The verse Luke 1:37 is different in my NIV Bible than on the other versions.

Check comparison below:

King James Version: For with God nothing shall be impossible.

International Standard Version: For nothing is impossible for God.

World English Bible For everything spoken by God is possible.

But NIV says:

NIV For no word from God will ever fail.

Why the difference?


The verse appears as follows in the Greek New Testament:

Luke 1:37 (mGNT)
37 ὅτι οὐκ ἀδυνατήσει παρὰ τῷ θεῷ πᾶν ῥῆμα.

The best literal translation would be as follows:

Luke 1:37 (ASV)
37 For no word from God shall be void of power.

The Word of God is therefore inviolable, or incapable of non-fulfillment. When the Lord speaks His word(s), the result must occur, because any word He speaks is inviolable, or incapable of non-fulfillment.

Ezekiel 12:25 (NASB)
25 For I the Lord will speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed.

Thus some New Testament translators have relied on the more colloquial, nothing is impossible for God (or variants of the same phrase), since the Lord need only speak the word in order to effect any outcome in accordance with His own will. In the context of the Luke passage, the miracle of the incarnation was based on the word spoken from the Lord and transmitted to Mary by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:38). Thus the "word" became flesh.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Interesting, +1. The last sentence seems a little misplaced to me, though. It appears to be a reference to John 1:14 where it is not the ῥῆμα but the λόγος that became flesh....seems like it's inviting us to make a connection based on the English that isn't there (at least not in the same way) in the Greek. – Susan Jun 26 '14 at 1:24
  • @Susan - the correlation of ῥῆμα with λόγος is from Paul; that is, he correlates the λόγος-Christ with ῥῆμα in Romans 10:7-8, which is reference to the ῥῆμα in Deut 30:14 (LXX), which comes down from heaven to save man. So like English, the concept can include synonyms within the same language (in this case, Greek). – Joseph Jun 26 '14 at 15:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy