Luke 17:6 If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree,

KJV Verse: 

Luke 17:6 If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

If you all have trust as a seed of mustard, you might have said to the mulberry tree, this one, "Be uprooted and be planted in the sea" and it might listen to you.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is an ironic, humorous statement. The form of the if/then statement here is one that is contrary to fact, as "If pigs had wings, they could fly." This means Jesus are saying that these things are not true, but in a humorous way. This is the opposite of the similar verse in Matthew 17:20 where the form is something that is likely to happening in the future. The "you" here is plural addressing a group, changing from the previous verse, where Jesus was addressing one person personally.  This verse also has a couple of unique words for Jesus.

The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

The word translated as "ye had" means to "have", "possess", "bear", "keep close", "have means to do",  "to have due to one", or "keep". The form is plural. 

The term translated as "faith" is closer to our idea of having confidence or trust in people, especially their word, rather than having religious belief.

The word translated as "as" has a very broad meaning, translating as "how", "when", "where", "just as", "like," and related words.

The word translated as "grain" means "kernel," or "grain." It can also mean "seed." However, it is not the most common word for a "seed" in Greek which is sperma in Greek

The word translated as "mustard seed" means simply "mustard." However, the mustard seed was the Jewish metaphor for the smallness of the knowable world compared to the whole universe. Jesus uses it in Matthew 13:31 to refer to how the realm of the skies grows from a small seed.

The word translated as "you...say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak."

 "Might" 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." In this place in an if/then statements, it indicates that the statement is contrary to fact.

The "this" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage. Its use means that there was probably a specific tree he was referring to.

"Sycamore tree" is the noun that means "mulberry tree". It is a difference genus, but the same family as the sycamore. This tree bears fruit. The American sycamore does not.

"Be thou plucked up by the root" is an uncommon verb for Jesus to use that means "root out" or "uproot".  The form is a second person passive command, someone speaking directly to the tree.

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

"Be though planted" is another uncommon verb which means "beget", "engender," generally, "produce",  and specifically, "to plant" with trees. Like the previous verb, it is a second person passive command. Interestingly, both of these uncommon verbs are used together in Matthew 15:13.

The word translated as "in" also means "within", "with," or "among."

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

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

"It...obey" is  is a Greek verb that Jesus only uses here that means to "hearken", "give ear", "answer",   "listen to", "heed", "regard", " give way", "submit", and "comply". The primary meaning is listen.

 "Should" 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." In this place in an if/then statements, as earlier, it indicates that the statement is contrary to fact.

The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc.  Again, it is plural, aimed at a group of listeners.

Greek Vocabulary: 

Εἰ (conj) "If" is ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

ἔχετε ( verb 2nd pl pres ind act ) "Ye had" is echo, which means "to have", "to hold", "to possess", "to keep", "to have charge of", "to have due to one", "to maintain", "to hold fast", "to bear", "to carry", "to keep close", "to keep safe," and "to have means to do." -- The word translated as "have" means to "have", "possess", "bear", "keep close", "have means to do",  "to have due to one", or "keep" and many specific uses. This verb isn't used to form past tenses as it is in English. 

πίστιν (noun sg fem acc) "Faith" is pistis, which means "confidence", "assurance", "trustworthiness", "credit", "a trust," "that which give confidence," and, as a character trait, "faithfulness."

ὡς (adv/conj) "As" is hos, an adverb which means to "thus", "as", "how", "when", "where", "like", "just as", "so far as", "as much as can be", "that", "in order that", "nearly (with numbers)," and "know that."

κόκκον () "A grain" is kokkos, which means "a grain" and "a seed", "testicles," and it is a metaphor for a "grain of sense."

σινάπεως, (noun sg neut gen) "Of mustard seed" is from sinapi which means simply "mustard." --

ἐλέγετε (verb 2nd pl imperf ind act ) "You...say" is lego, which means "to recount", "to tell over", "to say", "to speak", "to teach", "to mean", "boast of", "tell of", "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself", "pick up", "gather", "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelled the same means "to lay", "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

ἂν (particle) "Might" is an, which 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."

τῆ συκαμίνῳ [unique](noun sg masc dat) "Sycamore tree" is sykaminos , which means "mulberry tree".

[ταύτῃ] (adj sg masc dat) "Unto this" is tauta, which is a referring pronoun meaning "these", "this", "that," and "here." It can mean the nearer or the further depending on usage. As an adverb it can mean "therefore" and "that is why."

Ἐκριζώθητι [uncommon]( verb 2nd sg aor imperat pass ) "Be thou plucked up by the root" is from ekrizoô, which means "root out."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" 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."

φυτεύθητι [uncommon] ( verb 2nd sg aor imperat pass ) "Be thou planted" is from phyteuo, which means "beget", "engender," generally, "produce", "bring about", "cause (mostly of evils), "implant in," "to plant {especially trees", "to set-up," and specifically, "to plant with trees." When used as a noun, means "father" or, in plural, "parents."

ἐν (prep) "In" is en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with". --

τῇ θαλάσσῃ: (noun sg fem dat) "Sea" is from thalassa (thalassa), which means also means "sea", "channel", "well of saltwater," or "sea water." --

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" 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."

ὑπήκουσεν [unique]( verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "It...obey" is  hypakouō , which means to "hearken", "give ear", "answer",   "listen to", "heed", "regard", " give way", "submit", and "comply".

ἂν (particle) "Should be" is an, which 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."

ὑμῖν. (pron 2nd pl dat) "To you" is humin the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you." --

Related Verses: 

Front Page Date: 

Sep 9 2018