Luke 6:9 I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath

KJV Verse: 

Luke 6:9 I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I consult you if it is allowed on the Sabbath to do good or to injure? to keep a person alive or to slay?

Hidden Meaning: 

Except for introduction and the singular "sabbath", this verse is identical to Mark 3:4. The introduction of this verse is reflected in Matthew 12:10. Whenever we see a verse where Christ uses a lot of unusual words, as he does here, one explanation is that he is repeated something those he is talking with have said. In this verse, we have some evidence of this. In Matthew 12:10, this question was asked by his opponents of him.

Another interesting aspect of this verse is that Christ uses the verb forms of the Greek words that mean "good" and "evil". this is actually are not very common for him. The terms normally translated as "good" and "evil" in his words are more accurately translated as "beautiful" and "worthless."

The word translated as "I will ask" is used extremely commonly in the narrative parts of the NT, but this is the only time Christ uses the word. Christ always uses another Greek word for this common idea. This indicates he is repeating something said to him. 

The Greek word usually translated as "if" appear here, but it is ignored." It expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether the condition is met or not.

"It is lawful" is a verb, which means "it is possible" and "it is allowed." It generally refers to something within someone's power, or, in this case with the negative, something outside of someone's power. This word does not specifically refer to the law. 

The verb translated as "to do good" means "to do good", "to do well", "to act rightly," and "to exert a beneficial influence." It combines the verb meaning "to make" or "to perform" with the common Greek adjective meaning "useful", "worthwhile," and "of high quality. See this article on the real Greek meaning of the terms translated as "good" and "evil."

The word translated as the "on the Sabbath" is the Greek version of the Hebrew word "shabbat" meaning "rest" or "day of rest".  This word appears earlier in the verse than shown. 

The verb translated as "to do evil" means "to do ill", "to play the knave," and "to do mischief," and "to injure." It combines the verb meaning "to make" or "to perform" with the common Greek adjective meaning many different forms of "bad," including "ugly", "low born", "craven," and "ill." In the NT, it is often translated as "evil." More about it in this article.

"To save" is the Greek word that means "to keep alive" when applied to people or "to keep safe" when applied to things. Christ uses it to mean "rescue" in most cases.

"To kill" is translated from a Greek word that means "destroy" more than just "kill" because the base word means "slay." The Greek source has the sense of "kill off," that is, destroy in a more thorough way. When we talk about "destroying" someone, we use it to mean destroying their reputation, the strength of their spirit and ideas as well as physically killing them. 

 

Wordplay: 

The "kill" also means "to destroy a reputation" and Christ often uses it when his position is challenged. 

Vocabulary: 

Ἐπερωτῶ  [uncommon](verb 1st sg pres ind act)  "I will ask" is eperotao, which means "consult", "inquire of", and "ask".  

ὑμᾶς, (pron 2nd pl acc) "You" is humas which is the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." -- The "you" here is plural, indicating all Christ's listeners.

εἰ (prep) Untranslated 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.

ἔξεστιν (verb 3rd sg pres ind act )  "Is it lawful" is exesti, which means "to be allowed", "is possible," and "to be in one's power."

τῷ σαββάτῳ (noun sg masc dat)  "On the sabbath days" is from sabbaton, which means "Sabbath", "seven days of week," and "first day of week."

ἀγαθοποιῆσαι  [uncommon] (verb aor inf act ) "Do good" is from agathopoieo, which means "to do good", "to do well", "to act rightly," and "to exert a beneficial influence."

 (conj) "Or" is which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

κακοποιῆσαι,  [uncommon] (verb aor inf act) "Do evil" is from kakopoieo, which means "to do ill", "to play the knave," and "to do mischief," and "to injure."

ψυχὴν  (noun sg fem acc ) "Life" is psyche, which means "breath", "life", "self", "spirit," and "soul." It has the clear sense of the conscious self and is often translated as "life" in the Gospels. It is also used to describe "the spirit" of things. It is often translated as "soul."

σῶσαι (verb aor inf act) "Save" is from sôizô (sozo), which means "save from death", "keep alive", "keep safe", "preserve", "maintain", "keep in mind", "carry off safely," and "rescue."

(conj) "Or" is which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primary "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

ἀπολέσαι; (verb aor inf act) "Kill" is apokteino, which means "to kill," and "to slay" but it is a stronger form than the normal verb kteino. It is more like our "destroy."

Related Verses: 

Sep 16 2017