Luke 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's

KJV Verse: 

Luke 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

And if in the property of another, you trust, you don't come into control of that property of yours, Who shall give to you?

And if in the property of another, faithful you don't become, the control of that property of yours? Who shall give to you?

Hidden Meaning: 

This phrase has two different meanings. The first is a warning against trusting in the property of others. The other is a warning about not being trustworthy in the property of others.  There is a clear play on words in the first phrase, saying one thing then changing it into its opposite by adding a negative phrase at the end. This is only possible because the adjective "faithful" and the verb "to trust" used in an "if" statement have the same exact form. 

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

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 word translated as "ye have ...been" means "to become," that is, to enter into a new state. In Greek, especially as used by Christ, it is the opposite of "being," which is existence in the current state. It is not the past perfect tense, as translated, but a tense that could be either past, present, or future that goes with the conditional, "if" clause. However, this verb appears at the end of the phrase, after Jesus appears to say the opposite. 

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea. It comes after the "faithful", which appears to be a positive verb and before the "becomes" verb that ends the phrase. 

The word translated as "faithful" means "trusting" and "trustworthy."  However, it is also the verb that means "you trust" and it is in the form that goes with the "if" clause. 

The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

"That which is another man's, " is from a Greek word that means "belonging to another." So it refers to possessions that belong to others, not just those that are unknown.

The word translated as "who" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why". 

The verb translated as "shall give" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give."

The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc. 

An uncommon adjective is translated as  "that which is your own", but it begins the phrase.  This form of the word  second-person pronoun means "your house" or "your group" rather than simply "you." 

Wordplay: 

There is a clear play on words in the first phrase, saying one thing then changing it into its opposite by adding a negative phrase at the end. This is only possible because the adjective "faithful" and the verb "to trust" used in an "if" statement have the same exact form. 

Vocabulary: 

καὶ (conj/adv) "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." 

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. 

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

τῷ ἀλλοτρίῳ [uncommon](adj sg masc/neut dat) "That which is another man's" is from allotrios, which means "belonging to another", "stranger", "foreign", "hostile", "alien", "unfavorably disposed", "abnormal," and "foreign to the purpose," and "strange." -

πιστοὶ (adj pl masc nom) "Faithful" is pistos means "believing", "trustful", "obedient," "genuine", "deserving belief", "credible", "unmistakable", "believing", "relying on", "obedient", and "loyal." 

OR (verb 2nd sg pres subj mp or verb 3rd sg pres subj act) "Do you...believe" is pisteuo, which means "to trust, put faith in, or rely on a person", "to believe in someone's words", "to comply", "to feel confident in a thing," and "to entrust in a thing." -- The Greek word translated as "believe" does not apply to religious belief as much as it does trusting in other people, especially their word. Christ usually uses it in contexts, as the one here, that apply to trusting words. The negation of "belief" with the objective, instead of subjective, negative, equates trust with a fact.

οὐκ (partic) "Not" is ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective. 

ἐγένεσθε, (verb 2nd pl aor ind mid) "Ye have not been" is ginomai, which means "to become", "to come into being", "to be produced," and "to be." It means changing into a new state of being. It is the complementary opposite of the verb "to be" (eimi)which indicates existence in the same state.

τὸ ἡμέτερον [uncommon](adj sg neut nom/acc ) "That which is your own" is hymeteros, which means "your", "yours," your goods," and "your house."

τίς (pro sg masc nom) "What" is tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." 

δώσει (verb 3rd sg fut ind act or verb 2nd sg fut ind mid ) "Shall give" is didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." --

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

Related Verses: 

Aug 17 2018