Many translations translate τί as "what" in Mark 4:24. However the Strong's concordance says that it may represent "who, which, what, why". Wiktionary also indicates this..

So is it "who you hear" or "what you hear"?

1 Answer 1


τίς is an interrogative pronoun, and as a pronoun, it declines according to (1) case, (2) gender, and (3) number. The lexical form τίς is declined in the nominative case, masculine/feminine gender, and singular number.

The Greek text of Mark 4:24 states,

Καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Βλέπετε τί ἀκούετε ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε μετρηθήσεται ὑμῖν καὶ προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν τοῖς ἀκούουσιν

In Mark 4:24, we don't encounter τίς but τί, which is declined in the accusative case (according to the syntax, although the same form occurs in the nominative case) and singular number, but neuter gender instead of masculine/feminine gender.

In English, we use the pronoun "who" when referring to male or female people (persons), but "what" when referring to impersonal objects. Likewise, in Greek, we use the pronoun τίς when referring to people, but τί when referring to impersonal objects.

Therefore, the proper translation of «τί ἀκούετε» would be "what you hear." Had the Greek text been written «τίνα ἀκούετε», then we could translate that into English as "whom you hear."

  • I do find it interesting that "what you hear" gets considered an impersonal object when that's the "son of man". However to support this as to a person's state Matthew 7:16-20 and also Luke 6:43-45. And to support that a state changes defining "what" not "who" in Matthew 12:23. Now I need to understand what it means to "gather the fruit". As suggested in Matthew 9 37-38.
    – Decrypted
    Mar 1, 2016 at 12:13
  • Also then the wages of the harvesters, I do find it interesting That James points out that "The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty." - James 5:4. For whom then harvests from me what to them do I owe?
    – Decrypted
    Mar 1, 2016 at 12:32
  • I do find it interesting that "what you hear" gets considered an impersonal object when that's the "son of man". --- It's "what you hear" because "what" is referring to the words spoken.
    – user862
    Mar 1, 2016 at 16:44
  • Yes, and the "what" that gets born from the object of a man is so the words that the man speaks hence the "son of man" ^^,
    – Decrypted
    Mar 1, 2016 at 22:08

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