Luke 13:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not,

KJV Verse: 

 

Luke 13:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

And possibly on one hand it might produce fruit in that which is destined to be. If, however, on the other hand not, you might cut it off. 

Hidden Meaning: 

The KJV translation has a lot of words not in the Greek and leaves out some of the Greek as well. The Greek version has a much more dramatic sense than the KJV translation. 

The first three words of this verse in the Greek were translated in the previous verse of the KJV, Luke 13:8, which is really where they belong as a punchline. 

"And if" is from a conjunction that means "and if", "even if," "and possibly", and "although."  It is a contraction of the conjunction "and" that joins and the particle that indicates a possibility.

Untranslated here is a particle, which. when used alone, expresses certainty, "truly" and "certainly". However, when used with the conjunction translated here as "and if" takes on the meaning "on one hand..." with the "on the other hand" identified by the "but" phrase later in the verse. 

The Greek word translated as "it bear" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "rendering" as service. It describes a productive action. This word is almost always translated as "do" in the NT. This verse is a good example of why that translation doesn't work. The sense is always more productive than "doing" is in English. The form is something that might possibly happen at some time. 

The word translated as "fruit" primary meaning is "fruit", "seed," or "offspring," but its secondary meaning is "returns," specifically, "profit," as we would say "fruit of our labors."

There is no "well" in the Greek. 

The "and if not" comes later in the verse in the Greek. 

The Greek word translated as "and" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.   Used with the untranslated article in Greek, this signals the "on the other hand" concept. 

The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

The "not" here is a combination of two words meaning "no indeeed". The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. 

There is no Greek word translated as "then". 

The "after that" phrase doesn't mean "after that". It means "in that which is destined to be". If follows the "bear fruit" phrase". 

The word translated as "after" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

This Greek verb translated as "that" is a Greek verb, means "to be destined or likely to", "to be about to do something," or "to intend to" or "to have in mind to." It is in the form of a participle, uses as a neutral noun. So "that which is destined to be." This is a very dramatic phrase. It indicates that the tree (feminine) producing fruit (masculine) is a matter of some significance. 

The verb translated as "thou shall cut...down" means various forms of being "cut off," an idea that has a range of meanings similar to those in English from being hindered to being chopped down or ended. While the form could be the future tense, "shall cut", the form is more likely the potential sense in the tense that indicates something that might happen at some point in time, "you might cut...down". 

The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. The form is feminine, referring to the fig tree, which seems symbolic here of the religion of the people. 

Vocabulary: 

καὶ βάλω κόπρια:  (translated in previous KJV verse Luke 13:8)

κἂν (conj)  "And if" is kan, which means "and if", "even if," and "although." It is a contraction of kai anKai 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." aAn, which is a particle used with verbs to indicate that the action is limited by circumstances or defined by conditions. There is no exact equivalent in English, but it is translated as "would have", "might", "should," and "could." -- 

μὲν (partic) Untranslated  is men, which is generally used to express certainty and means "indeed", "certainly", "surely," and "truly." Used with the conjunction de, as it is here, it points out the specific word being contrast after the conjunction. In English, we usually say, one one hand...on the others... See the article here for specific uses with other particles. -- The "indeed" here is a particle, which. when used alone. expresses certainty, "truly" and "certainly". However, when used with the conjunction translated here as "but" take on the meaning "one one hand..." with the "on the other hand" identified by the "but" phrase.

ποιήσῃ (verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "It bear" is poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

καρπὸν () "Fruit" is karpos, which means "fruit", "the fruits of the earth", "seed", "offspring", "returns for profit," and "reward." 

εἰς (prep) "Into" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

τὸ μέλλον— (part sg pres act neut nom/acc) "That" is from mello, which means to "be destined or likely to", "might have, " "must surely have," "to be about to", "to be always going to do", "delay," and "to put off." -

εἰ (conj) "If" is ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.  

δὲ (conj/adv) "But" 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"). -

μήγε, (particle) "Not" is mege, which is a contraction of me ge. The me is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." The ge is an emphatic particle meaning "at least" and "indeed." It emphasizes the word to which it is associated.

ἐκκόψεις (verb 2nd sg aor subj act  or verb 2nd sg fut ind act) "Thou shall cut...down" is ekkopto, which means "to cut out", "to knock off", "to beat off [in battle]", "to hinder", "to break open", "to win [in throwing dice]", "to erase [an inscription]," "to come to a stop", "to stamp a coin", "to pause," or "to cut off." It is also a metaphor for "to make an end of."

αὐτήν. (adj sg fem acc) "It" is 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 one's own accord." --

Related Verses: 

May 22 2018