What is the correct reading of Luke 24:52 - did they worship Jesus? Latin Vulgate does not mention this and RSV puts this in footnotes.

Luke 24:50-53 (NIV)

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Latin Vulgate Luke 24: 50-53

51 And it came to pass, whilst he blessed them, he departed from them, and was carried up to heaven. 52 And they adoring went back into Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they were always in the temple, prais-ing and blessing God. Amen.

Rsv – Luke 24:52 And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

footnote: ‘worshiped him’

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs in BH.SE Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 17:26
  • 1
    I think that it almost belongs here because he isn't asking about the hermeneutics but about the disparity between the NIV and the Vulgate. The main answer relates to the controversy over this passage in the 80's as I stated in my answer.
    – Herkfixer
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 20:48
  • "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Before resurection the Apostle cannot worship Jesus, but upon Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit, the Apostles can now worship Jesus because their eyes were open and their Holy Spirit now dwells in their hearts. Commented Mar 7, 2020 at 0:09
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    @francissophoa im not sure what you're getting at but yes, after the ressurection they could worship Jesus and this event happened after the ressurection.
    – Herkfixer
    Commented Mar 7, 2020 at 13:27

4 Answers 4


There was some controversy over the phrase in the 80's because some minority of manuscripts appeared to omit the phrase which led to some Bible versions removing it or footnoting it. However, earlier manuscripts were found in the 50's that did have the phrase in it which make the later omissions likely scribal errors (mistakes). It has since been restored to the majority of the versions that had removed it because of this find. This is likely the reason why your version is missing it - if it's an older version.

Text Note: Luke 24:52

I will attempt to give you the reason the Greek (and now English versions) have the alternative that you stated.

In the best manuscripts the Greek states

24:52 καὶ αὐτοὶ προσκυνήσαντες αὐτὸν...

Literally this states, "And they worshiped him..."

προσκυνήσαντες is the aorist, active, participle which means it is a variant. The root would be προσκύνέω.

προσκύνέω has a range from "to do reverence or homage by kissing the hand" in the OT Septuagint but in the NT it means "to do reverence or homage by prostration (bowing or kneeling)"; to pay divine homage, worship, adore; "to bow oneself in adoration."

from The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament William D. Mounce

To your question about the Vulgate:

You translated this as "52 And they adoring went back into Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they were always in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen."

This is what the Vulgate states in Latin

24:52 et ipsi adorantes regressi sunt in Hierusalem cum gaudio magno

This translates to "And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy."

It appears that whatever English translation you are using just did not translate the Latin word "adorantes" to worshiped but it still came close. If we go back to the Greek this is easier to see.

The operative clause is αὐτοὶ προσκυνήσαντες αὐτὸν.

  1. In προσκυνήσαντες the ντ identifies it as a participle (participles are verbal adjectives as in they describe an action happening to someone or something)

  2. The "σα" means that it is Aorist tense (a sort of past tense that means that it happened prior to now but doesn't specifiy time in itself)

  3. The "ες" suffix means that it is identifying the adverb as describing the group (αὐτοὶ, "they").

  4. We also know that a participle must modify something since if describes an action happening to someone or something and if there are only 2 nouns in the whole clause αὐτοὶ and αὐτὸν (αὐτὸν is singular and referring to a "him" and by context we know the him is Jesus) and the participle is plural and the only noun that is plural is αὐτοὶ (them) then the object of the participle (who it is being done to) must be the αὐτὸν (him).

In the translation you quoted above it doesn't make sense to say "And they adoring went back into Jerusalem with great joy." Here adoring is also a participle without an object. What were they adoring? If this were a verb, that is just an action the group was performing, then we would not expect this to be a participle and would have just been an plural, aorist, active, indicative (think time) form (as far as I know that form is never used anywhere in the NT).

There seems to be something missing as it is stated in your Vulgate version (not your documentation of it but an issue with the translation within it). Remember that the Vulgate was written by Jerome using the Greek so the priority should also go to the Greek text which clearly states that "they worshiped him..."

