Luke 21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom,

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

I myself, consequently, will give you a mouth, also a wisdom, to which they won't have the power to withstand or speak against, every one of those setting themselves against you.

KJV : 

Luke 21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

What is Lost in Translation: 

This verse starts as a light-hearted comment, but grows more serious but even the serious part has wordplay. with a number of words beginning with different forms of "anti".  A couple of these words are unique, a sure sign of wordplay.

The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation so "because" and, in questions, "why." However, since this word always appears in the second position, it is more like an aside remark like, "consequently" or "as a cause". 

The pronoun "I" is added to add emphasis that he is referring to his own words. It is unnecessary because the first-person indication is part of the verb ending. Jesus usually uses it humorously to refer to himself and his powers. It is like saying "I myself" in English but pithier.

The verb translated as "will give" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give."

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

The Greek word translated as "mouth" is  means "mouth" and therefore, "speech" or "utterance." The Greek use this word to mean speech in the sense we say "that kid has a mouth on him" or describe being outspoken as "mouthing off". The sense often humorous and deprecating since everyone has a mouth.

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). "Also" may work best here because wisdom is what is highlighted in the rest of the verse.

Wisdom" is a word meaning "cleverness", "skill", "learning," and "wisdom." The Greek word, Sophia, was the goddess of wisdom among the Greeks. Among the Jews, this attribute was first recognized as an attribute of God and was later identified with the Spirit of God. In Greek, however, the word carried no just the idea of superior knowledge, but superior skill in doing things in the real world. It was a practical knowledge, more like we use the word "common sense."  This serious idea is contrasted with the "mouth" above. Wisdom is what is discussed from now on.

The word translated as "which" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause. The form refers only to the "wisdom" not the "mouth".

The term translated as "all" includes several senses of "everything" and completeness. It is more extreme than the common word for "all".

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

"Adversaries" is from a verb beginning with "anti" which is used uniquely here. It means to "set against", "match with", in battle "withstand", "compare",  "resist", and "fight on". This word is at the end of the sentence, either to create suspense or to act as a punchline.

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 word translated as "shall...be able" means having the power or possibly a desire to accomplish something. Often, in English, "can" is a helper verb, indicating a possibility. In Greek, it indicates ability or power. \

"Gainsay" is another unique "anti" verb in the form of "antei". It means to "speak against", "speak in answer", "contradict", and "deny".

"Nor" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "or" but serves as "than" in a comparison.

"Resist" is another "anti" word in the form of "anthi" that means  "to set against", "to match with", "to compare", "to stand against", "to withstand", "to turn out unfavorably," and "to make a stand."  However it comes first in the serview of verbs, which comes before the "adversaries".

Wordplay: 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἐγὼ (pron 1st sg masc nom) "I" is ego, which is the firs-person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and "for myself." --

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question, it means "why" and "what." --

δώσω ( verb 1st sg fut ind act ) "Will give" is didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

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

στόμα ( noun sg neut acc ) "Mouth" is stoma, which means "mouth" and therefore, "speech" or "utterance." In English, we say someone has a "foul mouth" when we mean they use bad language. The Greek use to mean speech was a little more direct.

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."

σοφίαν  (noun sg fem acc) "Wisdom" is from sophia, which means "cleverness", "skill," and "learning." This was seen as an attribute of God and a gift from God to men. Sophia was the Greek goddess of learning and in Christianity is used as a symbol for Mary, the mother of Jesus.

( pron sg fem dat ) "Which" is hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

οὐ (partic) "Not" is 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.

δυνήσονται ( verb 3rd pl fut ind mid ) "Be able" is the verb, dynamai, which means "to have power by virtue of your own capabilities", "to be able," and "to be strong enough."

ἀντιστῆναι (verb aor inf act ) "Resist" is anthihestimi, which "to set against", "to match with", "to compare", "to stand against", "to withstand", "to turn out unfavorably," and "to make a stand."

(conj/adv) "Or" is e which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than." --

ἀντειπεῖν [unique]( verb aor inf act ) "Gainsay" is anteipon, which means to "speak against", "speak in answer", "contradict", and "deny".

ἅπαντες [uncommon](adj pl masc nom) "All" is from hapas, which means "quite all", "the whole", "all together", "all possible", "absolute", "every one", "everything", "every", "in any cause whatever", "in every matter," and (as an adverb) "altogether."

οἱ ἀντικείμενοι [unique] ( part pl pres mp masc nom ) "Adversaries" is antikeimai, which means to "set against", "match with", n battle "withstand", "compare",  "resist", and "fight on".

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

Front Page Date: 

Jan 3 2019