The Meaning of Matthew 17:6 Explained

Matthew 17:6

KJV: And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

YLT: And the disciples having heard, did fall upon their face, and were exceedingly afraid,

Darby: And the disciples hearing it fell upon their faces, and were greatly terrified.

ASV: And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

KJV Reverse Interlinear

And  when the disciples  heard  [it], they fell  on  their  face,  and  were sore  afraid. 

What does Matthew 17:6 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 17:1-8 - Jesus Shows Divine Glory
Moses' face shone after having absorbed the divine glory, as some diamonds burn with sunlight after being carried into a dark room. Stephen's face shone because for a moment he had seen the Son of man. But the face of our Lord shone, not from without but from within. The shekinah of His heart was for the most part hidden, but here it burst through the frail veil of flesh, John 1:14.
The Apostle uses the same word when he says, "Be ye transfigured," Romans 12:2. He does not mean that for a brief moment we should see and reflect our Lord's face. He wants us to enshrine Him in our hearts, and then to rid ourselves of all hindering veils, so that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God may make even the common garb of daily drudgery beautiful.
This was the great climax of our Lord's earthly life, when He definitely turned away from the glory that was set before Him, to endure the Cross for our redemption. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 17

1  The transfiguration of Jesus
14  He heals the boy with a demon,
22  foretells his own passion,
24  and pays tribute

What do the individual words in Matthew 17:6 mean?

And having heard [it] the disciples fell upon face of them were terrified greatly
καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα

ἀκούσαντες  having  heard  [it] 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀκουστός 
Sense: to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf.
μαθηταὶ  disciples 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: μαθητής  
Sense: a learner, pupil, disciple.
ἔπεσαν  fell 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: πίπτω 
Sense: to descend from a higher place to a lower.
ἐπὶ  upon 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐπί  
Sense: upon, on, at, by, before.
πρόσωπον  face 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: πρόσωπον  
Sense: the face.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
ἐφοβήθησαν  were  terrified 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Passive, 3rd Person Plural
Root: φοβέομαι 
Sense: to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away).
σφόδρα  greatly 
Parse: Adverb
Root: σφόδρα  
Sense: exceedingly, greatly.