Bible Query from
Q: In Lk, what are some of the distinctive elements of this gospel?
A: Luke emphasizes the humanity of Jesus, the son of man, who brought salvation for Gentiles as well as Jews. Jesus shines as a teacher of parables in Luke. Christ is the universal hope. Many see more of a Gentile emphasis than Matthew or Mark. Luke has more information on the infancy of Jesus in the time of Herod the Great. Eusebius says that Luke was a Gentile from Antioch, and Acts 13:1 says that Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch was in Antioch. Luke seems to emphasize contrasts, such as the thankful vs. thankless lepers, the repentant and unrepentant thieves, the Samaritan and the Pharisees, and the rich man and Lazarus.
As for language, the books of Luke and Acts have the most complex Greek grammar in the Bible. Luke is also the longest gospel at about 19,581 Greek words, vs. 18,111 for Matthew, 11,051 for Mark, and 15,436 Greek words for John. Luke also wrote Acts soon after, which is about 18,460 Greek words.
As for cults, Jehovahís Witnesses try to give Luke 16:19-31 an especially twisted interpretation.
Q: In Lk 1:1, were there many Gospel accounts written?
A: We know of the three other genuine gospels. Much later, around 170 A.D., Tatian, an Assyrian Christian who later became a heretic, wrote the Diatessaron, a harmony of these four gospels, c.172 A.D. If other true accounts were written, we have no evidence that anybody in the early church ever heard of them. We also have faith that God preserved what He wished to preserve.
There were about 50 Gnostic and legendary accounts written, such as the Gospel of Thomas of the Gnostic heretics. Pictures and discussion of the Gospel of Thomas are in the Wycliffe Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology p.406, The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.1011-1012, and The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia vol.6 p384. See also the next question.
Q: Luke, in the beginning of his gospel, writes: "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed" (Lk 1:1-4). Does Luke look more punctilious or correct than other Evangelists, especially Mark, in arranging and organizing the materials of his gospel? Did he arrange the incidents chronologically, unlike others? Does it mean that there was some doubt in the writings of others?
A: No, for most of that. People often try to read in things that are not there. However, Papias, a disciple of the apostle John, said that Mark wrote some things that were not in order. See www.biblequery.org/gospels.html for a harmony of the gospels.
Q: In Lk 1:1, given that we only know of three other genuine Gospel accounts, did any Christians write anything else that is not in our Bibles?
A: Yes, the early Christians wrote many things. We have good, extra-Biblical writing from three disciples of the apostle John (Ignatius, Polycarp, and fragments from Papias). We have a letter from Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D., before Revelation), which was possibly the same Clement mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:3. We also have a great deal of apologetic writing from Irenaeus, as disciple of Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and Athenagoras. There are a total of about 39 writers prior to the sever persecution of Decius and Gallus in 250/251 A.D., and many, many others.
Q: In Lk 1:3, why did the author know more than the other gospel writers about the birth and early childhood of Jesus?
A: While Luke only says he carefully investigated what was told by eyewitnesses, here is a theory of a more specific reason.
Eusebius of Caesarea (318 A.D.) says that Luke was a Gentile from Antioch. Acts 13:1 says that among the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch was Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch. Luke obviously knew of Manaen since he wrote Acts. His discussions with Manaen of the times of his childhood might have been especially interesting.
Of course the church was small back then, and we cannot totally rule out Matthew, Mark, and John talking with Manaen too.
Q: In Lk 1:3, was Luke really divinely inspired or did it just seem good to him to write this?
A: Both can be true. We do not know how much was Lukeís initiative, but regardless, God can use and bless our initiative, as 2 Corinthians 8:17, (but really most of 8 and 9) show. See also the next question.
Q: In Lk 1:3, does this mean Luke was not inspired, since the Apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees 2:23-32 also shows initiative?
A: First some basic facts, then a comparison of the two, and finally some conclusions.
B1. If a writer of the Bible decided to write something, God could use his decision. In fact, every writer of every book of the Bible must have decided to write that book, or it would not have been written. See the previous question for more discussion on God using our initiative.
B2. The majority of Catholics and Orthodox believe 2 Maccabees is a part of Godís word. (It was in the original King James Version.) Almost all Protestants (many Anglicans and Episcopalians excepted) believe it is not. See the question on whether the Apocrypha is a part of Godís word for more info on the Apocrypha in general.
B3. Many early Christians believed the Apocrypha was a part of Scripture, especially early Christians that spoke Latin and Greek.
B4. Many early Christians believed the Apocrypha contained godly writings but that they were not Scripture, especially early Christians that spoke Hebrew.
B5. All can agree that at the least, 2 Maccabees was a condensation of a history of the Maccabean period written by God-fearing Jews. There is nothing wrong with believers writing histories and other books.
B6. Most genuine Christians agree that a person could have a wrong view of the Apocrypha and still be a genuine Christian.
Luke 1:1-4 (RSV Catholic version) "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you,..."
2 Maccabees 2:23-32 (RSV Catholic version) "all this, which has been set forth by Jason of Cyrene in five volumes, we shall attempt to condense into a single book. For considering the flood of numbers involved and the difficulty there is for those who wish to enter upon the narratives of history because of the mass of material, we have aimed to please those who wish to read, to make it easy for those who are inclined to memorize, and to profit all readers. For us who have undertaken the toil of abbreviating, it is not light matter but calls for sweat and loss of sleep, just as it is not easy for one who prepares a banquet and seeks the benefit of others. However, to secure the gratitude of many we will gladly endure the uncomfortable toil, leaving the responsibility for exact details to the compiler, while devoting our effort to arriving at the outlines of the condensation. For as the master builder of a new house must be concerned with the whole construction, while the one who undertakes its painting and decoration has to consider only what is suitable for its adornment, such in my judgment is the case with us. It is the duty of the original historian to occupy the ground and to discuss matters from every side and to take trouble with details, but the one who recasts the narrative should be allowed to strive for brevity of expression and to forgo exhaustive treatment. At this point therefore let us begin our narrative, adding only so much to what has already been said; for it is foolish to lengthen the preface while cutting short the history itself."
C1. 2 Maccabees never claimed to be the word of God. Luke claimed to contain the exact words of Jesus.
C2. Luke basically says that
a) Since others [Matthew and Mark?] have undertaken to write about Jesusí life, and
b) Since he followed all things closely,
c) It seemed good to Luke to write his Gospel.
C3. The writer(s) of 2 Maccabees state the work is simply a condensation of the five volumes of Jason of Cyrene. The writer said there were many difficulties involved, and they explain how and why they produced what they did.
C4. While the writer of 2 Maccabees 1 goes into great detail how the book was produced, he fails to mention that God had anything to do with inspiring the work.
Q: In Lk 1:3 and Acts 1:1, who was Theophilus?
A: In Greek, the name "Theophilus" means "lover of God." Either the books were addressed to a particular individual named Theophilus, or more probably, it was addressed to lovers of God everywhere.
Theophilus, a bishop of Antioch from 168-181/188 A.D., lived later and so it could not refer to him. Likewise, it was also the name of a patriarch of Alexandria around 391 A.D.
Q: In Lk 1:5, what does the name Elizabeth mean?
A: Elizabeth (Elisabet in Greek) is equivalent to Elisheba in Hebrew. It means "God is my oath". Elisheba was a daughter of Amminadab of Judah and Aaronís wife. In Exodus 6:23. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.520,522, the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.308 and the skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.918 all say similar.
Q: In Lk 1:5 (KJV), who is Abia?
A: The King James Version translated "Abia" when it should have been "Abijah". Zechariah was of the priestly division descended from Abijah. Of the 24 divisions, Abijah was the eighth division according to 1 Chronicles 24:10.
Q: In Lk 1:13, why was it so important to name Elizabethís baby John?
A: Scripture does not say. Sometimes God has specific reasons for doing things, and the Lord is not obligated to tell us. Normally in that culture the father had the right to name the child. If God had not said to name Him John, we have no idea what he would have been named.
Q: In Lk 1:15 and Mt 11:14, how was John the Baptist in the Spirit and power of Elijah? Was he Elijah reincarnated?
A: No. He came in the spirit and power of Elijah, but John was not Elijah reincarnated. See the discussion on Mark 9:11-13 for the answer.
Q: In Lk 1:15, what does it mean that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth?
A: Since the Day of Pentecost, believers receive the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of them when they are born again. John the Baptist was a unique person with a unique mission. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from before birth.
Q: In Lk 1:15-80, how might a ministry have a "time of John" today?
A: Jesus was almost announced, but not quite yet. This was the time of the forerunner, who was getting prepared himself to prepare for the announcing the messiah. Sometimes in a successful ministry there is first a "quite time" of learning, building character, training, and understanding the field before "apparently" suddenly exploding on the scene.
Q: In Lk 1:17 (KJV), who is Elias?
A: Elias appears in the King James version; it is a synonym for Elijah, whom you can read about in 1 Kings 17 to 2 Kings 1.
Q: In Lk 1:20-22, how could Zechariah have continued serving in the temple after he was made mute?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
a) Zechariah bringing the offering and sacrifices did not require him to speak.
b) After this miracle occurred, Luke is silent on whether Zechariah was temporarily relieved of his duties or not.
See J. Greshem Machen The Virgin Birth of Christ ch.10 p.234 for more info.
Q: In Lk 1:28,42 how is Mary full of grace?
A: This is not referring to either the chemical, physical, or spiritual composition of Mary. Rather, grace here means unmerited favor, and Mary was given great favor by the privilege of being the mother of our Lord. Remember, someone who did not have a sin nature, and never sinned would not need a Savior. In Luke 1:47, Mary shows that she needed a savior too. See When Critics Ask p.382-383 and When Cultists Ask p.142-144 for more info on why Mary was not immaculately conceived and did not live a sinless life, as the Catholic Church claims. Historically, no pre-Nicene Christian writer wrote the Mary was sinless, or had stores of merit.
Q: In Lk 1:31, why was it important to name Maryís baby Jesus?
A: Scripture does not explicitly say. However, the Hebrew word for Jesus, Yeshua, means Jehovah saves, and it seems the only appropriate name for Jesus, since it means "Yahweh saves". Furthermore, it might be relevant that Zechariah 3:1-5 mentions a high priest named Yeshua, who is apparently a type of the Savior. Joshuaís name and Jesusí names are the same in Hebrew.
Q: In Lk 1:34 and Mt 1:18-20, how can a virgin birth be possible?
A: By natural means, it is not possible for people. But since Almighty God can create man from the dust of the ground, by comparison a virgin birth would not be too difficult for Him.
Q: In Lk 1:35, why does the Bible not even spare God from illicit sexual aspersions being ascribed to Him when the Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary, without explaining how? (The Muslim Ahmad Deedat brought this up.)
A: While God did not tell us exactly how He performed this miracle, no early Christian explained this a sexual act in any way. It is very strange that Deedat would bring this up, because even the Qurían affirms that Jesus was born of a virgin. I have heard of a Muslim, apparently in his zeal to be anti-Christian, deny that Jesus was born of a virgin, despite what his own religion teaches.
Q: In Lk 1:37; Mt 19:26; Mk 10:27, how is nothing is impossible with God, since it is impossible for God to lie in Heb 6:18, disown Himself in 2 Timothy 2:13, swear by anything greater than Himself in Heb 6:13, or be tempted with evil in Jms 1:13.
A: No "thing" is impossible with God. Lying and logical contradictions are not "things", and God does not do those. See When Critics Ask p.351 for a more extensive answer.
Q: In Lk 1:37, what about the theory that Mary had sex with a soldier named Parthenos?
A: The Greek word for "virgin" is parthenos. Some unbelievers once speculated that "Panthera" was a Roman soldier who fathered Jesus. However, parthenos in Greek means "virgin", we have no record of anyone ever named Parthenos, and it would be a very unlikely name for a Greek man. The early writer Origen was the first we know of to answer this charge in Origen Against Celsus book 1 chapter 32 p.410.
Q: In Lk 1:37, is God really almighty?
A: Yes. Here is what the scriptures say about Godís power.
God is almighty. Luke 1:37; Jeremiah 32:27; Isaiah 1:9
All God decrees happens. Isaiah 14:24,27; 43:13; 55:11; John 10:26-28. God is sovereign over all. Isaiah 6:5; Psalm 103:14
God does as He pleases. Matthew 20:15; Psalm 115:3;135:6; Romans 9:20
Nothing is too hard for God. Genesis 18:14; Job 42:2; Jeremiah 32:17; Matthew 19:26
God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), lie (Hebrews 6:18; 1 Samuel 15:29), or be tempted by evil. (James 1:13), or swear by any greater than Himself (Hebrews 6:13).
Nothing occurs besides what God allows. Job 1:12;2:6; James 4:15
Every "decision of the lot" is from the Lord. Proverbs 16:33
All things work together for His will. Romans 8:28; Ephesians1:11
None can thwart Godís decrees. Isaiah 43:13; Romans 11:29
Many succeed in resisting Godís commanded/desired will. Acts 7:39,51; 4:11; 13:46; 14:2; 2 Corinthians 6:1
People do some good things on their own initiative. 2 Corinthians 8:17
In summary, Godís power is bounded only by Himself. Everything happens that God commands. Nothing happens that God does not permit. God can choose for a time to delegate His sovereignty and to permit some things that break His heart, but ultimately everything is woven together in His plan.
Q: In Lk 1:38, if Mary had refused, would God be unable to redeem humankind?
A: No. God uses people as His instruments, but God is not restricted to using a particular person. Mordecai understood this well in Esther 4:14.
Hypothetically speaking, it would have been no problem for God to come up with an alternate plan. Perhaps He could have chosen another woman, and ensured that she developed the qualities to be a good mother for Jesus.
In reality, God knows every day of our life before we existed (Psalm 139), including every decision we make, and every decision Mary would make. Thus, God needed no alternate plan.
Q: Does Lk 1:48 show we are to venerate Mary above all women?
A: No. Mary was a recipient of Godís grace, not a source of her own grace. Four points to consider in the answer.
The Greek does not say we are to bless her above all women, but that she was the most blessed of women for being Jesusí mother.
Jael was the most blessed woman in Judges 5:24 because she killed Sisera. If you think you should venerate Mary because of the phrasing of Luke 1:48, you should not forget to venerate Jael as most blessed of women prior to Mary, because of the phrasing of Judges 5:24.
When the wise men came the bowed and worshipped Jesus. It does not say they bowed or venerated Mary.
Remember, Mary worshipped her son too.
Finally, in Acts 1:13-14, when the disciples were together and Mary the mother of Jesus was there too, they were all praying to God, nobody was praying to or venerating Mary.
See When Cultists Ask p.145 and When Critics Ask p.381-382 for more info.
Q: In Lk 1:48, how is Mary the most blessed among women?
A: Mary was the most blessed to be the mother of the baby Jesus. Mary did not say "my soul rejoices", but rather "my soul rejoices in the Lord". Christians always will remember and honor her as the one who nurtured Jesus. Absent from the scripture is any hint that she was sinless, immaculately conceived herself, a virgin all of her life, that she has stores of merit, or that she ascended to Heaven. Scripture never calls her a co-mediator, co-redeemer, or that we are to venerate/worship her. Pre-Nicene Christian writers were unfamiliar with any idea of Mary being a co-mediator or co-redeemer, or that anybody thought of venerating Mary.
It is correct but ambiguous to call Mary the "mother of God" as the Council of Ephesus did. There is no way Mary is the mother of God the Father or the Holy Spirit. Nestorius at first opposed saying Mary was the mother of God, but later he accepted the term, though with reluctance. Mary genuinely is the mother of God, because she is the mother of Jesus. However, Jesus existed in Heaven before Mary was created, and Mary is not the mother of God the Father or God the Spirit. Rather than saying Mary is the mother of God, it is preferable to say Mary is the mother of God the Son.
Q: In Lk 1:62-63, what does this show about Zechariah?
A: Lk 1:62-63 shows that Zechariah was deaf as well as mute here.
Q: In Lk 1:70 and Acts 3:21, do the speeches of Zechariah and Peter speech show the earth was young, because the prophets spoke from the beginning?
A: No, because "from the beginning" is an expression for from the first times. They spoke from the beginning of mankind, not from the beginning, six days before. Thus, Luke 1:70 does not establish how long a day was.
For examples of the use of "beginning" that does not refer to the beginning of creation, see Luke 1:2; John 8:25; 15:27; 16:4; Acts 26:5.
Q: In Lk 1:80; 2:52; 4:16, did Jesus travel to India and learn from Hindu teachers, as some New Agers claim?
A: No. When Cultists Ask p.146-148 mentions that the Russian author Nicolas Notovitch said this. It also mentions that Jesus quoted extensively from the Old Testament, and never from the Hindu Vedic "scriptures". There are five points to consider in the answer.
1. Luke 1:80 refers to John the Baptist, not Jesus. Zechariah was Johnís father, and Zechariahís song of praise to God in Luke 1:67-79 refers not to Jesus but to his child, "a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him" (Lk 1:76 NIV)
2. Luke 2:39-40 says that Jesus returned to Nazareth, not India.
3. Luke 2:41 says that every year Jesus parents, presumably with Jesus, went to Jerusalem.
4. In Luke 2:51-52, after he was twelve years old, Jesus grew up in Nazareth, too.
5. Finally, Luke 4:16 says that Jesus was brought up in Nazareth.
In summary, there is no evidence that Jesus went anywhere outside of Palestine and Egypt. There is as much evidence that Jesus as a boy went to India as that He went to the moon.
