Luke 9:18 Whom say the people that I am?

KJV Verse: 

Luke 9:18 Whom say the people that I am?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Who me the crowds say to be? 

Hidden Meaning: 

This verse is a good example of how translation can make verses seem closer than they are. This verse is also one where the variation from Matthew and Mark seems to cast doubt on Luke's accuracy in vocabulary. We have seen in many verses how Luke prefers uncommon words. Here both Matthew and Mark use a word for "people" that Jesus use regularly while Luke uses another word that doesn't quite mean "people" that Jesus only uses very uncommonly.  

Christ is not asking "whom" as much as "what." The word translated as "whom" means "someone, "everyone," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." Here, the form is usually not masculine, but neutral, so this can be read "what" more readily than "who."

Though "me" doesn't appear in the translation, it appears after the "whom" or "what" in the Greek. It is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek. It is the in same form as the "whom" or "what". 

The word translated as "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 people" is from a noun which means "crowd," "mob," generally, "the masses," or "multitude" but which also means "trouble" and "annoyance." It is used commonly in the NT, but not by Jesus. It is almost always translated as "multitudes" in the KJV. Our word "crowds" really captures the idea best because it is in the plural. It is an extremely common word in all the Gospels, but it is uncommon for Jesus to use it to refer to people. Both the Matthew and Mark versions use the Greek word that Christ usually uses. This looks like an enhancement on the part of Luke. 

There is no Greek word that can be translated as "that" or "I".

The verb here that is the infinitive form of "to be" in Greek, a form that has no information about the subject or tense as do most Greek verbs. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.



Τίνα (irreg sg neutral/masc acc) "Whom" is from 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."

με (noun sg masc acc) "Me" is eme, which means "I", "me", and "my". 

οἱ ὄχλοι [uncommon] (noun pl masc nom) "Multitude" is from ochlos, which means "crowd", "a throng," "populace" ( in political sense), "mob," generally, "the masses," or "multitude" but which also means "trouble" and "annoyance." Our word "mob" really captures the idea best.

λέγουσιν  (verb 3rd pl pres ind act) "Do...say" 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."

εἶναι;  (verb pres inf act) "Am" 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: 

Dec 16 2017