“More Than Me” in the Bible
I was thinking about the video post I made the other day about the difference between “more than I” and “more than me.” And how the correct word depends upon whether you consider than to be a conjunction that’s part of an elliptical clause or a preposition requiring an object.
And I thought: Why do I care about this kind of thing? Why does anyone? Can’t we just talk to one another the way we feel most comfortable? Isn’t what I mean clear enough without getting into the technicalities of English usage?
Then I came across these words of Jesus from Matthew 10:37. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” Huh. More than me. Not more than I.
If Jesus had said, “Anyone who loves his father and mother more than I is not worthy of me,” that would have meant something completely different — something weird that implies he’s not all too keen about fathers and mothers.
But he didn’t say that of course. He meant you should love HIM more than you love your father and mother, not that you should love your father and mother more than HE loves his or your father and mother. And the word that makes the difference here is the pronoun: me.
And, yes, I know that Jesus didn’t actually say me. He spoke Aramaic, not English. I have no idea if Aramaic distinguishes between nominative and objective case pronouns or if it contains elliptical clauses. But English does, and the translators used the correct pronoun here to make sure the meaning was clear.
I also checked a concordance and found no examples of “more than I” in the Revised Standard Version. At least none that would cause confusion if changed to “more than me.” I was hoping for an example of the other option, but…no such luck.
Still, getting grammar right makes a difference at least some of the time.
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