Q: On Lk 2, I had someone email this: "The reason for Christmas is traditionally rooted in the Roman Saturnalia which Christianity supplanted. There is no precedent in the bible for the holiday.
A: Here is the short answer:
a) We do not know the month and year Jesus was born, so any time is as good as another.
b) Romans had a lot of holidays, so any day would be close to some Roman holiday or another.
c) Early Christians were willing to die rather than worship other gods, so Christmas had nothing to do with the worship of Saturn or any other idols at Saturnalia.
d) Many early Gentile Christians were slaves, and since the Romans had a custom of giving their slaves temporary freedom for a few days during the time of Saturnalia, that would be the only time they could leave to meet for Christmas without being pursued.
See the next question for the long answer.
Q: In Lk 2, is Christmas a pagan holiday, and why is it celebrated on December 25th?
A: No, Christmas is not a pagan holiday. We do not know the month and day when Jesus was born. It would not be reasonable for all the farmers to have to go somewhere to be taxed at either harvest time or planting time, though. There are two views as to why Christmas is just after Saturnalia: coincidence, and not a coincidence. Here is supporting evidence for both views.
Coincidence: Various cultures had holidays at various times. For example, the later Greeks had more holidays than non-holidays. The Romans had a minor holiday every Ides (13th or 15th) of the month to Jupiter. Every six days prior was a sacrifice to Juno and Janus. Here is a partial list of Roman holidays.
Jan. 1 Sacred day to Janus
Jan. 9 Agonia (for Janus)
February Sabine (not just Roman) festival of purification called Februa
Feb. 15 Lupercalia (not to any god)
Feb. 17 Quirinalia (for Mars)
Feb. 27 First Equirria (for Mars)
Mar. 1 Matronalia (for Juno)
Mar. 14 Second Equirra (for Mars)
Mar. 19 Quinquatrus (for Minerva)
Mar. 23 Tubilustrium (purification of trumpets)
April Festival for Venus
Apr. 25 Robigalia (ask mildew to spare the grain)
Spring? Bachannalia (drunken, sexual festival)
May 15 Festival to Mercury and Maia
May 26 Ambarvalia (for good crops)
Jun. 9 Vestalia (to Vesta)
Jun. 13-14 Lesser Quinquatrus (for Minerva)
The month of July was renamed for Emperor Julius Caesar, who was proclaimed a god.
Jul. 23 Neptunalia (when water was most wanted)
The month of August was renamed for Emperor Augustus, who was proclaimed a god.
Aug. 9 Vinalia rustica (for Venus)
Aug. 13 Festival to Diana (slaves freed for 1 day)
Aug. 23 Vulcania (for Vulcan)
Sep. 4 Ludi Magni in honor of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva (Encyclopedia Britannica 1957 version)
Sep. 13 Feast of Jupiter (Roman State prominent)
Oct. 15 October Horse (sacrifice to Mars)
Nov. 1 Feast of Pomona, goddess of harvest
Dec. 17-24 Saturnalia (commemorate the golden age of Saturn. - Slaves freed for 8 days)
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) in On Idolatry chapter 10 also mentions the Quintquatria, Minervalia, Saturnalia, Septimontium and the feast of Dear Kinmanship. We are not sure of the dates of some of these holidays though.
The point of listing the Roman holidays is that, whenever Christmas was celebrated, it would most likely be close to some Roman holiday or another.
Not a Coincidence: Celebrating Christmas on December 25 was not a coincidence for three reasons.
N1. Not at these times: Some times were less appropriate than others for Christmas. Around March 9-24, there were many gladiatorial shows in honor of Minerva. The early Christians probably would not want to be out celebrating when Romans were looking for people to fight wild beasts. On September 13, worship of Mars, protector of the state, was prominent. Christians would not want to be conspicuous then, either.
N2. Competing with Saturnalia: Having Christmas just after Saturnalia might have been deliberate to "compete" with the Roman holiday. However, this view assumes Saturnalia was an extremely important holiday, which was not necessarily the case.
N3. Many Christians were slaves: Over half of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire were slaves, and probably even a greater percentage of Christians were slaves. The pagan holiday of Saturnalia gave Christian slaves more freedom than usual since slaves were temporarily free during this time. Thus they had the free time to plan and gather for their own holiday.
See Now Thatís a Good Question p.362-364 for more info.
Q: In Lk 2, was Christmas just copied from the pagan Roman holiday Sol Invictus?
A: No. The holiday of Sol Invictus (the invincible sun), was celebrated on December 23, not the 25th, when the days began to lengthen. Besides this, Christmas could not be copied from Sol Invictus for two other reasons.
1) Sol Invictus was only started in 270/274 A.D. under Emperor Aurelian, a persecutor of Christians.
2) Ephraem the Syriac Christian (c.350-378 A.D.) records Christís Nativity being celebrated. He shows that is was celebrated around 13 days after the winter solstice. (Hymns on the Nativity Hymn 4 p.235). Ephraim lived on the western part of the Persian Sassanid Empire, where Roman Emperor-declared holidays would not be celebrated.
In the Roman Empire, Gregory Nazianzen give what some consider to be one of his best sermons, on the Birthday of Christ, either December 25, 380 A.D., or January 6, 381 A.D. Oration 38 p.345-351.
Q: In Lk 2:1, is it OK for Christians to abbreviate Christmas as "Xmas"?
A: It is fine. As R.C. Sproul points out in Now Thatís a Good Question p.364-365, it is not an X but a cross that was the abbreviation, and no disrespect of Jesus is intended.
Q: In Lk 2:1-5, why would Caesar Augustus allegedly cause chaos by allegedly making everyone return to their hometown?
A: First what the skeptic Isaac Asimov claims, and then two different answers.
Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.929 outright says, "The Romans couldnít possibly have conducted so queer a census as that. Why should they want every person present in the town of his ancestors rather than in the town in which he actually dwelt? ... No, it is hard to imagine a more complicated tissue of implausibilities and the Romans would certainly arrange no such census."
C. Vibius Maximus, Roman prefect of Egypt, would disagree. For the taxation edict of Vibius Maximus in 104 A.D. required everyone in the Egypt to return their hometown. This would not cause chaos for the farmers and poorer people, who did not travel much anyway. See The Case for Christ p.135 and the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.414 for more info, and it says the decree is documented in Deiss LAE p.271.
Josephís own choice: As to Joseph returning to Bethlehem vs. calling Nazareth his hometown, the gospels did not actually claim that Caesar Augustus required everyone in the empire return to their hometown. Perhaps Joseph had his own reasons, and Joseph either thought it important to register himself as a descendant of the royal line on his own accord, or else he was told to do so by an angel. However, Joseph was not the only one who felt the need to travel for the census, as the inns in Bethlehem were full.
Q: In Lk 2:1, why did Joseph leave his home and return to his hometown?
A: There are two concurrent answers.
Heavenly reason: God in His providence made things this way so that the prophecy would be fulfilled that Jesus would be born at Bethlehem.
Earthly reason: Either Joseph himself just wanted to return to his hometown, or else people had to return to their hometown, to ensure that no one was missed in the taxation. A similar requirement, that everyone must return to their hometown, was in the taxation edict of Egypt in 104 A.D. The prefect, C. Vibius Maximus, wrote, ĎThe enrollment by household being at hand, it is necessary to notify all who for any cause whatsoever are away from their administrative divisions to return home in order to comply with the customary ordinance of enrollment, and to remain in their own agricultural land." See The New Testament Documents : Are They Reliable. by F.F. Bruce. IVP p.86-87 for more info.
Q: In Lk 2:2, what do we know about Quirinius?
A: Quirinius was a governor twice. The first time was between 12 and 6 B.C., when he led a campaign against the Homanadensians in Anatolia (modern Turkey). The second time Quirinius was govern of Syria starting in 6 A.D., according to an inscription. We do not have a record of which province Quirinius was governor of the first time. There are two views:
Sir William Ramsay advocates that Quirinius was governor of Syria the first time. (Syria is adjacent to the mountains of Anatolia). While we have a complete record of the governors of Syria during this time and Quirinius is not mentioned until 6 A.D., Quirinius might have been a special additional governor for this military campaign.
F.F. Bruce advocates that Quirinius was governor of probably Galatia, which is in Anatolia.
As a side note, there is much about the ancient world we cannot prove. For example, Damascus coins are silent about Roman occupation of Damascus between 34 to 62 A.D. Yet, we are certain that the Romans ruled Damascus then. Likewise, when the Emperor Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D., Josephus never mentioned this even, only Suetonius and Luke. See http://www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/cyrenius.htm for more on Quirinius. See also The New Testament Documents : Are They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce (p.86-87), Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.365-366 and When Critics Ask p.383-385 for more info.
Q: In Lk 2:1-5, when were the censuses of the Roman Empire?
A: A census was important to set up the taxation rates, and the Romans wanted to have them to more evenly (and thoroughly) tax the people.
44 B.C. Romans were taxing the Jews (though without a census) according to Josephusí Antiquities of the Jews book 14 ch.271.
8-4 B.C. Augustus had three censuses, the second of which was 8-4 B.C. Augustus records that he first ordered the census in 8 B.C, in Res Gestae 8 - The Deeds of Augustus. The census would have taken a few years to implement. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.366 mentions a census in 7 B.C..
6/7 A.D. Archelaus was deposed and his lands added to Syria. Josephus (93-94 A.D) (Antiquities of the Jews 17.13:5 p.375) says Cyrenius "took account of their substance" and discusses Cyrenius more in Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.1 p.376. This is very likely the same census mentioned in Acts 5:37.
20 A.D. Roman census, and every 14 years after that according Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 225 (in Milligan, Greek Papyri p.44-47). See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.319,414, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.71-72 for more on this.
104 A.D. in Egypt there was a census under Vibius Maximus. This was 14 X 6 years after the 20 A.D. census.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.68-69 and http://www.biblehistory.net/newsletter/cyrenius.htm for more info.
Q: In Lk 2:1-5, did Luke mix up this census with the census that occurred in 6 A.D. under Quirinius in Acts 5:37?
A: No, for two reasons.
a) Luke, who mentioned the census in Acts 5:37, would be unlikely to mix it up with the census before Jesusí birth.
b) Luke himself was aware of the possibility of confusion, and that is most likely why Luke 2:2 says "([This] was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)". This strongly implies that Luke knew there was more than one census. Alternately, note that [This] is not in the Greek, and the word "first" can be translated as prior. Thus Luke 2:2 can also mean "This took place as a census prior to Cyrenius being governor of Syria" according to Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.71.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.68-69 for more info.
Q: In Lk 2:2, was Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great, who died in 4 B.C., or at the time of Quirinius governor of Syria in 6 A.D. in Lk 2:2?
A: Jesus was born prior to Herodís death, around 4 B.C.. First two possible answers, and then the more probable answer.
Answer 1: F.F. Bruce mentions that many grammarians translate the Greek of Luke 2:2 as "before" Quirinius was governor, not "while" in The New Testament Documents : Are They Reliable? (IVP) p.86-87. The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics p.430-431 mentions this but prefers the third explanation.
Answer 2: Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) in Against Marcion book 4 ch.19 p.378 thought the name "Quirinius" was substituted for "Saturninus". Historically, we know that Sentius Saturninus was governor of Syria from 8 to 6 B.C., until he was succeeded by Varus from 6-3 B.C.
Most Probable answer: Quirinius was governor twice, and we know the second time was 6 A.D. The first time he was a governor was 12-6 B.C., during the time of Jesusí birth, when he led a campaign against the Homandensians in Anatolia. However, we do not know the province of where he was governor the first time.
Luke himself was apparently aware of the possibility of confusion about Quirinius, for verse 2 says "This was the first census..." implying there was more than one census under Quirinius.
See The New Testament Documents : Are They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce (p.86-87) for a discussion of all these views, and the Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.365-366 and When Critics Ask p.383-385 for more info.
Q: In Lk 2:14, what does "good will toward men" (KJV, NKJV) mean?
A: Better translations are:
among men of good will - Wuestís Expanded Translation
to men on whom his favor rests Ė NIV
among men with whom He is pleased Ė NASB, uNASB, NET Bible
to men who please him Ė Williams Translation
Q: In Lk 2:34, how did Jesus cause the rising and falling of many in Israel?
A: Many who outwardly appeared close to God would be shown to be hypocrites, far from Him. Many who were wicked sinners would repent and come to God. Jesus would be a light not only Jews, but also to Gentiles, as Simeon prophesied in Luke 2:32. Some Jews might not like this.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1375 for more info.
Q: In Lk 2:37, how could Anna be serving God back then, at about 84 years old?
A: This might not mean that she was 84 years old, but rather that she had been a widow for 84 years, which would mean she was over a hundred. People with little useful medicine, a diet of bread, some meat, and milk, and fruits and some vegetables, could still live a long time. Paradoxically though, the average age of death was a little over 30 years old. The reason was that almost half of all kids died before becoming adults. Think of the times as a kid where you needed medical care; what if you could not get any?
Anyway, even at 84 years old Anna was still in the Temple worshipping and serving God. Even at 84 years old, God had something new and special for her to do, to spread the word about the Messiah. Worshipping and serving God, and spreading the word about the Messiah is what we should be actively doing too, regardless of our age.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1375-1376 for more info.
Q: In Lk 2:40, since grace is undeserved favor, how was Godís grace on Jesus?
A: This expresses that Jesus had Godís grace, means that God the Father was pleased with how Jesus was growing, and that God the Father and Spirit were strengthening Jesusí human growth. See also the discussion on Luke 2:52 for more info.
Q: In Lk 2:43-50, did Jesus disobey his parents, and perhaps sin, by not returning to them?
A: No, Jesus did not break any of his motherís commands. Mary might have thought Jesus was disobedient based on Luke 2:48. However, sometimes parents are mistaken when they think their children are not doing the right thing. They never gave a command that Jesus disobeyed, and Jesus might not even have been aware they had already left.
In general, children are to obey their parents. However, our parents contradict a command from God, we have to obey God and not our parents on that particular point.
Q: In Lk 2:49, did Jesus talk back to His mother?
A: No. Respectfully explaining why you were at a place is not talking back to your parents. Jesus talked with His mother, but He did not talk back to her.
Q: In Lk 2:52, since no one grows in favor with himself, and since Jesus is God, how did Jesus grow in favor with God?
A: In the Bible, the word "God", when not referring to an idol, sometimes means God the Father, sometimes God the Son, sometimes God the Spirit, and sometimes God in Trinity. It means God the Father and Spirit here.
In addition, God the Father has the role of God to God the Son, as Hebrews 1:9 clearly shows when it says, "Therefore God, your God..." (NIV). While on earth, even Jesus learned submission and obedience, according to Hebrews 5:7-8.
Q: In Lk 3:1, exactly when was Tiberiasí fifteenth year?
A: There is a two-year uncertainty on the "fifteenth year of Tiberias, because Tiberias was co-Emperor with Augustus for two years. If it is counted from the time he was co-emperor, that would be 26-27 A.D. for Johnís ministry. But if it is counted from the time Tiberias was the sole Emperor, it would be 28-29 A.D. Most people agree that it is the latter though. See The Expositorís Greek New Testament vol.1 p.480, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.854 and p.857-858, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.809 for more info on this.
Q: In Lk 3:1, what extra-Biblical evidence is there of Lysanias, Tetrarch of Abilene in the fifteenth year of Tiberias (27-28 A.D.)?
A: A century ago there was none whatsoever. A Lysanias of Abilene who was executed in 34 B.C. lived too early to be relevant.
In the Twentieth century, the situation changed. An inscription was found that said Ďfor the salvation of the Lords Imperial and their whole household, by Nymphaeus, a freedman of Lysanias the tetrarch." The words "Lords Imperial" date this inscription between 14 A.D. and 29 A.D.
See The New Testament Documents : Are They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce (IVP) p.87-88 and The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel p.130 for more info.
Q: In Lk 3:2, why are Annas and Caiaphas mentioned here as the "priesthood"?
A: There could only be one high priest at a time. Annas was the high priest until the Romans chose to depose him. So, Caiaphas, Annasí son-in-law, because high priest, but Annas was still influential behind the scenes. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.854 for more info.
Q: In Lk 3:7, do you think everyone who came to see John the Baptist was sincere?
A: Not necessarily. They might have come just to "see the show". Pharisees and Sadducees came to, and John rebuked them. Of course, some might initially come just as "tourists", but listened and come to repentance.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1377 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.855, for more info.
Q: In Lk 3:9, what does the "axe is laid to the root" mean?
A: In an orchard, a tree that will not bear fruit should be cut down to make a space for one that will. That goes for Godís orchard too. John the Baptist is threatening that Godís judgment is near and will strike down the roots of a tree that does not produce the good fruit of accepting the Messiah. This is according to the NIV Study Bible p.1541, the New Geneva Study Bible p.1608, the New International Bible Commentary p.1192-1193, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.211, and the Evangelical Bible Commentary p.809.
The "axe laid to the root" does NOT mean we ourselves should cut down the bad roots we have. Rather, John the Baptist is making a threat about what God will do.
But there are two possibilities, and both may be true.
Individually: The Believer's Bible Commentary p.1378 says, "Christ's coming would test the reality of man's repentance. Those individuals who did not manifest the fruits of repentance would be condemned."
Corporately: if the Jewish nation rejected the Messiah, Christ would curse the fig tree (Mark 11:13-14,20-21) and cut out those branches, as Romans 11:17-20 says.
