offering, sacrifice

The Greek terms that are translated uniformly as “sacrifice” or “offering” in English have the option of various terms in Luang with different shades of meaning.

For Acts 24:17, himima-rere’a (“holding two hands out”). “The focus of this term is on the gift being given by a person of lower position to a person of higher position.”

For Acts 21:26, hniurliwtu-nwali odawa (“pour out sweat [and] turn into sweaty smell”). “The focus is on the personal cost of the sacrifice.”

For Gen. 22:2-8 and Gen. 22:13, hopopa-hegeuru (“peace sign”). “The focus is on the animal or object being sacrificed, as in the story of the sacrifice of Isaac. This term was used throughout that whole chapter. This term is also used in verses that speak of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins.”

For Acts 15:29, hoi-tani (“serve with right hand – serve with left”). “This term is used in referring to sacrifices or worship offered to idols or pagan gods.”

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.


The Hebrew olah (עֹלָה) originally means “that which goes up (in smoke).” English Bibles often translates it as “burnt-offering” or “whole burnt-offering,” focusing on the aspect of the complete burning of the offering.

The Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate Bibles translate it as holokautōma / holocautōsis (ὁλοκαύτωμα / ὁλοκαύτωσις) and holocaustum, respectively, meaning “wholly burnt.” While a form of this term is widely used in many Romance languages (Spanish: holocaustos, French: holocaustes, Italian: olocausti, Portuguese: holocaustos) and originally also in the Catholic tradition of English Bible translations, it is largely not used in English anymore today (the preface of the revised edition of the Catholic New American Bible of 2011: “There have been changes in vocabulary; for example, the term ‘holocaust’ is now normally reserved for the sacrilegious attempt to destroy the Jewish people by the Third Reich.”)

The English translation of Everett Fox uses offering-up (similarly, the German translation by Buber-Rosenzweig has Darhöhung and the French translation by Chouraqui montée).

See also offering (qorban).