Luke 14:13

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled (ἀναπήρος), the lame (χωλός), the blind...

The word ἀναπήρος is a unique word in the NT (it is only used by Luke, and only twice by him in this passage). I have not been able to find a definition that distinguishes it from the more common χωλός (used by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the author of Hebrews) in any of the lexicons available to me. These words are presented as synonyms, but I wonder if Luke intended to use them with nuanced distinctions given that he was a physician. Given its rarity in the NT, I imagine a fuller understanding of this term must come from non-canonical sources.

1 Answer 1


The word "crippled" is most often used nowadays synonymously with the word "lame." However, it was not always thus. "Crippled" implies limbs that are misshapen to the point of loss of function. Its application is not limited to one's legs. Consider the dictionary entry for this word.

crippled | ˈkrip(ə)ld |
(of a person) unable to walk or move properly; disabled: a crippled old man.
• (of a machine) severely damaged: the pilot displayed skill and nerve in landing the crippled plane.

The Greek word ἀναπείρους/ἀναπήρους (depending on Gr. manuscript) in Luke 14:13 could also be translated as "maimed," which means "wound or injure (someone) so that part of the body is permanently damaged."

The word "χωλούς," on the other hand, can mean one has lost a foot or is limping. The English "lame" is a proper translation for this word, which would only apply to one's gait, and have no application to the arms or other body parts.


ἀνάπηρος (maimed) Blue Letter Bible: G376
χωλός (lame) Blue Letter Bible: G5560
  • 1
    +1. Many thanks - good answer. A better and more modern translation of ἀνάπηρος might now be, "disabled", to show that it could be any severe disability.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 20:44

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.