Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,

Spoken to
Apostles

To his students after the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

KJV

Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

NIV

Luke 17:2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

LISTENERS HEARD

It pays him back if a mill stone is hung around that throat of his just as he has been hurled into the sea than in the place there he might trip up one of these little ones here.

LOST IN TRANSLATION

In translation, this verse looks very similar in all the three synoptic  gospels in which it appears, but they are all different and this one is the most different. The English Bible translators tied themselves into knots to make sense of it. This first word, translated as "it is better" is a uniqe word for Jesus meaning something more like "it would pay him back." There are two other word that Jesus only uses here. The one translated as "mill" and the one translated as "cast/thrown." The last is very surprising because the common word translated as "cast/thrown" is one of Jesus's favorite humorous words.

All the words are the present tense, except the "cast/thrown" verb which I translate as "hurled." It is the tense of an action completed in the past. So, technically he is thrown into the sea before the stone is put hung around his neck. The only way to make this work it to translated the "and" before "hurled" as "just as" making the typing happen as he has been cast into the see. 

Another odd word appear before the punchline verb "trips up." That word usually starts it own clause appear there, but the doesn't work here because the "than" prior to it starts the clause. Here, it acts as an adverb meaning "in this place there" to contrast with "these people here" after "little ones." 

MY TAKE

Here or there, don't trip up the kids. 

GREEK ORDER

 

λυσιτελεῖ      αὐτῷ εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς περίκειται περὶ    τὸν  τράχηλον αὐτοῦ
It pays back  him   if  a stone  mill    is hung     around that throat       of his 

 καὶ      ἔρριπται                  εἰς   τὴν θάλασσαν     ἵνα                        σκανδαλίσῃ              τῶν μικρῶν    τούτων ἕνα.
 just as he has been hurled into the  sea           than in the place there he might trip up of these little ones here.      one

# KJV TRANSLATION ISSUES
7

It were(WT) better for him that a millstone were(WT) hanged about his (MW) neck, and he cast(CW) into the sea, than that he should offend(CW) one of these(CW) (MW) little ones.

  • WT - Wrong Tense - The "were" indicates the past tense but the tense is present.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The "were" indicates the past tense but the tense is present.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "neck" is not shown in the English translation. 
  • CW --Confusing Word -- This is not the common word usually translated as "cast." 
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "offend" does not capture the word's specific meaning.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "these" should be either "here" or "there" in most situations.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "these/those/the"  before "little" is not shown in the English translation.
# NIV TRANSLATION ISSUES
13

It would be better for them(WN) (MW) to(IW) be thrown(CW) into the sea with(IW) a millstone tied(CW) around their(WN) (MW) neck (MW) than (MW) to(IW) cause one of  these(CW) (MW) little ones to stumble.

 

  • WN  --Wrong Number- The word "them" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that"  after "them" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word-- The "to" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- This is not the common word usually translated as "thrown."
  • IW - Inserted Word-- The "with" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- This is not the common word usually translated as "tied."
  • WN  --Wrong Number- The word "their" is translated as plural but the Greek word is singular.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the/this" before "neck" is not shown in the English translation. 
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and"  after "neck" is not shown in the English translation. 
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "that"  after "than" is not shown in the English translation.  
  • IW - Inserted Word-- The "to" doesn't exist in the source.
  • CW --Confusing Word -- The "these" should be either "here" or "there" in most situations.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "these/those/the"  before "little" is not shown in the English translation.
EACH WORD of KJV

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

were -- (WT) This helping verb indicates the past tense of the verb. This verb is in the present tense so "has" is correct.  

better. -- The "it would better" is a unique word for Jesus that means to "indemnify for expenses incurred ", "pay for expenses incurred ", "pay what is due", "profit", and "gain an advantage".

for -- This word "to" comes from the indirect object form of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

him --  The word translated as "him" is the Greek adjective that acts like our third-person,  indirect object pronoun.

that  -- The "that" with  indicative verbs to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect and direct questions, "whether. With verbs of possibility to implied repeated condition or a vivid guture one. "It also means "if ever" and "whenever." When citing a fact  the sense is more  "whether," "since" or "as sure as."

