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

Spoken to: 

audience

This analogy about the unproductive fig tree who the master wants cut down. His gardener said to let him try some think to revive it.

KJV: 

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

NIV : 

Luke 13:9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ 

LISTENERS HEARD: 

And if, truly it produces fruit in the future--If, however, truly not, you chop it off. 

GREEK (Each Word Explained Bottom of Page): 

GREEK ORDER: 

κἂν      μὲν   ποιήσῃ       καρπὸν εἰς τὸ    μέλλον—     εἰ  δὲ           μήγε,       ἐκκόψεις         αὐτήν.
And if truly  it produces fruit      in  the  future         . If, however, truly not  you chop off.  it

LOST IN TRANSLATION: 

The double meaning in this verse is in a special Greek structure. There are two particles that means "truly" and "truly not," which make them opposite, but those words can be conjunctions when used together at they are here mean in "on one hand/on the other hand" conjunctions that are ignored and mistranslated.

A preposition phrase in the first clause isn't translated.  Literally it means "in that being destined" We can say this more simply, as "in the future." The NIV has "next year," but the is not what the phrase mean. The first clause gives and "if" statement,  and this phrase resolves it. If it produces then "in the future." It is left hanging where it suggests that it keeps producing.

The punchline is "chop it off."

# KJV TRANSLATION ISSUES: 

8

And if (MW)[truly] it bear(CW) fruit, well(IW): and if not(CW), [then after that](IP3) thou shalt cut it down(WW).

  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "truly"  after "if" is not shown in the English translation. 
  • CW --Confusing Word -- This is not one of the common words usually translated as "bear."
  • MP - Missing Phrase - The phrase "in the future"  exists in the source. This is counted as 2 translation issues, not 1.
  • IW - Inserted Word-- The "well" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be something more like "however."
  • CW --Confusing Word -- This is not one of the common words usually translated as "not."
  • IP - Inserted Phrase-- The "then after that" doesn't exist in the source. This is counted as 3 translation issues, not 1.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "down" should be something more like "off."

# NIV TRANSLATION ISSUES: 

10

If it (MW)[on the other hand] bears(CW) fruit [next year](IP2), fine(IW)! If not(CW) , then cut it down(WW).

  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "on one hand"  after "if" is not shown in the English translation. 
  • CW --Confusing Word -- This is not one of the common words usually translated as "bear."
  • IW - Inserted Word-- The "well" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MP - Missing Phrase - The phrase "in the future"  exists in the source. This is counted as 2 translation issues, not 1.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be something more like "homwever."
  • CW --Confusing Word -- This is not one of the common words usually translated as "not."
  • IW - Inserted Word-- The "then" doesn't exist in the source.
  • WF -- Wrong Form -  This is not an command but an active verb.
  • WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "down" should be something more like "off."

EACH WORD of KJV : 

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

missing "truly"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  expresses certainty, "truly" and "certainly." However, when used with the conjunction translated here as "but" takes on the meaning "on one hand..." with the "on the other hand" identified by the "but" phrase.

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

bear -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "bears" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  In English, "do" is also frequently a helper verb. This Greek word is not used as broadly. This is not one of the common words usually translated as "bears."

fruit,  -- 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."

missing "in the future"  -- -- (MP) The words here aren't translated with their correct meanings and forms. When used as a participle with a definite article in an  in preposition clause, the sense is "in that being destined" or more simply, "in the future."

well: -- (IW) This word is not in the Greek source.

and --- (WW) The Greek word translated as "and" means "but," "yet," "however," and "on the other hand."

 if -- The "if" here is used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect and direct questions, "whether."It also means "if ever" and "whenever." When used in an "if" clause, the verb is the subjunctive form of possibility. When citing a fact  the sense is more  "whether," "since" or "as sure as." The verb is not subjunctive, which means it is citing a fact. This word doesn't mean "if" with this form of verb.

not, --  (CW) "Not truly"  is the negative used in opinions, prohibitions, possibilities, and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no" with an emphatic particle meaning "at least" and "indeed." So the sense is "no indeed." This is not one of the common words usually translated as "not."

then after that -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as this phrase in the Greek source.

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

shalt -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense or a form that indicates possibility at some time. A "might" or "should" could work here or nothing at all in an "if/when/whoever" clause which implies a possibility.  Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

cut -- The word translated as "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. What makes it interesting is, though it is translated as something that happens to the tree in English (the passive voice), in Greek it is the "middle voice" indicating something that the tree does to itself. In dice, it means "to win."

it  -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English in the form of a singular object of a verb or preposition. It refers to feminine nouns not just female people, so it is translated as both "she" or "it" depending on the context.

down - (WW) This completes the meaning of the verb. It is from the prefix.This word doesn't mean "down." 

EACH WORD of NIV : 

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" starting the verse is not shown in the English translation. from the following contraction.

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

missing "truly"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  expresses certainty, "truly" and "certainly." However, when used with the conjunction translated here as "but" takes on the meaning "on one hand..."

it -- This is from the third-person, singular form of the verb.

bears -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "bears" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" as service. It describes a productive action.  In English, "do" is also frequently a helper verb. This Greek word is not used as broadly. This is not one of the common words usually translated as "bears."

fruit,  -- 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."

missing "in the future"  -- -- (MP) The words here aren't translated with their correct meanings and forms. When used as a participle with a definite article in an  in preposition clause, the sense is "in that being destined" or more simply, "in the future."

next year, -- (IP) There is nothing that can be translated as this phrase in the Greek source. IP - Inserted Phrase-- The "next year, " doesn't exist in the source. This is counted as 2 translation issues, not 1.

fine: -- (IW) This word is not in the Greek source.