Q: In Lk 3:12-13, why did Jesus tell this to the tax collectors?
A: Tax collectors were despised not only because they collected taxes for the hated Roman government, but they were well-known for collecting more than they were told. In the Roman Empire tax collectors were not paid a salary. Rather, a tax collect was responsible for turning in a set amount of money to the Roman government. Everything above and beyond that he could keep. So, tax collectors were free to collect as much as they could. Jesus told tax collectors to only collect what they were supposed to, which included a reasonable amount for themselves. Jesus did NOT tell them to stop being tax collectors. Indeed, it would be better for the people to have an honest reputable tax collector than for the tax collector to quit and a dishonest tax collector take his place.
Q: In Lk 3:14, why did Jesus merely tell the Roman soldiers to be content with their pay?
A: This simple statement meant they were not to rob or extort others. The Roman political world was built on using power to amass wealth, and Jesus said they should not use illegitimate means to gain wealth. But Jesus did not tell the Roman soldiers to stop being soldiers.
Q: In Lk 3:16-17, how was Jesusí baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire?
A: The apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit and tongues of fire appeared on their heads in Acts 2. After this, baptism by the Holy Spirit is for all believers. But fire here more likely means judgment against those who would reject Godís only means of salvation. Others see the fire as purification instead. Others see it as both.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.856-857 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1378 for more info.
Q: In Lk 3:21, John baptized for repentance, so why did Jesus get baptized?
A: Jesus is sinless, so He did not need to repent of anything. That is why John questioned why Jesus was being baptized, instead of baptizing John. Jesus was baptized to do properly everything a Jewish person should do. He identified with John and his baptism, though he would give a greater baptism later. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.859 for more info.
Q: In Lk 3:22, how does this refute Oneness Pentecostalism?
A: The Holy Spirit came down as a dove. Jesus is not the dove, and the dove is not Jesus. When the Father spoke from heaven, Jesus as no just throwing his voice, like a ventriloquist. Jesus did not deceive the people into thinking that someone else was speaking when really it was just Jesus fooling them
Q: At Jesusí baptism did the voice speak to the people around Jesus in Matthew or just to Jesus (Jesus, Interrupted p.39-40). In Matthew 3:17 the Father says, "This is my Son..." and in Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22 the Father says, "You are my Son...."
A: On one hand, the Father could have spoken twice, once to the people, and once, audibly or inaudibly, to Jesus. On the other hand, the Father could have simply spoken only one sentence. In numerous places the gospel writers do not give exact quotes, but the gist or meaning of what was communicated. It is easy to forget that modern quotation marks were unknown in ancient writing. Regardless, it is clear from all three writers that the Father communicated that Jesus was His beloved Son, in whom He was well-pleased.
Q: In Lk 3:23, who is the son of Heli?
A: The words "son of" are not present in the Greek, it only says "of Heli". It was Mary who was the daughter of Heli, and Heli was Jesusí biological grandfather.
Q: In Lk 3:23 why do many translations say Jesus was "as was supposed" the son of Joseph, when "as was supposed" was not in the Greek? (The Muslim Ahmad Deedat brought this up.)
A: Deedat is wrong here. This is in the Greek. You can see it in The Greek New Testament by Aland et al. 3rd edition), also in the 4th edition, Greenís Literal Translation, and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.
Actually, though, while Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, Joseph was the legal father.
Q: In Lk 3:23-33, how could Mary be descended from Judah, since Elizabeth was from the daughters of Aaron in Lk 1:5, and Mary and Elizabeth were cousins in Lk 1:36?
A: The Bible does not specify the tribe of their mothers.
Therefore, Mary and Elizabeth could be cousins based on the following possibilities:
Two mothers were sisters: If their mothers being were from an unspecified tribe.
Mary mother and Elizabethís father siblings: If Maryís mother were a sister of Elizabethís father, and thus Maryís mother would be from Aaron and Levi.
Maryís father and Elizabethís mother siblings: Maryís father being a brother of Elizabethís mother, and thus Elizabethís mother would be from Judah.
A Muslim saw this as proving Mary was descended from Aaron. This is important to Muslims, because if Mary is not from Aaron, then the Qurían is in error. Muslims generally believe that the Qurían on earth is a word for word copy of the Qurían written on tablets in Heaven (Sura 85:20-22).
See When Critics Ask p.381 for a similar answer.
Q: In Lk 4:1-16, how do these three temptations compare to what people have?
A: Jesusí three temptations were for material needs, gaining power through compromise with evil, and to test the power and willingness of God. Governments keep people quiet with food or monetary favors, power by compromise with morality, and complete security from real or imaginary dangers.
In general, temptations appeal to our body, our soul, or our spirit. 1 John 2:16 classifies temptations as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Note that Satan wrapped all three temptations in religion, even quoting scripture. Satan likely knows scripture better than any mortal human on earth.
For the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, they had to temptation to rely on Godís provision of daily manna, vs. collecting extra or complaining about not meat, as Moses mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:3. Moses warned them in Deuteronomy 6:10-12 that they would get proud when they moved into the land. The Israelites tempted God at Massah in Deuteronomy 6:16. In other words, Jesus went through the same kinds of temptations the Israelites had in the Exodus, yet Jesus passed them all. Jesus became an example to us for being victorious over temptation in Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:8.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1192, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1380-1381, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.213, and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.863-864,865 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:1-16, how are there "shortcuts" to accomplishing Godís will?
A: Jesus knew He was to be their Messiah, and Satan conveniently provided Jesus with three shortcuts to accomplishing Godís will for His life. If Jesus used His power to turn stone into bread for everyone, they would follow someone who could miraculously meet their physical needs. If Jesus had all power over nations, they would follow someone who could conquer with His might. If Jesus miraculously survived the fall from the temple, they people might likely accept Him, and Jesus would not seem to need to go to the cross.
We might have a worthwhile goal of accomplishing something for God, or bringing people to Christ. If we look hard enough, Satan will make sure we can always find a "shortcut" to accomplishing our good goal, using means that displease God. Bribery, coercion, intimidation, and spectacles are all means that we should not use. For example, if someone were to offer food, charity, medical care, or other things freely to others, but only of their own religion or if they convert, that would be bribery. I have heard of people being promised money if they convert to Islam. However, that is not a "shortcut" Christians should do. When Pizarro and his Spanish conquistadors treacherously captured the Incan king Atahualpa, got his subjects to pay a ransom of 24 tons of gold and silver, they told him he could either die painfully by being burned to death, or quickly by strangling, if he agreed to be baptized as a [Roman Catholic] Christian. That was wicked.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.213-214 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:3-4, what would be wrong with turning stones into bread?
A: Nothing normally, but that misses the point. Forty days is a long time to go without food; a human body cannot do that naturally, though Moses did it in Deuteronomy 9:9. Some of the gray limestone rocks might have borne a slight resemblance to a loaf of bread. Jesus could have cut short His fast by using His status and authority as the Son of God to turn stones into bread. Of course, Jesus also could have just walked to the nearest town and bought bread, as he likely often did at other times. But Jesus was depending on the Spirit to supernaturally sustain Him, instead of trusting to His own powers.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.810, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1380, The Expositorís Greek Testament vol.1 p.487, and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.862,863 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:9, what is significant about the pinnacle of the temple?
A: There was a rabbinic tradition that the Messiah would appear on the pinnacle of the temple, according to Strack and Billerbeck: Kommentur zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch 1:151. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.864-865 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:13-14, what does this say about temptation and sin?
A: Temptation is not sin. Jesus was severely tempted, but Jesus never sinned. When we are tempted to do something wrong, and we draw near to God, and do not sin, that is pleasing to God that we did not sin, not displeasing that we were tempted. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1381 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:19, why did Jesus only quote part of Isa 61:2, and not the last part of "And the day of vengeance of our God"?
A: Jesus represented Himself as reading out of the scroll of Isaiah and that is exactly what He did. Five points to consider in the answer.
1. The Hebrew Bible back then did not have the books broken into verses as ours did.
2. Jesus quoted Isaiah correctly, but Jesus did not quote the entire verse.
3. Today we often quote verses incompletely. Our convention is to use three dots, but they did not have that convention back then.
4. Jesus said that what he read was fulfilled in their hearing. If Jesus had quoted the last part, then this would no longer be true.
5. This part of Isaiah is like many other prophecies of Isaiah; they have a dual fulfillment. Another example of dual fulfillment is Isaiah 7:14-17.
Jesus only fulfilled the first part of the verse in His first coming. He will fulfill the last part in His Second Coming. See When Critics Ask p.387, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1382, and The Expositorís Greek Testament vol.1 p.489-490 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:25 and Jms 5:17, in Elijahís time was there no rain for three and a half years, or just 3 years as 1 Ki 18:1 allegedly implies?
A: 1 Kings 18:1 does not specify whether it is the third year from the drought, the third year of the famine, or the third year that Elijah stayed with the widow in Zarephath. In addition, the phrase "in the third year" could mean after the third anniversary.
See When Critics Ask p.530 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:28-32, are things going well a sign that you are doing what God wants you to do?
A: Jesus spoke the right words in Luke 4:28-32, yet things did not go well at all; they wanted to kill Him. Sometimes, your words will cause conflict, and this can be exactly what God wants. On the other hand, Luke 6:26 says, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets." (KJV)
Jesus had things going well up to a point. Then Jesus drew out their inner attitudes about the superiority of their people and their lack of concern for any others.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.868 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:34-35,41, why did Jesus rebuke the demon who spoke the truth?
A: The demon was not trying to glorify Jesus, but might have been trying to make Jesus look bad. Jesus was not interested in using the demonís witness, negotiating with the demon, or even conversing with the demon; neither should we have any interest in doing so.
Jesus was not interested in an untimely, premature proclamation of who Jesus was. Another situation where a demon who told the truth was rebuked is in Acts 16:16-18. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.872 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:38-39, what is interesting about Peterís mother-in-law being healed of fever?
A: When someone recovers from a fever, they are usually very weak, eat just a little, and only gradually regain their strength. Yet Peterís mother-in-law regained here strength immediately and was able to serve them. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1383, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.215, and The Expositorís Greek Testament vol.1 p.492 for more info.
Q: In Lk 4:40, why were people bringing the sick to Jesus when the sun was setting?
A: This was the evening after the Sabbath; they were waiting until as soon as the Sabbath was over.
Q: In Lk 4:42-43, why didnít Jesus stay longer with the people who wanted to hear Him more?
A: Jesus had a message to spread, and He needed to go into the other towns too. Disciples of Jesus, including not just the twelve but the seventy and others, could come back later.
In our ministry sometimes it is difficult when to know when to move on to another opportunity. Jesus had a clear sense of importance, but not a desperate urgency. Rather, Jesus had a sense of timing and did different things in different "seasons".
Q: In Lk 5:1, what was so special about Peterís boat?
A: Nothing at all. Many people had boats, and Peterís was not out of the ordinary. But it was very useful for Jesus to step away from the crowds and preach to them. His voice would carry Well over the water. A non-special thing, like a common boat, can become very special when it is given to God to use as He wishes.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1383-1384 for more info.
Q: In Lk 5:1-11, what is different about fishing and fishing for men?
A: An analogy, metaphor, or parable is in the Bible to teach a point, but cannot apply to the nth degree to teach points it was not intended to teach. In metaphor, they are to fish for people like they fished for fish. However, fishermen catch live fish to make them dead, but the disciples were called to catch dead people to make them alive. Of course, in fishing for fish you might want the biggest fish. In fishing for men, there is no preference for rich, poor, female, male, blind lame, young, old, etc. In fishing you can hit branches and other snags, but you keep on fishing anyway.
How often do you fish?
Q: In Lk 5:3-4, Jesus asked Simon to go fish in the heat of the day. How do you react when someone gives you advice and you think they know less than you about the subject?
A: Peter was humble and teachable, considering that Jesus might know something that he did not know. When God tells you something that you might not think is the best way to do it, you can ask yourself, "do you have shallow water faith, or deep water faith?
On the other hand, if the person thinks they know more, but really knows less, you can appreciate their sincere effort to help, even though their advice might not be helpful. Some people though, know less, and should know that they know less, but just like to talk. Sometimes you have to be patient with foolish people.
Q: In Lk 5:8, why did Jesus choose as an apostle Peter, a sinful man?
A: All people are sinful. When Peter was with Jesus, Peter realized how sinful he himself was. Isaiah had similar feelings in Isaiah 6:5.
Q: In Lk 5:8, what is the difference between fishing and hunting for men?
A: In hunting the animal does not make any choice and is just killed. In fishing, the fish decides to bite. Also, the Greek word for fishing here implies "catching them alive." We are to persuade people to come to Christ, not coerce people. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1384 for more info.
Q: In Lk 5:12, what does this say about hopeless situations?
A: When someone had leprosy, it was a chronic condition. It actually does not say the man had leprosy; rather it says he was "full of leprosy". In other words, he was in an advanced stage of the disease and it looked pretty hopeless.
Second, some would consider Jesus ceremonially unclean just for touching a leprous person. That was a good rule, to prevent spread of the disease. But it was undoubtedly surprising to everyone that Jesus reached out anyway and touched the leper. Of course, it was even more astounding that the leprosy left him.
To Jesus we were all lepers spiritually. Yet Jesus came to us, touched us, leprous as we were, and tells us "be clean".
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1384 for more info.
Q: In Lk 5:16, do you think Jesus needed more or less time with the Father than we do?
A: One could think that Jesus needed more, to prepare Himself for going the cross. On the other hand, Jesus was always in good relationship with the Father, and in His prayers he had no need to confess any sins.
Regardless though, even Jesus needed time alone to take with His Father. How much more do we need to talk with God! Spending time with our Father before making a major decision is wise to do, as Jesus did prior to choosing His twelve disciples.
Q: In Lk 5:20, did the paralytic have faith?
A: Apart from raising Lazarus from the dead, this is the only miracle that Jesus did where the person healed did not show any faith beforehand. His four friends had faith to bring him and lower him through the roof. Perhaps the paralytic had faith, but it was not recorded. Regardless, the paralytic showed obedient faith when he did what Jesus asked him to do in Luke 5:25. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.880 for more info.
Q: In Lk 5:20-21, why did the Pharisees consider forgiving sins to be blasphemy?
A: Sometimes flawlessly correct logic, and correct premises, combined with one incorrect premise, can lead to a false conclusion.
Just as a person wronged is the only one who can forgive the wrong done to her, they correctly saw that forgiving sins was only something God could do. For a mere man to presumptuously claim to forgive sins would be blasphemy, and trying to take Godís rightful place. Perhaps they did not even consider that Jesus might be something more than a mere man.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.881 for more info.
Q: In Lk 5:27-39, why would Jesus choose someone who collected taxes?
A: If you think about this a bit, this sounds crazy. Tax collectors were despised by the Jews because they not only collected taxes which people did not want to pay, they collected taxes for the occupying Romans. Most Jews considered them unclean and pariahs to avoid. Jesusí disciples were chosen to spread the gospel to the people, and it was outrageous that Jesus would choose a tax collector as a chosen people to reach the people he was taxing. In fact, Jesus was accused of being unclean just by eating with Levi and his friends. But Godís ways are not our ways. Levi was not a "chief tax collector" like Zacchaeus, but just a regular tax collector. He left his trade and followed Jesus as an ex-tax collector. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.217-218 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.812 for more info.
Q: In Lk 5:34-35, exactly why were the Pharisees hostile towards Jesus?
A: The more Jesus claimed and exercised authority, the more hostile the Pharisees became. You do not see the slightest hint among the pharisees of "we are so glad a leper and paralytic got healed." Jesus challenged their theology, their social conventions, their fasting, their Sabbath, and in short, Jesus was a challenge to them. Having the healed leper go to the priests would be a reminder to them too. See the New International Bible Commentary p.1196-1197 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.217 for more info.
Q: In Lk 5:34-35, what are some other examples of "unmixable" things, like the Phariseesí teaching that people try to mix with Christís teaching?
A: Here are some examples. There are two separate religions in Nigeria called "Chrislam" that try to unit Christianity and Islam. (They have not united with each other). The Bahaíis teach that Their Bahaíullah, Mohammed, Jesus, Moses, Buddha and (sometimes) Krishna were all from the same God. However, there are two groups of Bahaíis, and there were assassinations of leaders in one group, presumably by the other. Some try to combine the occult, or horoscope, or fortune telling with Christian or Catholic teaching. Some have tried to unit Hinduism and Christianity.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.218 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.812-813 for more info.
Q: In Lk 5:36-38, what do the metaphors of the garments and wineskins mean?
A: A new piece of cloth would not "fit" being sown as a patch on an old garment. This is because after it got wet the new cloth would shrink and the old cloth would not. Likewise, the Pharisees would not even be able to understand Jesus being the Messiah unless and until they accepted that the Messiahís coming would be a new thing. It might seem obvious to us that the coming of the Messiah would be a very new thing, but it was not for those who had no room in their thinking for the Messiah. As Jesus said in John 8:37, the Pharisees had no room in their hearts for His word.
The metaphor of the wineskins is very similar, except that it goes even farther. The old cannot contain the new, and a person who will only remain with the old will either burst or not contain the new.
Q: In Lk 5:37-39, was "new wine" alcoholic?
A: The Hebrew word for wine is yayin. It is used of drunkards in Joel 1:5.
