The Meaning of Luke 9:29 Explained

Luke 9:29

KJV: And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

YLT: and it came to pass, in his praying, the appearance of his face became altered, and his garment white -- sparkling.

Darby: And as he prayed the fashion of his countenance became different and his raiment white and effulgent.

ASV: And as he was praying, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became white and dazzling.

What does Luke 9:29 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The fact that Jesus experienced a change while praying also implies the subjective effect prayer can have on people. It transforms them as it did Him. Luke avoided the term "transfigured" that Matthew and Mark used probably to avoid giving his Greek readers, who were familiar with stories about gods appearing to men, this idea. Jesus was much more than a Greek god. Instead Luke simply described the change in Jesus that suggests a metamorphosis into a holy condition (cf. Exodus 34:29-35; 2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13). The vision is of a righteous One who has come through suffering ( Daniel 3:12-25; cf. Revelation 3:5). [1] The three disciples evidently saw Jesus as He will appear in His glorified state at His second coming.

Context Summary

Luke 9:28-36 - A Glimpse Of Glory
From some aspects this was the highest point in our Savior's earthly career. He was the second Adam and had not sinned. There was no reason, therefore, that He should die. He might in a moment have been changed; that which was mortal might have been swallowed up of life. The door through which Moses and Elijah had come stood open, and by it our Lord might have returned. But He could never, under those circumstances, have been the Savior of mankind. He knew this, so He turned His back on the joy set before Him and set His face toward Calvary.
Moses came as representing the Law; and Elijah, the Prophets. Each of these great departments of divine revelation had anticipated His coming, Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44. As stars fade in the sunrise, so their mission was now merged in Him. They spoke of His decease, literally, His exodus, and it was from this that Peter caught the term which he applied to his own death, 2 Peter 1:15. The Apostles never forgot this manifestation of the glory of the Lord, 1 John 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:17. When you hear that Christ is the Beloved of God, remember Ephesians 1:6. [source]

Chapter Summary: Luke 9

1  Jesus sends his apostles to work miracles, and to preach
7  Herod desires to see Jesus
10  The apostles return
12  Jesus feeds five thousand;
18  inquires what opinion the world had of him; foretells his passion;
23  proposes to all the pattern of his patience
28  The transfiguration
37  He heals the lunatic;
43  again forewarns his disciples of his passion;
46  commends humility;
51  bids them to show mildness toward all, without desire of revenge
57  Many would follow him, but upon conditions

Greek Commentary for Luke 9:29

Was altered [ἐγένετο ἕτερον]
Lit., became different. Luke avoids Matthew's word, μεταμορφώθη , was metamorphosed. He was writing for Greek readers, to whom that word represented the transformations of heathen deities into other forms. See, for instance, the story of the capture of Proteus by Menelaus, in the fourth book of Homer's “Odyssey.” See on Matthew 17:2. [source]
White [λευκὸς]
In classical Greek very indefinite as an expression of color; being used, not only of the whiteness of the snow, but of gray dust. Its original sense is clear. All three evangelists use the word, but combined with different terms. Thus, Matthew, as the light. Mark, στίλβοντα , glistering (see on Mark 9:3). Luke, ἐξαστράπτων (only here in New Testament), flashing as with the brilliance of lightning. Rev., dazzling. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Luke 9:29