If -- The "if" here is used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect and direct questions, "whether."It also means "if ever" and "whenever." When used in an "if" clause, the verb is the subjunctive form of possibility. When citing a fact  the sense is more  "whether," "since" or "as sure as." The verb is not subjunctive, which means it is citing a fact. This word doesn't mean "if" with this form of verb.

not, --  (CW) "Not"  is the negative used in opinions, prohibitions, possibilities, and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no" with an emphatic particle meaning "at least" and "indeed." So the sense is "truly not." This is not one of the common words usually translated as "not."

then -- (ww) This word is not in the Greek source.

cut -- (WF) The word translated as "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. What makes it interesting is, though it is translated as something that happens to the tree in English (the passive voice), in Greek it is the "middle voice" indicating something that the tree does to itself. In dice, it means "to win." This is not an command but an subjective or verb in the future tense.

it  -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English in the form of a singular object of a verb or preposition. It refers to feminine nouns not just female people, so it is translated as both "she" or "it" depending on the context.

down - (WW) This completes the meaning of the verb. It is from the prefix.This word doesn't mean "down." 

COMPARISON: GREEK to KJV : 

κἂν [8 verses](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 "also." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just." An, 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 "possibly," "would have," "might," "should," and "could."

μὲν [31 verses](partic) "Untranslated" is men , which is generally used to express certainty and means "indeed," "certainly," "surely," and "truly." Alone in a question, it assumes the answer like "I take it" or "isn't it."  Used with the conjunction de,  it points out the specific word being contrasted after the conjunction. In English, we usually say, "on one hand...on the other hand." See the article here for specific uses with other particles.

ποιήσῃ (verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "It bear" [168 verses](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 perform," "to render," "to consider," "to prepare," "to make ready," and "to do." The accusative object is what is made. Double accusative is to do something to someone. When it has a genitive object, it means "made from." When it doesn't have an object, the verb is translated as  "perform" or simply "do." When used with an accusative infinitive, it means to "cause" or "bring about." A dative object means "made with."  With the preposition "into" (eis) it means "made into."

καρπὸν  [32 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Fruit" is karpos, which means "fruit," "the fruits of the earth," "seed," "offspring," "returns for profit," and "reward." --

εἰς [325 verses](prep) "After" is eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)," "until (of time)," "in" (a position),  "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)."With verbs of speaking, it is the person spoken "to." With time, a limit "until," or a duration "for," "throughout," or a date, "on," "at." Used with ek, it means "from...to."

τὸ [821 verses](article sg masc acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). It usually precedes a noun or changes the word it precedes (adjective, infinitive, participle, etc.) to act like a noun. When not preceding a a word that can become a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." 

μέλλον [10 verses] (part sg pres act neut acc) "That" is 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 [90 verses](conj) "If" is ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (with the indicative, implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect and direct questions, "whether." It also means "if ever," "in case," and "whenever." In citing a fact, it can mean "as sure as" or "since."  It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions. When appearing as εἰ δὲ (literally, "if however") the sense is "if this...then that." The construction εἰ δὲ μή . . means "otherwise." The construction  εἰ οὖν has the sense of "if so." However, it is also used to express a wish. After verbs of wonder, delight, indignation, disappointment, contentment, and similar emotions, it is use instead of ὅτι, to express the object of the feeling in a hypothetical form, "that" with the indicative (not subjunctive). After ὅτι, it introduces a quotation where we use quotation marks. With the future tense, it is used for emphasis, a warning, or an intention.  When this word is paired with the conjunction translated as "but" or "however," the structure works like an "if then" statement in English.  With verbs of desire and emotion and the indicative in the second clause, the sense is "that." With an imperative, it is used to express a wish. The sense is "I wish that." With the future tense indicative, it is used for emphasis, a warning, or an intention. The emphasis clause is after the main statement. -- The "if" here is used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect and direct questions, "whether."It also means "if ever" and "whenever." When used in an "if" clause, the verb is the subjunctive form of possibility. When citing a fact  the sense is more  "whether," "since" or "as sure as." The verb is not subjunctive, which means it is citing a fact. This word doesn't mean "if" with this form of verb.

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" is de which means "but," "yet," "however," and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be an explanation of an indirect cause ("so") and a condition ("if"). In an  "if" (εἰ) clause or temporal "when" (ὅταν) clause the sense is "if/when... then." In a series begun by men, it means "on the other hand." In a listing, the sense is "then" or "yet." After an interruption, "so then." It can also be an explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").  When used with a conditional starting a clause, the sense is "if/when...then." When used with a particle meaning "indeed" the sense is "on one hand...on the other hand." In a listing, the sense is "then" or "yet." After an interruption, "so then."

μήγε [7 verses](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  [5 verses](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." The root koptô means "to smite," "to pound," "to chop," "to cut off," and "to beat one's breast. The prefix means "from" or "out of." -- The word translated as "is hewn 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. What makes it interesting is, though it is translated as something that happens to the tree in English (the passive voice), in Greek it is the "middle voice" indicating something that the tree does to itself. In dice, it means "to win."

αὐτὴν [39 verses](adj sg fem acc) "It"  is auten, in the form of the singular, object, feminine pronoun "her/it." It refers to feminine nouns not just female people, so it is translated as both "she" or "it" depending on the context.  It means "by oneself" or "alone." When used as a noun, it is preceded by a definite article, and it means "the same." As the object of a preposition, an accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement. -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English in the form of a singular object of a verb or preposition. It refers to feminine nouns not just female people, so it is translated as both "she" or "it" depending on the context. It also means "by oneself" or "alone."

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Aug 12 2024