The Greek word for wine is oinos. Here is what OíBrien in Todayís Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.366-369 says: Noah did not drink too much grape juice (Genesis 9:21), Paul did not warn against overindulgence of grape juice (Ephesians 5:18), and grape juice is not a mocker (Proverbs 20:1). OíBrien also points out that fermentation of grape juice at regular temperature takes less than two days.
On the other hand, wine in Biblical times was 10-11 % alcohol, which is less than wine or harder drinks today. Furthermore, they diluted wine with water.
Q: In Lk 5:39, how does old wine tasting better relate to the previous parable of the wineskins?
A: This is not saying that "old" is always better than "new". Rather, many here preferred the "old" teaching of the Old Testament mixed with their tradition so much that they rejected the "new" teaching of Jesus. One should not have expected all the Jews to like Jesusí teaching. Just as some would like the taste of the older wine better, following Jesusí words would not suite their taste.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.457-458 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.885-886 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:1, what did the Pharisees think was wrong with picking heads of grain?
A: Exodus 20:8-11 said it was OK to eat a small amount of grain from somebodyís else field, so it was not that. Rather, the Pharisees viewed it as reaping, and reaping was work, which was forbidden on the Sabbath. Now harvesting quantities of grain is work, but it was ludicrous to consider collecting a few grains as work. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.970 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:1,4, what did Jesus having the disciples eat the grain show?
A: When the Pharisees created human traditions and masqueraded them as Godís law, Jesus did not hesitate to break them to demonstrate that it was not Godís law. On the other hand, human law that did not masquerade as Godís Law, such as paying taxes to Caesar, Jesus kept.
Q: In Lk 6:2, what is the difference between following the rules and following God?
A: Many times, the actions of both look the same, because God wants us to obey His laws and obey the government. Of course, as Peter says in Acts 4:19, there is a difference in following God and following even religious laws, when the religious laws are contrary to what God commanded. That is an easy case.
But is there ever a time when following God involves disobeying a good and proper law? It is rare, but there is if there is a higher principle at stake.
Let me first illustrate with a simple, basic example. Once I was out of my car, and my car was stopped on a neighborhood street heading the wrong way. Was that wrong? Well, a policeman came by, thanked me, and then left. Now let me give you the context. Another motorist was stranded on the street because her car battery had died, and I was there giving her car a jumpstart. (While the policeman did not know this, the other motorist was actually my wife.)
When David broke the law because of necessity in 1 Samuel 21:1-6, there was no rebuke or correction from God. David and his men were doing Godís will, but they were in a desperate situation with no food. Sometimes even when we are doing Godís will we can be in a desperate situation. Staying alive was a higher priority than eating ceremonial bread that only the priests and their families were supposed to eat. In Luke 6:9, Jesus reminds them that it is OK to do good; if someoneís animal fell into a ditch on the Sabbath, it is OK to work to save it and getting it out.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1197 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:9, what kind of good and evil was Jesus talking about?
A: The word "evil" is used similar to the English word for bad; it can mean morally wrong things, or it can mean harmful things. Jesus was using the metaphor of harmful things to make a point about both helpful and morally good things. You would not allow your animal to die of neglect on the Sabbath. Likewise, it is OK to miraculously heal a person any day of the week you want. But it was interesting that Jesus put the question to them, and right after that in verse 11 they discussed, on the Sabbath, the evil they might do to Jesus.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1387 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:11, why were the Pharisees so angry?
A: They did not seem to care at all about the man, but they would not have been opposed to healing him either. The Pharisees were very mad because the manís hand had been withered for so long, that just waiting one more day, after the Sabbath, to heal the man would not have made any difference. Jesus could have healed the man the day before the Sabbath. The only reason to choose the Sabbath, besides having a crowd, would be to throw in the Phariseesí faces that he would not going to place Himself under their interpretation of the Sabbath. Thus, on one hand they were very angry, but on the other hand, given Jesusí actions they were waiting for Him to do something like that. So, in a sense, they were waiting to get angry.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.887 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1387 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:17-49, is this "sermon on the plain" the same as the sermon on the Mount in Mt 5-7?
A: It is unlikely they are the same sermon. While neither Matthew nor Luke claimed to record ever thing that was said in each sermon, there is enough different content in both that they are different sermons. However, there is a lot of very similar content in both too. Jesus would be expected to preach a similar message multiple times to different crowds.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.890, the New International Bible Commentary p.1197, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.970-971, and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1388 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:19, why did Jesus heal them all?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
1. The primary point was not to provide medical care for the Israelites. Rather, the point was for these healings to be a sign to show the world that Jesus was the Messiah.
2. There is never an instance where Jesus went to a group of people and healed them all, whether they wanted to or not. In this case, all were healed who came to Jesus; Jesus turned none of them away. Likewise, for salvation, all are saved who come to Jesus; He turns none away. However, all are not saved because all do not to choose to come to God with the knowledge that they possess.
Q: In Lk 6:20, does Jesus calling the poor blessed encourage the poor Proletariat to be content, since they should rise up against societyís rich people as Communism teaches?
A: It is true that Jesus teaches us to be content and joyful in Christ. It is also true that Communism has done much to teach people to be discontent, unhappy, and to dish our misery to others. Communism, as practiced in some countries, has simply replaced societyís upper class with a new elite class, the members of the Communist party.
This is similar to the situation hundreds of years ago on the Russian Steppe, when a tribe of Cossacks would always shout "liberty" when charging into battle, including unprovoked offensive raids to capture and enslave others.
Q: In Lk 6:21,25, why was Jesus apparently against laughing here?
A: Jesus was not against laughing and being happy in general, as they would have joy for mourning in Isaiah 61:3. Jesus even told a number of humorous parables. Rather, Jesus was against people who were flippant, or happy with the way things were when they were not right with God, and they had no concern for others. To put it in terms of todayís attempts at psychology, Jesus saw people who thought "Iím OK youíre OK" when they were in fact not OK, and others were not OK and needed help. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1389 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:22,26, what is wrong with all people speaking well of you?
A: It is not always when a person speaks well of you, as Jesus spoke well of Nathanael in John 1:48, and a good name is a blessing in Ecclesiastes 7:1. However, beware when all men speak well of you. This is a strong sign that you are compromising your Christian witness.
This is not a blessing for people who are spoken against because of their evil actions. It is a blessing for people who are spoken against for serving God.
See When Critics Ask p.389 for a different but complementary answer and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1387 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:27, why would Jesus say, "you who hear me"?
A: This does not mean those who casually heard the words Jesus was saying. This means those who listened to take to heart what Jesus commanded.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.893 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:27, why should we love our enemies?
A: Jewish people would think of four main kinds of enemies: most Romans, thieves, murderers, and sinners in general. Jesus said to love all of them. There are four reasons, from four perspectives.
Our obedience: God simply told us so.
Our happiness: We cannot be happy if we are full of hatred of other people. Even more serious, 1 John 3:10,15; 4:10 asks how can we really love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love our brothers, whom we have seen.
Godís love: We should love each other because God loves the world in John 3:16. God loves even the ungodly, according to Romans 5:6.
Their need for our love: Others need our love, our prayers, and the message of the Gospel. Our anti-natural response is a witness of God to the world.
Q: In Lk 6:29, when should we turn the other cheek, and when should we not?
A: We should not repay evil for evil, and we should not take revenge (Romans 12:17-19).
1. Do not let others look down on us (1 Timothy 4:11).
2. We should defend the poor and oppressed (Jeremiah 7:6;22:16) and the poor (Isaiah 1:17;58:610; Jeremiah 5:28;22:16; Galatians 2:10; Ps41:1; Proverbs 14:21;24:11-2;29:7;31 :9,20; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 6:18-9; James 1:27).
3. We should not let others speak ill of what we consider is good (Romans 14:16).
4. Specifically, we should have an answer for our faith (1 Peter 3:15).
Q: In Lk 6:30, when should we let people take what belongs to us?
A: If someone took your cloak, probably your outer cloak, this would be likely to be a street robbery. If it were theft, they might have taken more.
There are some general principles to observe.
1. Other peoplesí souls are worth more than all our possessions.
2. People or government wrongly confiscating property is evil, but our suffering is a testimony to the world and glorifies God.
3. We should not always give people everything. For example, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, we should not give food to someone who refuses to work. We should not give hospitality to people who teach false, soul-perishing doctrines (2 John 10-11).
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.893 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:35, how and why should we love our enemies while expecting nothing in return?
A: A book could be written on answering this question. We can see at least five reasons for God giving us this command to obey.
Love for others: We should take very seriously Godís command to us to love others, as 1 John 3:10,18; 4:19-21 show.
Testimony to the world: Loving our enemies is not a natural response for people. Obeying God in this area is a testimony to the world that there is a love in us that is not natural, but supernatural.
Some are future believers: Even some who are now enemies of the Gospel, as Saul of Tarsus was, will someday become Christians and go to Heaven.
Glorify God: We reflect Godís character, and God still loves His enemies. Obeying God and loving our enemies is a way to glorify God, and we are created for Godís glory, as Isaiah 43:7 shows.
For our own benefit: Keeping hatred in our hearts hurts us as much as anyone else.
Q: In Lk 6:39 what is the point of the blind leading the blind?
A: From this parable we can learn one major point, but donít forget to observe two minor points too.
The major point is that in general, if a person is blind (either physical, spiritually, or by ignorance or bias), you cannot give them the advantage of being led by a sighted person, if you actually blind yourself. You cannot guide somebody to a place you have been, if you have never been there yourself.
A minor point, by Jesus seeing a need to bring up this variable, is that it is not uncommon for a people to want to try to guide others, when they themselves only pretend to have the qualifications of being able do to.
A second minor point is that if a blind person does in fact try to guide another blind person, they might be fortunate and it actually might work out OK, for at least a short while, especially if the leader has been down that path before. However, when a new or unforeseen obstacle is present, like a pit, the result can be disastrous for both the follower and the leader.
A key application here is that a religious leader who rejects Jesus being the Messiah and Lord will lead other people to the pit of destruction too.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1391 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.971 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:40, does this mean one must be perfectly taught before one is a disciple, as the Boston Church of Christ says?
A: No. When Cultists Ask p.148 says it well: "Perfect learning is not something one can attain during a three-year crash course, ... It is a goal of a lifetime of learning from Christ." Learning from Christ is a state and a goal, and perfect learning is not a prerequisite to being a disciple. A friend I know studied the Bible very diligently, reading every single page as a young Christian. As the years went by, he still studied it, but less frequently. I am not sure he ever read entirely through the Bible a second time.
Sometimes Christians in many groups falsely can think learning and discipling is just a short-term thing for young Christians. However, like a boat in a flowing river, when you are not going forward, you are going backward.
Q: In Lk 6:41-42, what are the points of the plank?
A: This ties into the previous parable in two ways. Both examples are the so-called "expert" that should not be trusted, and both are of hypocrites who claim one thing, but actually are another. There are four additional points in this humorous example though.
1. We might be really poor at seeing the big plank of wood in our own way. Or alternately, we see the plank but we are really good at deceiving ourselves that it is either not there or it is not important.
2. We might be really good at seeing even microscopic faults in another person. Or alternately, we just think we are good at seeing faults in another person, regardless of whether or not they are really there.
3. We might be totally clueless that we are focusing on tiny perceived shortcomings in another person while being blind (perhaps deliberately so) to our own, much larger shortcomings.
4. We if are to help others in an area, we need to be a good example in our own life.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.971 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1391 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:41-42, what are some ways we have false experts today?
A: Politically, religiously, scientifically. Also, a bona fide expert in one field speaks as an expert in another field for which he or she has little expertise.
Q: In Lk 6:43-45, what is the point of the tree and the treasure?
A: A tree does not choose the type of fruit it bears. The type of fruit is determined by the nature of the tree. While we do have some choice over what other people see, we donít have as much immediate choice over the fruit that our life shows as we like to think we have. Most of the time, what shows is what comes naturally out of our heart.
For a person uses foul language, and says "Sorry, that just slipped out", then why was it in your heart in the first place? Is it being there and slipping our really the problem, or is the problem that it was in there in the first place?
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1391 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.972 for more info.
Q: In Lk 6:43, since a good tree does not bring forth corrupt fruit and vice versa, are worldly but upright people going to Heaven?
A: All perfectly moral and upright people are going to Heaven, but this is irrelevant, since no human being, except for Jesus Christ, has met Godís standard for being morally upright.
Likewise, a child who hates his parents and refuses to honor them is not an obedient child, regardless of what else he or she refrains from doing.
Q: In Lk 6:46-49, what does the parable of the two houses mean?
A: One can look at the parable from two perspectives.
The builders: One builder made a house, which should last a long time, on top of a foundation that would not last. Thus, both together would not last any longer than the foundation. Life is often like that. When you build something that ought to be permanent on top of something that shifts like sand, do not be surprised that permanent-appearing structures can topple so quickly.
The houses: Both houses initially might have looked to be equally solid. A house that is built to last is constructed differently from a house that is not built to endure. God has built us to last forever, and we should be building in our lives accordingly.
Primary point: Combining both perspectives, Jesusí main point is that building on obedience to Jesus is permanent, and anything else is like building on sand. While it is true that the first builder was wiser and built better than the second, that is not the point Jesus made. Jesus said the first builder heard my words and does them. That is why the first builder built a better house.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1392 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:1-9 what was significant about the centurion and his servant here?
A: The Gospel was not just for Jews but for all people, including this non-Jewish but God-fearing centurion. A centurion was a non-commissioned officer in charge or around a hundred men. The Roman army was not in Galilee until 44 A.D., so the centurion probably was under Herod Antipas. Luke gives a little more detail than Matthew does, reflecting Lukeís greater emphasis on the gospel for the Gentiles too. Luke 7:10 gives a hint that Jewish people should respect God-fearing Gentiles, as these Jews did. In fact, he had even more faith than the other people in Israel. The centurion probably had doubts that Jesus would honor the request, so he asked the elders of the town to ask too. The elders might have been in a very awkward situation. Even if they did not believe in Jesus themselves, out of respect for the centurion donating all of this money they had to go to Jesus anyway to ask on behalf of the centurion.
If Jesus and the Jewish elders respected this Gentile, others Jews should follow their example. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1392, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.897, The Expositorís Greek New Testament vol.1 p.510, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.221-222, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.815 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:6-9, what was especially commendable about the centurionís faith?
A: There were at least two things actually. First, the centurion perceived that the Word of Jesus had all the authority He needed, regardless of whether Jesus physically stood before the servant or not. One thing the centurion understood better than most people was the idea of authority. Second, as an occupying military commander, in Luke 7:5-7 he shows such humility. He recognized that the subjected people had scruples about considering him too unclean to even go into his house, and the centurion was OK with voluntarily placing himself under those restrictions. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1393 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.897 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:11, what is significant Jesus doing this miracle in the small town of Nain?
A: Nain was just a few miles over a hill from Nazareth. Nain was the same place where Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman. The people in the village would all know this, and know that the same God who raised the Shunammiteís son is the same God who raised this widowís son. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.899 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:11-17, how did Jews mourn in ancient times?
A: In Jewish culture back then, they would mourn for 30 days. They would sometimes hire professional mourners, who would make sure the dead person was mourned for properly. Mourning was an important thing, and a very public thing. When Jesus raised the widowís son, of course the mourners would not have their job anymore. It is interesting that Luke 7:11,17 says Jesus did this miracle in Nain, and his fame spread both throughout the surrounding country and even to Judea.
Q: In Lk 7:21-23, why did John seem to goad Jesus to do more?
A: John might have already heard of Jesus power, but was surprised that Jesus still did not use it in an authoritative way as people would expect the Messiah to do. Perhaps John was encouraging Jesus to assert Jesusí authority, and Jesus knew He was not to do that. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1392 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:30, how could the Pharisees, or anyone else for that matter, fulfill Godís purpose, since we are sinful and imperfect?
A: This does not imply they were to be sinlessly perfect. Rather, were they in general pleasing God. For example, David served Godís purpose in his own generation in Acts 13:36.
Q: In Lk 7:30, Since Godís grace is irresistible, how could the Pharisees reject Godís purpose for themselves?
A: Luke 17:31-33 can help explain this. Lotís wife was saved from the destruction of Sodom by the intervention of the angels. However, she chose to remain and look back when she was told to keep on going, and so she perished anyway. Likewise, this is a solemn warning that God can deliver people from peril and he can work in their lives. Yet, they can still perish because of their own choosing.
A phrase of some Calvinists is "no lost causes". This phrase effectively communicates many key elements of their view. Since the Bible teaches that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign over all, and every single plan of Godís succeeds, it is easy to logically conclude that there are no "lost causes" with God.
Just like "once-saved-always saved" is truth, but not a balanced truth, "no lost causes" is truth but not a balanced truth either. Here are a number of examples in the Bible that might cause problems for a someone with an unbalanced view of no lost causes.
1. Angels helped save Lotís wife from dead. Yet She died right afterwards anyway.
2. Likewise, all the Israelites in the Exodus were spared from the wrath of Pharaoh, as well as the wrath of God through the Passover. Yet it is an example for us that they died anyway, under Godís wrath in the desert, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:1-10.
3. The Pharisees rejected Godís purpose for themselves in Luke 7:30.
4. In the parable of the sower, there was a lost cause of what was sown in a personís heart in Matthew 11:19.
5. In Jesusí parable of the banquet in Luke 14:23, God sincerely invites guests who refuse to come.
6. For believers, Paul warns us not to receive Godís grace "in vain" in 2 Corinthians 6:1. Paul did not give a warning for us to cavalierly brush aside by saying, "that can never happen to me". Paul was serious about his warning, and he intended for us to take it seriously.
