Luke 11:34 The light of the body is the eye:

KJV Verse: 

Luk 11:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

The lamp of the body is that eye pf yours. When that eye of yours open might be also that whole body of yours? Bright! When, however, worthless might be also that body of yours? Blind. 

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

There are several hidden plays on words in this verse, which combines two verses in Matthew (Matthew 6:22, ). This verse makes more sense in the context of Christ view of "light" and its connection to "truth" and "virtue". For more on the words used to mean "light" refer to this article.

The word translated as "light" means a portable light, a lamp. Christ uses "light" as a metaphor for knowledge and awareness, specifically that which allows use to perceive information.

The words translated as "of the body" means "the body" but it also means "the substance of things" generally, as we use the term "a body of evidence." So generally, it refers to material existence. Christ uses another Greek word to refer more specifically to his physical body or "flesh".

The Greek word translated as "is" is the active, present form of "to be."

The Greek word for "eye" is the more technical terms for "eye" but it also means "sight". It is a metaphor for "cheer."

There is no "therefore" in this verse. There is in the Matthew version. 

The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

The Greek word translated as "be" here is in a form indicating something that "might be." This form is used in the "when" phrase. 

The Greek word translated as "single" means "single" which makes the KJV closer to the Greek than many more modern translated that render this word as "good". The adjective form means anything from "straightforward" to "simple-minded". In this context, the sense is the English phrase "single-minded" or, better, "focused." Double vision is a defect of the eye, a lack of focus. Single-vision good, double bad.

The word translated as "whole" means "complete" and "entire," but it also has a number of other meanings including "the universe" and "speaking generally."

The first time the Greek word for "body" was used, it was generic. Here, it is specific, "your body" so the sense it gives is of an individual's physical life.

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

Unlike the Matthew version, there is no future form of "to be" here. 

There are no Greek words here that can be translated as "full of" except as an explanation of the following word.

The Greek word translated as "full of light" means "shining" and "bright." It has no sense of "full of", which is added to create a meaning not in the original. Since Christ uses light as a metaphor for "knowing", the term "bright" works well because in English it means "intelligent." However, there is also a sense of "successful" and "well-known," as we might say that someone has a "bright career" or is a "bright star" in their profession. The final play on words is its use as a metaphor for seeing things clearly and distinctly, which makes perfect sense when talking about the eye or sight. For more on the words used to mean "light" refer to this article.

The Greek word translated as "but" is commonly translated as "but," since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

The Greek word meaning "if " indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone.

The Greek word for "eye" is the more technical terms for "eye" but it also means "sight". It is a metaphor for "cheer."

The first "be" here is in in a form indicating something that "might be."

The word translated as "evil" means "second-rate" or "worthless." This makes much more sense in a contrast with a "focused" eye in the previous verse. This article explores the meaning of this Greek in more detail, using this verse as an example of why "evil" doesn't work. Interestingly enough, there is another Greek word combining the Greek words used for "evil" and "eye" that has the meaning of "envious" eye. This adds a whole new layer of meaning what Christ means by "second-rate sight," seeing yourself as second-rate and therefore being jealous of others. This if very different than any concept in Christ's era or ours of the "evil eye".

The word translated as "whole" means "complete" and "entire," but it also has a number of other meanings including "the universe" and "speaking generally."

The words translated as "body" means "the body" but it also means "the substance of things" generally, as we use the term "a body of evidence." Generally, it refers to material existence. Christ uses another Greek word to refer more specifically to his physical body or "flesh". The "your body" gives use the sense of an individual's physical life.

The Greek word translated as "shall be" is the future tense of the common form of "to be."

There are not Greek words here that can be translated as "full of" except as an explanation of the following word and to conform to the previous verse.

The word translated as "full of darkness" means "dark", "blind", "dull", and "in privacy". It is the adjective form of the word that Christ commonly uses to mean "dark (again, more about all these words and their use here). It has no sense of "full of", which is added to conform with the previous verse. Since Christ uses light as a metaphor for knowing, the translation as "dull" works well because in English it means not bright. However, It is also the opposite of "well-known," since it means "obscure." As the opposite of seeing things clearly and distinctly, it means "blind" but Christ typically uses another Greek word to mean "blind".

Greek Vocabulary: 

λύχνος (noun sg masc nom ) "Light" is from lychnos, which means "portable light," or "lamp."

τοῦ σώματός (noun sg neut gen) "Body" is soma, which is the physical substance of things, the body of men and animals or of heavenly bodies or groups of people.

ἐστιν (3rd sg pres ind act) "Is" 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.")

ὀφθαλμός. (noun sg masc nom) "Eye" is from ophthalmos, which means "eye", "sight", "the dearest and best", "light", "cheer", "comfort," and "the bud [of a plant]."

σου. (adj sg masc gen) "Thy" is sou which means "of you" and "your."  -- The word translated as "thy" is possessive form of the second person pronoun.

ὅταν (adv/conj) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)." 

ὀφθαλμός (noun sg masc nom) "Eye" is from ophthalmos, which means "eye", "sight", "the dearest and best", "light", "cheer", "comfort," and "the bud [of a plant]."

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thine" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

ἁπλοῦς   (adj sg masc nom) "Single" is from haplous, which, as an adjective, it means "twofold", "single", "simple", "plain", "straightforward", "simple", "open", "frank", "simple-minded", "unalloyed[metals]," and "pure[metal]. , καὶ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου φωτινόν ἐστιν: ἐπὰν δὲ πονηρὸς , καὶ τὸ σῶμά σου σκοτινόν.

, (verb 3rd sg pres subj act contr) "Is" is eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." 

καὶ (conj/adv) "Also" 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."

ὅλον (adj sg neut nom )"Whole" is from holos, which means "the whole", "entire", "complete", "complete in all its parts", "wholly", "altogether", "on the whole", "speaking generally", "utter," "actually", "really, "the universe," and "safe and sound."

τὸ σῶμά (noun sg neut nom) "Body" is soma, which is the physical substance of things, the body of men and animals or of heavenly bodies or groups of people.

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

φωτινὸν (adj sg neut nom) "Full of light" is from photeinos, which means "shining," and "bright." It is a metaphor for "clear," and "distinct."

ἐστιν: (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Shall be" 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.")

ἐπὰν (adv/conj) "When" is from hotan, which means "whenever (as a condition)," and "since (as a cause)." -- The Greek word translated as "when" introduces a phrase that explains a certain condition so "whenever" or "since."

δὲ (partic) "But" is from 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").

πονηρὸς (adj sg masc nom) "Evil" is from poneros, which we discuss extensively in this page. In a moral sense, it means "worthless", "base," and "cowardly."

, (3rd sg pres subj act) "Be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." 

καὶ (conj/adv) "Also" 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." 

τὸ σῶμά (noun sg neut nom) "Body" is soma, which is the physical substance of things, the body of men and animals or of heavenly bodies or groups of people.

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your."

σκοτινὸν [uncommon] (adj sg neut nom) "Full of darkness" is from skoteinos, which means "dark", "blind", "in the darkness," and "in privacy." It is a metaphor, for "obscure," and "secret."

Wordplay: 

There are many plays here on light and darkness, vision and blindness, happiness and sadness. . 

Related Verses: 

Mar 4 2018