The Meaning of Luke 1:79 Explained

Luke 1:79

KJV: To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

YLT: To give light to those sitting in darkness and death-shade, To guide our feet to a way of peace.'

Darby: to shine upon them who were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

ASV: To shine upon them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death; To guide our feet into the way of peace.

What does Luke 1:79 Mean?

Context Summary

Luke 1:57-80 - The Song At The Herald's Birth
This song is second only to that of Mary. It is a noble ode, tracing our Lord's advent back to the early covenant of God with the fathers and anticipating its effects to the end of time.
It is wholesome to apply the song to ourselves and ask how far we have participated in these great blessings. Are we experiencing this daily salvation from our spiritual enemies, who hate us? Do we serve God without the slavish fear of the serf, and with the loyal allegiance of the child? Are all our days characterized by holiness toward God and righteousness toward man? Has the "dayspring from on high" visited our hearts and are our feet walking in the way of peace? Solemn questions these, but they must be faced. [source]

Chapter Summary: Luke 1

1  The preface of Luke to his whole gospel
5  The conception of John the Baptist;
26  and of Jesus
39  The prophecy of Elisabeth and of Mary, concerning Jesus
57  The nativity and circumcision of John
67  The prophecy of Zachariah, both of Jesus,
76  and of John

Greek Commentary for Luke 1:79

To shine upon [επιπαναι]
First aorist active infinitive of επιπαινω — epiphainō (liquid verb). An old verb to give light, to shine upon, like the sun or stars. See also Acts 27:20; Titus 2:11; Titus 3:4. [source]
The shadow of death [σκιαι τανατου]
See Psalm 107:10, where darkness and shadow of death are combined as here. Cf. also Isaiah 9:1. See note on Matthew 4:16. To guide Genitive of the articular infinitive of purpose. The light will enable them in the dark to see how to walk in a straight path that leads to “the way of peace.” We are still on that road, but so many stumble for lack of light, men and nations. [source]
To guide [κατευθῦναι]
From εὐθύς ,straight. Wyc. has dress, which is formed through the old French dresser, to arrange, from the Latin dirigere, to set in a straight line, draw up. Hence the military term dress for arranging a line. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Luke 1:79

1 Thessalonians 3:11 Direct [κατεύθυναι]
Lit. make straight. Only in Paul and Luke. See on Luke 1:79, and comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:5. Frequent in lxx. [source]
2 Thessalonians 3:5 Direct [κατευτυναι]
First aorist active optative of wish for the future as in 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23 from κατευτυνω — kateuthunō old verb, as in 1 Thessalonians 3:11 (there way, here hearts) and Luke 1:79 of feet Perfective use of κατα — kata Bold figure for making smooth and direct road. The Lord here is the Lord Jesus. [source]
Titus 2:11 Hath appeared [επεπανη]
“Did appear,” the first Epiphany (the Incarnation). Second aorist passive indicative of επιπαινω — epiphainō old verb, in N.T. here, Titus 3:4; Luke 1:79; Acts 27:20. [source]
Revelation 14:6 That dwell [κατοικοῦντας]
Read καθημένους thatsit. So Rev., in margin. Compare Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79. [source]

What do the individual words in Luke 1:79 mean?

to shine upon those in darkness and in [the] shadow of death sitting - to direct the feet of us into [the] way of peace
ἐπιφᾶναι τοῖς ἐν σκότει καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου καθημένοις τοῦ κατευθῦναι τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν εἰς ὁδὸν εἰρήνης

ἐπιφᾶναι  to  shine  upon 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: ἐπιφαίνω  
Sense: to show to or upon.
τοῖς  those 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
σκότει  darkness 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: σκότος  
Sense: darkness.
σκιᾷ  in  [the]  shadow 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: σκιά  
Sense: shadow.
θανάτου  of  death 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θάνατος 
Sense: the death of the body.
καθημένοις  sitting 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: κάθημαι  
Sense: to sit down, seat one’s self.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
κατευθῦναι  to  direct 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: κατευθύνω  
Sense: to make straight, guide, direct.
πόδας  feet 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: πούς  
Sense: a foot, both of men or beast.
ἡμῶν  of  us 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Plural
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
εἰς  into 
Parse: Preposition
Root: εἰς  
Sense: into, unto, to, towards, for, among.
ὁδὸν  [the]  way 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ὁδός 
Sense: properly.
εἰρήνης  of  peace 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: εἰρήνη  
Sense: a state of national tranquillity.