7. Godís spirit was so genuinely in King Saulís life that Saul became as though he were a different person, in 1 Samuel 10:5-7,9-11. This is about as dramatic a born-again experience as you can get in the Old Testament. Yet the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul in 1 Samuel 16:14.
8. In the time of Noah, the Exodus, and numerous other times it says that God "repented" of doing something. This does not mean God was sorry He did something, but rather that God was grieved. One might say none of these really were "lost causes" because God turned the situations around and they too worked as a part of Godís plan (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28; Proverbs 16:4). Yet, saying God "turned the situations around" is inconsistent with the view of a placid God who always has every creature fully obeying Godís desired (though secret) will.
9. Terrible sins occurred in the name of religion that "did not enter Godís mind" in Jeremiah 5:29; 8:19; 12:8. This does not mean God was not all-knowing. Rather, God did not want them to think for a second that this was a desire of God or a part of his will.
10. Sometimes things occur that God expressly did not desire, such as the death of the wicked in Ezekiel 18:23,32, and really detestable things in Ezekiel 8:6.
11. God holds out His hands for people to come, and some do not come (Romans 10:21; Isaiah 65:2; Matthew 23:37). God invites people to His feast, and some of the invited ones refuse (Matthew 23:3-8).
12. Some things break Godís heart (Jeremiah 4:19-22; 9:1; Luke 19:41-44; Matthew 23:37-39). Regardless of whether you agree these are "lost causes", they are certainly "heartbreaking causes". I have read of at least one extremist who taught that God took pleasure in creating certain people just so that He could send them to Hell and torment them forever. However, both non-Calvinists and many Calvinists agree that this is not what the Bible teaches. Specifically, 2 Peter 3:9 and Ezekiel 18:23,32 say that is wrong.
The balanced truth: "no lost causes" is part of a Biblical truth. All should be able to agree that God has no surprises, and no one who God the all-knowing knew would go to Heaven, will fail to get there. However, "no lost causes" becomes an error when it is interpreted as "no heartbreaking causes", it makes God take pleasure in evil and sin, or teaches us that prayer has no importance except as a soothing comfort for changing the heart of the person praying."
Conclusion: Evil has causes. Since all agree that God is neither the author nor direct cause of evil, there are causes that are not directly from God. Those causes are ultimately lost causes. God has no lost causes in the sense that everything is worked together as a part of His plan. Yet, God has lost causes in the heartbreaking way of an all-sufficient, almighty God holding out His hands to people who do not come, and God choosing to let them remain in their chosen lostness.
Q: In Lk 7:31-35, why is Jesus comparing this generation to picky children?
A: Many rejected John because of his austere lifestyle, and the same people rejected Jesus because he did not have an austere lifestyle. The issue was not the lifestyle of John, or of Jesus, but they were just looking for excuses to not have to pay attention to them. See the Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.973, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.223, and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1394 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:36, why would Jesus consent to eat with a Pharisee?
A: Why not? It would be strange if Jesus accepted and ate with tax collectors and sinners, but not others such as Pharisees. Jesus did not reject the Pharisees coming to Him, but rather they rejected Jesus. They rejected Jesus because Jesus would not affirm their place of authority over Him. See The Expositorís Greek New Testament vol.1 p.515 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:36, to what extent should we go to parties and other events hosted by sinful people?
A: We should not go to events where we will be tempted to do sinful things, or appear to approve of the sinful things that they do. So, for example, if someone hosts a party where they say they will do illegal drugs, you should not go, even if you are not going to do the drugs yourself. If a group of people want to go to a strip club, or even if your boss tells you that you must go to a strip club, perhaps for clients, that is the time to decide, and for the world to see, if you your job more than God or not. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1395-1396 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:38, did they eat lying down on their stomachs?
A: They did, which explains why the woman was behind Jesus to wash His feet. They might have learned this when they were ruled by the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, who also ate this way. Sometimes guests would have a water basin to wash their own feet, or a servant to wash their feet, but apparently Simon did not have this. See The Expositorís Greek New Testament vol.1 p.516 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.223 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:39, why did Simon the Pharisee conclude that Jesus was not a prophet?
A: If Jesus could not see the obvious, that he should not allow Himself to be touched by a woman who was obviously a sinner, then Simon thought he could rule out Jesus being a prophet. Simon, a common Jewish name, seemed more disgusted with Jesus than he was with the woman. See the Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.973 and the New International Bible Commentary p.1199 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:42 (KJV), why does it say "frankly" forgave?
A: This phrase means he freely forgave the man.
Q: Does Lk 7:47 imply that a person procures forgiveness for themselves?
A: No, this verse shows relationship, not necessarily cause. The woman who had been forgiven much loved much, which was the result of here being forgiven much. Nothing implies that her loving much caused her monetary debt to be forgiven. Her love was a consequence of here forgiveness, not the cause of her forgiveness. See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.22 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.897 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:47, was Simon forgiven little because there was less to forgive, or was there much that was still unforgiven?
A: Simon probably thought the first, but Jesus knew otherwise. Two points to consider in the answer.
From Simonís perspective, Simon probably thought he was a pretty good guy, and only had a little that needed forgiving.
From Godís perspective, there is a great deal to forgive in each of us.
Jesus was saying that Simon did not act grateful not because there was not much to forgive, but that Simon did not see much to forgive.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1395 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.224 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:47, were the womanís sins forgiven because she loved much, or are we saved through faith as Lk 7:50 and Eph 2:8 say?
A: they work together. Two points to consider in the answer.
1. According to F.F. Bruce in Hard Sayings of the Bible p.461-463, the Greek word in Luke 7:47, hoti, can mean "because of" or "the result of". He says the NIV translates this the best [for she loved much], by leaving it where it could go either way. (This is also used in the NET Bible, while Ďfor she lovedí is used in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, RSV, uNASB, and Williams translation) The NRSV says, "hence she has shown great love". Wuestís Expanded Translation says "because she loved much."
2. Regardless, while it is God and not us who saves us, our love as well as our faith are involved in us receiving this salvation. Jesus said "your faith has saved you" in Luke 7:50.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.816 for more info.
Q: In Lk 7:47-50, how did the womanís faith save her?
A: Jesus was not saying that a faith going contrary to Godís will can somehow overrule God. Rather, her faith was involved in her being saved. In fact, faith is a reason (though not the ultimate reason) a person is saved, as Hebrews 4:2 shows.
The Catholic Church teaches that faith and works have a similar role in salvation, in that both somehow make us more deserving of salvation. Many Lutherans and Calvinists (such as Lorraine Boettner) also teach that faith and works not only do not give us merit, they have the same role in salvation, in that neither have any role in us getting saved, but both are a result of being saved.
The fact is, faith is not a work, and faith has a different role than works, or Paul never would have written Ephesians 2:8-9. If we were saved through works, then the merit of some of our work would be involved in salvation. While more faith is a result of salvation, that does not contradict Paul teaching the role of faith being what we are saved through. Since Paul says we are saved through faith, not works, he is not only making the point that faith is not a work, but there is no "merit" in realizing by faith who Christ is and throwing ourselves on Godís mercy.
Luke 7:50 and Hebrews 4:2 are among the verses showing that faith has a role, though it does not give us merit. God has graciously allowed our faith to have a role in coming to Christ. In addition, Paul made a sharp distinction between works which do not save, and faith, through which we are saved.
For Calvinists and Lutherans, as well as for all Christians in general, a recommended book is one by a Calvinist: R.C. Sproul. His book, Faith Alone, does an excellent job Biblically delineating works versus being saved by grace through faith. It would seem inconsistent for a Calvinist to accept R.C. Sproulís book if he or she thought faith was just another work.
Q: In Lk 7:50, how can a person "go in peace" after they know they have committed great sins?
A: This is a peace no psychiatrist can give. It is a peace of knowing you are truly and genuinely forgiven by God. It is not a denial of what you did, or a denial of its seriousness, but a realization that God is great than that. A person might still have to live with the consequences on earth of what they did, but God can turn even discipline and consequences into later blessing. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1395 for more info.
Q: In Lk 8:2, were the women with evil spirits just suffering from a psychological disorder?
A: If you believe the Bible, you could not believe demons were just a psychological problem for the following reasons:
Demons are external: they can enter a person, leave, and leave to enter into pigs for example.
Demons have personality: They can think and act independently of a humanís will.
Q: In Lk 8:3-4 and Jn 2:1-11, did Jesus marry one or more of the women who accompanied the disciples as polygamous Mormons and some other cults believe?
A: No. First, here are the women we know of who accompanied Jesus and the disciples. According to Luke 8:3-4, the women who traveled with Jesus were Mary Magdalene, Joanna wife of Cuza, Susanna, and others. Other passages mention Salome (Mark 15:40), Mary mother of James (Mark 15:40, Luke 24:10), and Martha, Mary Magdaleneís sister. As a side note, Joanna the wife of Chuza in Luke 8:3, is the first person mentioned associated with a household of royalty. Notice that she was already married.
John 2:2 says that Jesus was invited as a guest to the wedding. A groom is never invited to his own wedding.
There is no basis to say that Jesus ever got married, or had any kids, or any kids were born without a sinful nature. While no verse actually says Jesus was never married, no verse ever says Jesus did not fly to Mars either. An argument from silence no more proves one than another.
Here are all the other pre-resurrection passages about the women:
Joanna and Salome are not mentioned anywhere else.
Martha (with Mary) were only mentioned in three pre-Resurrection passages, a dinner (Luke 10:38-41), healing of their brother Lazarus (John 11:1-45), and a second dinner with Lazarus (John 12:1-8).
Since there is no other mention, one could have almost no stronger argument that Jesus married Mary than he married her sister Martha. However, Jesus obeyed the Mosaic Law, and marriage of one man to two sisters, while both were living, was forbidden in Leviticus 18:18. Mormons who teach this probably are not aware they are teaching that Jesus allegedly broke the Old Testament marriage laws here.
See When Cultists Ask p.163 for more info.
Q: In Lk 8:9-10, could this mysterion be similar to Greek mystery religions?
A: Some liberal scholars thought this. But the equivalent Hebrew word for mystery was also present in extra-Biblical Hebrew literature, so there is nothing to relate to farther away Greek religions. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.906 for more info.
Q: In Lk 8:16-17, what is the point of not hiding a lighted candle under a vessel?
A: The purpose of a lighted candle is to shine; putting it under a basket or a bed would be ridiculous. Likewise, the purpose of a Christian is to glorify God, and hiding his or her witness and glorifying God is equally strange. Bushels were used to hold grain and goods that were bought and sold. The bed was a place of comfort, or for some, laziness. Some Christians today hide their witness due to business or comfort and indulgence. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1398 for more info.
Q: In Lk 8:18, why should people take heed of what they hear?
A: God is under no responsibility to give anybody unlimited opportunities to hear the Gospel. Do not take an opportunity to find the truth for granted, either for yourself or for someone else.
In addition, God judges people based on what they had the opportunity to know, as Romans 4:15 and 5:12 show. 2 Peter 2:20-22 says that it would have been better for some people not to have known the way of truth, then to know and turn their backs on it.
Q: In Lk 8:19-21, was Jesus honoring His mother here?
A: Jesus honored his parents, but He did go against what He knew His motherís wishes where here. We should obey our parents, but when their wishes go against what we know God desires, we need to obey God first. It is difficult for a young child to know what God wants, especially if his parents say otherwise. However, Jesus was an adult here.
Q: In Lk 8:19-21, why wasnít Jesusí father Joseph here?
A: Scripture does not say. However, church tradition says that Joseph died before Jesus became a man.
Q: In Lk 8:22, why should the disciples have had no fear?
A: On one hand, they were professional fishermen who had undoubtedly crossed this lake many times. On the other hand, the storm was so severe, they were afraid of drowning. But Jesus said, "Let us cross over to the other side. When Jesus said they would go to the other side, not all the demons in Hell could stop them from making it to the other side. As an aside, this was a very forceful effort to keep Jesus from reaching the other side. However, the only thing we have recorded that Jesus did on the other side was heal a demoniac in the sight of the townspeople. We do not hear of any townspeople following Jesus, but even so, Jesus still gave them the opportunity. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.226, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.976-977, and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.911-912 for more info.
Q: In Lk 8:23 and Mt 5:23-26, how could Jesus be asleep in a boat during a violent storm?
A: Either Jesus was naturally asleep, because He was very tired, or He was supernaturally put in a deep sleep to test the disciples. Most likely, Jesus slept soundly because He was exhausted from all that preaching.
There are three types of natural sleep: deep sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep when people dream, and light sleep. People go through multiple cycles of these three kinds of sleep every night. Jesus might have been in deep sleep. Regardless, Jesus, as a human was asleep when the storm came. But Jesus, as God, put the storm to sleep when He spoke. Today, if we have a demonic storm raging in our heart, ask Jesus to speak and rebuke and calm it too.
Under very different circumstances, Jonah was also asleep in a boat during a violent storm.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1398 for more info.
Q: In Lk 8:25 and Mt 8:26, Why did Jesus ask where their faith was?
A: This was like a test for the disciples; they did not pass. In Luke 8:22 Jesus told the disciples they were going to the other side. Jesus was surprised at their fear. They doubted that
a) God the Father would keep Jesus safe from the weather, and/or
b) Jesus Himself wanted to keep them safe, and/or
c) Jesus was able to keep them safe.
Sometimes our doubts today come from the same reasons.
Q: In Lk 8:37, why do some people today want Christ and His influence to depart, even after they have seen its effects?
A: Jesus is too "inconvenient" to many people. He disturbs their sense of ease, their sense of well-being and self-sufficiency. They recognize that Jesus calls them to change course, in a way they donít think they want to go.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1399 for more info.
Q: In Lk 8:38, why did Jesus turn down the manís request to come with Him?
A: It was probably because Jesus wanted the man to remain among those who knew him, as a testimony to them.
Q: Should Lk 8:41 be translated "and then" or "just then" (NRSV)?
A: While the Greek word kai by itself can mean either "and" or "just" the Greek words kai idou "in Luke 8:41 should not be rendered "just then". ... In fact kai idou in Luke very often either does not or cannot mean "just then" (e.g. Luke 5:18; 7:37; 9:30, 39 et al.)" See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.229 for a more detailed discussion on this.
"and behold" NKJV, Wuestís Expanded Translation
"and, behold" KJV, Greenís Literal Translation
"And there" RSV
"Just then" NRSV, Williams
"Then" NET Bible
Q: In Lk 8:43-45, did the woman do the proper thing, touching Jesusí robe?
A: Actually, people considered unclean were not supposed to touch others who were not unclean. She had spent all her money on doctors, in vain. Mark 5:26 said the doctors only made her condition worse, but Luke, being a doctor himself, might have wanted to skip that detail. But given the situation, and the hopelessness of her sickness, Jesus had no words of rebuke for her; only healing and commendation. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1399-1400, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.227, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.817 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:1-11, why does this differ from Mt 10:1-15 and Mk 6:8-9?
A: Matthew gives us the detail they Jesus told them to go only to the Jews, while Luke does not specify that. They were to have no bag, no food, no money, and no extra tunic. In this part Jesus gives His power (dynamos/dynamin) and authority (exousian), so they do not need other things.
But should they bring a staff (singular) or not bring staffs (plural)? While Jesus might simply have said bring a single staff if you got it, but not any extra, another possibility is a copyist error.
Perhaps the copies we have of Mark substituted "only" instead of "not". While all the copies we have say "not", in Greek the difference between "only" and "not" is the addition of the two-letter Greek word ei. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.422-424 mentions a scribal error of a different kind, where Matthew usually was very familiar with Mark, but he followed Luke here. So, in other words, "only/except a staff" in Mark, probably should be "not a staff" as in Matthew and Luke.
See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1400 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.918 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:1-11, do you think all twelve had this power and authority, including Judas Iscariot?
A: It is possible that Judas did not do anything but merely claimed he did miracles and cast out demons. However, it is likely, especially if they went out two-by-two, that he would be seen and could not pretend. In other words, even Judas really had that power too. Remember, the demons at this point would not know that Judas would turn bad.
Q: In Lk 9:3-5, why should they just stay in one house in a town?
A: A minor reason is that it would reduce the extra time they would have to spend asking people to stay at their house moving between houses. A major reason would be to not cause hard feelings of who gets to host the disciple. The main benefit is simplicity; both of possible hurt feelings and logistics.
According to The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.918, the Roman Lucian wrote the Passing of Peregrinus, a satire about a Cynic preacher named Peregrinus who pretended to be a Christian and lived off the hospitality of Christians. The early Christian writing, the Didache ch.11-12 warns against wandering prophets who just live off others. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1400 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:5, are there any times today when you should metaphorically just shake the dust off your feet?
A: Yes, though hopefully it will be rare. First of all, note that even with the Gentiles on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, who asked Jesus to depart from that place, Jesus did not shake the dust off of His feet. But for those who claimed to follow God, yet rejected Godís apostles and servants, Jesus said to shake the dust off your feet. If an organization of church claims to be a Christian one, and yet rejects of kicks out those who are following God, it might be a time to shake the dust off your feet. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.979 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:7, what is a Tetrarch?
