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

Spoken to
audience

The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

KJV

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

NIV

Luke 16:30  ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

LISTENERS HEARD

That one, however, said, "No, truly, Father Abraham, instead when someone from the dead might go to them, they might change their minds. 

LOST IN TRANSLATION

This line is a set-up for the punchline of the story, which follows in the next verse. 

The "nay/no" here is a stronger statement than the normal negative of denial. It means something like "no, really."

The "if" is more like our "when," something that not only might happen, but something that is expected to happen. 

The last word, translated as "repent" means "changing one's mind." It has no direct relationship to any moral sense of "sin," but certainly can be related to the word mistranslated as "sin" that means "mistake." The sense is realizing one's mistakes. The form is either the future tense, "will change" or one of possibility, "might change." The "will" is more positive and balances the more negative "no, really" that begins the verse. 

MY TAKE

Since we are always making mistakes, we must repeatedly change our minds. 

GREEK ORDER

 

             δὲ           εἶπεν Οὐχί,        πάτερ Ἀβραάμ,   ἀλλ᾽    ἐάν    τις           ἀπὸ ν   εκρῶν 
That one, however, said, "No, truly, Father Abraham, instead when someone from the dead 

πορευθῇ   πρὸς αὐτοὺς μετανοήσουσιν.​
might go   to      them   they will/might change their minds. 

# KJV TRANSLATION ISSUES
7

And(WW) he(CW) said, Nay(CW), father Abraham: but(CW) if(CW) one(CW) went unto them from the dead, they will repent(CW)

  •  WW --Wrong Word -- The word translated as "and" should be something more like "but."
  •  CW --Confusing Word -- This is not the common word usually translated as "he."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "nay" does not capture the specific meaning of the word, which is more extreme.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but" and works differently.
  •  CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  •  CW --Confusing Word -- This is not the common word usually translated as "one."
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "repented" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
# NIV TRANSLATION ISSUES
6

(MW)  ‘No(CW), , father Abraham,’ he(CW) said, but(CW) if(CW someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent(CW)

 

  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "but"  at the beginning of the sentence is not shown in the English translation.
  •  CW --Confusing Word -- This is not the common word usually translated as "he."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "no" does not capture the specific meaning of the word, which is more extreme.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "but" is not the common word usually translated as "but" and works differently.
  •  CW - Confusing Word -- The "if" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "repented" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
EACH WORD of KJV

And  -- (WW)The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "yet," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. This word doesn't mean "and." 

he  -- (CW) The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun or changes the word it precedes (adjective, infinitive, participle, etc.) to act like a noun. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more.  This is not the word usually translated as "he."

said,  - The word translated as "said" means "to say" and "to speak." It is one of the two most common words translated "speak," "say" and "tell," but it has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

Nay,-- (CW)The word translated as "not" is a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact meaning "no truly," "assuredly not," "not however," "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding." This word can have a reversing effect, making a negative into a positive, with questions. Used in questions where an affirmative answer is expected. Used in answers where a "yes" must be supplied. Perhaps best translated as an "isn't it?" at the end of the sentence.  The fact that ancient Greek has no clear verb form for questions makes interpreting it difficult.  The "nay" does not capture the specific meaning of the word, which is more extreme.

father  -- "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: -- This is from the Greek spelling of "Abraham."

but   -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "instead," "but instead,"or "rather." It is not the common word usually translated as "but." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." Jesus almost always uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, "not this," with a positive one, "instead this." 

 if - (CW) "If" is from a word meaning "when" because it indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone.  It can be used after a demonstrative pronoun to mean "that possibly," "whosoever," or "whatsoever." This is not the simple "if."

one -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "one" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." The same forms are used both for the masculine and feminine, so "anyone" works best for a person. In the plural, it means "everyone," "some," "they," and "those." Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," "which," or even "why." - Jesus often uses the root word as an adjective describing a high-status people as "somebodies." This is not the word usually translated as "one."

went  -- The word translated as "went," means, in the passive, used here, to "go," "march," "depart," and "proceed." It is almost always translated as "go" in the NT but Jesus uses it to mean "depart." This word uniquely means "to pursue a course" and "to depart from life." Jesus also uses it for a play on words referring to its "depart from life" meaning.

