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Is there a problem with the punctuation, as we see that Jesus did not go to paradise that day?


Could Jesus' words be punctuated as:

I tell you the truth this day - with me thou shalt be in Paradise.

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  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Today shalt thou be with me in paradise
    – depperm
    May 10, 2019 at 12:18
  • 1
    This is not actually a duplicate of the question which queried the word σημερον, this question is suggesting that Jesus actually said "Verily I say to thee this day - thou shalt be with me in Paradise". Therefore this question is about the possibility that Jesus word 'this day' or 'today' refers to his speaking, not to the being in Paradise which, the questioner is suggesting, is left unspecific regarding the timing of the future event. (+1),
    – Nigel J
    May 10, 2019 at 12:50
  • I have edited the question to clarify the effect of punctuation. If the Questioner does not agree, please roll back to remove my edit.
    – Nigel J
    May 10, 2019 at 12:56
  • This should be scoped to a denomination.
    – Kris
    May 10, 2019 at 15:30
  • christianity.stackexchange.com/q/46946/23657. Perhaps this related question will help
    – Kris
    May 10, 2019 at 15:33

5 Answers 5

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I have heard three resolutions to the series of problems posed by this verse, and found a fourth researching your question. First, I challenge the assumption "as we see that Jesus did not go to paradise that day".

  1. Omnipresence. Jesus possesses two natures, divine and human, linked into a unit in a way that is inexpressible. The divine nature of Jesus has always been in the presence of God in Heaven, and always will. The human nature and physical person of Christ would not ascend to Heaven until the third day. So the thief on the cross would on that very day be with the spirit of Jesus in Heaven.

  2. Change in destiny. The "today" refers to the time of the change in the thief's destiny. He had been headed for Hell, but "today" that changed. Now that he has confessed his sins and believed in Jesus as his king he is saved and his destiny is to go to Heaven and be there with Jesus, how ever long that journey may take, whether one day, three, or a thousand years in purgatory (which I do not believe in, but also a possibility if you accept this interpretation). So a rewording would be, "As of Today, you will be with me in paradise."

  3. Paradise. This revolves around the word "paradise". If it is not Heaven, but instead the place of the righteous dead (like Abraham) who had not ascended into Heaven yet because Jesus had not yet paid for their sins, then that was where the thief would go - "today". The thief would accompany Jesus on his journey to Paradise to set the captives free, then escort them into Heaven.

For reference: Here is the Greek in question:

Καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ , Ἀμήν σοι λέγω , σήμερον μετ’ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ Παραδείσῳ .

It is the comma after λέγω (lego) that is being questioned.

  1. Contradicting my favorite view.

Here is Wilson Paroschi's take on the question, in an article from Ministry Magazine: https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/2013/06/the-significance-of-a-comma:-an-analysis-of-luke-23:43

There is minority support for the later placement of the comma after σήμερον (today) in Codex Vaticanus and the Curetonian Syriac, but also early additions of the word "that" into the Greek to cement our current, more common translation.

Quoting the above article in defense of the later placement of the comma:

Among the church writers, this reading was also attested by Ephraem the Syrian, of the fourth century,7 as well as Cassian and Hesychius, of the fifth century.

In a section of the article on linguistic evidence:

In Greek, there is no specific rule concerning the position of the adverb, whether before or after the verb.11 Thus, from the grammatical standpoint we find it impossible to determine if sēmeron in Luke 23:43 modifies the preceding verb (“to tell”) or the follow­ing one (“to be”). Luke, however, has a definite tendency of using this adverb with the preceding verb. This happens in 14 of the 20 occurrences of sēmeron in Luke and Acts (Luke 2:11; 5:26; 12:28; 13:32, 33; 22:34, 61; Acts 19:40; 20:26; 22:3; 24:21; 26:2, 29; 27:33).12 Of the five uses of the adverb with the following verb, one is a quotation from Psalm 2:7 (Acts 13:33), and, in three cases, sēmeron is preceded by a conjunction (Luke 4:21; 19:5, 9),13 which makes such a construction inevitable. That is, there is only one example in Luke’s writings in which sēmeron was freely placed before the verb (Acts 4:9). The attempt to read the adverb in Luke 23:43 in connection to the preceding verb, therefore, is not only fully acceptable in terms of gram­mar but is also in complete agreement with Luke’s literary style.

  1. Convention upheld. Another view, affirming the conventional placement of the comma: http://www.99for1ministries.com/Placement%20of%20the%20Comma%20in%20Luke%2023-43.pdf

This article refers to Mark 14:30, the only other place where Jesus makes a similar reference to today, and where it would make no sense to attach the "today" to the "say to you".

“And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, that this very night, [amen lego soi lego semeron taute te nykti] before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.”

This article lists all ALL 76 passages in the Gospels where Jesus says, "Truly I say to you", allowing you to see that either a comma or the word "that" is always placed after the word today.