(All emphasis mine)


The word used in the original Greek is pros-kyn-isan-tes ("[they] having fallen down and adored") and means to fall down in order to venerate someone (or a visible demonstration of veneration toward someone), and it is not necessarily (although many times) used in reference to worship of God. The English word "worship" comes from Old English weorþsċipe (woarth-ship), which means 'showing honor to someone by an outward action' (i.e. even kings, not necessarily God).

Hebrew also has a word for service or worship which can either be used of God or men (especially kings and such):

1 Chronicals 29:20 And David commanded all the assembly: Bless ye the Lord our God. And all the assembly blessed the Lord the God of their fathers: and they bowed themselves and worshipped [Heb. shtath-ḥa-hu/Gk. pros-kyn-isan-tes] God, and then the king.

So while not necessarily implying divine worship of God, it might in certain instances, with respect to Jesus the Son of God, indeed refer to divine worship. I think the lines are deliberately blurred by the Gospel writers in order to instil the idea that the Son of God, as such, is due the worship of God: inasmuch as in such instances as Christ is worshiped, oftentimes it is not always expected of mere Kings (e.g. Mt. 14:33).


I am not an expert at all on hermeneutics but I hope this can help. The original word used is "proskyneō". The literal translation is "to kiss" or to lick as a dog does to his master. The same word is used frequently in the Gospel of Matthew. The Latin word used in the Vulgate is "adorantes", which also can mean "to worship" or "admire"

Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped (proskyneō) him. (RSV)

The word is also used as worship in the RSV translation of Luke

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'"

Jesus says this to Satan when Satan is trying to tempt Jesus. He is referring to the 10 Commandments.

I believe that this is more of what the translator says it is rather than what the original text states. It is always good to look at multiple translations of verses you are unsure about. The original Greek is the best place because you can't straight up translate them. They have to make sense (which is why there is so many different translations of the Bible)

Translations for the word:

If you want a better answer, you should ask on the hermeneutics page https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/

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    Be careful to not select the first word that shows up in whatever lexicon you are using when you translate Greek. The word used in this passage is not "proskyneō" but προσκυνήσαντες. This changes the entire meaning of the word. The root might be προσκύνέω (proskyneō as you put it) but it changes to a participle instead of a verb. I'm not sure where you got the meaning of kissing or licking a master (it may have that meaning in some other Greek but definitely not Koine, or Biblical, Greek). It had a connotation slightly different in OT than NT but in NT definitely worship.
    – Herkfixer
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 20:40
  • @Herkfixer Alright. As I am 17, I am pretty inexperienced compared to others. Thank you for the feedback though
    – Dash Ivey
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 19:00

Luke 24:52 NASB "And they, after worshipping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy"

Yes, the Greek word "προσκυνήσαντες" is talking about worship.

Here's the Greek word used: https://biblehub.com/greek/proskyne_santes_4352.htm

  • Welcome to Christianity Stack. Please take our tour and learn more about this platform and what is regarded as a good answer around here. It can take a while to understand how this site works, so please persevere! Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 19:10
  • I really don't know what you regard as bad about my comment. Is it too short? I answered his question. Please let me know, thanks @DavidWoitkowski Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 14:06
  • Because his question related to the disparity between the Vulgate and modern English translations, not simply what the word meant. He didn't dispute that the modern English translations used worshiped, but why the Vulgate didn't.
    – Herkfixer
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 20:46
  • He has since edited his question. I see your point though, thank you Commented Mar 7, 2020 at 13:16
  • @ChurchOfYHWH Sorry for answering so late. To learn what makes a good answer here, you might compare your answer to the one by Herkfixer. Both answers essentially answer "yes, they worshiped him". But while your answer really only points to the dictionary, the other answer goes into detail and informs the reader about the history, grammar and specifics of some translations. These details make (in my oppinion) a difference that goes beyond factual correctness. Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 12:52

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