Mark 9:3 Glistering, exceeding white [στιλβοντα λευκα λιαν]
Old words, all of them. Matthew 17:2 has white as the light (λευκα ως το πως — leuka hōs to phōs), Luke 9:29 “white and dazzling” (λευκος εχαστραπτων — leukos exastraptōn) like lightning. [source]
Luke 11:1 That []
. Not in the Greek, asyndeton Supply προσευχομενος — proseuchomenos (praying), complementary or supplementary participle.Teach us Jesus had taught them by precept (Matthew 6:7-15) and example (Luke 9:29). Somehow the example of Jesus on this occasion stirred them to fresh interest in the subject and to revival of interest in John‘s teachings (Luke 5:33). So Jesus gave them the substance of the Model Prayer in Matthew, but in shorter form. Some of the MSS. have one or all of the phrases in Matthew, but the oldest documents have it in the simplest form. See notes on Matthew 6:7-15 for discussion of these details (Father, hallowed, kingdom, daily bread, forgiveness, bringing us into temptation). In Matthew 6:11 “give” is dos (second aorist active imperative second singular, a single act) while here Luke 11:3 “give” is didou (present active imperative, both from δος — didōmi) and means, “keep on giving.” So in Luke 11:4 we have “For we ourselves also forgive” But the spirit of each prayer is the same. There is no evidence that Jesus meant either form to be a ritual. In both Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4 τα οπειληματα — mē eisenegkēis occurs (second aorist subjunctive with τας αμαρτιας — mē in prohibition, ingressive aorist). “Bring us not” is a better translation than “lead us not.” There is no such thing as God enticing one to sin (James 1:13). Jesus urges us to pray not to be tempted as in Luke 22:40 in Gethsemane. [source]
Luke 9:28 To pray [προσευχασται]
Peculiar to Luke who so often mentions Christ‘s habit of prayer (cf. Luke 3:21). See also Luke 9:29 “as he was praying” (εν τωι προσευχεσται — en tōi proseuchesthai one of Luke‘s favourite idioms). [source]
Luke 11:1 Teach us [διδαχον ημας]
Jesus had taught them by precept (Matthew 6:7-15) and example (Luke 9:29). Somehow the example of Jesus on this occasion stirred them to fresh interest in the subject and to revival of interest in John‘s teachings (Luke 5:33). So Jesus gave them the substance of the Model Prayer in Matthew, but in shorter form. Some of the MSS. have one or all of the phrases in Matthew, but the oldest documents have it in the simplest form. See notes on Matthew 6:7-15 for discussion of these details (Father, hallowed, kingdom, daily bread, forgiveness, bringing us into temptation). In Matthew 6:11 “give” is dos (second aorist active imperative second singular, a single act) while here Luke 11:3 “give” is didou (present active imperative, both from δος — didōmi) and means, “keep on giving.” So in Luke 11:4 we have “For we ourselves also forgive” But the spirit of each prayer is the same. There is no evidence that Jesus meant either form to be a ritual. In both Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4 τα οπειληματα — mē eisenegkēis occurs (second aorist subjunctive with τας αμαρτιας — mē in prohibition, ingressive aorist). “Bring us not” is a better translation than “lead us not.” There is no such thing as God enticing one to sin (James 1:13). Jesus urges us to pray not to be tempted as in Luke 22:40 in Gethsemane. [source]
Luke 9:28 Into the mountain [εις το ορος]
Probably Mount Hermon because we know that Jesus was near Caesarea Philippi when Peter made the confession (Mark 8:27; Matthew 16:13). Hermon is still the glory of Palestine from whose heights one can view the whole of the land. It was a fit place for the Transfiguration.To pray (προσευχασται — proseuxasthai). Peculiar to Luke who so often mentions Christ‘s habit of prayer (cf. Luke 3:21). See also Luke 9:29 “as he was praying” (εν τωι προσευχεσται — en tōi proseuchesthai one of Luke‘s favourite idioms).His countenance was altered Literally, “the appearance of his face became different.” Matthew 17:2 says that “his face did shine as the sun.” Luke does not use the word “transfigured” Literally, And his raiment white radiant. There is no and between “white” and “dazzling.” The participle εχαστραπτων — exastraptōn is from the compound verb meaning to flash The simple verb is common for lightning flashes and bolts, but the compound in the lxx and here alone in the N.T. See note on Mark 9:3 “exceeding white” and the note on Matthew 17:2 “white as the light.” [source]
John 4:35 White [λευκαί]
See on Luke 9:29. [source]
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil [απο παντος ειδους πονηρου απεχεστε]
Present middle (direct) imperative of απεχω — aṗechō (contrast with κατεχω — kaṫechō) and preposition απο — apo repeated with ablative as in 1 Thessalonians 4:3. Note use of πονηρου — ponērou here for evil without the article, common enough idiom. Ειδος — Eidos (from ειδον — eidon) naturally means look or appearance as in Luke 3:23; Luke 9:29; John 5:37; 2 Corinthians 5:7. But, if so taken, it is not semblance as opposed to reality (Milligan). The papyri give several examples of ειδος — eidos in the sense of class or kind and that idea suits best here. Evil had a way of showing itself even in the spiritual gifts including prophecy. [source]
Revelation 2:17 A white stone [ψῆφον λευκὴν]
See on counteth, Luke 14:28; and see on white, Luke 9:29. The foundation of the figure is not to be sought in Gentile but in Jewish customs. “White is everywhere the color and livery of heaven” (Trench). See Revelation 1:14; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:14; Revelation 19:8, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 19:14; Revelation 20:11. It is the bright, glistering white. Compare Matthew 28:3; Luke 24:4; John 20:12; Revelation 20:11; Daniel 7:9. It is impossible to fix the meaning of the symbol with any certainty. The following are some of the principal views: The Urim and Thummim concealed within the High-Priest's breastplate of judgment. This is advocated by Trench, who supposes that the Urim was a peculiarly rare stone, possibly the diamond, and engraven with the ineffable name of God. The new name he regards as the new name of God or of Christ (Revelation 3:12); some revelation of the glory of God which can be communicated to His people only in the higher state of being, and which they only can understand who have actually received. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Professor Milligan supposes an allusion to the plate of gold worn on the High-Priest's forehead, and inscribed with the words “Holiness to the Lord,” but, somewhat strangely, runs the figure into the stone or pebble used in voting, and regards the white stone as carrying the idea of the believer's acquittal at the hands of God. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Dean Plumptre sees in the stone the signet by which, in virtue of its form or of the characters inscribed on it, he who possessed it could claim from the friend who gave it, at any distance of time, a frank and hearty welcome; and adds to this an allusion to the custom of presenting such a token, with the guest's name upon it, of admission to the feast given to those who were invited to partake within the temple precincts - a feast which consisted wholly or in part of sacrificial meats. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Others, regarding the connection of the stone with the manna, refer to the use of the lot cast among the priests in order to determine which one should offer the sacrifice. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Others, to the writing of a candidate's name at an election by ballot upon a stone or bean. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
In short, the commentators are utterly divided, and the true interpretation remains a matter of conjecture. [source]

