Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

I'm telling you that he he is going to give this satisfaction of theirs with swiftness. Only of the son of the man showing up, immediately he is going to discover this trust upon the earth.

KJV : 

Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

What is Lost in Translation: 

This is another place when the Greek lack of an interrogatory verb form confuses the meaning. The first sentence here clarifies that the previous verse (Luke 18:7) was likely a question. But is the second statement a question or a simple statement? If it is a question, it would seem to expect a negative answer because of the particle used.  This particle is not translated in the KJV. In the previous verse, the question had a possible verb form, but here the verb is the future tense, which is less like a question.

The word translated as "I tell" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you", "for you", etc. 

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

The Greek word translated as "he will" has the primary meaning of "making" or producing" something or "causing" or "performing" a service. It describes a productive action. The tense is the future.

"Avenge" is not the Greek verb we have seen earlier in this story, but the noun. It means "vengeance" and, with the verb used prior, "to give satisfaction." It is what God might perform here. It is preceded by an article, "the vengeance" or "this vengeance."

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

The word untranslated  here means "within", "with," or "among."

"Speedily" is a noun used uniquely by Jesus here. It means "swiftness" and "speed".

The word translated as "nevertheless" is a less common preposition used like a conjunction that means "except", "save", "besides," and "in addition to." The sense seems to be that "except because of the son of many coming".

There is no "when" in the Greek.

The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense is "the child of the man." The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant". The "son" here is possessive so "of the son". The Greek word for "of man" in the singular means "person" and "humanity" and "people" and "peoples" in the plural. The possession could apply to the following word "coming of the son of the man", but more likely the sense is "except because of the son of the man".

The word translated as "cometh" primarily means "to start out" but Christ usually uses it to mean "come" but not always. It indicates movement, especially its beginning, without indicating a direction toward or away from anything, so it works either as "come" or "go," but it is more like our phrase "being underway." Our English word "show up" captures both the "start" and "come" ideas. The form is an adjective, showing up".

The word untranslated here is a particle marking a sudden change or explaining or drawing attention to a consequence of an action. It is used in questions that expect a negative answer. With the objective negative, it expects a positive answer. There is no negative here.

The term used for "shall he find" is the source of our word, "heuristic," meaning enabling a person to find out something for themselves. It means "find out" and "discover." The tense is the future.

The term translated as "faith" is closer to our idea of having confidence or trust in people, especially their word, rather than having a religious belief. It has an article, so "this faith".

The word translated as "unto" means "on", "over", "upon", "against", "before", "after", "during", "by" or "on."

The word translated as "earth" means "ground" and "dirt". Translated as "earth", it refers to the physical planet, not society, which Christ describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

λέγω (verb 1st sg pres act ind) "I tell" 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."

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

ὅτι (adv/conj) "That" is 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." --

ποιήσει ( verb 3rd sg fut ind act ) "He will" is poieo, which means "to make", "to produce", "to create", "to bring into existence", "to bring about", "to cause", "to perform", "to render", "to consider", "to prepare", "to make ready," and "to do."

τὴν (article sg fem acc ) ἐκδίκησιν  [uncommon]( noun sg fem acc ) "Avenge" is ekdikēsis, which means  "avenging", "vengeance", and "satisfaction"as in "give satisfaction".

αὐτῶν (adj pl masc gen) "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."

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

τάχει.[unique]( noun sg neut dat) "Speedily" is tachos, which means "swiftness" and "speed".

πλὴν (prep) "Nevertheless" is from plen, which is a preposition meaning "except", "save", "besides," and "in addition to." Often used with the negative as a conjunction, "except not."

υἱὸς (noun sg masc gen) "The Son" is huios, which means a "son," and more generally, a "child." It is used generally to refer to any male descendant.

τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (noun sg masc gen) "Of man" is anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate.

ἐλθὼν ( part sg aor act masc nom ) "Cometh" is erchomai, which means "to start," "to set out", "to come", "to go," and any kind of motion. It means both "to go" on a journey and "to arrive" at a place. --

ἆρα (partic) Untranslated is ara, which means "there and then", "straightway", "then", "next", "mark you!", "for this cause", "so true is it that," and "namely." It indicates an immediate transition. It is also used to introduce a sentence that is a question that expects a negative answer. 

εὑρήσει ( verb 3rd sg fut ind act or ) "Shall he find" is heurisko, which means "to find", "to find out", "to discover", "to devise", "to invent", "to get," and "to gain."

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

ἐπὶ (prep) "Against" is epi, which means "on", "over",  "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," "after" in position, "during", and "against."

τῆς γῆς; (noun sg fem gen) "The earth" is ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

Front Page Date: 

Oct 12 2018