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a noun doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

mill-  -- "Mill" is from a word that means "for a mill." 

stone -- The Greek word translated as "stone" means "a stone," "stone as a substance," and various specific types of stones, such as touchstones and altar stones. This should be translated as "stone" to distinguish it from the Greek word for "rock."

were -- (WT) This helping verb indicates the past tense of the verb. This verb is in the present tense so "has" is correct.  

hanged  -- "Hanged" is another uncommon word that means "to lie around", "have round one," and "wear." It metaphorically means to have no advantage.It is used by Jesus  only in this verse and its parallel in Luke.

about -  The Greek word translated as "about" means "around" when referring to a place, but in referring to a subject, it means "about," "concerning," "on account of," and "in regard to." This is the way Jesus usually uses it. It is not the word form usually translated as "of."

his -- The word translated as "his" is the Greek word correctly translated as third-person "his/him" in English.  The word appears after the noun so the sense is "of his." 

missing "the/this"  -- (MW) The untranslated word 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

neck,  - "Neck" is from the Greek word that means "neck" and "throat."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

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

cast  -- (CW) "Cast" is another unique verb for Jesus to use that means to " throw", "cast", and " hurl". This word is strange for many reasons. First, one of Jesus's favorite words means "cast" but in a more humorous sense. That word is used in the Mark version. Second, the tense is something completed in the past when the hanging of the stone is in the present.  We also saw this difference in tenses in Mark, even those a different "cast" was used. In Matthew, which uses a word meaning "drowned" here, the tenses of both words is past. Finally, as in Mark, this word is either passive of the middle acts on himself. "He has hurled himself". This is not the word usually translated as "cast." 

into  -- The word translated as "to" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in" (a position),  "as much as (of measure or limit)," "in regards to" a subject, "up to" limits in measures, "until" in reference to time, "within" a time limit, and "for" a purpose or object. Used with the Greek "from" it means "from...to."

the -- 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. 

sea,  -- The "sea" is from the Greek word for "sea" and "sea water." Water is Christs symbol for the temporary, physical reality.

than -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. The same word could also be the exclamation "hi" or the adverb meaning "in truth."

that  -- The word translated as "that" is a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "when," "in order that" "when," or "because."As an adverb it is translated as "there" is an adverb "in that place," "there," "where," or "when."

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

should -- This helping verb in English comes from the form of the Greek verb that indicates a possibility. We would usually say "might" or "should" in English.

offend  -- (CW) "Offend" is a verb that means "to cause to stumble" or "to trip up." From there it is assumed by its translators to mean "to give offense" and "to scandalize." Our word "scandalize" come directly from the Greek. However, this interpretation of the word only comes from the translators of the Gospels. This is a Koine word that is found originally only in the New Testament, but based on a noun found only in the Greek Old Testament meaning "snare," or "stumbling block." The noun is changed to a verb by adding an ending very much like we add "ize" to a noun in order to make it a verb.  So, literally it would mean to "make or performing a stumble." In English, we would simply say, "trips up" capturing the same idea exactly. See the article on this word here.

one  -- The Greek word translated as "one " means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the possessive form (genitive case) of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

these - (CW) The word translated as "this" means "from here" "from there" or "this/that thing/person here/there." As a pronoun by itself, it means "this here" but it can be shortened to just "this."  The Bible usually translates it as the adjective "this" when it appears after words modifying them, which is confusing because the definite article, with which it is often used before the word, also can mean "this." It works better as "here," which is how Jesus usually uses it, but it can also mean "there." It often comes after the noun, emphasizing it, "this thing here."  

missing "these/those/the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

little ones. - "Little ones. " is a word that means "small" and "little" applied to anything, size, power, age, quantity, rank, or influence. Christ usually uses it to refer to children. It is in a comparative form, meaning "lesser," not the superlative form. It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article). 

 

EACH WORD of NIV

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

were -- (WT) This helping verb indicates the past tense of the verb. This verb is in the present tense so "has" is correct.  

better. -- The "it would better" is a unique word for Jesus that means to "indemnify for expenses incurred ", "pay for expenses incurred ", "pay what is due", "profit", and "gain an advantage".

for -- This word "to" comes from the indirect object form of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object. However, the translator can choose other prepositions: "with,"  "in,"   "of,"  "as," "by," "for," "at," or "on" depending on the context.

them  -- (WN)The word translated as "them" is the Greek adjective that acts like our third-person,  indirect object pronoun. This word is not plural but singular. 