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    The questioner is suggesting that Jesus did not specify 'today' in reference to the future event. The questioner is suggesting that Jesus emphasised that he was speaking the words 'today'.
    – Nigel J
    May 10, 2019 at 12:53
  • I edited my answer to explain that I am challenging the assumption, more than answering the question. May 10, 2019 at 12:58
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    I dug up an article that analyzes Luke's use of adverbs that follow the verb. May 10, 2019 at 13:59
  • That is very helpful. +1.
    – Nigel J
    May 10, 2019 at 14:41
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Our Lord Jesus used the phrase “Truly I say to you” (Synoptic Gospels) and “Truly, truly, I say to you” (John’s Gospel) many times.

One aid to deciding if in Luke 23:43 he said “Truly, I say to you today,” with the comma after “today” or “truly I say to you, today” with the comma before “today”, is to see how he uses this phrase everywhere else.

Read through them extremely carefully, the evidence is there.

Matthew 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Matthew 5:26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 6:2 Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Matthew 6:5 Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Matthew 6:16 Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Matthew 10:15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Matthew 10:23 for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Matthew 10:42 truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

Matthew 11:11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 13:17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Matthew 16:28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

Matthew 17:20 For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.

Matthew 18:3 Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:13 truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.

Matthew 18:18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 19:23 Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:28 Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matthew 21:21 Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

Matthew 21:31 Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.

Matthew 23:36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Matthew 24:2 Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.

Matthew 24:34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

Matthew 24:47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.

Matthew 25:12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:45 Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.

Matthew 26:13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.

Matthew 26:21 Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.

Mark 3:28 Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,

Mark 8:12 Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.

Mark 9:1 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.

Mark 9:41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Mark 10:15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.

Mark 10:29 Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,

Mark 11:23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Mark 12:43 Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.

Mark 13:30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

Mark 14:9 truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.

Mark 14:18 Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.

Mark 14:25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Luke 4:24 Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.

Luke 12:37 Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.

Luke 12:44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.

Luke 18:17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.

Luke 18:29 Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,

Luke 21:32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.

So it is either:

Luke 23:43 Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.

or:

Luke 23:43 Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.

John 1:51 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

John 3:3 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:5 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

John 3:11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.

John 5:19 Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 5:25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

John 6:26 Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

John 6:32 Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

John 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

John 6:53 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

John 8:34 Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.

John 8:51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.

John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

John 10:1 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.

John 10:7 Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

John 13:16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

John 13:20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

John 13:21 Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.

John 13:38 Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

John 14:12 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

John 16:20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.

John 16:23 Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

John 21:18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.

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    You have not answered the question. The adverb is not used in any of these except one.
    – Dottard
    Dec 30, 2021 at 20:39
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    @Dottard This actually does answer the Q because the Q is about correct placing of a comma (which comma was never in the autographs.) Listing the occasions when Jesus said, "Truly I say to you..." compared with when he said, "Truly I say to you today..." gives the answer. My little point is, that as both men knew they would die that very day, Jesus saying "Truly I say to you today, you..." would be ludicrous. But to promise the criminal entry into Paradise before that Jewish day was up, makes perfect sense.
    – Anne
    May 13, 2023 at 16:25
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Given that there was no punctuation in the autographs, the problem needs to be resolved by stepping back a bit, away from English punctuation points, and considering if there would be a simple, logical reason why the meaning had to be Jesus promising the criminal Paradise that very day, or not.

Given that both men knew they would die that very day, Jesus saying "Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise" would be ludicrous. They both knew he was speaking that very day! They both knew that, because it was a Sabbath starting at 6pm that same day, their dead bodies would have to be taken down from their respective crosses before 6pm that day.

But to promise the criminal entry into Paradise before that Jewish day was up, makes perfect sense. Both of them would be dead before 6pm that day, and Jesus was making the astounding promise that both of them would be in Paradise before that Jewish day had ended.

This means that the English addition of commas to English translations has no other place to be placed (logically) but after "...I tell you,...".

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I checked other translations--both those done by committee and those by single translators such as Weymouth, Moffat, Berkeley, etc. The verdict was unanimous: the comma came before the "Today."

The use of Jesus famous and authoritative phrase, Verily (Verily) I say unto you was complete by itself. "Today" (Friday) was a reference to the day of the week when they would both go to Paradise. It is only a presupposition against Jesus's multiple Ascensions that causes confusion in this matter.

It was necessary for Jesus to go to Heaven for two reasons: (a) To offer the required atonement blood on the Altar (Ark) in the heavenly Temple, which is written about in Hebrews 9; and this had to be done right after the Lamb was slain. (b) It was time for the Victim to become the Victor: Jesus was to be coronated as king for this is why He was born.

