complete verse (Luke 9:45)

Following are a number of back-translations of Luke 9:45:

  • Noongar: “But the disciples did not know what Jesus said. The truth was hidden from them so they did not see the truth. They were frightened to ask Jesus about saying more.” (Source: Warda-Kwabba Luke-Ang)
  • Uma: “But his disciples did not know his purpose, because the meaning was hidden from them, with the result that they did not understand. But they also did not dare ask him what was the meaning of his words.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “But they did not understand what he said there for it was hidden from them so that they did not understand. And they did not dare to ask him what the meaning of his words was.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And as for his disciples, they did not at that time understand what Jesus was telling them. God did not allow them to understand, so that they might not know it, and they did not dare to ask him what the interpretation of it was.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “But they didn’t know what he meant to say, because God didn’t permit them to understand and they were afraid to inquire of Jesus.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But the disciples didn’t understand the meaning of what Jesus said, because it’s like it was still being hidden from them. They also held-back/were-reluctant to ask him what it meant.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Dagbani: “They did not know what this meant, because it had been hidden and on the other hand they were also afraid-of Jesus’s reaction (lit. “heart”). They did not know the meaning of what he said. They were afraid to to ask (and) find-out about the matter.” (Source: André Wilson in The Bible Translator 1972, p. 135ff. )

Translation commentary on Luke 9:45


hoi de ēgnooun to rēma touto ‘but they did not understand this word.’

agnoeō ‘to understand not’ (cf. Mk. 9.32).

kai en parakekalummenon ap’ autōn ‘and it was concealed/hidden from them,’ i.e. their not understanding what Jesus said was due to an influence beyond their control. parakaluptō.

hina mē aisthōntai auto ‘in order that they might not comprehend it,’ indicating purpose, or, ‘so that they might not comprehend it,’ indicating result, preferably the latter, since the perfect tense of ēn parakekalummenon suggests a situation which makes it impossible for the disciples to understand.

aisthanomai ‘to comprehend’; here used with negative it is synonymous with agnoeō.

ephobounto erōtēsai auton ‘they were afraid to ask him,’ or ‘they were ashamed to ask him,’ preferably the former.


They did not understand this saying, cf. on 2.50.

It was concealed from them. A reference to God, or Jesus, as agent may be necessary in some cases, e.g. in Kituba, ‘God had hid it (from them),’ or in Tboli, ‘he did not cause-it-to-be-revealed to them,’ but it is preferable to be less explicit, cf. e.g. ‘the word hid itself from them’ (Kele), ‘it was a riddle to them’ (Leyden), ‘it still was-veiled (lit. having-its-peel, said of words that exalted characters use on the stage, incomprehensible for the common man)’ (Balinese).

Perceive, or, “see its meaning” (Translator’s New Testament), “grasp it” (The Four Gospels – a New Translation, similarly Bible de Jérusalem), or some other synonym of ‘understand.’

Were afraid, or negatively put, ‘did not dare’ (Nieuwe Vertaling), ‘did not have the courage.’

To ask, i.e. for insight; in Chontal the implied direct discourse is made explicit, cf. ‘they were scared, so they didn’t ask him, “What does your word say?” ’

About this saying, or, ‘what he/Jesus said (or, meant, or, meant to say).’

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.