unto -- The word translated as "to" has a meaning that depends on the form of it object and its verb types. Generally, it means "towards," "by reason of," "before" both in time and place, "in the presence of," "against," and several other types of "before."

them -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English in the form of a plural object of a verb or preposition.

from -- The word translated as "from" means "from" in both locations and when referring to a source or a cause. It also means the instrument "by" which a thing is done and "away from." It is not the word form  usually translated as "of." Referring to time, it means "from," and "after." 

the -- There is no Greek article "the" here in the source, but the noun is plural and in English, a definite article "the/this/that/theses/those" is used before plural nouns in phrases like this.

dead,-- The word translated as "the dead" means "corpse," "a dying man," and "inanimate, non-organic matter." Christ uses it in all three senses, referring to the actual dead, the spiritually dead, and inanimate matter.

 they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

will --  This helping verb indicates that the verb is the future tense, but it could also be a form of probability, something that "might" happen. 

repent. - (CW) The word translated as "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 understanding 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. 

EACH WORD of NIV

missing "But"  -- (MW) The untranslated word   "but" means "but," "yet," "however," and "on the other hand." It joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. This word doesn't mean "and." 

 ‘No,-- (CW)The word translated as "not" is a different form of the usual Greek negative of fact meaning "no truly," "assuredly not," "not however," "nevertheless," and "notwithstanding." This word can have a reversing effect, making a negative into a positive, with questions. Used in questions where an affirmative answer is expected. Used in answers where a "yes" must be supplied. Perhaps best translated as an "isn't it?" at the end of the sentence.  The fact that ancient Greek has no clear verb form for questions makes interpreting it difficult.  The "nay" does not capture the specific meaning of the word, which is more extreme.

father  -- "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: -- This is from the Greek spelling of "Abraham."

he  -- (CW) The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, "the," which usually precedes a noun or changes the word it precedes (adjective, infinitive, participle, etc.) to act like a noun. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more.  This is not the word usually translated as "he."

said,  - The word translated as "said" means "to say" and "to speak." It is one of the two most common words translated "speak," "say" and "tell," but it has more a sense of addressing and proclaiming.

but   -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "but" denotes an exception or simple opposition. It is used to emphasize the contrast between things like we use "instead," "but instead,"or "rather." It is not the common word usually translated as "but." It is the Greek word "other" like we use "otherwise." Jesus almost always uses this conjunction to connect a negative clause, "not this," with a positive one, "instead this." 

 if - (CW) "If" is from a word meaning "when" because it indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone.  It can be used after a demonstrative pronoun to mean "that possibly," "whosoever," or "whatsoever." This is not the simple "if."

someone -- The Greek word translated as "one" in the singular means "anyone," "someone,"  "something," and "anything." The same forms are used both for the masculine and feminine, so "anyone" works best for a person. In the plural, it means "everyone," "some," "they," and "those." Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who," "what," "which," or even "why." - Jesus often uses the root word as an adjective describing a high-status people as "somebodies."

from -- The word translated as "from" means "from" in both locations and when referring to a source or a cause. It also means the instrument "by" which a thing is done and "away from." It is not the word form  usually translated as "of." Referring to time, it means "from," and "after." 

the -- There is no Greek article "the" here in the source, but the noun is plural and in English, a definite article "the/this/that/theses/those" is used before plural nouns in phrases like this.

dead,-- The word translated as "the dead" means "corpse," "a dying man," and "inanimate, non-organic matter." Christ uses it in all three senses, referring to the actual dead, the spiritually dead, and inanimate matter. 

goes -- The word translated as "went," means, in the passive, used here, to "go," "march," "depart," and "proceed." It is almost always translated as "go" in the NT but Jesus uses it to mean "depart." This word uniquely means "to pursue a course" and "to depart from life." Jesus also uses it for a play on words referring to its "depart from life" meaning.

to -- The word translated as "to" has a meaning that depends on the form of it object and its verb types. Generally, it means "towards," "by reason of," "before" both in time and place, "in the presence of," "against," and several other types of "before."

them -- The word translated as "them" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English in the form of a plural object of a verb or preposition.

 they -- This is from the third-person, plural form of the verb.

will --  This helping verb indicates that the verb is the future tense, but it could also be a form of probability, something that "might" happen. 

repent. - (CW) The word translated as "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 understanding 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. 

