Luke 5:23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins

KJV Verse: 

 Luke 5:23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Why? It is less tiring to proclaim, "They have been released by themselves, those sins of yours, for you!" than to proclaim "Wake up and walk around."

Explanation of Greek: 

This verse is almost identical to Matthew 9:5 except for an introductory word and a tense. It is less similar to the longer version in Mark 2:9. The "easier" word is actually a humorous reference, not a simple comparative as it appears in translation. The phrase about "thy sins be forgiven thee" is the same as in Luke 5:20. The "arise and "walk" statement has a double meaning referring to waking the dead.

The Greek word translated as "whether" primarily means "someone" and "something," but it has a lot of uses including the introduction of short questions such as "what", "why", etc. It was translated as "why" in Luke 5:22.

The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

The word translated as "easier" is a compound of two words. It is an uncommon word, appearing only a half dozen times in the NT and only five times in the rest of ancient Greek literature. The prefix here means "good" or "better" because the word is comparative. The base word primarily means "beating" or "fatigue". So the sense is "better fatigue", which has the sense of "less tiring".

The word translated as "to say" is the primary verb used in the NT to refer to speaking, telling, or saying. It also means "proclaiming," which works pretty well when Christ is referring to this type of statement.

The word translated as "sins" is a form of a word that means "to fail in one's purpose", "to neglect," and "to be deprived of." It has no sense of doing malicious evil in Greek. The best English translation is "mistakes" or "failures" rather than what we commonly think of as the evils of "sin." More about this word in this article.

The word translated as "be forgiven" primarily means "to let go" or "to send away." This same word is usually translated as "leave", "forgive", "suffer," and "let" in the New Testament. It is in a form where the subject ("mistakes") is acted upon by itself, so "have let go of themselves." It is in a past tense where in Matthew 9:5, it was in the present tense. 

The word translated as "or" also means "than" in a comparison, as it is used here.

The word for "to say" is the same word in the same form as the earlier "to say."

The word for "arise" is the same word Christ uses to describe God raising the dead and false prophets arising.

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

The word translated as "walk" means "walk around" and it is a metaphor meaning "making your way", "progress", "to use your opportunities," and "to live."


 The phrase "awake and walk around" also has the sense of "awake and live" 

Greek Vocabulary: 

-- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those." -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone."

ἐστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." -- 

εὐκοπώτερον, [uncommon](adj sg neut nom/acc comp) "Easier" is from eukopo, which is a comparative form of "easy." It is a compound eu, the word for "well", "thoroughly", "competently", "fortunately," and "happily." and kopos, which means "striking", "beating", "toil and trouble", "fatigue," and "work." The modern Greek word meaning "easy" closest is eukolos, where the later part, kolos, means "cool".

εἰπεῖν (verb aor inf act) "I have called" is eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

Ἀφέωνταί (verb 3rd pl perf ind mp ) "Be forgiven" is from aphiemi, which means "to let fall", "to send away", "give up", "hand over", "to let loose", "to get rid of", "to leave alone", "to pass by", "to permit," and "to send forth from oneself."

σοι (pron 2nd, sg dat) "You" is soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you".

αἱ ἁμαρτίαι (noun pl fem nom) "Sin" is from hamartia, which means "to miss the mark", "failure", "fault," and "error." Only in religious contexts does it become "guilt" and "sin."

σου, (pron 2nd sg gen ) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

 (conj) "Or" is which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than."

εἰπεῖν (aor inf act ) "To say" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer."

Ἔγειρε (2nd sg pres imperat act) "Arise" is from egeiro, which means "to awaken", "to stir up," and "to rouse."

καὶ (conj) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

περιπάτει; (2nd sg pres imperat act) "Walk" is from peripateo, which means "to walk up and down", "to walk about," and "to walk about while teaching."

Related Verses: 

Aug 29 2017