Luke 23:46 is expressed in different versions of the NT with different phraseology, For instance ....

KJV :And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

NKJV:And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

MSG: Jesus called loudly, “Father, I place my life in your hands!” Then he breathed his last

LEB: And Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit!” And after he said this, he expired.

NLT: Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.

NMB:And Jesus cried with a great voice and said, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. And when he had thus spoken, he gave up the spirit.

NRSVCE:Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

NTE:Then Jesus shouted out at the top of his voice, ‘Here’s my spirit, father! You can take care of it now!’ And with that he died.

VOICE: Jesus (shouting out loudly): Father, I entrust My spirit into Your hands! And with those words, He exhaled—and breathed no more.

YLT:and having cried with a loud voice, Jesus said, `Father, to Thy hands I commit my spirit;' and these things having said, he breathed forth the spirit.

In the general reading, what Jesus meant by 'spirit'was his life in the physical body which would stop breathing. But in case 'spirit' stands for soul which does not die with the physical body, one suspects whether the word Jesus used has been rightly translated or not. My question therefore is: What was the original word that Jesus used while commending himself to the Father at the Cross, and what could have been the alternative word for “spirit” in the English translations?

  • 1
    I don't think this needs to be scoped to Catholicism, and it should be moved to BHSE instead.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 8:57
  • The wording of your question in the heading suggests you are asking for the original word that Jesus used for 'Father' - which is 'Abba'. Turns out you are enquiring about the original word for 'spirit'. Perhaps you could edit your question to make that clear?
    – Lesley
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 9:17
  • See christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/80603/…
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 23:49
  • The above link may settle the reason for the question.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 23:50
  • The underlying problem with this question is "soul which does not die with the physical body". That phrase made sense with the "Catholicism" tag in Christianity.SE, but not in Hermeneutics.SE. Biblical exegesis does not support the doctrine of the immortal soul. Quite the opposite: Ezekiel twice says "The soul that sinneth, it shall die.". At least 8 times, the Bible refers to "dead body", where the original word translated as "body" is the same word that is often translated as "soul". Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


"My spirit"

The word for spirit is רוח (ruha). My spirit is (ruhiy): רוּחִי. The word is basically the same in the Syriac Peshitta (ܪܾܘܚܝ). All of them including Greek have the meaning of spirit, breath, wind.

πάτερ, εἰς χεῖράς σου ⸀παρατίθεμαι τὸ πνεῦμά μου (NA28)

״אָבִי, בְּיָדְךָ אַפְקִיד רוּחִי״ (The Bible Society in Israel)

אָבִי בְּיָדְךָ אַפְקִיד רוּחִי (Delitzsch)

ܐܴܒ݂ܝ ܂ ܒܻ݁ܐܝ̈ܕ݂ܰܝܟ݁ ܣܳܐܷܡ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܪܾܘܚܝ (Peshitta)

The Hebrew translations match the wording in Psalm 31:6:

בְּיָדְךָ֮ אַפְקִ֪יד ר֫וּחִ֥י (BHS)

His death

Note the similarity with ἐξέπνευσεν (exhale, expire, breath his last). The translations vary greatly here.

ܘܰܫܠܷܡ (Peshitta) he died/completed/finished

נָפַח נַפְשׁוֹ (Delitzsch) his soul/life breathed out

וְנָפַח אֶת רוּחוֹ (Bible Society) and he breathed out his spirit/breath

exspiravit (Vulgate) = Greek

There was a Gnostic heresy that said Jesus was only human until he received the Holy Spirit at his baptism, and at his crucifixion the Holy Spirit left causing Jesus to became only human again. So, they probably interpreted this verse as Jesus giving up the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ: Gnostics were divided on their beliefs about Jesus Christ. One view held that he only appeared to have human form but that he was actually spirit only. The other view contended that his divine spirit came upon his human body at baptism and departed before the crucifixion. Christianity, on the other hand, holds that Jesus was fully man and fully God and that his human and divine natures were both present and necessary to provide a suitable sacrifice for humanity's sin. -- https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-gnosticism-700683#:~:text=Gnosticism%20%28pronounced%20NOS%20tuh%20siz%20um%29%20was%20a,Caesarea%20condemned%20gnostic%20teachers%20and%20beliefs%20as%20heretical.

"I entrust"

Here are the senses of the Greek word from Logos Bible Software database: enter image description here

The Syriac Peshitta used a word meaning "to set before" while two Hebrew translations use a word meaning "to entrust." Apparently Jesus quoted Psalm 31:6 in the Tanakh as quoted in the Hebrew translations.

  • I think OP is asking more about "spirit" then "entrust". Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 12:27

The following is an excerpt from the the Abarim Interlinear New Testament entry on the Greek word πνευμα (pneuma).

The Greek in which the Bible was written made no distinction between upper and lower case letters, so it's not always clear when the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit or a human spirit. In John 6:63, for instance, Jesus says that the spirit gives life, and for centuries commentators have wondered whether this speaks of any man's spirit or the Spirit of the Creator.

The solution comes when we abandon the idea that a spirit is some individual entity and recognize our word πνευμα (pneuma) as to describe a function within the mechanism of creation, whose effect it is to federate individual elements into a working co-op, and at every possible level.

Spirit is the mutual engagement of atoms into the formation of molecules and objects. It's the forming of colonies from organisms, cultures from humans and ultimately the formation of the Internet and the Body of Christ — which, we'll coyly add, is like a baby that grows in the womb of its mother, namely our world. All the world sees of this Body of Christ is the placenta that divides their two economies, which is probably the visible church, its buildings and institutions. But behind this wholly worldly facade sits an utterly new form of humanity that the world cannot imagine to exist.

When one gives up the spirit (Luke 23:46, John 19:30), the bonds between the person and general humanity is severed, and when one's spirit returns (Luke 8:55) this bond is restored. Upon his death, Stephen cried out to Jesus to receive his spirit (Acts 7:59), which means that Stephen lost his bond with humanity at large and became solely connected to the Body of Christ.

A soul-driven person (in Greek: ψυχικος, psuchikos, usually erroneously translated with "natural") focuses on personal needs and desires, whereas a spirit-driven person (πνευματικος, pneumatikos, usually translated as "spiritual") is more concerned with the larger collective (both terms occur in 1 Corinthians 15:44).

Love, obviously, is the most spiritual act there is, and no greater love exists than to lay down one's soul-driven life for one's friends (John 15:13).

  • 1
    "Spirit is the mutual engagement of atoms into the formation of molecules and objects" Huh? What doctrinal school teaches that?
    – eques
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 13:03
  • @eques that sounds like the way the Marvel Cinematic Universe would explain miracles. Maybe Mike meant "spirit is like the mutual engagement" ? Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 18:15
  • @PeterTurner it's unclear other than the OP disapproves of "spirit" as a metaphysical entity and instead uses it to describe a unifying function
    – eques
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 18:32
  • @eques I think the authors use atoms and molecules as an example of how they understand the spirit and the body. Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 11:18
  • That makes even less sense and my point still stands. This does not match mainstream Christian metaphysics.
    – eques
    Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 1:10

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