A: The Greek word tetra means "four", and the ruler of Galilee was called a Tetrarch, because he ruled over one of the four regions of Palestine. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1401 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:7,9, is this the same Herod who reigned when Jesus was born?
A: No. The Herod who killed the baby boys of Bethlehem was called Herod the Great. This Herod, called Herod Antipas, was the younger son of Herod the Great and one of his ten wives, Malthace. He most probably did not know that this was the same Jesus his father tried to murder as a baby. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.979 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:7-9, when Herod the Tetrarch was curious about Jesus, why didnít Jesus drop everything, go to the ruler, and tell him?
A: The answer to Jesusí identity was easy to discover; just go to Jesus and listen to Him. It seems the hard part is not getting out the information about who Jesus is, but rather getting people to ask the question and want to search to find the answer. Jesus did not run to Herod, the one who imprisoned and killed John. If Herod were really serious about knowing, Herod could come and listen himself.
Q: In Lk 9:14, why did the people need to sit in groups of fifty?
A: These were people who came far and wide to hear Jesus; if they had just been local people they would have returned to their homes. Scripture does not say why they were to sit in groups of 50, but it would make for easier counting and distribution of the baskets. This is reminiscent of the miracle in 2 Kings 4:42-44, where Elisha fed 100 men from one pot. The 5,000 represented the lost world, starving for the bread of God. The disciples are Christians with but limited resources. Their resources were multiplied to have even twelve baskets used in commerce (kophinoi) left over. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1401 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.228-229 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:20 what is the difference between "Christ" and "Messiah"?
A: "Christ" is Greek is equivalent to "Messiah" in Hebrew. This is the anointed One who was promised in the Old Testament. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.28-29 for a more extensive answer.
Q: In Lk 9:20-21, did Jesus refuse to be known as the Son of God, since Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ of God in Lk 9:20-21, and in Lk 4:11 Jesus rebuked the demons for saying He was Christ, the Son of God?
A: This is a little difficult to answer because both scripture references are incorrect, so I have to assume which scriptures the questioner intended. Luke 9:20-21 does not say, "Son of God" but "Christ of God". The Qurían even admits that Jesus was the Messiah (Christ), so even Muslims would have to agree that Jesus was the Christ of God. Luke 4:11 does not mention Son of God either.
The questioner might have been thinking of Matthew 8:29 where the demons asked, "What do you want with us, Son of God?" and then asked to be sent into the pigs. Jesus did not say not to tell anyone this, but He permitted them to go into the pigs. But the demons are merely acknowledging they knew who Jesus really was, perhaps hoping that things would go easier for them.
In Matthew 16:16-20 Jesus asked the disciples who He was, and Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." But even here, at that time Jesus "warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ [Messiah]". There is no mention of the disciples being warned not to say that He was the Son of God.
Q: In Lk 9:21 and Mt 16:20, at this time, why were the disciples not to tell anyone Jesus was the Christ (Messiah)?
A: What good would it do to use that name, when they either did not know what the Messiah would do, or were fed false conceptions of the Messiah as a military conqueror. It is better first to clear the misconceptions of a title before claiming that title. Soon enough, they would openly tell everyone Jesus was the Messiah, but first, people needed to see who Jesus was and the evidence of His claim.
Q: In Lk 9:24-26, what are two common impediments to Christian commitment, both then and now?
A: Lust for money and fear of shame. One can make more money by pouring your heart and soul into making money, leaving no time for what God wants you to do. One can draw back from doing what God wants for you, because of fear of rejection or loss of respect by others. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1403 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.979 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:27 and Mt 16:28, how did some not taste death before they saw the kingdom of God?
A: Tasting death means experiencing death. Some here would not die before they saw the kingdom of God coming with Jesusí resurrection and Pentecost, 50 days later.
Q: In Lk 9:31, what is the difference between predicting that Jesus might be killed versus Jesus saying He must be killed?
A: Jesus is not saying it might be dangerous and there was a chance that He would be killed. There was no risk that He would be killed; rather, it was absolutely certain that He would fulfill His destiny and be killed. As a side note, the Greek word for departure/decease is the same word as Exodus. Jesus was going to his "Exodus" so to speak. See the New International Bible Commentary p.1202 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1404 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:36 and Mt 17:9, why did the disciples not tell anyone about the transfiguration at this time?
A: There are at least three reasons.
1. It might cause envy among the other disciples.
2. For Jews who did not believe in Jesus, this miracle witnessed only by three disciples would not be believed.
3. For believers, this event soon would be overshadowed by the resurrection.
Q: In Lk 9:37-39 and Mt 17:15-17, why do demons often hurt the people they possess?
A: See the discussion on Matthew 17:14-16 for the answer.
Q: In Lk 9:45, why was the understanding of Jesusí words about His betrayal kept from the disciples?
A: This probably was a colloquial expression meaning they did not understand. However, the root question still remains: why did they not understand this. While the reason could have been God, or Satan, supernaturally keeping them, the real explanation is probably much simpler. In general, people often do not understand that which they are unwilling to accept. How could someone who had such supernatural splendor at the transfiguration suffer such as shameful death? Jesusí death would be a defeat for the cause, or so they thought. Obvious Jesus would not let His cause be defeated. The disciples had never heard this before, they were not desiring to hear it, and so it was probably the disciples themselves that kept themselves from understanding this the first time.
Jesus, knowing this, said it here and again later to give it time to sink in. they objected to Jesusí suffering. They would later learn that not only would Jesus suffer, but those who follow God will suffer for the gospel too.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.231, The Expositorís Greek Testament vol.1 p.531, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.980, and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1405 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:46, why did the disciples argue over who would be greatest?
A: Note the timing of this. In Luke 9:10 they had come back reporting their success, it apparently got to their head. In their pride they put Jesus first, but they put themselves second. Philippians 2:3f says that we are to value others as better than ourselves.
Also, as G. Campbell Morgan said, "our passion for statistics is self-centered, and of the flesh, and not of the Spirit." 61.5% of people would agree. (a joke) (from the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1401.) See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1404 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:49, how could someone else be able to cast out devils?
A: One did not have to be one of the twelve disciples to cast out demons, some other followers could, too. God can give that power to whomever He wishes.
Q: In Lk 9:49, why did the disciples want to stop the man, and why did Jesus want him to continue?
A: They did not understand how we could believe and do this, if he was unfamiliar to them. The Twelve, as well as Christians in any particular Church today, should not think of themselves as Godís exclusive representatives.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1203, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1406 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.980 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:49, what are some examples today where someone might be tempted to want to stop a ministry, because it is different?
A: Christians sometimes unfortunately can be sectarian; that is, they value the organization and procedures more than the work. The issue was not orthodoxy but association. If they are a pastor, they might not be comfortable with something that is under Godís control, but is not under their control. If it does not come from their organization, it might be considered a threat; but they need to realize that it is only a threat to their control and organization, which do not really matter. They might be accused of sheep-stealing; but the sheep donít belong to the leader or organization, they belong to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. You can be in for a disappointment when you think people belong to you or your organization, when they really belong to God. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.931 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:51, Jesus had gone to Jerusalem before, so what was different about this time?
A: Jesus knew He had to get there by the Passover for his "date with destiny." Unlike the other times, Jesus knew He was not coming back before His death. It was lonely having that secret. He even tried to share that information with his disciples, but they just did not get it. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.232 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:53, why did the Samaritans not receive Jesus like they did before?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. While they most likely were different Samaritans, that still leaves the question of why these Samaritans did not receive Jesus.
2. These Samaritans might already might have heard of Jesusí claim to be the [Jewish] Messiah, and they rejected that.
3. Since Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, for religious reasons, and the Samaritans believed their worship was better than the worship at Jerusalem, Jesusí journey did not fit within their paradigm of what they thought was good. They would not have thought of Jerusalem as the proper place of worship, but rather Mt. Gerizim in Samaria. Jesus going to Jerusalem would not validate their view but rather the opposing one, so they consciously turned their back on Him.
The third reason is the most likely.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1203, The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.933-934, and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1406 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:54-55, why did the disciples want the Samaritans killed?
A: While Scripture does not say, we can surmise from the behavior of others. Sometimes a person can be so focused on power, that they forget compassion for the people.
One might think that, after all this time learning what Jesus taught, James and John would know better the heart of Jesus, but they did not. Believers can know a lot of things, and be effective in ministry, but still have horrific blind spots. That is why we need not just the truth of the Bible, but we need each other to exhort each other where we are not following the truth of the Bible.
Once I was with some Middle-eastern Christians, and we were out sharing with other Middle eastern people about Christ. We met one man, from Jordan, who was raised a Christian since he was a child. We asked him to join us in witnessing to Muslims, and he was reluctant to do so. After what he had seen and heard of Muslims doing to Christians where he was from, he did not want Muslims to come to Jesus and go to heaven. We shared that if he had hatred, not love, towards other people then he should be very careful to examine that he was in fact saved. (1 John 3:14-16; 4:8). Fortunately, he changed his view and decided to come tell Muslims about Jesus.
Perhaps the disciples were thinking of Elijah calling fire down on 102 men in 2 Kings 1:9-12. However, the situation was very different. Not only did Jesus come to show Godís love and usher in a new dispensation, the Samaritans merely rejected Him, and were not trying to take him into custody as the 102 men were in trying to capture Elijah.
Q: In Lk 9:54-55, why did Jesus not want to see the Samaritans killed?
A: This would have done nothing to bring people to Jesus to go to Heaven. Jesus did not want to see people immediately judged for not following Him and rejecting Him, and we should be very thankful for that. In Luke 9:56 Jesus said that He came not to destroy peopleís lives, but to save them. This was not just Jesusí mission, but also His heart. We too should have the same heart. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.981 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:57-62, why did Jesus turn down these three men from directly following Him?
A: While Scripture does not explicitly say, the circumstances seem very different here from the Gerasene demoniac. For the healed demoniac, there was not a hint of rebuke, and Jesus gave him another ministry, and an effective ministry it could be, staying around the people who know him when he was possessed by an evil spirit. With the three men, Jesus was critical of their lack of total commitment, and He did not mention any ministry for them.
The three men were on-board with the goal, but not the commitment. It was not so much what they were willing to give up or not, but rather to put Jesus first. In all three cases their answer was "Yes, but". They were looking back instead of looking forward, as Jesus mentioned in Luke 9:62. They had a desire to help, but no sense of urgency. There is a giving up, a cost, of being a disciple.
If you look at just the subjects of the sentence, you get "Lord ... me first". Do we give a higher priority to tasks only we who are spiritually alive can do, or to tasks that anyone can do? Believers can be held back from ministry by a first love of material comfort, their career, or family and friends.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.232-233, the New International Bible Commentary p.1204, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1407, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.981 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:57-59, why did Jesus talk about foxes and birds to someone who wanted to follow Jesus?
A: Jesus was saying that He and His disciples did not have a secure place of shelter, or many of the comforts that people take for granted. The man would not have that either. There is no question that the man genuinely wanted to follow Jesus. What was in question was his commitment to follow Jesus first.
The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1406-1407 says, "When we read the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head we are apt to pity Him. One commentator remarks: ĎHe does not need your pity. Pity yourself rather if you have a home that holds you back when Christ wants you out upon the high places of the world.í"
Q: In Lk 9:59-60, was Christ teaching people not to honor their parents, in contrast to what Ex 20:12 says?
A: No. We should honor our parents, but some things have priority over a family after our parents have passed on. It is more important to honor our parents while they are with us on earth, than to dishonor them on earth and then honor the empty shells of their bodies after they are gone.
Hard Sayings of the Bible p.463-464 says that a nineteenth century Scottish preacher, Job McNeill, found this verse very applicable to him. Once when he was scheduled to preach at a series of evangelistic meetings in England, he received word that his father died, and that the funeral would be the same day as one of the meetings. He said: "for this same Jesus stood by me, and seemed to say, ĎNow look, I have you. You go and preach the gospel to those people. Whether would you rather bury the dead or raise the dead?í" And McNeill went to preach.
Since his parents named him Job, one could infer that his parents very probably were Christians. So that is probably what is father wanted. If your sone had to choose between preaching the gospel to many people vs. going to your funeral, which would you prefer?
See Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.287 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:59-60, why did Jesus not let the man bury his father first?
A: When the son wanted to bury his father first, it is not clear that the father had already died. Rather he might have been waiting for his elderly father to pass away before joining Jesus. He would need to be present at his fatherís funeral to be sure to get his inheritance. The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.980 for more info.
Q: In Lk 9:61-62, why could the man not say goodbye to his family?
A: The man would not have even asked Jesus, if all he meant was a five-minute good-bye. Rather, the man was asking to first spend some days with his family, probably as Rebeccaís family wanted in Genesis 24:54-59. Elijah let Elisha first say good-bye to his family in 1 Kings 19:19-21.
This has a rough parallel to a job interview today. If your first question, and many of the subsequent questions have to do with vacations and sick days, then the interviewer might wonder how excited you are about doing the work.
When Elijah called Elisha, Elisha briefly said goodbye to his parents in 1 Kings 19:19-21, and that was fine. So, it was not so much an action but an attitude. For us, it is not just about having Jesus in our heart; it is about having Jesus as number 1 in our heart.
In Jewish burial customs a person was usually buried the same day that they died. So, it might have been that the father was still alive but about to die, and the man wanted to spend the fatherís remaining days with him. This is the view of Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.114-115.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.464-465 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.819 for more info.
Q: In Lk 10:1 we read: "After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come". The question is:
1- for what reason Jesus sent those 70 after He has sent the 12 (Lk 9:1)? Was their task or destination different? Does number 70 have a symbolic or allegorical meaning? Did those 70 include the original 12?
2- Why the other gospels do not mention this incident at all? Or, it was an allegorical story and it did not happen in reality?
A: The seventy were not with Jesus all the time like the twelve, but they learned from Jesus and were sent to preach. No, the twelve were not a part of the seventy. I suppose Jesus could have chosen a different number, such as 69 or 71. But Jesus purposely chose 70, a round number that is a multiple of 7. Seven is symbolic of perfection, and this would also be a similarity with the seventy elders the served under Moses in Numbers 11:16-17.
One should not consider every passage only allegorical until shown otherwise. Rather every passage is literal unless the context shows otherwise. Of course, some things literally happened, but have a symbolic meaning also.
Q: In Lk 10:2, why did Jesus say the laborers were few and to pray for more?
A: Of course, there were only seventy laborers at this time, but that was not the point here.
Even later, the laborers would be few. More people become Christians than actively work for God. This is not Godís desired will, because Jesus says here to pray for more laborers.
Q: In Lk 10:3, how were the seventy disciples as lambs among wolves?
A: Lambs do not seek to destroy or kill one another. Wolves not only seek to kill and destroy, and they love to eat lambs. Also, there are some people that even get a perverse pleasure from turning righteous people away from righteousness.
One could ask why, even when Jesus realized He was sending them like lambs among wolves, Jesus chose to send them anyway. As the church grew later, many times the messengers were killed, but the message was more important than the messenger, and the messengers understood that.
Q: In Lk 10:4-12, why did Jesus denounce Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum?
A: While there were certainly many more wicked cities, these cities were "so close yet so far". They were so close in that they could easily hear the words of Jesus, yet they were deaf to the gospel. Some people are like that; they have been given so much teaching and good examples of following Christ, and yet they still have chosen not to follow.
As an aside, Korazin is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible or Josephus. But its ruins, 1.5 miles north of Capernaum, can be seen today. Now we are not certain if Jesus personally went to Korazin himself or not, but regardless, accepting or rejecting Jesusí messengers shows their attitude towards Jesus. See the New International Bible Commentary p.1204 and The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.938-939 for more info.
Q: In Lk 10:8, at this time could they eat things prohibited in the Old Testament?
A: No, this verse does not support that. They were going to Jewish towns and houses, and they would not be offered pork, camel, or anything else against the Mosaic Law. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.8 p.938 for more info.
Q: In Lk 10:12, how will it be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for some towns in Palestine?
A: Luke 10:12 and 2 Peter 2:21, show that there are differing degrees of punishment. While Sodom and Gomorrah rejected the angels directly, they did not hear as clear a presentation of the Gospel as the people in the Galilean towns who heard Jesus. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.233 for more info.
Q: In Lk 10:13, since Sodom and Gomorrah would have repented if Jesus had come to them, and God desires none to perish in Ezek 18:23,32 and 2 Pet 3:9, why did God not send someone to them?
A: God did send both men and angels. Lot was there, and 2 Peter 2:7 says Lot was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men. God also sent the angels, which the men of Sodom tried to abuse.
Q: In Lk 10:13,14, since Tyre and Sidon would repent if they had seen the miracles, why did Jesus not do any miracle in that region?
A: It is not that all would repent, but that some in even Tyre and Sidon would repent when they saw Jesus, while many in Galilean towns would not repent. Jesus actually visited the region of Tyre and Sidon in Mark 3:8 and again in Mark 7:24-31. People traveled from Tyre and Sidon to hear Jesus in Luke 6:17.
Q: In Lk 10:15, can a whole town be sent to Hell?
A: The streets, buildings, and other objects are not sent to Hell. When everyone in an entire town rejects Jesus, then the people of the town en masse will be in Hell.
Q: In Lk 10:18, how did Satan fall from Heaven at that time?
A: As this aspect of Jesusí ministry was unfolding, He prophetically saw Satan, the accuser, fall from Heaven, for soon people would receive the word of forgiveness of their sins, and Satan would have no ground for accusation against them.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.465-466 for more info.
