preachers (1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 3:6). The etymology (dia, konis) suggests raising a dust by hastening.

A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2001), paragraph 5021.


or from the so-called “paleo-orthodox” Protestant compilation of Patristic comments, edited by United Methodist Thomas C. Owen:

WITH THEIR BISHOPS AND DEACONS. THEODORET: He applies the term bishops to presbyters, for at that time they had both names.6 … And it is clear that he makes this assumption here also. For he joins the deacons to the bishops, making no mention of the presbyters. Furthermore, it was not possible for many bishops to be shepherds to one city. So it is clear that he is calling the presbyters bishops; yet in this same letter he calls the blessed Epaphroditus their apostle,7 … and thus he indicates plainly that he was entrusted with an episcopal function because he had the name of an apostle. EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS 1.1–2.8

WHY HE ADDRESSES THE CLERGY IN PHILIPPI AND NOT ELSEWHERE. CHRYSOSTOM: Nowhere else does Paul write specifically to the clergy—not in Rome, in Corinth, in Ephesus or anywhere. Rather he typically writes jointly to all who are holy, faithful and beloved. But in this case he addresses specifically the bishops and deacons. Why? Because it was they who had borne fruit and they who had sent Epaphroditus to him. HOMILY ON PHILIPPIANS 2.1.1–2.9

M. J. Edwards and Thomas C. Oden, eds., Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, ACCS 8; ICCS/Accordance electronic ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 218.


and to give more of the quote from St. Chrysostom:

“To the fellow-Bishops and Deacons.” What is this? were there several Bishops of one city? Certainly not; but he called the Presbyters so. For then they still interchanged the titles, and the Bishop was called a Deacon. For this cause in writing to Timothy, he said, “Fulfil thy ministry,” when he was a Bishop. For that he was a Bishop appears by his saying to him, “Lay hands hastily on no man.” (1 Tim. 5:22) And again, “Which was given thee with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4:14) Yet Presbyters would not have laid hands on a Bishop. And again, in writing to Titus, he says, “For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge. If any man is blameless, the husband of one wife” (Tit. 1:5, 6); which he says of the Bishop. And after saying this, he adds immediately, “For the Bishop must be blameless, as God’s steward, not self willed:” (Tit. 1:7) So then, as I said, both the Presbyters were of old called Bishops and Deacons of Christ, and the Bishops Presbyters; and hence even now many Bishops write, “To my fellow-Presbyter,” and, “To my fellow-Deacon.” But otherwise the specific name is distinctly appropriated to each, the Bishop and the Presbyter. “To the fellow-Bishops,” he says, “and Deacons,

Ver. 2. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

How is it that though he nowhere else writes to the Clergy, not in Rome, nor in Corinth, nor in Ephesus, nor anywhere, but in general, to “all the saints, the believers, the beloved,” yet here he writes to the Clergy? Because it was they that sent, and bare fruit, and it was they that dispatched Epaphroditus to him.


as I said, in my opinion, Dr. Verner is mistaken here.) –

1 john

1:1 (see Wallace GGBB, pp. 239-240) – 2:2 (see “Expiation” Rather Than “Propitiation” by Fr. John Breck) –


0:8-9 –


Clement of Rome, ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Α’ (First Letter to the Corinthians)

1:0  1:1  1:1 (continued)  1:2 – 1:2 (continued) – 1:3 – 1:3 (continued) – 2:1 – 2:1 (continued) – 2:2 – 2:3 – 2:4 – 2:5-6 – 2:7-8 – 3:1 – 3:2 – 3:3 – 3:4 – 4:1 – 4:2 – 4:3-4 – 4:5-6 –