Revelation 1:14 White [λευκαὶ]
See on Luke 9:29. Compare Daniel 7:9. [source]
Revelation 2:17 Of the hidden manna [τοῦ μάννα τοῦ κεκρυμμένου]
The allusion may be partly to the pot of manna which was laid up in the ark in the sanctuary. See Exodus 16:32-34; compare Hebrews 9:4. That the imagery of the ark was familiar to John appears from Revelation 11:19. This allusion however is indirect, for the manna laid up in the ark was not for food, but was a memorial of food once enjoyed. Two ideas seem to be combined in the figure: 1. Christ as the bread from heaven, the nourishment of the life of believers, the true manna, of which those who eat shall never die (John 6:31-43, John 6:48-51); hidden, in that He is withdrawn from sight, and the Christian's life is hid with Him in God (Colossians 3:3). 2. The satisfaction of the believer's desire when Christ shall be revealed. The hidden manna shall not remain for ever hidden. We shall see Christ as He is, and be like Him (1 John 3:2). Christ gives the manna in giving Himself “The seeing of Christ as He is, and, through this beatific vision, being made like to Him, is identical with the eating of the hidden manna, which shall, as it were, be then brought forth from the sanctuary, the holy of holies of God's immediate presence where it was withdrawn from sight so long, that all may partake of it; the glory of Christ, now shrouded and concealed, being then revealed to His people” (Trench). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
This is one of numerous illustrations of the dependence of Revelation upon Old Testament history and prophecy. “To such an extent is this the case,” says Professor Milligan, “that it may be doubted whether it contains a single figure not drawn from the Old Testament, or a single complete sentence not more or less built up of materials brought from the same source.” See, for instance, Balaam (Revelation 2:14); Jezebel (Revelation 2:20); Michael (Revelation 12:7, compare Daniel 10:13; Daniel 12:1); Abaddon (Revelation 9:11); Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, Babylon, the Euphrates, Sodom, Egypt (Revelation 21:2; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 9:14; Revelation 11:8); Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:8, compare Revelation href="/desk/?q=re+2:7&sr=1">Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:27, Revelation 2:28). Heaven is described under the figure of the tabernacle in the wilderness (Revelation 11:1, Revelation 11:19; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:3; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 4:6). The song of the redeemed is the song of Moses (Revelation 15:3). The plagues of Egypt appear in the blood, fire, thunder, darkness and locusts (Revelation 8:1-13). “The great earthquake of chapter 6 is taken from Haggai; the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair and the moon becoming blood (Revelation 8:1-13) from Joel: the stars of heaven falling, the fig-tree casting her untimely figs, the heavens departing as a scroll (Revelation 8:1-13) from Isaiah: the scorpions of chapter 9 from Ezekiel: the gathering of the vine of the earth (chapter 14) from Joel, and the treading of the wine-press in the same chapter from Isaiah.” So too the details of a single vision are gathered out of different prophets or different parts of the same prophet. For instance, the vision of the glorified Redeemer (Revelation 1:12-20). The golden candlesticks are from Exodus and Zechariah; the garment down to the foot from Exodus and Daniel; the golden girdle and the hairs like wool from Isaiah and Daniel; the feet like burnished brass, and the voice like the sound of many waters, from Ezekiel; the two-edged sword from Isaiah and Psalms; the countenance like the sun from Exodus; the falling of the seer as dead from Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; the laying of Jesus' right hand on the seer from Daniel. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
“Not indeed that the writer binds himself to the Old Testament in a slavish spirit. He rather uses it with great freedom and independence, extending, intensifying, or transfiguring its descriptions at his pleasure. Yet the main source of his emblems cannot be mistaken. The sacred books of his people had been more than familiar to him. They had penetrated his whole being. They had lived within him as a germinating seed, capable of shooting up not only in the old forms, but in new forms of life and beauty. In the whole extent of sacred and religious literature there is to be found nowhere else such a perfect fusion of the revelation given to Israel with the mind of one who would either express Israel's ideas, or give utterance, by means of the symbols supplied by Israel's history, to the present and most elevated