Luk 7:28 ...Among those that are born of women

KJV Verse: 

Luk 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I am telling you all, among offspring of women higher than John no one is. However, the lesser one among the realm of the Divine? Higher than he is!

Hidden Meaning: 

This verse shows not one but two repeated changes made in Luke to common phrases in Matthew. The verse itself is also shorted, eliminating some of the play on words from in the Matthew version (Mat 11:11). 

In the Matthew version, this verse begins with the common phrase "verily, I tell you". This is one of the examples found only in Mark where the "verily" part is left off, leaving only "I tell you." Mark doesn't always shorten the phrase, but commonly does. Its meaning is discussed in detail in this article.

The word translated as "I say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

The word translated as "among" also means "within", "with," or "among." In the Greek, this phrase appears later in the verse, after the subject and verb. It is translated later in the sentence as "in."

"Them that are born" is an adjective that means "begotten," or "born," and, as a noun, "offspring" or "progeny." Itis, however, plural, so "children" is the only English word that works. 

"Of women" is the word for "woman" in the form of a possessive.

"Greater than" is a word that means "greater" in any number of ways, including "higher" which fits with the "raise" verb used in Matthew but eliminated here. In also means "higher in authority." 

"John" is the Greek form of the name "John", Joanon. 

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

The Greek word translated as "but" joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

"Least" is a word that means "small" and "little" applied to anything, size, power, age, quantity, rank, or influence. Christ usually uses it to refer to children. It is in a comparative form, meaning "lesser", not the superlative form.  

In Matthew, the common phrase "the kingdom of heaven" appears. Here, it is "kingdom of God".

The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

is a phrase that we have discussed extensively on this site. Our favorite version of this idea is "universal rule" or "rules of the universe." The word translated as "heaven" here is plural so "heavens" or "skies."

The final phrase "is greater than he" reads as a joke since Christ is saying that someone is the sky is higher than someone on earth.

"Greater" is an adjective which is the comparative form of the word meaning "big" or "great." It means "bigger", "higher", "longer", "greater" and simply, "superior." 

The "than he" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English, but it has a few shades of meaning our pronouns do not have. The word technically means "the same". It is in the form that is used for comparisons. So another sense here could be "higher as the same". 


λέγω   (1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" is from lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelt the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep." 

ὑμῖν, (pron 2nd pl dat) "You" is from humas the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ἐν  (prep) "Among" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

γεννητοῖς  [uncommon](adj pl masc dat) "Them that are born" is from gennetos, which is an adjective that means "begotten", "engendered", "propagated," or "born." When used as a noun, we might translate it as "child", "progeny," or "offspring."

γυναικῶν (noun pl fem gen) "Of women" is from gyne, which means "woman (as opposed to man)", "wife", "spouse", "mortal woman (as opposed to a goddess)," and "female mate (among animals)."

μείζων (adj sg masc nom comp ) "Greater than" is from meizon which means "bigger", "higher," and "greater" and is the comparative form of megas, which means "big" "vast", "high,"" long", "mighty," "great" and similar ideas.

Ἰωάνου  (noun sg masc gen) "John" is from Ioannes, which is the Greek form of the name "John."

οὐδεὶς () "Not" is oudeis which means "no one", "not one", "nothing", "naught", "good for naught," and "no matter." -- The Greek word translated as "nothing" also means "no one" and other negatives nouns. However, to avoid the English double-negative, we translate it as its opposite "anyone" when used with another Greek negative.

ἔστιν: (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "There is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

(article sg masc nom ) "The" is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." It's noun is after the word below."

δὲ "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

μικρότερος (adj sg masc nom comp ) "Little ones" is from mikros, which means "small", "little", "unimportant," and "young." It is one of the several words Christ uses to refer to children.

ἐν   (prep) "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τῇ βασιλείᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

τοῦ θεοῦ   (noun pl masc gen) "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate." -.

μείζων (adj sg masc nom comp ) "Greater than" is from meizon which means "bigger", "higher," and "greater" and is the comparative form of megas, which means "big" "vast", "high,"" long", "mighty," "great" and similar ideas.

αὐτοῦ  (adj sg masc gen ) "He" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of ones own accord."

ἐστίν. (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

Related Verses: 

Nov 2 2017