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Greek Word Study on 4521 σάββατον sabbaton Sabbath.
Hebrew Word Study on 7676 שַׁבָּת shabbat Sabbath.
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Introduction 4.03

There are many people who believe that because the Old Covenant and the Ten Commandments were given through Moses, that it was never created for Gentiles, and no Gentile should keep it. However, Jesus said that the "Sabbath was made for the man" (Mark 2:27), and here will analyze the meaning of this statement. This bible study explains that the Sabbath was made either for all mankind, or for Adam.


Greek - MARK 2:27-28 - English
καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς τὸ σάββατον διὰ τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐγένετο οὐχ ὁ ἄνθρωπος διὰ τὸ σάββατον 27 And he said to them, The Sabbath was made for the man, and not the man for the Sabbath:
ὥστε κύριός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ τοῦ σαββάτου 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Note: Jesus did not say that the Sabbath was made for the Jews, he said it was made for the man (Mark 2:27). The Greek words translated "the man" in this scripture are ὁ ἄνθρωπος (Gtr. ho anthropos) - Nominative case, and τὸν ἄνθρωπον (Gtr. ton anthropon) - accusative case. Look at some definitions of it.

(James Strong p26) "444. ἄνθρωπος (559x) anthropos ... man-faced i.e. a human being: man (552x), not tr (4x), misc. (3x).
Anthropos is used (1) generally of a human being, male or female, without reference to sex or nationality:"

(Joseph H. Thayer p46) "444. ἄνθρωπος -ου, ὁ, [perh. fr. ἀνὴρ and ὢν, i.e. man's face; ...] It is used 1. univ., with ref. to the genus or nature, without distinction of sex, a human being, whether male or female: Jn xvi 21. And in this sense a. with the article, generally, so as to include all human individuals: ..."

There are a number of ways how this word "anthropos" is used in the New Testament, in the singular, with the definite article. It is either used of a particular individual, where the article is called 'the individualizing article', or it is used in a generic sense of a class of people, so let us look at some examples:

#4.031 Anthropos With the Definite Article used in a Generic sense - the Sabbath was made for Mankind

Where the individualizing article distinguishes one individual from another, in this category the definite article is used to distinguish one class from another. It focuses on a category of people rather than on individuals. The category may or may not be defined in the context by an adjective. In these cases it is possible to use "a", "an", or "any" in place of "the", or substitute "men" for "man" without changing the meaning. Look at these examples.

(Matthew 12:35) "The good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things."
(Mark 6:45) "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good."

In this case the class is "good men", even though ὁ ἄνθρωπος is singular. We could say "good men" or "a good man" without affecting the meaning.

(Matthew 12:43) "When the unclean spirit goes out of the man, he walks through dry places."
(Luke 11:24) "When the unclean spirit is gone out of the man."

The class here is "men who have had unclean spirits cast out of them". Again we could say "a man" or "men" instead of "the man", or even "any man" without changing the meaning.

There are numerous other cases where the definite article is used with "anthropos" in this way. The classes are: "evil men" (Matthew 12:35, Mark 6:45), "men who eat with unwashed hands" (Matthew 15:11, Mark 7:15, 7:18, 7:20, 7:23), "men who cause offences" (Matthew 18:7, Romans 14:20), "married men who have a bad relationship with their wife" (Matthew 19:10), "men who are under the law" (John 7:51, Romans 7:1, Galatians 3:12), "men of God" (2 Timothy 3:17), and "men who doubt when they pray for wisdom" (James 1:7). In each of these cases the class is defined by the context of the scripture, but there are some cases where the class is not defined by the context.

(Luke 4:4) "The man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."
(John 2:25) "And did not need that any should testify of the man: for he knew what was in the man."
(1 Corinthians 2:11) "For what man knows the things of the man, except the spirit of the man which is in him?"

In these cases we could substitute the word "men", or "humans" for "the man", or even "a man" for "the man" without changing the meaning. In the first occurrence in each of these cases "the man" could be replaced by "any man" and still mean the same. The class is "mankind". This fits very well with the scripture that we are examining.

(Mark 2:27) "The Sabbath was made for the man, and not the man for the Sabbath:"

If the article used in this scripture is meant in a generic sense then it can only refer to mankind as a whole, so "the Sabbath was made for mankind". The word "anthropos" is never used to mean "Jews" as a class unless it is specifically stated in the context, even though Jews are a part of the class of mankind. So we cannot possibly interpret this as, "the Sabbath was made for the Jews" unless we twist the scripture. A number of translations follow this generic sense of the word anthropos. Here are a few examples but they are not the only ones.