thoughts of the Christian faith “(this note is condensed from Professor Milligan's “Baird Lectures on the Revelation of St. John”).A white stone ( ψῆφον λευκὴν )See on counteth, Luke 14:28; and see on white, Luke 9:29. The foundation of the figure is not to be sought in Gentile but in Jewish customs. “White is everywhere the color and livery of heaven” (Trench). See Revelation 1:14; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:14; Revelation 19:8, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 19:14; Revelation 20:11. It is the bright, glistering white. Compare Matthew 28:3; Luke 24:4; John 20:12; Revelation 20:11; Daniel 7:9. It is impossible to fix the meaning of the symbol with any certainty. The following are some of the principal views: The Urim and Thummim concealed within the High-Priest's breastplate of judgment. This is advocated by Trench, who supposes that the Urim was a peculiarly rare stone, possibly the diamond, and engraven with the ineffable name of God. The new name he regards as the new name of God or of Christ (Revelation 3:12); some revelation of the glory of God which can be communicated to His people only in the higher state of being, and which they only can understand who have actually received. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Professor Milligan supposes an allusion to the plate of gold worn on the High-Priest's forehead, and inscribed with the words “Holiness to the Lord,” but, somewhat strangely, runs the figure into the stone or pebble used in voting, and regards the white stone as carrying the idea of the believer's acquittal at the hands of God. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Dean Plumptre sees in the stone the signet by which, in virtue of its form or of the characters inscribed on it, he who possessed it could claim from the friend who gave it, at any distance of time, a frank and hearty welcome; and adds to this an allusion to the custom of presenting such a token, with the guest's name upon it, of admission to the feast given to those who were invited to partake within the temple precincts - a feast which consisted wholly or in part of sacrificial meats. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Others, regarding the connection of the stone with the manna, refer to the use of the lot cast among the priests in order to determine which one should offer the sacrifice. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Others, to the writing of a candidate's name at an election by ballot upon a stone or bean. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
In short, the commentators are utterly divided, and the true interpretation remains a matter of conjecture.A new nameSome explain the new name of God or of Christ (compare Revelation 3:12); others, of the recipient's own name. “A new name however, a revelation of his everlasting title as a son of God to glory in Christ, but consisting of and revealed in those personal marks and signs of God's peculiar adoption of himself, which he and none other is acquainted with” (Alford). Bengel says: “Wouldst thou know what kind of a new name thou wilt obtain? Overcome. Before that thou wilt ask in vain, and after that thou wilt soon read it inscribed on the white stone.” [source]

What do the individual words in Luke 9:29 mean?

And it came to pass in the praying of Him the appearance of the face of Him [was] altered the clothing white became dazzling
καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι αὐτὸν τὸ εἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον ἱματισμὸς λευκὸς ἐξαστράπτων

ἐγένετο  it  came  to  pass 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: γίνομαι  
Sense: to become, i.
προσεύχεσθαι  praying 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Middle or Passive
Root: προσεύχομαι  
Sense: to offer prayers, to pray.
αὐτὸν  of  Him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Accusative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
εἶδος  appearance 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: εἶδος  
Sense: the external or outward appearance, form figure, shape.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
προσώπου  face 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: πρόσωπον  
Sense: the face.
αὐτοῦ  of  Him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
ἕτερον  [was]  altered 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: ἀλλοιόω 
Sense: the other, another, other.
ἱματισμὸς  clothing 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἱματισμός  
Sense: clothing, apparel.
λευκὸς  white 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: λευκός  
Sense: light, bright, brilliant.
ἐξαστράπτων  became  dazzling 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἐξαστράπτω  
Sense: to send forth lightning, to lighten.