Q: In Lk 10:19, how could Jesusí disciples trample on serpents and scorpions?
A: Jesus was not saying to be reckless or to test God here. Rather, God would protect them from serpents and scorpions, as Paul was protected in Acts 28:3-5.
Q: In Lk 10:21, what is the significance of revealing these truths to babes and not the learned and wise people?
A: As 1 Corinthians 1:19-30 shows, God did not make the learned and wise more likely to go to Heaven because of their learning and wisdom. If learning made one more godly and righteous, then what about the Nazis in World War II? The Germans were among the most educated people on earth, and their airplane, dive-bomber, missile, tank, and coal technology were the best in the world. Yet, they performed a great evil in killing over six million Jews.
The Gospel is amazing in that it is so profound that the wise can study it all their life and never stop learning more. Yet, the simple can understand it easily, too.
Q: In Lk 10:22, how did the Father deliver all things to Jesus?
A: In at least four ways:
Creation: All things were created by the Father through Jesus (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).
Sustenance: All things are held together through Jesus (Colossians 1:17).
Judgment: The Father has entrusted manís judgment to Jesus, that all may honor the Son as they honor the Father (John 5:22-23).
Salvation: There is no other name under Heaven by which we may be saved (Acts 4:21).
Q: In Lk 10:24, how did godly people who died before Christ long to see what the disciples saw?
A: The Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament show that the people were looking forward to seeing the Messiah.
Q: In Lk 10:25, how was the lawyerís question "tempting" Jesus?
A: This is better translated, "to put Jesus to the test". Like many lawyers today, this lawyer was asking a question to which he thought he already knew the answer. His purpose in asking was not really to learn the true answer, but to see what Jesusí would say, and to test if Jesus were right, at least in his eyes.
Q: In Lk 10:25-37, how are we to be a neighbor?
A: The parable of the good Samaritan is not to tell us who else should be a neighbor and help us, but rather who we should be a neighbor to and help; and the answer is: everybody. Here are the characteristics of us being a good neighbor.
1) A neighbor does not employ excuses. What excuses do you use?
2) A neighbor is willingly inconvenienced. Helping the robbed man cost the good Samaritan, time, traveling through this dangerous section of road in daylight. Helping others costs us time, energy, sleep, and money. When were you last inconvenienced for someone else?
3) A neighbor cultivates his own character. Our compassion should be trained by the Word of God, not our culture. The culture at that time was not to help Samaritans. Do you love God and pray? For who were you last a neighbor? Do you have a compassion apprentice, someone you are training up to express compassion?
4) Do you have to be asked? Actually, the injured man was not able to ask for help.
This is taken from a Nov. 7, 2010 sermon by Jeff Miller at Trinity Bible Church.
Q: In Lk 10:27, did the lawyer say this first, or did Jesus?
A: Since we do not have a record of everything Jesus said, and everything in the gospels is not necessarily in chronological order anyway, we cannot say for sure who was the first to say this. Even if the lawyer said it first, based on his proper understanding of the Bible, Jesus words still have Jesusí authority behind them.
Q: In Lk 10:29, who is our neighbor?
A: In Luke 10:36 Jesus deliberately chose not to answer that question. Instead, He gave a fairly lengthy parable, in order that when he put the question back to us, all who wanted to, could figure it out for themselves.
Q: In Lk 10:30, what do we know about the road from Jerusalem to Jericho?
A: It was not long, about seventeen miles, but it was very steep; Jerusalem was about 2500 feet above sea level, and Jericho is 770 feet below sea level. Bandits often lay in wait on this steep, winding road with hills and boulders around it. One nickname for it was "the way of the blood." There would be some danger in the daytime, but you definitely would not want to delay and travel on it by night. See The Expositors Bible Commentary ch.8 p.943 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.820 for more info.
Q: In Lk 10:33-36, why did the Samaritan have this attitude?
A: Even though the Samaritan likely knew this man was not a Samaritan, Luke 10:33 says the Samaritan "took pity" on the victim. A typical traveler probably would not have had sufficient bandages to bind up all his wounds, so he probably made bandages by tearing strips of his own clothes. For disinfectant he used oil and wine he had with him.
The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1410 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.820 say it is possible that the Levite and priest might have thought this could be a trap, and they did not want to get robbed themselves. But the Samaritan either did not think this, or that was overruled by a man who clearly needed help.
We are to be the Samaritan. But on a different level, the Jews passed over the victim, and Jesus was the Samaritan who stopped to help.
See The Expositors Bible Commentary ch.8 p.943 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.234 for more info.
Q: In Lk 10:35, do you think that Samaritan was afraid he would be overcharged? Should he be?
A: The Samaritan had no "fear" that he would be overcharged, yet it was somewhat likely that he would be. He wanted to help the victim, and if helping other people made you more vulnerable to being ripped off, then so be it. See The Expositorís Greek New Testament vol.1 p.544 for more info.
Q: Does Lk 10:36 in Greek say, "was a neighbor" (NIV) or "became a neighbor" (NET Bible)?
A: First what different translations say, and then an answer.
"was a neighbor" (KJV, NKJV, NIV, NRSV)
"seems to you a neighbor" (Berryís Interlinear)
"seems you to have become a neighbor" (Jay P. Greenís Interlinear)
"become a neighbor" (.Net Bible)
"proved to be a neighbor" (ESV, NASB, Wuestís Expanded translation)
The Expositors Bible Commentary ch.8 p.944, while not giving a direct translation says, "the Samaritan man made himself a neighbor"
The answer is that it is both, and this highlights a difficulty in translation.
It is "was" because the Pharisee asked "who is my neighbor"
It is also "became" because the Samaritans did not live in the same towns as Jews, the Samaritans did not consider themselves neighbors or friends of the Jews, and the Jews did not consider themselves neighbors or friends of the Samaritans.
An interesting side note in The Expositors Bible Commentary ch.8 p.944 says that the animosity between Jews and Samaritans was such that the Pharisee could not even bring himself to use the word "Samaritan" in his reply to Jesus.
Q: In Lk 10:36-37, how did Jesus turn around the question the lawyer asked?
A: The lawyer asked who His neighbor was, meaning whom should he help, and who should he walk by? Could he walk by a non-Jew, someone he thought was undeserving, etc. Jesus could have concluded by saying the crime victim was the neighbor who needed help, but that is not what Jesus said. Rather, Jesus turned the question around, and asked "who was the neighbor, not meaning who needed help, but rather who gave the help. In donít ask, "who is a neighbor towards you", but rather "who can you be a neighbor towards?" See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.983 for more info.
Q: In Lk 10:38-42, are there times when believers can be focused on one thing, when they should be focused on another?
A: This was not Marthaís finest hour. Notice that Martha did not came out of the kitchen asking Mary to help her. No, she stormed out of the kitchen blaming Jesus for Mary not helping her. Despite her bad attitude, towards her Lord no less, Jesus answered and rebuked her graciously and gently. Martha thought it was good she was so focused on dinner. But rather than being too focused, Jesus said she was too distracted from greater things.
Service to God and spending time with God are both good, but of the two, spending time with God is better. The point was NOT that Mary and Martha should not have been preparing for supper. Rather, Martha did not need to be so elaborate. She could have prepared something simple and spent the rest of the time listening to Jesus. Are there times when you are more elaborate on something than God wants you to be?
It is interesting to observe that Martha was totally clueless that she was missing out, and she was the one with the wrong priority. Be watchful that you are not in a situation where you are missing out on closeness with the Lord, and you are totally clueless about that.
This parable is a warning for us. When your service towards God distracts from your relationship with God and love for others, then you need to rethink if your service is really for God or not. Like Martha, we need to be careful not to be distracted by doing so many things, even things for ministry, that we donít focus on what God wants us to focus on.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.984, The Expositorís Greek New Testament vol.1 p.545 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.820 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:1, why did the disciple request, "teach us to pray"?
A: Jesus was shown to be praying a lot in the gospels. He prayed when He was baptized in Luke 3:21. He prayed when He chose the twelve in Luke 6:12. He often prayed alone in Luke 5:16; 9:18. He prayed when others were present in Luke 9:28-29. He prayed for Simon Peter in Luke 22:32, and in the Garden of Gethsemane in Luke 22:40-44. He even prayed on the cross in Luke 23:46. Finally one of His disciples requested "Teach us to pray."
This request includes teaching us the method of how to pray, but it means more than that. It also encompasses "teach us to be praying people". This was given right after Jesus rebuked Martha for business apart from God and praised Mary for her devotion to Jesus. Like the disciple, we should realize when payer is lacking in our lives. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.234, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1411 and the New International Bible Commentary p.1206 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:1-4, why does this prayer differ from the modern form?
A: It is shortest in Luke, longer in Matthew, and the same as today in some later manuscripts of Matthew. Assuming the modern form came later, Matthew and Luke both wrote what they remembered from the Lordís prayer, or Jesus might have taught it more than once. A lesson we can learn from this is that the Lordís prayer is not a "magic incantation" we all must memorize and pray exactly. Rather, the variation in words demonstrates to us that it is the constant intent and meaning that is important, and that is what God preserved, not any formula. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.948 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.821 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:2, why should we puny humans pray that God's Name be holy?
A: The prayer is that God's Name would be held Holy on earth. God's name is pronounced holy and awesome in Psalm 111:9. Jewish prayers of the Kaddish and the Eighteen Benedictions also pray that God's Name be holy. God is pleased when we pray and ask that His Name be glorified on earth. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.948 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:4, since Jesus paid for our sins, why do we still need to pray for forgiveness for them?
A: Jesus took away the judicial punishment of sin, but with the Spirit working in our lives we are responsible to take away the practice of sin in our lives. It is hard to have a dynamic relationship with God if we are not dealing seriously with the sin in our lives.
As an aside, in Luke it says "sins", and in Matthew it says "debts". On one hand, this was spoken before our sins were taken away at the crucifixion. But even after that, we should be forever exceedingly grateful for Jesus paying the price for our sins.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.985 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:4, why do we pray God not to lead us into temptation?
A: God does not tempt us, as James 1:13-15 teaches. But God does allow us to be tested, and we pray that God does not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear. Anglicans pray this as "save us in our hour of need." Or "remove us from situations we can't handle."
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.948, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.235, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.985 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:5, why would a traveler come at midnight?
A: People would normally travel by day along the coast and in most of Palestine. But in the western desert, people might prefer to travel by night, especially when there is a full moon, to avoid the heat. Or a traveler might have miscalculated the time and come in extra late.
Regardless though, bread was very inexpensive. A family might bake a bunch of fresh bread and share it with their neighbors in the village. Then, when that started getting stale, another family might bake a lot of bread and they share it. So, in a village you would know who had the fresh bread. Thus, when a traveler comes at midnight, the host might knock on the door of the person who had just baked a lot of bread. As an aside, bread was baked in circular loaves that superficially resembled light brown stones.
Non-wealthy families often had small, one-room houses and might have even shared sleeping mats. It might be hard to get up without waking up others. Hence the reluctance to get up and unbar the door. The Greek term here is ambiguous. It can mean that the person knocking was bold to do so, of it can mean the person was "shameless" is insisting on knocking at that hour.
The point of this parable is that even a neighbor will do what He would rather not due to persistent requests. How much more will God answer our prayers with our persistent requests.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1412, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.948, The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.1 p.547, the New International Bible Commentary p.1206, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.821 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:5-8, why do we need to persist with God?
A: Jesus only said we need to be able to be persistent; here He did not say why. However, we can see some reasons for persistence.
Daniel needed to be persistent because Daniel 9:23 shows that, unknown to him, there was demonic opposition to the angel that answered his prayer.
Waiting is often important because of Godís timing.
Sometimes persistent prayer is needed because what we are attacking is a stronghold of Satan.
Q: In Lk 11:5-8, what is the difference between persistence in prayer and vain repetition, as in Mt 6:7?
A: In both cases, somebody might say the exact same words multiple something multiple times, or a request is repeated in different ways.
If it has meaning every time and it is an expression of what is genuinely desired, it is persistence.
If the words are said without meaning behind them, they do not mean anything more to God than the person who vainly repeats them.
In a Christian liturgy, everyone says the same thing every time the liturgy is used. Whether this is persistence or vain repetition depends not on the words, but on the hearts of the people saying the liturgy. At a historical note, we have copies of liturgies from about the time of Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.).
Q: In Lk 11:8, should it say persistence or boldness/importunity?
A: Persistence means asking over and over. Boldness means being unashamed to ask for those things. The Greek word can mean both.
It is translated "persistence" in the NKJV, NRSV, World English Bible, English Free Bible, and Wuestís Expanded Translation.
It is translated the other way, "importunity" in the KJV, 1901 ASK, 1895 RV, Youngís Literal Translation, or "impudence" in the ESV, or "boldness" in the NIV.
Q: In Lk 11:10 (NIV), should it be translated as "door" or "it"?
A: The Greek does not explicitly say "door", but rather "it". On the other hand, the Greek also says "knock" and "open" so the implicit meaning is a door or gate.
Q: In Lk 11:11-13, what was Jesusí point about earthly fathers vs. our Heavenly Father?
A: Though earthly fathers are not totally good like God the Father, even earthly fathers generally give their own children good things for which they ask. They certainly do not go out of their way to give their children bad things when they ask for good things. So be bold in asking our Heavenly Father for good things.
Q: In Lk 11:12, how prevalent were eggs back then?
A: The Israelites did not have hens and eggs until they learned from them during the Babylonian captivity. But by this time, they would be fairly common. See The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.1 p.548 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:13, how does the Father give the Holy Spirit to all who ask Him, since Simon Magus asked but did not receive the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:18-23?
A: While Simon was not asking the Father but the apostles, that is not the main point here.
Rather, Simon Magus never asked for himself to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Rather, Simon offered a bribe to receive the power to give this to others and use it. Sometimes today, people want to use God rather than to be used by God.
Q: In Lk 11:13, since the Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him, does that mean Christians do not have the Holy Spirit until they ask God for the Holy Spirit?
A: As 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.47-48 points out, this was said prior to Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on all Christians. Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit coming into a new believer is a part of accepting Christ into your life. However, there is the unusual case in Acts 8:14-17 where the gospel was preached to the Samaritans imperfectly, they were baptized in the name of Jesus, but did not hear anything about the Holy Spirit. Peter and John came to them, and laid their hands upon them, and then they received the Holy Spirit. However, the normative situation is to receive the Holy Spirit when you believe. Once a Christian receives the Holy Spirit, they can be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21), or not, depending on how they are abiding in Christ.
Q: In Lk 11:21-22, who is the strong man and the stronger man?
A: In this metaphor the strong man is Satan, and the stronger man is Jesus Christ. Christ is taking back lives and bodies that were in Satan's grip. Christ is not being defensive, defending His own here. Rather, Christ is being offensive, aggressively taking away from Satan those people who otherwise would belong to Satan. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.236 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:23, how do you scatter if you are not with Jesus, when some were casting out demons in Jesus' name in Lk 9:49-50?
A: Both are true. Notice that the people casting out demons in Luke 9:49-50 were still doing it in Jesus' Name. So, they were with Jesus. On the other hand, they were not a part of the human organization of the apostles and the seventy. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1413-1414 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:24-26, why can a wicked spirit return with 7 additional spirits and not 6 or 8?
A: Two parts to consider in the answer.
1. Jesus was not saying it was always seven and never another number. He was just giving an example.
2. Seven was considered a generic number of completeness, and Jesus might have been saying that "a complete set" of demons would come back.
There is no "spiritual neutrality" in our lives. If someone is empty because the demons have left that is great. But they need to be filled with the Holy Spirit as a believer, or else the demons could come back, and even worse.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.822 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.986 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:27-28, how do some people wrongly look at family and motherhood as more important than God?
A: Good things as well as evil things can become idols. For example, family is good, and to be close to your family is good. But if your family tells you to do things that go against what God says, then you need to be closer to your God than your family. I know of two couples who divorced mainly because the family of one of the spouses did not approve of the other spouse. God hates divorce, and when you divorce your spouse solely because you are listening to your family you are sinning before God.
Q: In Lk 11:27-28, how do some people sin by venerating Mary at about the same level as Jesus?
A: Jesus did not deny that Mary was blessed, but it was more important to hear God's word and obey it than to call Mary blessed. It is fine to call her blessed, but nothing in the Bible says we are to adore or worship her. In the Catholic Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, Mary is called the Mediatrix (co-mediator), and Redemptrix (co-redeemer) with Christ. As The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.986 says, admiration of Jesus, and His mother, does not replace obedience to Jesus.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1414, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.822, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1414 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:29-30, what was the sign of Jonah?
A: First what is not the answer, and then the answer.
Not the answer: Jonah sure would have looked strange to the Ninevites. After being in the great fish for three days and nights, his skin likely was all bleached white, and perhaps his hair was partially taken out. However, Jesus is not making any reference to skin or physical appearance here.
The answer: The Pharisees asked for a miraculous sign at their command, and Jesus here, like Jonah, would do absolutely nothing but preach to them. As Jonah never did a miracle, Jesus too, would not do a miracle at their demand. And yet, the Ninevites repented when they heard Jonah's preaching, but would the Pharisees repent when they heard the preaching of the Son of God? If not, then how hard-hearted would the Pharisees appear, even compared to the violent, but repentant Ninevites.
Q: In Lk 11:29-30, what does this say about Jesus believing that Jonah was a historical person?
