I keep seeing this brought up as proof we go straight to heaven but if you look the word " today" in that scripture in the concordance you won't find it. King James Version says " to Day" its two words and it changes the meaning. In my study what I found Jesus to be saying is: " Forever, shalt thou be with me in paradise" it upsets me that everyone says today, when the word today is not there. Has anyone else realized this?

  • What does your research of the Greek indicate?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 23:39
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    @Tammy What word are you translating as Forever? Also, are you sure that conflating paradise and heaven is justified?
    – bradimus
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 23:56
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    This might be better served at Hermeneutics.SE.
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 6:40
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    @tammy, this question is likely to be closed as it's not exactly scoped in a way that most people recognize as being a good fit for the site. I think the "King James Only Christians" are a recognizable group, so I certainly understand your query. Please state in your question what Faith Tradition you would like answers from so that the answers can be more useful to you. We encourage concrete answers and saying "has anyone noticed this?" will invite too many diverse opinions for this QA site.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 14:20
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    While your concern about this verse being used to justify a belief in immediate transport to heaven upon death is well founded, the Greek word used really does mean "today" or "this day".
    – Rob K
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 20:28

3 Answers 3


Luke 23:43 uses the ancient Greek word "σήμερον," which is biblically translated into English as:

  • This day

  • To day

  • Today

Strong's Concordance identifies the word as an adverb that means "today" or "now."

Your question appears to rest on the idea that "to day" and "today" have substantially different meanings. To this I must add "this day," as the original Greek is also translated that way. Therefore, are they, indeed, different?

Frankly, they are not. The definition of the function word "to,"1 while quite lengthy and involved, boils down to indicating movement toward or identifying a relation. In other words, "to day" means "toward the day" or "in relation to the day," which is not dissimilar to the definition of "today."

This is substantially supported by the translation from the Greek to "this day."

A cursory search of the Internet reveals that "today" began as Old English "tó dæg" meaning "on (this) day." During the 14th century (the period of Geoffrey Chaucer) it became "to-day" (with an hyphen). It was written that way until the beginning of the 20th century, afterwhich it was written "today." During all that time, the meaning did not change.

Finally, I do not understand how you converted "to day" into "forever." My answer may change if you provide a detailed explanation of how you came to that conclusion.

1 The etymology of the preposition "to" relates to the words "" (old English), "toe" (Dutch), and "zu" (German). While the modern meaning has become refined due to continued use over the centuries, the basic meaning has not changed.


First, "to day" is older English for the one linguistic unit (what has been joined over the centuries into) "today". Meaning 'this day'.

It doesn't convey two different ideasfor each word, especially since separately they mean nothing.

Besides, you are working with a faulty assumption "King James Version says " to Day" its two words and it changes the meaning". Because of the above, but also, if it were two words ("to day" is actually one word or at least one linguistic unit) because one Greek word may not always have a one word equivalent. For example, the honorific given to Mary in Luke 1:28 (κεχαριτωμένη—"that has been graced [by God]"). Or Exodus 20:14: ου μοιχευσεις ("Thou shalt not commit adultery").

Luke 23:43

And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day [σήμερον] thou shalt be with me in paradise [Παραδείσῳ].

The Greek word σήμερον (sēmeron) means 'today' or 'this day.' With the nuance of 'even now, soon, or just past.'

For example,

Acts 13:33

This same God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Jesus, as in the second psalm also is written: Thou art my Son, this day [σήμερον] have I begotten thee.

We know this means today for sure, because it's quoting Psalm 2:7 (where the word translates הַיּ֥וֹם haYowm—"this day; today." (LXX, or Greek Old Testament: σήμερον).

Besides, Jesus was not "in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40) or "preaching to the spirits in prison"—Abraham's Bosom (1 Peter 3:19) or "descended into the lower parts of the earth" (Ephesians 4:9), "forever" (NOT a translation of the Greek word σήμερον). But "for three days" (Matthew 12:40). The day Jesus died, He didn't go immediately to heaven with the good thief, they went to παράδεισος (paradeisos) or Abraham's Bosom (Luke 16:21-23). Since His Ascension (and opening of heaven) and glorification of the saints who were "in prison" until heaven was opened, no one goes to that abode any longer, but to Heaven or Hell (or Purgatory) (the latter two of which come under ᾍδης Hades, or the realm of the dead).


Jesus also spoke of 'this generation' not passing away before a series of events. 'Today' could be used similarly. Also Luke 17:21 says the Kingdom of God is already in our midst.

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