Luke 4:4 It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

It has been recorded, that "Not upon a loaf alone is he going to live, a person,

KJV : 

Luke 4:4 It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is Christ's response to the first temptation in the desert. It is identical to Christ's words in the first part of Matthew 4:4 except for the addition of a "that". The KJV Luke quote is as long as the Matthew version, but the Greek sources we used today only show the first phase of the Matthew version. The Biblical quote in it is an exact quote from the Septuagint, the Greek old Testament (Deu 8:3), while the Hebrew is a little different. This is typical of the kind of evidence that we find that Christ taught in Greek. See this article

Though "it is written," is translated in the present tense in the KJV, the Greek is in the perfect tense, an action completed in the past.

The word translated as "that" introduces a statement of fact or cause. Here it introduces a quote. 

The word translated as "man" more generally means "humanity" as well as "a man." It does not have an article so it is "a man" or "man". 

The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea.

The term translated as "live" is in the future tense. The Greek term means not only to have life and breath but to the enjoyment of living as well, specifically, to be "full of life." Christ also uses it in the sense of "making a living." There are several other words in the Gospels translated as "life" discussed in this article. The differences are important.

The word translated as "by" means "against", "before", "by" or "on."

The Greek word for "bread" or more precisely, "loaf," but is was used generically to mean "food." The original Hebrew (Deu 8:3) from which this quote is taken referred to mana in the desert. Moses describes the hunger and suffering of the Jews in the desert and how God sent them mana. The following verse of Deu 8:5 may also be considered a provocative prophecy of Christ's suffering and death.

The word translated as "alone" means means "alone," "solitary," "only," "single," "unique," "made in one piece".


A direct Greek quote from the Septuagint, not a paraphrase from Hebrew or Aramaic, which is quite different. 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Γέγραπται (3rd sg perf ind mp ) "It is written" is from grapho, which means "to write", "having marked or drawn", "to describe", "to brand", "to express by written characters", "to ordain", "to enroll oneself", "to be indicted," and "to write down."

 ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that", "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what", "because", "since," and "wherefore." 

Οὐκ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

 ἐπ᾽ (prep) "By" is from epi, (epi) which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

ἄρτῳ (noun sg masc dat) "Bread" is from artos, which means specifically a "cake of whole wheat bread," and generally "loaf," and "bread."

μόνῳ (adj sg neut dat) "Alone" is from monon, which means "alone", "solitary", "only", "one above all others", "made in one piece", "single," and "unique."

ζήσεται (3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall live" is from zaô (zao), which means "to live", "the living," and "to be alive." It is a metaphor for "to be full of life", "to be strong," and "to be fresh."

 ἄνθρωπος.” (noun sg masc nom) "Man" is from anthrôpos (anthropos), which "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 13 2017