I think "pater" is a greek word that could not be translated as "parents", because pater mean father and in plural mean "fathers" always. And I saw many translators who accept the wrong translation, but why? Is there any good reson to choose this translation? I want to proof me that. I guess the word goneus can be used for parents but not pater. And the apostle don't use this word. Thanx.

  • In Greek, as in Romanian, the masculine plural is used to denote the plural in general; e.g., buni and rai are not meant to exclude the presence of feminine elements among the group of grammatically masculine good or bad beings designated by the two words.
    – Lucian
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 0:54
  • Puteai să imi răspunzi in RO :)) Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 10:35

3 Answers 3


In his commenatry on Hebrews 11:23, Franz Delitzsch wrote,1

Nor could the writer of our epistle, though following the ἰδόντες of the LXX., have meant to exclude Jochebed, nor indeed does he do so: πατέρες elsewhere is not unfrequently equivalent to the more usual οἱ γονεῖς = parents, male and female. Comp. not only Bleek’s citation from Parthenius, Erot. 10; but also Plato, Legg. p. 772 B [sic], ἀγαθῶν πατέρων φύντι; Dion. Hal. Ant. ii. 26, ἵνα σέβωσι (οἱ παῖδες) τοὺς πατέρας and Rhet. iii. 3, ποίων τινῶν προγόνων καὶ πατέρων. The πατέρες here, then, are Amram and Jochebed. These hid Moses three months...


1 Delitsch, p. 259. Also, cf. Stephanus, p. 603.


Delitzsch, Franz. Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Trans. Kingsbury, Thomas L. Vol. 2. Edinburgh: Clark, 1872.

Stephanus, Henricus (a.k.a. Estienne, Henri). ΘΗΣΑΥΡΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΗΣ. THESAURUS GRAECAE LINGUAE. Vol. 6. Paris: Ambrosius Firmin, 1842.


According to the BDAG entry for "pater" #1b, the plural word ("pateron" here in Heb 11:23) can mean "parents" generally, that is both father and mother collectively. It then lists three instances of this in the NT, namely Heb 11:23, Eph 6:4, Col 3:21.

This is perfect example of the aphorism that in Greek (as often in English) men do not own their gender. That is, the masculine noun is sometimes used for male and female as well. Note the use of the masculine "deacon" for female deacon(ess) in Rom 16:1, 2, 1 Tim 3:11.


Well, "πατήρ" is a greek word that in the plural, πατέρων, CAN be translated as "parents", i.e. father+mother.Let's have a look in 2-3 lexicons.

Gingrich's Greek Lexicon and Thayer's Greek Lexicon: πατέρων: plural parents — b. forefather, ancestor, progenitor Mt 3:9; 23:30, 32; Mk 11:10; Lk 1:73; 16:24; J 4:20; 8:39, 53, 56; Ac 3:13, 25; Ro 9:10; Hb 1:1.—

Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon: πατήρ in pl.: 1. forefathers, Il.6.209, etc. ; ἐξέτι πατρῶν from our fathers' time, Od.8.245; ἐκ πατέρων Pi.P.8.45. 2. parents, D.S.21.17, Alciphr.3.40, Epigr.Gr.227 (Teos). 3. parent-nation, opp. colonists, Hdt.7.51, 8.22, Plu.Them.9. (Cf. Skt.pitár-, Lat. pater, etc.)

Please search here, this way it will be much easier for you to find out the meanings of the word and to understand why the translation is fine.

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