Where is He who is born King of the Jews? (Magi's question, Matthew 2:2) ...The Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. (1 Peter 1:11, See also Acts 2:22-36)

We know Jesus was coronated at this time, and not after the physical Ascension because Jesus told His disciples before He ascended, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me (Matthew 28:18)

When these scriptures are considered, it is only natural--imperative--that the comma follow "you" and not "today." {The verse in John 20:17 is cleared up with the better translation than the old KJV's "Don't touch Me, by "Don't cling on to Me." He had not Ascended physically but was to tell the disciples that He was in the process (Verb present tense of continuing action.) So that is not a valid objection to our interpretation above.}

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  • "it is only natural--imperative--that the comma follow "you" and not "today."" — why is it imperative? If the comma did follow today, how would its new meaning conflict with any other belief or doctrine? May 13, 2023 at 14:42
  • @Ray Butterworth See the lengthy list of Scriptures in Anne's answer. A most reasonable exegesis could come up with no other conclusion since Jesus's phrase ends with "you." The switch of the comma would go against the application of the presentation of blood right after the slaying of the Lamb as required for Jesus's fulfilment of the Law. And the redemptive nature of this Blood is a vital theme of the Apostles: "In whom we have redemption thru His blood, the forgiveness of sins..." (Ephesians 1:7). As the song goes: "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!" Peace.
    – ray grant
    May 15, 2023 at 20:19
  • If the comma came after: "I tell you today, you will …", that changed meaning wouldn't in any way conflict with the belief that Jesus did immediately go to Paradise. So it's not imperative that the comma come before "today", regardless of one's beliefs. May 15, 2023 at 20:29
  • @Ray Butterworth It's just that the overwhelming usage in all the other scriptures in which it occurs point the exegete in that direction: facts, not beliefs.
    – ray grant
    May 15, 2023 at 20:34
  • I was arguing only about the objective fact of the inappropriate use of the word "imperative". May 16, 2023 at 0:03
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Here's an answer I gave to a related question, What evidence is there that the thief on the cross was not baptized?. It seems even more on-topic here than there.

Remember that the original Greek didn't use punctuation, and whatever you see in English versions has been added by the translators, often based on their previous understanding of tradition.

In this case, the appropriate place for a comma in that verse could have been inserted after, rather than before the word "today".

That would give it a completely different meaning. Compare:

  • Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
  • Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise.

How can we know which one is the correct interpretation?

One way is to observe the use of sentence structure in Greek. The thief's statement was "remember me when thou ...". A balanced response to that would match the "when" with the "today". That is, Jesus tells him that there is no need to wait until the Kingdom, that He can tell him right away.

An even stronger indication that this is what was actually meant is given by matching more explicit facts given elsewhere in the Bible. In John 20:17, Jesus says "I am not yet ascended to my Father" and this is after the Resurrection. He had just spent three days and three nights in the grave, so the thief couldn't possibly have been in paradise with Jesus on the "today" mentioned during the crucifixion.

The comma goes after "today", Jesus lied, or the Bible contradicts itself.
Which do you think it is?


All we know for sure then is that Jesus assured the thief that he would be with Jesus in "Paradise" when Jesus has his Kingdom.

Some denominations teach that the Kingdom of God is here on Earth now, so I can't speak for them. But others believe that the Kingdom will be here on Earth for a thousand years following Christ's return. At the end of that Millennium, there will be a second resurrection of those that died without ever being offered salvation (Rev 20:5), the vast majority of mankind. It is then that they will live in God's Kingdom, as physically resurrected people, and then that the vast majority of them will be saved. Finally, those few that still reject God, along with those in the third resurrection (Rev 20:13), who had previously died after rejecting salvation, will all be destroyed in fire (Rev 20:15), turned to ashes under our feet (Mal 4:3).

That second general resurrection into the Kingdom is when the thief will be given his first chance at salvation. It is then that he will be baptized.

And, assuming the other thief hadn't previously accepted God's holy spirit and then later rejected it, he too will be there.

Paul Chernoch's answer provides a citation showing that Luke almost always placed the adverb meaning "today" after rather than before what it modifies:

Luke, however, has a definite tendency of using this adverb with the preceding verb. This happens in 14 of the 20 occurrences of sēmeron in Luke and Acts

Consider every instance of Luke's use of the word sēmeron (G4594), in both KJV and natural Greek word order:

Part of direct quotation (3)

  • Luke 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
    he-began and to-say unto them this day is-fulfilled the scripture this in the ears your
  • Luke 19:9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
    said and unto him the jesus this day salvation the house to-this is-come forsomuch-as also he a-son of-abraham
  • Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
    this same the god hath-fulfilled the children their unto-us in-that-he-hath-raised-up-again jesus as also in the psalm the second it-is-written son my art though have-i this-day begotten thee

As a noun (2)

  • Luke 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
    and when came to the place he-looked-up the jesus and-saw him and said unto him zacchaeus make-haste and come down to-day for at the house thy must i abide
  • Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
    we but trusted that he it-had-been which should have-redeemed the israel and even beside all this third the day is to-day since these things were-done

Adverb placed after verb (13)

[Acts 19:14 and some others don't look like adverbs, but in Greek they are.]

  • Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
    for is-born unto-you this-day a-saviour which is christ the-lord in the-city of-david
  • Luke 5:26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.
    and amazed they-were all and they-glorified the god and were-filled with-fear saying that we-have-seen strange-things to-day
  • Luke 12:28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
    if then the grass in the field is-to-day which and to-morrow into the-oven is-cast the god so clothe how-much more you ye-of-little-faith
  • Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
    and he-said unto-them go-ye and-tell the fox that behold i-cast-out devils and cures i-do to-day and to-morrow and the third i-shall-be-perfected
  • Luke 13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
    nevertheless must i to-day and to-morrow and the following walk for it-cannot-be allowed that-a-prophet perish out-of jerusalem
  • Luke 22:34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
    the and he-said i-tell thee peter no not shall-crow this-day the-cock before-that thou-shalt thrice deny that-thou knowest me
  • Acts 19:40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
    and for we-are-in-danger to-be-called-in-question uproar for the this-day no cause there being concerning which we-may give an-account the concourse of this
  • Acts 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
    wherefore i-take-to-record you this the today day that pure i from the blood of all
  • Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
    i verily am a-man a-jew born in tarsus the in cilicia brought-up yet in the city this at the feet of-gamaliel taught according to-the-perfect-manner of-the fathers of-the-law zealous and-was the toward-god as all ye are this-day
  • Acts 24:21 Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.
    except it-be-for one this voice that i-cried standing among them because touching the-resurrection of-the-dead i am-called-in-question this-day by you
  • Acts 26:2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
    touching all the things whereof i-am-accused of the-jews king agrippa i-think myself happy because-i-shall answer-for-myself before thee this-day
  • Acts 26:29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
    and paul said i would the to-god also almost both among many that-not only thou but and all the that-hear me this-day were such as i-am except the bonds these
  • Acts 27:33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
    while and that on the-day was-coming besought the paul all to-take meat saying is-the-fourteenth this-day day that-ye-have-tarried fasting and-continued nothing having-taken

Adverb placed before verb (1)

  • Acts 4:9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
    if we this-day be-examined of the good deed done man to the impotent by what-means he is-made-whole

There is only a single instance where sēmeron appears before the verb: "If we this day be examined …".

Compare it with:

  • If we have trouble doing this today, consider how difficult it must have been before modern technology.
  • If we, today, have trouble doing this, consider how difficult it must have been before modern technology.

It's clear that Luke placed it before, rather than after, for the purpose of emphasis, associating it more with the preceding "we" than with the "examined".

Ambiguous verse in question (1)

  • Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him Verily I say unto thee To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
    and said unto-him the jesus verily i-say unto-thee to-day with me shalt-thou-be in the paradise

Looking at the ambiguous verse there is a choice between two meanings, with different emphasis:

  • … I can tell you right now, you will be with me in paradise.
  • … I tell you, you will be with me in paradise today.

If the first is correct:

  • It matches Luke's thirteen other uses of "today" as a following adverb.
  • It does not create a conflict for those people that believe the other interpretation is correct.

If the second is correct:

  • It matches only Luke's single use of "today" as a preceding adverb.
  • As such, Luke must have used this order for emphasis, giving the sentence the meaning, "you'll be in paradise today, without waiting until I receive my kingdom*".
  • This meaning conflicts with other scriptures, and those apparent contradictions must be rationalized away.

It is far more reasonable to accept the simpler first meaning, whose wording is consistent with Luke's other usage, and whose meaning is consistent with other scripture.

3
  • Interesting comment May 11, 2019 at 13:24
  • Three days and three nights "in the heart of the earth" does not say "the grave." He was less than 48 hours in the grave. The "heart of the earth" has to do with under the power of Rome--the government of the "earth" (known world) at that time. Further, I think you mean to say the comma should be after "today" not before it. It is already before it--so the change would make it after the word. The text should read: "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise."
    – Biblasia
    May 12, 2023 at 21:57
  • 1
    Others have pointed out that in the Bible the "Truly I tell you" in the synoptics and "Truly, Truly, I tell you" in John is used only by Jesus. It is used many times in the gospels and 99% of the time it is "Truly I tell you" followed by a comma and then a statement. In John, it is "truly, truly, I tell you" followed by a comma and then a statement. In Luke 23:43 we thus see "Truly I tell you" followed by a comma and then a statement. This phrase was unique to Jesus and for some reason, we are asked to believe the comma should come AFTER "today" and not before it. What gives? May 13, 2023 at 1:36

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