Luke 9:62

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Victor George
Posts: 2
Joined: March 22nd, 2016, 11:55 pm

Luke 9:62

Post by Victor George » March 23rd, 2016, 1:48 am

Luke 9:62 οὐδεὶς ἐπιβαλὼν τὴν χεῖρα ἐπ᾿ ἄροτρον καὶ βλέπων εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω εὔθετός ἐστιν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ.

Hi guys,

I am trying to understand the limits of how this verse can be translated.

The ESV Translates it as: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The sense of this translation is that putting your hand to the plow is a symbol of following Jesus, and if you have started "plowing", you should not look back.

However, I wonder if it could translated as:
"No one having [once] put his hand on the plow, and looks back (to the plow) is fit for the kingdom of God"
The sense of this translation would be that following Jesus means not looking back to the plow.

Would this be a legitimate translation considering that ἐπιβαλὼν is an aorist participle and βλέπων is a present participle?

Thanks,
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Luke 9:62

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 23rd, 2016, 3:19 pm

Welcome to B-Greek! First a little housekeeping: we have a user name policy which you must follow if you want to be able to continue to post. Please follow the instructions there and I'll get you straightened out and remove this housekeeping note.

As for your question: if I put my hands on a plow, it's usually in front of me, not behind me. Looking backwards is looking away from the plow.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Luke 9:62

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 24th, 2016, 8:49 am

The English word "back" has a number of meanings, when used as an adverb. "The president went back to Beijing." Implies that he was there before. "The man looked back at his watch." impliesὀπίσωthat he was making a comparison or he was a little impatient. To "hit back" is an extension of the first meaning, but in this case, the first action was done by somebody else. "The coach stared back at the angry fans." is possible, but plows are inanimate, so that is not a possibility here. The adverbial usage, "She fell back because she was rocking on the unergonomical chair." implies a direction of falling.

The guy sees the plow, walks up to it puts his hand(s) on the handle holds the reigns with his teeth (or the other hand), fixes his gaze dead ahead and starts to plough. We then have a warning against him looking "back". From what we discussed in the first paragraph, then, there are two choices. The first is "back" meaning "again", and "back" meaning "rearwards". Look in your Greek dictionary (or do an internet search) for the meaning of the word ὀπίσω, then you will be able to make a clear judgement about which of the two possible meanings in English is meant by the Greek. ;)

If you are coming to Greek out of a desire to better understand what you are reading in English, when English could have a few meanings, then that is the sort of method that you can follow to test your understanding of the text. Greek will help you better understand what you read. The more familiar you are with Greek, the easier it will be for you to get beyond the English and into the original meaning. There is a place for the Greek expert in a Bible study, to give that sort of apraisal of personal interpretation too. If there was somebody who shared their views and they are based on a possibility in the English, but contra the Greek, it is possible to graciously and humbly say that the Greek requires us to understand the English in such and so a way. When you are preparing a sermon too, Greek can be used as a self-check on your understanding of the passage. :)
Last edited by Stephen Hughes on March 24th, 2016, 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1860
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Luke 9:62

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 24th, 2016, 8:57 am

VictoriousMaximus wrote:Luke 9:62 οὐδεὶς ἐπιβαλὼν τὴν χεῖρα ἐπ᾿ ἄροτρον καὶ βλέπων εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω εὔθετός ἐστιν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ.

Hi guys,

I am trying to understand the limits of how this verse can be translated.

The ESV Translates it as: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The sense of this translation is that putting your hand to the plow is a symbol of following Jesus, and if you have started "plowing", you should not look back.

However, I wonder if it could translated as:
"No one having [once] put his hand on the plow, and looks back (to the plow) is fit for the kingdom of God"
The sense of this translation would be that following Jesus means not looking back to the plow.

Would this be a legitimate translation considering that ἐπιβαλὼν is an aorist participle and βλέπων is a present participle?

Thanks,
No. The aorist participle simply means that the action of applying the hand (simply an idiom for earnestly applying oneself to the task) takes place prior the current action or state of being, and the present participle emphasizes that that it takes place concurrent with it. There is absolutely no sense that he put his hand on the plow, turned away from the plow, and then looked back at the plow. That would take further specific explanation.
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1860
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Luke 9:62

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 24th, 2016, 8:58 am

I had intended to add, that in addition to supplying your real name, if you wish a Latin sounding handle, real Latin would be better, "Victor Maximus."
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Greg Johnston
Posts: 5
Joined: May 20th, 2013, 2:45 pm

Re: Luke 9:62

Post by Greg Johnston » March 24th, 2016, 6:19 pm

It's worth noting, in addition to what's been said, that τὰ ὀπίσω are "the things (plural) behind" the person. You could imagine a sentence in which this could mean the plow, but the text as we have it really can't mean that.
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