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word   "that" here is used to express conditions. When citing a fact  the sense is "whether," "since" or "as sure as." The verb is not subjunctive, which means it is citing a fact. 

 to -- (IW) This word is not in the Greek source

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

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

thrown -- (CW) "Thrown " is another unique verb for Jesus to use that means to " throw", "cast", and " hurl". This word is strange for many reasons. First, one of Jesus's favorite words means "cast" but in a more humorous sense. That word is used in the Mark version. Second, the tense is something completed in the past when the hanging of the stone is in the present.  We also saw this difference in tenses in Mark, even those a different "cast" was used. In Matthew, which uses a word meaning "drowned" here, the tenses of both words is past. Finally, as in Mark, this word is either passive of the middle acts on himself. "He has hurled himself". This is not the word usually translated as "thrown ." 

into  -- The word translated as "to" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in" (a position),  "as much as (of measure or limit)," "in regards to" a subject, "up to" limits in measures, "until" in reference to time, "within" a time limit, and "for" a purpose or object. Used with the Greek "from" it means "from...to."

the -- 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. 

sea,  -- The "sea" is from the Greek word for "sea" and "sea water." Water is Christs symbol for the temporary, physical reality.

with -- (IW) This word is not in the Greek source

a -- There is no indefinite article in Greek, but when a noun doesn't have a definite article, the indefinite article can be added in English translation.

mill-  -- "Mill" is from a word that means "for a mill." 

stone -- The Greek word translated as "stone" means "a stone," "stone as a substance," and various specific types of stones, such as touchstones and altar stones. This should be translated as "stone" to distinguish it from the Greek word for "rock."

tied -- (CW) "Tied " is another uncommon word that means "to lie around", "have round one," and "wear." It metaphorically means to have no advantage.It is used by Jesus  only in this verse and its parallel in Luke. This is not the word usually translated as "tied." 

around -  The Greek word translated as "around " means "around" when referring to a place, but in referring to a subject, it means "about," "concerning," "on account of," and "in regard to." This is the way Jesus usually uses it. It is not the word form usually translated as "of."

their --  (WN)The word translated as "their " is the Greek word correctly translated as third-person "his/him" in English.  The word appears after the noun so the sense is "of his."This word is not plural but singular. 

missing "the/this"  -- (MW) The untranslated word 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

neck,  - "Neck" is from the Greek word that means "neck" and "throat."

and -- missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

than -- "Than" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison. The same word could also be the exclamation "hi" or the adverb meaning "in truth."

missing "that"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "that" is a conjunction that starts a subordinate clause  "that," "when," "in order that" "when," or "because."As an adverb it is translated as "there" is an adverb "in that place," "there," "where," or "when."

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

should -- This helping verb in English comes from the form of the Greek verb that indicates a possibility. We would usually say "might" or "should" in English.

to -- (IW) This word is not in the Greek source

cause -- "Cause...to stumble" is a verb that means "to cause to stumble" or "to trip up." From there it is assumed by its translators to mean "to give offense" and "to scandalize." Our word "scandalize" come directly from the Greek. However, this interpretation of the word only comes from the translators of the Gospels. This is a Koine word that is found originally only in the New Testament, but based on a noun found only in the Greek Old Testament meaning "snare," or "stumbling block." The noun is changed to a verb by adding an ending very much like we add "ize" to a noun in order to make it a verb.  So, literally it would mean to "make or performing a stumble." In English, we would simply say, "trips up" capturing the same idea exactly. See the article on this word here.

one  -- The Greek word translated as "one " means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same."As in English, it can be used as a pronoun, meaning a single person.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the possessive form (genitive case) of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

these - (CW) The word translated as "this" means "from here" "from there" or "this/that thing/person here/there." As a pronoun by itself, it means "this here" but it can be shortened to just "this."  The Bible usually translates it as the adjective "this" when it appears after words modifying them, which is confusing because the definite article, with which it is often used before the word, also can mean "this." It works better as "here," which is how Jesus usually uses it, but it can also mean "there." It often comes after the noun, emphasizing it, "this thing here."  

missing "these/those/the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word 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," and "those"). See this article for more. 

little ones. - "Little ones. " is a word that means "small" and "little" applied to anything, size, power, age, quantity, rank, or influence. Christ usually uses it to refer to children. It is in a comparative form, meaning "lesser," not the superlative form. It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article). 

to stumble. - This completes the meaning of the verb.