Common English Bible (CEB) "The Sabbath was created for humans; humans weren't created for the Sabbath."
The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) "Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat."
Good News Translation (GNT) "The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings; they were not made for the Sabbath."
Lexham English Bible (LEB) "The Sabbath was established for people, and not people for the Sabbath."
New Revised Standard (NRS) "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath."

#4.032 Anthropos With the Definite Individualizing Article - the Sabbath was made for the Man

Where the generic article distinguishes one class from another, the individualizing article distinguishes one individual from another. The individual may or may not be named in the context, but sometimes the individual may be well known to the readers even if not named.

"It is not necessary for the noun to have the article in order for it to be definite. But conversely, a noun cannot be indefinite when it has the article. Thus it may be definite without the article, and it must be definite with the article.
Daniel B. Wallace GREEK GRAMMAR BEYOND the BASICS Zondervan p243

Therefore the individualizing article indicates a definite individual, but in Mark 2:27 the man is not named in the context, so we need to look at some cases which may be similar. Look at these examples:

(1) A definite individual previously mentioned in the context whose name is not known.

(Matthew 12:13) "Then he says to the man, Stretch out your hand."
This was a definite man with a withered hand previously mentioned in Matthew 12:10.

(Luke 8:33) "Then the demons went out of the man, and entered into the swine."
This was a definite man who had a legion of demons cast out of him, who was previously mentioned in Luke 8:27.

(John 5:9) "And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked."
This was a definite man who had been infirm for thirty eight years previously mentioned in John 5:5.

These are 3 examples of numerous cases in scripture where someone was mentioned but no name was recorded. In Mark 2:27 there was no mention of "the man" concerned in the previous context, and the idea that the Sabbath was made for some unknown person who was never named in the bible does not make spiritual sense, so we will dismiss this as a possible interpretation for Mark 2:27.

(2) With the definite article in the singular - a definite person who is well known.

Here is one use of the article which fits very well with the passage we are examining: the Well-Known ("Celebrity" or "Familiar" Article).

This article points out an object that is well known ... Thus it refers to a well known object that has not been mentioned in the preceding context (anaphoric), nor is considered to be the best of its class (par excellence), nor is one of a kind (monadic).
Daniel B. Wallace GREEK GRAMMAR BEYOND the BASICS Zondervan p225

This refers to some definite person who may not be named in the immediate context but would be well known to the readers. Some examples are: "the carpenter" (Matthew 13:55), "the bond woman " and "the free woman " (Galatians 4:22), "the elder " (2 John 1:1). These examples are showing the use of the definite article in this way, although they do not link to the word "anthropos ", but the following examples do.

Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe to that man (Judas Iscariot) by whom the Son of man is betrayed!

Luke 22:22 And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined: but woe to that man (Judas Iscariot) by whom he is betrayed!

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you according to any way: for that day shall not come, except the apostasy shall come first, and that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition;
This last example refers to the Antichrist, who is a well know individual, but not yet named.

So if this is "an individualizing article" in Mark 2:27, then who does it refer to? Some may say "Jesus", but millions of people kept the Sabbath day before and after Jesus so it would not be made specifically for him. Otherwise Jesus should have said, "The Sabbath was made for me," and he didn't. Well, some may say it refers to Moses, but again millions of people have kept Sabbath day besides Moses, even after he died, so that would not be the case either, and Jesus didn't say, "The Sabbath was made for Moses." There is another option, and that is that the Sabbath was made for Adam. We could argue that millions of people kept the Sabbath after Adam so it would not be made for him. However, Adam was the progenitor of mankind, the first human, and the in a sense the father of all humanity. Whatever was given to him would be passed down to his children for all generations, just like the knowledge of good and evil was. This could not be said of Jesus or Moses. Adam had work to do in the garden of Eden. He was put there to "tend and keep it" (Genesis 2:15), and to "till the ground" (Genesis 2:5), so he was a farmer of sorts and would need a day of rest. He was created before the Sabbath was sanctified, so he existed on the earth as a human before the Sabbath, while Moses and Jesus came a long time after. There are some other interesting facts that point to Adam being the one Jesus referred to.

