presentation in the temple (image)

This is a contemporary tempera/gouache on leather painting by an unknown Ethiopian artist. Source: Sacred Art Pilgrim website .

Following is a painting by Chen Yuandu 陳緣督 (1902–1967):

Housed in the Société des Auxiliaires des Missions Collection – Whitworth University.

Image taken from Chinese Christian Posters . For more information on the “Ars Sacra Pekinensis” school of art, see this article , for other artworks of that school in TIPs, see here.

complete verse (Luke 2:30)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 2:30:

  • Nyongar: “My eyes have seen you, coming and saving us.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “With my own eyes I have seen the Redeemer that is from You, Lord,” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “These my eyes have seen the savior” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “I have seen Your messenger who is the one to free us human beings from punishment.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “I have now actually (agreement particle) seen the one whom you (sing.) prepared in the sight of all people, the one whom you (sing.) sent to save them.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “For my two eyes have seen the Savior whom you have sent(on your behalf),” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Chichewa (interconfessional translation, 1999): “With my own eyes I have indeed seen that salvation,” (Source: Wendland 1998, p. 157)

Translation commentary on Luke 2:30 – 2:32


eidon hoi ophthalmoi mou ‘my eyes have seen.’ The expression is stronger than a simple ‘I have seen,’ cf. Job 19.27; 42.5.

to sōtērion sou ‘thy salvation,’ referring back to ton Christon kuriou ‘the anointed one of the Lord.’

sōtērion (also 3.6) ‘salvation,’ synonymous with sōtēria (1.69, 71, 77).

(V. 31) ho hētoimasas ‘which thou hast prepared’; cf. on 1.17. When used with God as a subject the verb often has the connotation of ‘to realize,’ cf. 1 Cor. 2.9.

kata prosōpon pantōn tōn laōn ‘before the face of all nations,’ i.e. “in full view of all the nations” (New English Bible), or “in the presence of” (Revised Standard Version), cf. Acts 3.13.

prosōpon ‘face,’ occurring in a variety of expressions.

The use of the plural laōn of a word which in the singular refers to Israel, shows that here Israel and all other nations are envisaged. The next verse refers to the nations and Israel separately.

(V. 32) phōs eis apokalupsin ethnōn ‘light for revelation to the Gentiles,’ best understood as an apposition to to sōtērion sou ‘thy salvation.’ As the genitive ethnōn cannot refer to the object or agent of the act of revelation, the phrase phōs eis apokalupsin ethnōn must be understood as an amplification of the Old Testament expression ‘a light to the nations’ (phōs ethnōn, Is. 42.6; 49.6; 51.4), occurring in prophecies about eschatological salvation similar to that under discussion. eis apokalupsin (not further qualified by agent or object) indicates the character or purpose of phōs ‘the light’; and ethnōn goes with the whole expression phōs eis apokalupsin. The phrase, lit. ‘a light-to-revelation of the peoples,’ may be rendered then: ‘a light that leads to (or: that brings; or: to be a) revelation for the peoples,’ or ‘a revealing light for the peoples.’

phōs ‘light’; here it serves as an explanation of what salvation means for the Gentiles.

apokalupsis ‘revelation,’ i.e. the act of revealing (not the contents of revelation).

kai doxan laou sou Israēl ‘and glory for thy people Israel.’ doxan is best understood as parallel with phōs and appositive to sōtērion. The Messianic salvation is ‘light and glory,’ a light that pierces through the darkness of the gentile world and reveals to them the true God, and glory for Israel, God’s people, for His salvation reveals His glory (Is. 40.5) and His glory means also glory for his people. The genitive laou ‘people’ refers to the persons to whom glory is given.


Mine eyes have seen, or, ‘my own eyes have seen,’ ‘I have seen, with eyes of me myself’ (Kituba, similarly New English Bible, Ekari, Telugu, Kannada), ‘I myself have seen,’ ‘I really have seen.’ A literal rendering may prove an unacceptable pleonasm in the receptor language.

Thy salvation. That the possessive pronoun refers to the actor, or rather initiator, of the saving act is made clear by renderings like, ‘the salvation (that is/comes) from thee’ (Tagalog, East and Toraja-Sa’dan), ‘the salvation (that is) thy gift’ (Javanese, Balinese), ‘your saving (lit. giving-life-to) man’ (Tboli). Actually the phrase points to a future event, ‘your coming salvation,’ or, in a verbal clause, ‘that you are going to save (man),’ cf. also, “the deliverance which thou hast made ready” (New English Bible). Where it is impossible to say that such an event can be seen, it is defensible to substitute a reference to the saviour, e.g. ‘the saviour whom thou hast appointed’ (Kannada), ‘the saviour which you have prepared’ (Kituba).

(V. 31) In the presence of all peoples, or, ‘to be seen by all peoples,’ ‘as all peoples will witness,’ ‘so that all peoples will see it,’ or an equivalent idiomatic expression, e.g. ‘at the nose of all peoples’ (Ekari). All peoples. If the language uses distinctive terms for the speaker’s own people and other peoples, one may have to say ‘all men,’ ‘all on earth’ (Toraja-Sa’dan); cf. also on 1.17.

(V. 32) If a break-down into smaller units has to be made here, it may be introduced by, ‘This (salvation) is (or, means/brings/produces) ….’

A light for revelation to the Gentiles, preferably, ‘a light of revelation for the Gentiles’ (cf. An American Translation), or, mentioning the recipients first, ‘for the G. a revealing light’ (in which case the next line should be changed likewise, ‘and for thy people Isr. glory’). The necessity to describe the concept “revelation” (cf. on v. 26), and shift to a verbal clause may lead to, ‘a light that causes the G. to see/know,’ ‘a light that shines-upon the G.’ (Balinese), ‘a light for the G. to enlighten them’ (cf. Ekari). In such cases the verb often requires an object, cf. ‘bring all things to clarity’ (Sranan Tongo), “to show truth” (Phillips, similarly Bible en français courant), “to reveal your way” (Good News Translation).

The Gentiles, or, “the heathen” (An American Translation), ‘the outsiders’ (Ekari), ‘other (or, foreign) peoples/tribes,’ ‘people of foreign lands’ (Kannada), ‘non-Jews’ (Barrow Eskimo), ‘non-Israel.’ Where Muslim influence is strong there is a tendency to transliterate Arabic kāfir, a designation of the non-Muslim. This word, however, may have a connotation of strong contempt which makes it inappropriate for use in a verse like this, and/or it may be so specifically Muslim that it can only mean ‘one outside Islam,’ not one outside another religion, as, for instance, in Balinese and Toraja-Sa’dan, which prefer ‘other nations,’ and ‘people being-in-darkness’ (a figurative expression for people lacking cultural or religious insight).

Glory to thy people Israel, or, ‘honour/praise (to be given) to thy people Isr..’ For thy people see on 1.68.

Quoted with permission from Reiling, J. and Swellengrebel, J.L. A Handbook on the Gospel of Luke. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1971. For this and other handbooks for translators see here . Make sure to also consult the Handbook on the Gospel of Mark for parallel or similar verses.