Greek Text and English Translations
Luke 1:28 according to the Nestle-Aland 28th edition Greek text states,
ΚΗʹ καὶ εἰσελθὼν πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπεν· χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ κύριος μετὰ σοῦ. NA28, ©2012
English Bible translations translate the Greek word κεχαριτωμένη in a variety of ways:
| Version | Translation |
| American Standard Version (ASV) | thou that art highly favored |
| English Standard Version (ESV) | O favored one |
| King James Version (KJV), 1769 | thou that art highly favoured |
| New American Bible, Rev Ed (NABRE) | favored one |
| New American Standard Bible (NASB) | favored one |
| New English Translation (NET) | favored one |
| New International Version (NIV) | you who are highly favored |
| New King James Version (NKJV) | highly favored one |
| New Living Translation (NLT) | favored woman |
| Revised Standard Version (RSV) | O favored one |
The Greek word κεχαριτωμένη is conjugated from the lemma χαριτόω in the perfect tense, passive voice, participial mood and declined in the feminine gender, nominative case, and singular number. It is related to the Greek noun χάρις primarily meaning “grace, favor.”1 The verb χαριτόω occurs only twice in the Greek New Testament, here in Luke 1:28 and also in Eph. 1:6.2
The Greek –οω Verb
According to Smyth,3
Verbs in -οω are usually factitive, denoting to cause or to make.
Hence, there exist Greek verbs such as (data from LSJ):
- ἀθανατόω, formed from the adjective ἀθάνατος (“immortal”), and thus meaning “to make immortal.”
- βαρβαρόω, formed from the adjective βάρβαρος (“barbarous”), and thus meaning “to make barbarous.”
- γυναικόω, formed from the noun γυνή (“woman”), and thus meaning “to make a woman of; to make womanish or effiminate.”
- δουλόω, formed from the noun δοῦλος (“slave”), and thus meaning “to make someone a slave; enslave.”
- ἑνόω, formed from the adjective ἕν, (“one”), and thus meaning “to make one; unite.”
- ζῳόω, formed from the noun ζῷον (“animal; creature”), and thus meaning “to make/fashion into an animal.”
- ἡμερόω, formed from the adjective ἥμερος (“tame”), and thus meaning “to make tame.”
- θυμόω, formed from the noun θυμός (“anger”), and thus meaning “to make angry; provoke.”
- ἰσχυρόω, formed from the adjective ἰσχυρός (“strong”), and thus meaning “to make strong; strengthen.”
- κοινόω, formed from the adjective κοινός (“common”), and thus meaning “to make common; share.”
- λευκόω, formed from the adjective λευκός (“white”), and thus meaning “to make white; whiten.”
- μονόω, formed from the adjective μόνος (“only; solitary”), and thus meaning “to make alone; to make solitary.”
- νεκρόω, formed from the adjective νεκρός (“dead”), and thus menaing “to make dead; mortify.”
- ξυλόω, formed from the noun (“wood”), and thus meaning “to turn into wood; to make of wood.”
- ὁμοιόω, formed from the adjective ὅμοιος (“like; similar”), and thus meaning “to make like; to make similar.”
- παλαιόω, formed from the adjective παλαιός (“old”), and thus meaning “to make old.”
- ῥιζόω, formed from the noun ῥίζα (“root”), and thus meaning “to cause to strike root.”
- σαρκόω, formed from the noun σάρξ (“flesh”), and thus meaning “to make fleshy.”
- τελειόω, formed from the adjective τέλειος (“perfect”), and thus meaning “to make perfect; to make complete.”
- υἱόω, formed from the noun υἱός (“son”), and thus meaning
to make into a son.”
- φιλιόω, formed from the noun φίλος (“friend”), and thus meaning “to make a friend of.”
- χρυσόω, formed from the noun χρυσός (“gold”) or adjective χρυσοῦς (“golden”), and thus meaning “to make golden.”