COMPARISON: GREEK to KJV

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "The" 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." 

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").  In a listing, the sense is "then" or "yet." After an interruption, "so then."

εἶπεν [162 verses]  (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."  This is the second most common word Jesus uses for this idea. The other word is used more for discussion. Perhaps translating it consistently as "tell" would work.

οὐχὶ [23 verses](adv) "Not" 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." Sometimes it is used to create negative questions where a positive answer is expected. 

πατὴρ [191 verses](noun sg masc voc) "Father" is pater, which means "father," "grandfather," "author," "parent," and "forefathers."

Ἀβραὰμ [18 verses](Hebrew name sg masc voc) "Abraham" is Abraam, which is the Greek form of "Abraham." 

ἀλλὰ [154 verses](conj) "But" is alla, which means "instead," "otherwise," "but," "still," "at least," "except," "yet," nevertheless," "rather," "moreover," and "nay." Followed by οὐ, the sense is "still," and "at least." Followed by γὰρ. the sense is "but really" and "certainly."  Following an εἰ μὴ, clause the sense is "if not" some word , related to time, "at least still," and without the reference time, "at least" 

ὰν [163 verses](conj) "If" is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if) and an (possibly), which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event. This is how we use the word "when." It can be used after a demonstrative pronoun hos or hostis meaning "that possibly,"  "whosoever" or "whatsoever."

τις [252 verses] (pron sg masc/fem nom) "One"  is tis, which can mean "someone," "something," "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." Plural, "who are" is τίνες ἐόντες.  It has specific meanings with certain prepositions, διὰ τί; for what reason? ἐκ τίνος; from what cause? ἐς τί; "to what point?"  to "what end? τί ὅτι "why it is that,"

ἀπὸ [190 verses]​(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. It also means the instrument "by" which a thing is done. Referring to time, it means "from," and "after."  Usually takes the genitive object. As a prefix, means "asunder," "completing," "ceasing,"  "back again," and "by way of abuse.

νεκρῶν (adj pl masc gen) "Dead" [21 verses](adj pl masc gen) "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  [54 verses](verb 3rd sg aor subj pass) "Went" is poreuomai (poreuo) which means , in the active voice, "make to go," "carry," "convey," and "bring." In the passive, it means to "go," "march," "depart," and "proceed." It is almost always translated as "go" in the NT. Jesus uses it to mean "depart." He sometimes uses it in situations where it "depart from life" meaning comes into play.

πρὸς [92 verses](prep)  "Unto" is from pros, which means both "from" (descent, a place)," "on the side of," and "toward." Its meaning depends on the form of its object.  An indirect object (dative) implies no movement but in a fixed position. A direct object (accusative ) indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement. Events may show the amount of time. In statements about time, it means "at," "near," "about," or "for" a future time. With verbs of motion, towards, to, with verbs implying previous motion, upon, against; verbs of addition "to," verbs of seeing "towards," "to face," in hostile sense, "against, " "in accusation," without any hostile "to,"  of various kinds of intercourse or reciprocal action "with," "at the hands of," "incurred by," "inspired by," "before" a witness,  of Time, "towards," or "near," of Relation between two objects "in respect of," "touching," "in reference to," "in consequence of," "for a purpose," "in proportion," "in comparison with,"  of measurements of time "for,"  "a little past," of Numbers "up to," "about." A possessive object (genitive) indicates movement away or a position away from something, "from," "towards," "from the presence of." Events occur within a specified time. Examples of indirect object: "hard by," "near," "at," "close," "before one," "in the presence of," with verbs denoting motion towards a place "upon," "against," with a notion of clinging closely "clasped to," to express close engagement "at the point of," to express union or addition "besides," "in addition to."  

αὐτοὺς [62 verses](pron pl masc acc) "Them"  is autous, in the form of the plural, masculine pronoun "them" in the form of a direct object.  An accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement. Event may show the amount of time. As the object of a preposition, an accusative object indicates movement towards something or a position reached as a result of that movement.

μετανοήσουσιν [9 verses](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." 

Wordplay

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". 

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