Luke 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after:

KJV Verse: 

Luke 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

These things--as an explanation--all the nations of the world order wish after. However, your Father has seen that you need of these things.

Explanation of Greek: 

Hidden in this verse is the idea that God has seen in the past what you need or desire today. This verse is another example of how Christ's words are understood better spoken than written (see this article). In this case, this verse has two introductory clauses. Also, the English word order is different than the Greek because, generally, Greek puts the most important aspects first, while written English as a more rigid subject-verb-object form. However, the Greek order also works when spoken in English.

The "these things" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage.  It is not typically used as an adjective. Since it is plural, neutral, "these things" captures it. 

The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why."  To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "as an explanation" or "as a cause".

The word translated as "all" is the Greek adjective meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. When it is used as a noun, we would say "everything." It appears before the "nations" not the "these things" though the form could apply to either. 

The Greek term translated as "the nations" means generally "a tribe of men" but it also means "nations." Jesus uses it to refer to nations other than Judea, that is the non-Jewish people. However, more broadly, it means those who do not concern themselves with God. This verse is the first use of this Greek term in the Gospel.

The Greek term translated as "seek after" means "seek after", "wish for", and "miss". This verb is in the present tense. This version of that word has the prefix that means "on", "at", or "upon", so "aim at" or "focus on" is the closest in English. This version of the word is used only negatively by Jesus.

The Greek word translated as "and" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

The word translated as "your" is plural addressing a group of Jesus's listeners.

"Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own Father, though it can mean any male ancestor. When referring to others, Christ uses it to refer to their ancestors, that is, "forefathers."

The verb translated as "knoweth" means "to see" but it is used like we use the word "see" to mean "to know" or "to perceive." It is not, however, in the present tense but in form of an action completed in the past, "has seen".

The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause.

The verb translated as "need" means "want", "lack", "have need of", and "desire". Again, it is in the present tense. Notice how its meaning overlaps with the earlier verb translated as "seek after". The KJV doesn't reflect this, but it seems important. Both "need" and "want" combine its sense of a lack and a desire.

"Of these things" is a demonstrative pronoun that means "this", "here", "the nearer," and "the familiar." It is the possessive form of the word that starts the verse. 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ταῦτα (adj pl neut acc) "These things" is from tauta, which is a referring pronoun meaning "these", "this", "that," and "here." It can mean the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why."

γὰρ (adv) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question, it means "why" and "what."

πάντα (adj pl neut acc ) "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything."

τὰ ἔθνη (noun pl neut nom) "The nations" is from ethnos, which means "a number of people living together", "company", "body of men," "tribe", "a people", "nation," and (later) "foreign, barbarous nations."

τοῦ κόσμου () "Of the world" is kosmos, which mean "order", "good order", "ruler", "world order", "universe," and "the world of men." It is a form of the is verb kosmeô, which means "to order", "to arrange", "to rule", "to adorn" (especially women), and "to equip." It especially means controlling and arranging an army. -- Christ uses the word translated as "the world" to mean "the world order," specifically the powers-that-be. More about this word in this article about related words.

ἐπιζητοῦσιν: (3rd pl pres ind act) "Seek after" is from epizeteo, which means "seek after", "wish for", "miss", "request," desire" and "demand" as well as searching for something.

δὲ (conj/adv) "And" is 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"). 

ὑμῶν (pron 2nd pl gen) "Your" is humon, the plural possessive form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." 

πατὴρ (noun sg masc nom) "The Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

οἶδεν (3rd sg perf ind act) "Knoweth" is from eido which means "to see", "to examine", "to perceive", "to behold", "to know how to do", "to see with the mind's eye," and "to know."

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore." 

χρῄζετε (verb 2nd pl pres ind act) "Have need" is from chrezo, which means "want", "lack", "have need of", "desire", "long for", "crave", "if one will", "if one chooses," and, as an adjective, "needy," and "poor."

τούτων (adj pl neut gen) "Of these things" is from touto, which means "from here", "from there", "this [thing]," or "that [thing]."

Related Verses: 

Apr 17 2018