However, not all -οω verbs yield the meaning of “to cause or make” something; some -οω verbs yield the meaning of “to fill, endow, or furnish with” something. For example:
| Verb (Lemma) | Formed From | Meaning | LSJ |
| ἀνδρειόω | ἀνδρεία (“courage”) | to fill with courage | 128 |
| διαλφιτόω | ἄλφιτον (“barley”) | to fill full of barley meal | 402 |
| ζωόω | ζωή (“life”) | to endow with life; quicken | 760 |
| θυόω | θύος (“burnt sacr.”) | to fill with sweet smells | 811 |
| θυρόω | θύρα (“door”) | to furnish with doors | 812 |
| οἰνόω | οἶνος (“wine”) | to intoxicate; fill w/ wine | 1208 |
| οὐσιόω | οὐσία (“being”) | to invest with being | 1275 |
| πνευματόω | πνεῦμα (“wind”) | to fill with wind; inflate | 1424 |
| πυλόω | πύλη (“gate”) | to furnish with gates | 1554 |
| στομόω | στόμα (“mouth") | to furnish with a mouth | 1649 |
| τεκνόω | τέκνον (“child”) | to have children | 1769 |
| τριχόω | θρίξ (“hair”) | to furnish/cover with hair | 1825 |
| ψυχόω | ψυχή (“soul”) | to endow with a soul | 2028 |
Full of Grace
Jerome translated the Greek New Testament into Latin in a work known as the Latin Vulgate.4 In Luke 1:28, he translated the Greek phrase κεχαριτωμένη into Latin as gratia plena.
XXVIII et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit have gratia plena Dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus. Vulgate
The Latin phrase gratia plena translates into English as “full of grace.” Excluding Luke 1:28, the English phrase “full of grace” occurs twice in some English translations of the Bible, in John 1:14 and Acts 6:8:
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. NASB, ©1995
ΙΔʹ Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας. NA28, ©2012
8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. NASB, ©1995
Hʹ Στέφανος δὲ πλήρης χάριτος καὶ δυνάμεως ἐποίει τέρατα καὶ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἐν τῷ λαῷ. NA28, ©2012
Both John 1:14 and Acts 6:8 lack a conjugation of the verb χαριτόω, like that encountered in Luke 1:28. Instead, they both have πλήρης χάριτος, a phrase which means “full of grace.” Accordingly, Jerome translated πλήρης χάριτος in both verses into the Vulgate by the Latin phrase plenus gratia, which, like gratia plena, means “full of grace” when translated into English.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Douay-Rheims, 1582
XIV et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis et vidimus gloriam eius gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiae et veritatis Vulgate
8 And Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people.
VIII Stephanus autem plenus gratia et fortitudine faciebat prodigia et signa magna in populo Vulgate
If Jerome translated both the Greek phrase πλήρης χάριτος and κεχαριτωμένη into Latin by a declension of the phrase plenus gratia, then this suggests that both πλήρης χάριτος and κεχαριτωμένη have the same meaning and may be translated into English by the same phrase, “full of grace.” But, can these two different Greek phrases actually share the same meaning?
Koine Greek is (was) a flexible language, allowing the author to render a thought with a variety of words. For example, the apostle Paul wrote, «μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ», meaning “do not be drunk with wine,”5 although he could have also wrote, «μὴ οἰνοῦσθε» to convey the same meaning. Similarly, one way to render the idea of being full of grace is πλήρης χάριτος, yet another equally valid way is a conjugation of the verb χαριτόω. The Greek verb χαριτόω, being an –οω verb, theoretically could mean “to make grace; to cause to be grace”; however, these meanings are nonsensical. Consequently, according to the analogy of the verbs listed in Table 1, χαριτόω must mean “to endow or fill with grace,” and when conjugated in the passive voice, it means “to be endowed or filled with grace.” Hence, Jerome was correct by translating κεχαριτωμένη into Latin as gratia plena, meaning “full of grace.” As an –οω verb, χαριτόω can certainly possess the meaning of “to endow or fill with grace.”
1 LSJ, p. 1978
2 In Eph. 1:6, it is conjugated in the 3rd person, singular number, aorist tense, active voice, indicative mood.
3 p. 182, §614
4 The Codex Amiatinus, dated to the 8th century A.D., is the earliest extant manuscript of the nearly complete Latin Vulgate.
5 Eph. 5:18
Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; et al. A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1940.
Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece. Ed. Aland, Barbara; et al. 28th ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012.
Smyth, Herbert Weir. A Greek Grammar for Colleges. New York: American Book, 1920.