The Olympics and How It Has Nothing To Do With This Blog Post – Luke 1:78-79

Within the past year I have started taking scriptures and breaking them down to the Hebrew/Greek meanings. I love doing this because it gives you a more in depth look at Bible scriptures and also at the attributes of God. For those of you who don’t know, the Old Testament was mainly written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in mainly Koine Greek which was the common language of that time period.

The more I learn about the Hebrew language the more I am fascinated by it. Learning the Hebrew meanings of certain words in scripture gives it more depth, application to our lives, and meaning. Although I prefer learning about Hebrew, the first scripture I want to look into is actually from the New Testament so it is going to be of Greek roots and origins. I study from the ESV Bible just because I feel it is more accurate to the original Greek and Hebrew than the KJV (I know I just lost a couple readers right there… LOL). But feel free to use the translation of your choice.

Luke 1:78-79

Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Background: This scripture is part of a prophesy of Zechariah who was the father of John the Baptist. After John was born, Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and went into this really long prophesy about how John would prepare the way for Christ. These two verses are speaking of Christ, not John.

Because of the tender mercy of our God..”

The word tender used here is from the Greek word σπλάγχνον.

This word literally means intestines in the Greek. This was a word to describe violent love or anger. Yes, God is merciful. But not only that, He is tenderly merciful. The very inward parts of God are MERCY!

“…whereby the sunrise shall visit us on high”

Sunrise here comes from the Greek word ἀνατολή (anatolé). This means rising. Okay so not that much different right? But wait… this gets pretty cool (nerd alert).. This particular word means rising in the East. Here is some more examples of where this word is used in the Bible to give a better picture.

Matthew 2:1-2 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:9After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.”

So the same sunrise which shall visit us on high and guide is into peace is the same thing that led the wise men to Christ in the manger who is the man that will guide us in the way of peace. Pretty kewl.

“…to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,”

Whenever I read the phrase to give light, I literally think of God reaching down and handing someone a giant torch. Kind of like in the Olympics.


But this is actually the word ἐπιφαίνω. Which means to literally appear and shine upon. So scratch out that image of God starting off the Olympics. Instead, He literally came down here, appeared, and shined upon us.

This same word is also found in Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” God came down brought salvation with him.

So he appeared, he brought with him light for those in darkness and salvation for all people.

One more verse ἐπιφαίνω occurs in is Titus 3:4-5

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

“…to guide our feet…” 

κατευθύνω is the Greek word that guide comes from in this verse. It means straight or to exactly direct by the most efficient route that avoids all unnecessary delays or loss.

“…into the way of peace.”

 εἰρήνη, the word which peace here is taken from, means when all the parts are joined together. It means a oneness, and unity, wholeness.  This word is found 92 different times in the Bible.

The way to wholeness isn’t a 12 step program or the hokey-pokey. It is literally a straight guided efficient path guided by a light from the East (Christ). Like the one that led the wise men on a straight, direct path to the Savior in the manger. This Savior literally appeared on Earth and shined upon men. Why? Because the inner most part of Him, is mercy. A strong violent mercy. Strong enough to conquer our separation because of sin.

I love taking a verse and stripping it to it’s core roots. There is so much more than meets the eye. Knowing the context of each root word is eye opening and brings me amazement every time. I hope this amazed you as much as it did me, I really enjoyed sharing this mini scripture journey with you! After I study a verse I read it one last time. Because now that we know most of it’s core meaning, it gives you a new perspective.

Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”



One thought on “The Olympics and How It Has Nothing To Do With This Blog Post – Luke 1:78-79

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  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing this; it’s so powerful to be able to read this verse with much more detail and depth of understanding. I love how guide means straight because that means that if I follow God He will not lead me astray


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