Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them” forgive or tolerate? Hermeneutics and Atonement

Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them” forgive or tolerate? Hermeneutics and Atonement

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The text at hand:

“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what
they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.” ‭‭Luke‬
‭23‬:‭34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Many English translations still say “forgive”.

The definition of the Greek word that Jesus used for forgive (Jesus likely spoke Aramaic of course) is listed below:

ἀφίημι (aphiēmi)

to forgive, pardon, remit, cancel; to leave, abandon; to allow, permit, tolerate

to send away, dismiss, suffer to depart; to emit, send forth;, τὴν φωνήν, the voice, to cry out, utter an exclamation, Mk. 15:37; τὸ πνεῦμα, the spirit, to expire, Mt. 27:50; to omit, pass over or by; to let alone, care not for, Mt. 15:14; 23:23; Heb. 6:1; to permit, suffer, let, forbid not; to give up, yield, resign, Mt. 5:40; to remit, forgive, pardon; to relax, suffer to become less intense, Rev. 2:4; to leave, depart from; to desert, forsake; to leave remaining or alone; to leave behind, sc. at one’s death, Mk. 12:19, 20, 21, 22; Jn. 14:27


If an interpreter of the Bible comes across this verse and they are familiar with the implications of the atonement, it sounds as if Jesus is asking God to forgive people who may not have already placed their faith in Him for the forgiveness of sins, since they are in the process of crucifying Him.

To compare Acts with Luke, we read the comparative text:

“Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not
charge them with this sin
.” And when he had said this, he fell
asleep.” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭7‬:‭60‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jesus didn’t say: “Father, do not charge them with this…”

Now back to Luke, was Jesus saying:

“Father, forgive them…”?


“Father, tolerate them…”?

Because to be forgiven is to have your particular sins cleansed and completely removed from your account (cf. Romans 4).

Q: Has the English translation misused the Greek word in this context for “forgive”?

Similar questions:

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