Knowing Greek certainly allows one not to be dependent on translations for the meaning of words. That freedom can sometimes lead one to see more clearly and make life changes!
Knowing Greek allows you to peek into the culture and understand more than just word meanings.
Semantics let you see an array of meanings behind words and the range of contexts for words.
Most of the time word-for-word translation is out of the question. One has to allow cultural context and immediate context to aid in arriving at meaning.
Trust is a word we use for only a few people in our lives. Beginning in our 20s, we begin to lose the idealism of youth to see that not everyone lives by our code of ethics and does what we think they should do. When we get married, we put our trust in a person for the marriage to be exclusive. When that trust is broken, we feel betrayed. We choose to repair the relationship or to move away from it. By the time we are in our 40s, we have found that we can’t trust very many people. We choose, also, to create an inner circle of friends who will act and do the things we would expect of ourselves. We form bonds of trust with them that we don’t form with other acquaintances. We’re extremely disappointed in them if they break our trust. We forgive or overlook their indiscretions when they occur because, overall, we value their philosophy of life. We move away from them , though, if the disappointment is great. We want to trust, but as we get older, we see clearly that trusting is reserved for those who won’t hurt us or betray us.
We find a situation in Jesus’ life where the issue of trust comes up (Matthew 17.14-20). A man brought his insane son to Jesus for Jesus to make him sane. Evidently, nine of the twelve, or at least some of the twelve other than Peter, James, and John, told the man that Jesus wasn’t available at the time. The man then asked them, as followers and students of Jesus, if they could heal his son of insanity. They tried but were unsuccessful. When Jesus returned with Peter, James, and John. The man then asked Jesus for his healing touch.
Although Jesus did heal the man’s son, he shared his thoughts about trust. Verses 17 and 20 in this incident contain his comments.
ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· ὦ γενεὰ ἄπιστος καὶ
Replying - the Jesus said what a group of people distrusting and
διεστραμμένη, ἕως πότε μεθ’ ὑμῶν ἔσομαι; ἕως πότε
twisted how long when with you must I be how long when
ἀνέξομαι ὑμῶν; φέρετέ μοι αὐτὸν ὧδε
must I endure with you bring to me him here
ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς· διὰ τὴν ὀλιγοπιστίαν ὑμῶν·
the one - said to them because of the very small measure of trust of you
ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐρεῖτε ·
Truly for I say to you if you have trust as seed of mustard you say
τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ μετάβα ἔνθεν ἐκεῖ, καὶ μεταβήσεται· καὶ οὐδὲν
to the mountain this move here there and it will move and nothing
will beimpossible for you
Immediately upon hearing the man’s request to make his son sane again, Jesus responded with a poignant statement about how disappointing living among humans was (perhaps it was living among the Jews in particular because they were supposed to have been God’s representatives on Earth). “Such a distrustful and gravely mistaken group of people!” The phrase “gravely mistaken” comes from a word that meant “twisted” in many contexts. A colloquial understanding of this word in English could be translated “messed up,” “bungled,” or “bollixed.”
What exactly did the man not trust? Or was it the followers of Jesus who tried to heal the boy who didn’t trust? Did they not trust God or understand his power to act in human affairs? Jesus had a similar response to Mary when she came to meet him upon his arrival after Lazarus’ death and expressed veiled doubt about Jesus’ timing and his power. She didn’t trust God to be in control of events, even the ability to bestow life (John 11.33, 40). In the case of the man bringing his son for Jesus to heal, Jesus’ quick answer about trust, and what he says to the apostles later, shows that he was exasperated with the “bungled amount of trust” the Jews had of God’s intentions and his activity among humans, so much so that he asked when he could be taken from their midst!
After the man left with his changed son, the apostles asked why they could not make the man sane. Jesus was very clear, “Because of your very small measure of trust!” And so they could understand how small a measure they had, he turned his intangible statement into something tangible – a mustard seed, a really, really small seed in the realm of seeds. Having just that amount of trust could move mountains. But the apostles didn’t even have that small amount. So they, naturally, couldn’t show it and act on it.
I have had to retrain myself in my “belief” in God in the second half of my life. Sure, I believed during the first half. But, I didn’t really trust God – that his timing was right, that he could change something (usually something insane into something sane), that he could lead me home on his terms, that the people in my life had intersected it for a reason, and much more. Now, finally, I can trust God for leading, guiding, and doing whatever he wants to do in human affairs. I have dropped my “bungled” attempt at understanding God according to what I think he should do or could do, or even what I was to taught to think he would do when a youth growing up. I have learned that trust does move mountains.