44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds (τὸν νοῦν) to understand (συνιέναι) the Scriptures (Luke 24 ESV)

The ESV has "He opened their minds..." yet the text is singular, τὸν νοῦν, literally "the mind."

How should the singular "mind" be understood?

  • There was a paragraph in here which was importing your own conclusions into the question - I've removed this to ensure a cleaner exegetical responses from others. Please feel free to reuse it in an answer to your own question if appropriate.
    – Steve can help
    Aug 30, 2021 at 18:26
  • 1
    I think that 'we have the mind of Christ' needs to be considered, here. 1 Corinthians 2:16.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 30, 2021 at 18:34

2 Answers 2


Quite simply the singular mind can be understood as their collective comprehension or shared understanding.

The Greek word that is translated as mind, noun, can be properly translated as understanding or comprehension as it is in Philipians 4:7 & Revelation 13:18

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:7

18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
-Revelation 13:18

  • Thank you. The word is used 6 times in Romans. For example Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (νοός), that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Aug 30, 2021 at 22:59

NASB Luke 24:

45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures

αὐτῶν (autōn)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Strong's 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

νοῦν (noun)
Noun - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's 3563: Probably from the base of ginosko; the intellect, i.e. Mind; by implication, meaning.

This greek word appears 24 times and only in singular form. Its Greek meaning has less to do with the brain and more to do with the brain's understanding. This is the only place where NASB translated the singular Greek word into the plural English word "minds".

NASB Translation:

composure (1), comprehension (1), mind (20), minds (1), understanding (1).

OP: The singular seems to convey the idea there was a common "mind" which Jesus opened in order for them to understand the Scriptures.

I wouldn't push it as far. The idea was that their independent brains had a common understanding (mindset).

How should the singular "mind" be understood?

They had a common mindset or understanding of the Scriptures. They were unified in their understanding.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.