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το δε εις τας ακανθας πεσον ουτοι εισιν οι ακουσαντες και υπο μεριμνων και πλουτου και ηδονων του βιου πορευομενοι συμπνιγονται και ου τελεσφορουσιν

Luke 8:14 TR-Stephens 1550, Beza 1598, Elzevir 1624 and Scrivener 1894 are all identical.

KJV 1769 Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

In the above, does 'of life' refer just to the pleasures or does it also refer, grammatically, to the cares and the riches ?

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Note the Greek word βίος has a small occurrence in the New Testament for the words translated life. The Greek word ζωή is used in the phrase eternal life and often implies such in its use. The Greek φωνή is used for Christ laying down his life, or for the rich farmer talking to himself.

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This is how βίος is translated in the ESV New Testament:

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(Graphs from Bible Word Study in Exegetical Guides in Logos Bible Software)

You can see how its usage fits very well into the context of Luke 8:14. For further reference here are the mean of βίος in the lexicons. Its meaning fits very much into what’s necessary to sustain life.

βιόω; βίοςa, ου m; βίωσις, εως f: to conduct oneself, with focus upon everyday activity—‘to live, daily life, life, existence.’

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 505). New York: United Bible Societies.

βίος, ου, ὁ (Hom.+; inscr., pap., LXX, Ep. Arist., Philo, Joseph.) life in its appearance and manifestations. …

  1. of earthly life in its functions and its duration…

  2. of manner of life conduct…

  3. (…) means of subsistence…

Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : a translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (p. 141-142). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

When you look at ὑπὸ μεριμνῶν καὶ πλούτου καὶ ἡδονῶν τοῦ βίου, μεριμνῶν καὶ πλούτου καὶ ἡδονῶν all have no article. One article at the beginning would link them together while each having an article would separate them. What is noteworthy is μεριμνῶν καὶ πλούτου fit the meaning of βίος more than ἡδονῶν. Thus, even if τοῦ βίου does not grammatically link to μεριμνῶν καὶ πλούτου, the meaning does. What does seem to say that τοῦ βίου grammatically links to all three is the three nouns make a progression. First one cares about sustaining the lives of one’s family, then one accumulates riches, and finally one enjoys the pleasures of those riches.

Another possibility is the three nouns don't have articles if Jesus' original discourse was in Hebrew/Aramaic. Nouns in the construct state do not have the article, but take the article of the post-construct. If this is the case, then life does apply to all three. For a reference see: Charles Ellicott on 1 Timothy 6:10

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  • My query was whether the specific words of Jesus 'of life' refers to just 'pleasures' or to - also - cares and riches. I was not enquiring about the meaning of bios. – Nigel J Dec 9 '18 at 2:12
  • See edit to add the answer. – Perry Webb Dec 9 '18 at 13:49
  • +1 Up-voted for the concept of progression in your last two sentences. I think that has merit.And accepted, thank you. – Nigel J Dec 9 '18 at 17:05
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The KJV "of this life" does not occur in the Greek - it is simply, "of life". The three abstract nouns that are "of [this] life" which choke life include (1) anxieties/cares, (2) riches, (3) pleasures. This can be deduced from the concatenation of repeated "kai" (= and). The beginning of the list of three nouns is (as expected) initiated using "hupo" (= by). So Luke 8:14 reads (literally):

"these are the ones having heard, and by anxieties/cares and riches and pleasures of life while going are choked and do not bring fruit to maturity" (my translation). Or from the ESV (or similar) "they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature." The NASB has, "these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity."

The force of this sentence is, "these are the ones [despite] having heard … are choked …" That is they allow the things of this world to distract them from eternal realities in spite of the fact that they have heard the gospel.

While the KJV version "of this life" is an interpretive translation, it is defensible on the basis that the Greek word, "bios" usually refers (but not always) to this life in contradistinction to the next life (most often "zoe"). We see this distinction in numerous places in different phrases such as this world/age vs next world/age. For example: 1 Cor 15:19, 6:4, 7:28, Luke 18:30, Luke 21:34, 2 Tim 2:4, etc.

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    I am not convinced that just the repetition of a conjunction necessarily provides a universal connection to the last description. Can you strengthen the argument in any way ? – Nigel J Dec 7 '18 at 10:17
  • I have updated to better show the construction. There are three nouns with three "kai" before each making a unified list. – user25930 Dec 7 '18 at 10:23
  • Should be 1 Cor 15:19 - many thanks for pointing this out. Corrected. – user25930 Dec 7 '18 at 10:25
  • The 'while going' (your translation) or 'moving along' (EGNT translation) relates to the preceding participle ακουσαντες 'having heard'. I don't see how that relates to the clause between the two participles. – Nigel J Dec 7 '18 at 10:31
  • You are now venturing a little wider than the original question so I will update to include this as well. – user25930 Dec 7 '18 at 10:36
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"this life" in Luke 8:14 refer to this world. Remember, it is specific by using "this" and that is to say the WORLD we live. Remember another place in the bible said,

we are in this world but not of this world.....

However, what I want you to grab from the above quote is the use of "this".

So coming back to your referenced bible verse Luke 8v14, the this life doesn't necessarily mean the LIFE GIVEN TO YOU AS A NEW MAN IN CHRIST JESUS but the first life after the order of Adam.

Mind you, Adam was scripturally created after the image of God according to Gen 1:26. In a nutshell, he lost the true spiritual nature when God said " you shall die when you eat the fruit of knowledge of good and evil", so he died of the true nature of the spirits and .. When he was to born, the bible said he knew his wife and gave birth to people of his own likeness " adamic nature" Gen 4.

Yeah , the life as pointed in Luke 4:18 refer to the cares of the Flesh ! , this life. You can even say " this flesh" "this self" "this carnal world" .....

Cares and riches means ; - what the world cares about. - what the flesh is sufficient in doing. The flesh is rich in sin, iniquity and other immoral commitments.

(Respectively)

Thanks.

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    Welcome to BH. My question was not about the meaning of 'the life' or 'this life'. My question was specifically whether 'of life' referred only to the pleasures or whether it referred also to the cares and riches as well. Does the Greek textual record of Jesus' words (as reported by Luke) indicate which it is ? – Nigel J Dec 7 '18 at 8:48
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    Hi user27771 and welcome to the site. When you have a minute please take the site tour: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour – Ruminator Dec 7 '18 at 10:25

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