MARK 2:27
27 And he said to them, The Sabbath was made for the man, and not the man for the Sabbath.

The Society for Distributing Hebrew Scriptures has produced a translation of the New Testament in Hebrew. It translates both of these occurrences of the man with הָאָדָם (Htr. ha adam) which is "the man" or "Adam". So in their thinking "ho anthropos" is equivalent to "ha adam" at least in some places. Look at the Old Testament and look at the Hebrew and Greek of the Septuagint and see how they match up.

(Genesis 1:27) "And God created man (Hb. הָאָדָם Htr. ha adam, Gr. τὸν ἄνθρωπον Gtr. ton anthropon) in His own image."
(Genesis 2:7) "Then Yahweh God formed man (Hb. הָאָדָם Htr. ha adam, Gr. τὸν ἄνθρωπον Gtr. ton anthropon) of the dust of the ground."
(Genesis 2:8) "And Yahweh God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man (Hb. הָאָדָם Htr. ha adam, Gr. τὸν ἄνθρωπον Gtr. ton anthropon) whom He had formed."
(Genesis 2:15) "And Yahweh God took the man (Hb. הָאָדָם Htr. ha adam, Gr. τὸν ἄνθρωπον Gtr. ton anthropon) and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."
(Genesis 2:16) "And Yahweh God commanded the man (Hb. הָאָדָם Htr. ha adam, Gr. τῷ Αδαμ Gtr. to Adam) saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat."
(Genesis 6:1) "And it came to pass when men (Hb. הָאָדָם Htr. ha adam, Gr. οἱ ἄνθρωποι Gtr. hoi anthropoi plural form) began to multiply on the face of the earth."

In a number of cases in the Greek Septuagint, the very words in the Greek of Mark 2:27 , ton anthropon, referring to whom the Sabbath was made for, are used of Adam in particular, which shows quite clearly that Jesus could have been referring to him.


As you can see, various cases of "ho anthropos" are sometimes used of an individual, but also of mankind in General. If we conclude that it is correct in a generic sense then it must refer to mankind in General. If we conclude that it refers to an individual, then Adam is the most likely candidate, and what he had would naturally pass down to the rest of mankind just like the knowledge of good and evil did. Could any of these scriptures (or any of the many others) even in the new Testament mean only Jews? Does ἄνθρωπος mean a Jew in Matthew 8:9 or Luke 7:8 where it refers to a Roman Centurion? Does it possibly mean only Jews where it is used in the expression "all men" (1 Timothy 2:4, 4:10, Titus 2:11, 3:2, etc)? Obviously not, and if not, then it doesn't mean Jews in Mark 2:27 either. Jesus could have used the word for Jew if he had meant only Jews. When Israel left Egypt a mixed multitude also went with them (Exodus 12:38), and even under the Old Covenant these Gentiles had to keep the Sabbath day:

(Exodus 12:49) "One law shall be to him who is home-born, and to the foreigner who sojourns among you."
(Exodus 20:10) "But the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your foreigner who is within your gates."
(Exodus 23:12) "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your ass may rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the foreigner, may be refreshed."
(Leviticus 24:22) "You shall have one manner of law, as well as for the foreigner, as for one of your own country: for I am the Lord your God."
(Deuteronomy 5:14) "but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you ... nor your foreigner who is within your gates; ..."
(Isaiah 56:6-7) "Also the sons of the foreigner, who join themselves to Yahweh, to serve him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be his servants, every one who keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant;
Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called an house of prayer for all people."

The word foreigner in all these scriptures (stranger in KJV) refer to someone who was not an Israelite by birth. The Sabbath is never referred to as "the Jewish Sabbath" in the scripture. From the beginning God knew that man would need physical rest, and he provided a day for it. People who ignore this, and work seven days a week, will probably suffer stress, fatigue of some sort, or even ill health. This will not change as long as people are involved in secular work. So as long as it applies, why not set aside the specific day that God ordained and Jesus made? Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1 with 1:14; Revelation 19:13), he created the Sabbath (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16) for man (Mark 2:27), he was Lord of it (Mark 2:28), and yet Jesus kept it himself perfectly, even going to the synagogue habitually when he was in the flesh (Luke 4:16). He is the head of the true church of God (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and he has not changed (Hebrews 13:8;  1 Peter 1:25), so if he made it for us, then we need it, and should keep it.

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