Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

That one, however, said, "No, truly, Father Abraham, nevertheless, when possibly someone from death might be departed to them, they likely would change their minds. 

KJV : 

Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is the final line setting up the punchline that follows, but it also contains a bit of wordplay because the word translated as "sent" means "departed" in the sense of dying.  The form is one that says that if this happens, this other thing is likely to happen in the future. 

The Greek word translated as "and" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.  The Greek makes this discussion much more of a dispute, with one speaker contradicting the other than the KJV translation. 

The word translated as "he" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or "that one".  The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this", "that", "these", "those"). See this article for more. This word is necessary only to get the placement of the "however" in the second position. 

"Said" is from the Greek verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also. This is the common form of "said" in this story, but the previous verse uses a different verb for some reason. 

The word translated as "nay" is a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact meaning "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding."

"Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers". It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father. 

"Abraham" is Abraam, which is the Greek form of "Abraham."

The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "rather". It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise".  This is not the common form of Greek "but" earlier. 

The Greek word meaning "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when".  The use of this form is part of making the "then" phrase seem more likely than not. 

The word translated as "one" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but can be used to mean someone of note as we would say "someone". The "from the dead" phrase follows this word, describing the person. 

Here, we come to the play on words. The Greek verb translated as "went" isn't the most common verb translated as "go" in the NT and the form isn't active but passive. This word means "to lead over", "depart," and "to carry over." This word, however, uniquely means  "to depart from life" as we say "the dear departed".  The form is a passive possibility, so "might be departed". The departed man, Lazarus, is being made to depart from Abraham back to our world. 

The word translated as "unto" means "towards", "before", "by reason of (for)," and "against."

The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English.  

The word translated as "from" means "from" in both location and when referring to a source.

The word translated as "the dead" means "corpse", "a dying man," and "inanimate, non-organic matter."  There is no "the" used here so "from death" works better. This phrase, however, doesn't end the phrase, but follows the "someone", describing the someone.

The word translated as "they will repent" has nothing to do with sin or, generally, with religion or asking for forgiveness. The Greek word translated as "repent" has a primary meaning of "to understand something after the fact", with the sense of seeing it is too late. Its specific meaning is to "understand afterward," as seeing the truth after a mistake is made. From this idea, it comes to mean to "change your mind", shifting your perspective. The form could be the future tense, as translated but the sense is that this is likely to happen, not that it certainly will. 


The word translated as "sent" means departed both in the sense of "leaving" and in the sense of dying. The form is passive, "might be departed". 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

(article sg masc nom) "He" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones." 

δὲ (conj/adv) "And" is 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").

εἶπεν (verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Said" is eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer." --

Οὐχί, (partic) "Nay" is ouchi, an adverb which means "no", "no truly", "assuredly not", "not however", "nevertheless," "notwithstanding", "yet", "still", "never yet", "for not", "indeed", "for surely not", "no,—certainly not", "for I don't suppose," and "for in no manner." 

πάτερ (noun sg masc voc) "The Father" is pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers." --

Ἀβραάμ, (Hebrew name) "Abraham" is Abraam, which is the Greek form of "Abraham."

ἀλλ᾽ (adv) "But" is alla, which means "otherwise", "but", "still", "at least", "except", "yet," nevertheless", "rather", "moreover," and "nay." --

ἐάν (conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event. 

τις (pron sg masc/fem nom) "One" 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."

ἀπὸ (prep) "From" is apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause. 

νεκρῶν (adj pl masc gen) "The dead" is nekros, which specifically means "a corpse" as well as a "dying person", "the dead as dwellers in the nether world", "the inanimate," and "the inorganic" 

πορευθῇ (verb 3rd sg aor subj pass) "Went" is poreuomai (poreuô) which means "make to go", "carry", "convey", "bring", "go", "march," and "proceed." It is almost always translated as "go" in the NT. --

πρὸς (prep) "Unto" is pros, which means "on the side of", "in the direction of", "from (place)", "towards" "before", "in the presence of", "in the eyes of", "in the name of", "by reason of", "before (supplication)", "proceeding from (for effects)", "dependent on", "derivable from", "agreeable,""becoming", "like", "at the point of", "in addition to", "against," and "before." --

αὐτοὺς (adj pl masc acc) "Them" is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

μετανοήσουσιν. (verb 3rd pl aor subj act or verb 3rd pl fut ind act) "They will repent," is from  metanoeo, which literally means "to perceive afterward", "to perceive too late", "to change one's mind", "to change one's purpose," and "to repent." -- 

Front Page Date: 

Sep 3 2018