COMPARISON: GREEK to KJV

λυσιτελεῖ [1 verse] (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "It would better" is lysiteleō , which means to "indemnify for expenses incurred ", "pay for expenses incurred ", "pay what is due", "profit", and "gain an advantage"

αὐτῷ [106 verses](pron/adj sg masc/neut dat) "Him" is  is auto, the dative case of the third-person, singular adjective that is used as a pronoun. The word also means "the same,""one's true self," and "the soul" as opposed to the body. It also means "of one's own accord." The form is the third person, plural as an indirect object of the verb or the object of a preposition.  When used as a noun, it is preceded by a definite article, and it means "the same."A dative object of a preposition implies no movement but in a fixed position. With the "to be," it acts as a possessive, "his."

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." With the subjunctive and a result (apodosis) indicates a repeated action or a vivid future action.  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.

λίθος  [15 verses](noun sg masc nom) "Stone" is lithos, which means "a stone," "stone as a substance," and various specific types of stones, such as touchstones, and altar stones. 

μυλικὸς   [1 verse] (noun sg masc nom) "Mill" is mylikos, which means "for a mill."

περίκειται [2 verses](verb 3rd sg pres ind mp ) "Were hanged" is from perikeimai, which means "to lie around", "have round one," and "wear." It metaphorically means to have no advantage.

περὶ [73 verses](prep)  "About" is peri, which means "round about (Place)," "around," "about," "concerning," "on account of," "in regard to," "before," "above," "beyond," and "all around." With the genitive, "round about" of place, "for" or "about" something," with verbs of knowing, "about" and "concerning," "before or "beyond," of superiority With the dative, "round about" of clothes, "around" in holding, "for" or "about" a struggle, "on account of" and "by reason of" a cause. With the accusative, "around" in movement, caring and generally of relationships "about,"  "about" of time. As an adverb "around," "about," also, "near, by," and "exceedingly" in relationships.  

τὸν  [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."  -- 

τράχηλον [4 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Neck" is trachelos, which means "neck," "parts resembling a neck," and "throat." 

αὐτοῦ [142 verses](adv/adj sg masc gen) "His/" is autou, which means is the singular adjective used as the genitive pronoun, which is used as a possessive form or the object of prepositions and sometimes verbs as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord." In its adverbial form, this means "just here" or "exactly there." This form is often used as the object of a preposition, him." This form of an object of a preposition means a movement away from something or a position away from something else. The time sense of a genitive object is that the event occurred within a specified time. Though the form is masculine, it refers to masculine words, not people.  The masculine form is used to refer to people in general, not just men.

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." 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." In a series, it can be translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as." 

ἔρριπται   [1 verse](verb 3rd sg perf ind mp ) "He cast" is rhiptō, which means to " throw", "cast", and " hurl".

εἰς [325 verses](prep) "Into" 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."

τὴν [821 verses](article sg fem acc)  "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."  

θάλασσαν [11 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Sea" is from thalassa, which means also means "sea," "channel," "well of saltwater," or "sea water."

[92 verses](conj/adv)  "Than" is e, which is a particle used as a disjunctive, "either," "or," , or as a comparative, "than" or "rather than." It is (explam) also an exclamation, "hi!" and an adverb,(adv)  meaning "in truth" and "of a surety." It is used with comparative forms of adjective or with positive adjective implying a comparison. 

ἵνα [134 verses](adv/conj) "That" is hina, which means "in that place," "there," "where," "when,"  but when beginning a phrase "so that," "in order that," "when," and "because." It is used as an introduction to a command, where it isn't translated. Often is is better to translate it as "so that" instead of "because" to avoid confusion with another conjunction. --

σκανδαλίσῃ [20 verses]( verb 3rd sg aor subj act) "Offend"  is skandalizo, which means "to cause to stumble," "to give offense," and "to scandalize." This is the verb form of skandolon, meaning "trap," "snare," or "stumbling block," that appears twenty-five times in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament. and fifteen in the NT.

τῶν [821 verses](article pl masc nom)  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."  - 

μικρῶν [15 verses](adj pl masc gen) "Little ones"  is mikros which means "small," "little," and "young." In the NT, the singular neuter nom/acc, is used to mean "small things," "small times," small places," "small age," and "small influence." It is one of several words Christ uses to refer to children (see this article).  

τούτων [154 verses] (adj pl masc gen)"These" is toutos, (touto, toutou)which means "from here," "from there," "this [thing] there," or "that [person] here." In the neuter plural form, it is often used as the object of the verb to means "these things."-

ἕνα [85 verses](noun sg masc acc) "One" is heis, which means "one" (as opposed to other numbers), "single," and "one and the same." This noun/adjective is irregular, having a number of forms depending on gender and case. It is always singular. 

Front Page Date