A: Some liberal Christians claim that the book of Jonah was a symbolic book. However, no historical Jewish person or early Christian gave any indication they viewed it anything except historical. Jesus here uses the historical fact of Jonah and the Ninevites to make a point about the seriousness of their lack of repentance. Just like the Queen of Sheba was a historical person, Jonah was just as historical. Jesus' point would be based on a deceptive argument if Jesus Himself thought the story was made up. If Jonah coming back after three days and nights in the belly of the great fish was a type of Jesus' own death and resurrection, if you believe that Jonah's story was just figurative, do you believe that Jesus' death and resurrection are just figurative too?
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1414-1415, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.236, and the New International Bible Commentary p.1207 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:31, how will the Queen of the south rise up against that generation?
A: The Queen of the South was the Queen of Sheba, who visited King Solomon in 1 Kings 10:1-10. The Jews certainly had no excuse for being far from Galilee, because of the Queen of Shebaís example, who came from much farther away to hear Solomon, and Jesusí teaching was greater than that of Solomon.
Q: In Lk 11:32, how will the men of Nineveh condemn that generation?
A: The Jews could not say either that they were too wicked or that Jesusí teaching was too foreign. The example of the people of Nineveh will show them that the wicked foreigners of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah, and Jesusí teaching is greater than that of Jonah.
Q: In Lk 11:34, what did Jesus mean that if the eye is dark, the whole body is full of darkness?
A: Jesus used a physical situation as an analogy of a spiritual truth. If your eyes are dark (unable to see), then all of you does not see any light. Likewise, if your only spiritual input is darkness, it is no surprise that what is inside of you is darkness. Sometimes people can have a light that goes out quickly, or else it becomes too dim to be useful and do any good. Jesus is the Light, who lit the lamp, so don't let you light grow dim or go out. See The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.1 p.551 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1415 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:38-41, why did Jesus not set a good hygienic example and wash his hands before eating?
A: God did not command people to wash their hands before eating in the Old Testament. There is nothing wrong with washing your hands, but if you do it so religiously that you consider it a sign of right-standing to God, then it becomes wrong for you. Jesus was making a point here that was more important than personal hygiene. When men start inventing rules and saying you have to follow their rules to follow God, Jesus took issue with that. This relates closely to Luke 11:45-46, where Jesus said they were neglecting what God said, and substituting people's rules for God's commands.
Do not say that God said something if God did not actually say it, as Proverbs 30:5-6 and 1 Corinthians 4:6 say.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.237, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.986, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1415-1416, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.822 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:42-54, why did Jesus rebuke the Pharisees so harshly?
A: Jesus expressed his deepest disappointment at these people. On one hand, they had great knowledge of Scripture, and communicated that to others. On the other hand, they had no love for God, and Jesus was disappointed that they had rejected Godís purpose for themselves (Luke 7:30). They lived all the dead prophets; it was the live ones they had trouble with.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.987 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:49, why would God send a prophet to a people, since God knew that the people would kill the prophet?
A: God is extremely patient at giving people opportunities to turn to Him. Even when people kill a godly prophet, sometimes the same people later repent and turn to God, as for example, the Auca Indians did in Ecuador after they killed Jim Elliot and other Christian missionaries.
Q: In Lk 11:51 and Mt 23:35, who was Zechariah?
A: This was most likely Zechariah the priest, whom Joash killed in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21. It could be Zechariah the prophet, or both were the same person. Abel was the first person martyred in the Bible. Zechariah the priest was the last person martyred in the last book of the Jewish Old Testament, 2 Chronicles. A coincidence in English is that you can summarize this as "they killed the prophets from A to Z". See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1416 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.237 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:52, what are ways that religious and religiously knowledgeable teachers today can sometimes actually hinder people from coming to God?
A: They had the truth, the "key" of eternal life, but not only did they not use it themselves, they discouraged others from learning it and using it too.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1416-1417 and The Expositor's Commentary on the Bible vol.8 p.956-957 for more info.
Q: In Lk 11:53-54, why was Jesus asked so many questions?
A: He was asked so many questions by the scribes and Pharisees, not because they wanted to learn from Him, but rather to trap Him into carelessly saying something inconsistent or that Jesus would otherwise later regret. See The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.1 p.555 and the New International Bible Commentary p.1207 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:1, why did Jesus compare the teaching of the Pharisees to yeast?
A: Yeast here is a metaphor for hypocritical teaching. Yeast is not seen, yet its growth and its effects profoundly alter the dough. It is slow and secret, but it completely permeates and takes over. The Phariseesí teaching was similar. Jesus did not consider the teaching of the Pharisees merely undesirable, but rather spiritually deadly. Likewise, there is teaching today, that if people believe in it, is spiritually deadly. Fortunately, in this metaphoric sense, God can bring people back from the dead. Jesus said the same thing, but in a different context, in Mark 8:15. See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.555, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.987, and the New International Bible Commentary p.1208 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:2, what is Jesus' point about hypocrisy?
A: The work hypokrisis in Greek originally referred to someone, usually an actor, who wore a mask. At some point, everyone is unmasked and people see their true face. While hypocrisy is wrong, Jesus' point in this verse is that it is foolish. Imagine for a moment, that a person could get away if committing any crime they wanted; however, their parents, children, friends, and the police would all find out. In that case, just how many crimes would they want to commit, under those circumstances. In general, people's estimation of their likelihood of getting caught is usually lower than it really is. Part of it is how we measure. If you do something 99 times and get away with it, and the hundredth time you get caught and go to jail, would they consider that a) very good because it was a 99% success rate, or b) you got caught, went to jail, and possibly ruined your life. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.237, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1417, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.822-823 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:6 and Lk 12:59, what is a "penny" or copper coin here?
A: In Luke 12:6 and Matthew 10:29 This was a Roman coin called an assarion, which was one-sixteenth of a denarius, which was a day's wage. This word is only used in the Bible in Lk 12:6 and Mt 10:29.
In Luke 12:59; Mark 12:42, and Luke 21:2 the word is leptos, which is a Jewish copper coin worth about one-eighth of a cent.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.237,240 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:11-12, how do we rely on the promise here, and what is not promised?
A: It is promised that when we are brought up before judges because of persecution of our faith, the Holy Spirit will show us what to say to be a good witness for Christ.
It does NOT say we will be given the words that are the safest to say or will make them let us go free. But our concern should be the testimony of Christ, not our safety.
It also does not say we should not prepare before leading a Bible study or giving a sermon.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1418 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:14, how come Jesus never divided the inheritance between the man and his brother?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
1. Only the man asked, not the brother. It does not work too well to arbitrate a dispute between two sides, if one side never asked for, wanted, or agreed to accept the arbitration.
2. It was not Jesusí main purpose to come to earth to settle petty civil matters. Arbitrating a dispute would be a good thing, except that it would be a distraction from why Jesus was there.
3. There were already courts of law where the man could go.
4. Money is no blessing when a person is more concerned about money than God, as Jesus mentioned in Luke 12:21.
Luke does not specify if the man was being wronged by his brother, or if he was just greedy to get more. Luke likely did not know, but since the following verses is on greed, at least somebody was being greedy. In the greater scheme of things, it did not matter who was being greedy, because either way the man was missing the boat. It is amazingly sad to reflect that this man, living at that time, was fortunate enough to see Jesus, God in the flesh. Yet, instead of asking Jesus to teach him, or give him eternal life, he only wanted Jesus to settle a petty matter. Asking God about small things is fine. However, today, do we come before God in prayer frequently for the little things, and ignore the big things?
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1418 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:15-21, what exactly did the rich man do wrong?
A: The rich man had a serious problem, but it was not what he did wrong. Rather, it was what he did not do right. Considering the future, thanking God, and since God blessed him so abundantly how can he help others, apparently were very far from his consciousness. The rich man did not need to build any new barns, to hold more than he needed. He simply needed to distribute the food to the poor.
As someone once said, "man proposes but God disposes." Just as hypocrisy is foolish in Luke 12:2, worry about money is foolish here in Luke 12:28-29.
This has similarities to Psalm 49:5-10,16-17 and in the Apocrypha Sirach 11:18-19. See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.557, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.238, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.988, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.822-823, New International Bible Commentary p.1209-1210, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1419 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:23-31, why do people worry?
A: Luke gives us a number of reasons here.
a) We worry too much about how we are provide for basic food and clothing for ourselves and family in Luke 12:23,29. We should have faith that God provides for us.
b) We worry about our value and significance in Luke 12:24. We should be concerned that God's name be glorified on earth. We actually might not be considered very valuable in the eyes of the world, but it is the sight of God that matters.
c) We worry about our physical body and health in Luke 12:25. We should take care of ourselves, but how about the spiritual and physical needs of God's people?
d) We worry about our looks, physical beauty, and fashion in Luke 12:27. We should be more concerned that Jesus looks beautiful as He shines in our lives.
e) We worry about whatever the world shows us we should worry about in Luke 12:30. We should realize that, as aliens and strangers in this world, we just don't care anymore about many of the things we used to care about when we were in the world.
In general, when you are tempted to worry, think about these things. We should not worry because a) we are commanded not to in Luke 12:22, our faith can keep us from worrying in Luke 12:28f, stop seeking what the world seeks after in Luke 12:30, but rather eagerly seek the kingdom of God in Luke 12:31, because it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom in Luke 12:32.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1419-1420 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:32, does the "little flock" refer to an anointed class of 144,000 people, as the Jehovahís Witnesses teach?
A: No. The Jehovahís Witnesses teach this, in among other places, in The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, 1991 section 78. There is no mention, here or in Revelation, that Heaven is restricted to 144,000 people. In fact, Jesus is not teaching about any future little flock, rather He is currently addressing the little flock that is currently standing right in front of Him. The little flock here is Jesusí disciples, including Judas. We are as defenseless sheep let loose on an unfriendly world. On our own they are powerless against Satan, demons, and other "wolves", but we have the power of Christ. Romans 8:35-39 teaches that despite being defenseless sheep, God has promised that nothing shall separate us from His love.
See When Cultists Ask p.148-149, the New International Bible Commentary p.1209, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1420 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:33, how are we to do this?
A: It says sell possessions; the word "all" is neither stated nor implied in the Greek. But what is implied is sacrificial giving, i.e., giving until it hurts, to provide for the poor and for ministry.
One could debate whether the primary purpose was to help the poor, or to keep believers from being encumbered by possessions. One simple answer is both reasons are valid.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.964 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:37, what is extremely unusual about this parable?
A: Most of Jesus' parables teach truths in a setting and way that the hearers can well relate to. This parable starts out that way too. But the idea of a Master rewarding the watchful and obedient servants by the Master serving them is totally unheard of. What kind of Master, in His right mind, would do that? Just as His obedient servants are ready to spring to action and server Him, He turns the tables and touchingly serves them.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1420-1421 and the New International Bible Commentary p.1209-1210 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:41-44, how did Jesus answer Peter's question of who this teaching was for?
A: Jesus answered it with another parable. Jesus' teaching here is for every servant who is (or who ought to be) awaiting the Master's return. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.988-989 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:42-48, what does the parable of the slaves awaiting the masterís return mean?
A: There are three distinct applications of this parable.
In Jesusí time, the people might not all have been awaiting the Messiah, but they should have been.
Since Christís ascension to Heaven, we are told to be watchful for His return. Jesus is foreshadowing a delay before His Second Coming.
In all times, people ought to be seeking God and His salvation.
This parable can apply to everyone, but it especially applies, to believers, i.e., slaves of the master, when they have authority or influence over other believers. We should consider carefully how we spend our time and resources while awaiting the Master's return. We should also carefully reflect on how we are treating others. While the master was gone, the servants still had work to do. The same is true for us.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.966-967 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.823 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:45, how bad is the servant in this parable?
A: The servant does not even attempt to try to do his master's bidding. He is audaciously defiant, because he thinks it is a long time before his master returns. He appropriates his master's property and other servants for his own purposes and pleasure. See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.562 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:45, how will unfaithful servants of God, the Master, be judged?
A: Some, genuine believers, will be judged with loss of reward, as 1 Corinthians 3:12-17 shows.
Others, who did not serve God, though they probably thought of themselves as servants of God, will be destroyed, as 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Matthew 7:21-23, Hebrews 6:4-8, and 2 Peter 2:1-3 show. They were not saved and are going to Hell. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.989 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1421 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:47-48, what does this teach us about knowledge and responsibility?
A: The servant who had the knowledge shall be punished severely. The servant who did not have the knowledge shall be punished lightly. There are differing degrees of punishment. You can sum this up with Luke 12:48m: "to whom much is given, much will be required." See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1421 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:49-52, what baptism is this?
A: This refers to the reality of which our baptism is a symbol. This refers to Christís death and resurrection. Fire here could refer to purification, judgment, or both. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.471-472, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.968, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1421 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:49,51 why did Jesus, the Prince of Peace, come not to bring peace but division? (The Muslim Ahmad Deedat brought this up.)
A: With Jesus we have peace in three ways, but not a fourth.
1) Jesus came to bring us peace and reconciliation with God.
2) We are also to have peace with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
3) As far as is possible, we are to have peace with all men.
X 4) However, people will oppose us because we carry the truth of the gospel. We are forewarned by both Jesus and Paul and that people will hate us, have division from us, and persecute us because of the gospel.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.989 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:50, how was Jesus constrained until this baptism was done?
A: This baptism is not Jesus' baptism by John, as that had already happened. Rather, this referred to Jesusí dying on the cross, and the consequences of that, including His resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Only then would the Holy Spirit dwell in all believers and do the work Jesus sent Him to do.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.472-475, the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1421, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.239, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.989 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:51, how did Jesus, the Prince of Peace, come to not bring peace on earth but division?
A: Following Jesus brought division, not necessarily war and violence. Even when nonbelievers use violence to persecute Christians, it is the non-believer, not the Christian who is using violence. Even among our own family there might be non-believers who might persecute us. It is almost like a parent saying, "my child might be a lying, stealing, alcoholic, but at least they are not a Christian!" Jesus is echoing a very similar thought in Micah 7:5-7. In John 15:18-21, Jesus told us to not be surprised at this persecution. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.239 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1422 for more info.
Q: In Lk 12:52-53, how could Christians honor their parents and not exasperate their children, since the gospel will bring division in a household?
A: Christians are to honor their parents and obey them, unless their parents command them to do something that is against what God has said. In an analogous manner, people are to obey the ordinances of the town or city they live in, except for things that contradict the laws of the state or province. People are to obey the laws of their state or province except where it would be disobeying national laws.
Christians are to cherish their family and be peacemakers, while realizing that the gospel causes division. We should be careful not to divide from others, and all the more so because the gospel will sometimes cause others to divide from us.
Q: In Lk 12:56 (KJV) and (NKJV), what is the "face of the sky and of the earth"?
A: The NET Bible, NIV, NASB, uNASB, RSV, and NRSV translate this word as the "appearance" of the earth and sky. Williams translation says the "look" of the earth and the sky.
Q: In Lk 12:57-59, what is Jesusí point of not getting out until the last penny is paid?
A: When one neither asks for nor receives mercy, justice can be tough.
Q: In Lk 12:59, Lk 21:2, and Mk 12:42, on the lighter side, why would particle physicists be interested in these verses?
A: In Luke 12:59, the Greek literally says they would not get out until you have paid the last lepton. Luke 21:2 mentions two lepta. In modern physics, leptons are a class of subatomic particles that include electrons and neutrinos, so one could say they would not get out until they have paid the last lepton.
Q: In Lk 13:1, why did some people tell Jesus of the Galileans whose blood Pilate mixed with their sacrifices?
A: This would be abhorrent to the Jews. They either wanted from Jesus his reaction, his explanation for why God allowed this to occur, or confirmation that this was not to be tolerated. Since this would have happened in Jerusalem, this indicates that Jesus was not in Jerusalem at this time. They wanted to know how Jesus would answer the problem of evil of suffering in this specific case. Were these people more wicked than others, or was it something else? Perhaps they were Zealots who wanted verbal support for rebelling against Rome.
While the first example was disaster caused by an evil man, the second example was disaster not caused (intentionally at least) by anyone.
T.W. Manson in Sayings, p.273, also points out that perhaps they told Jesus so that Jesus would utter some criticism of Pilate, which they could take back to tell Pilate. Notice here that Jesus did not criticize or refer to Pilate at all.
Whatever they wanted, Jesusí reaction, answer, and what he confirmed was probably quite unexpected. Jesus passed over in silence the rebuke on what everyone already knew was evil, and instead Jesus focused on why this happened to them. There are three observation we can make of Jesusí answer.
1. It happens to people in general because we are sinners, but it had nothing to do with anything specific they did.
2. However, it is false to assume that their punishment, in the short-term, was equitable relative to other Galileans. One cannot conclude that they were worse sinners than others.
3. While Jesus never justified this action or said it was good, there was one good lesson that could be learned from Pilateís evil. Sooner or later, all will likewise perish, unless they repent.
Pilate did similar things according to Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews book 18 ch.3.2 p.379 and Wars of the Jews book 2 ch.9.4 p.479. See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.564, the New International Commentary on the Bible p.1210, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.824 for more info.
Q: In Lk 13:6-9, what is the point of the parable of the fig tree?
A: What does fruit do for a fig tree? In this case, both nothing and everything. Creating figs uses nutrients that the fig tree could have used to grow stronger and taller. Figs are only for sprouting more trees; they do nothing for the tree itself. However, if the tree will not bear figs, the owner is going to have it cut down, so in that sense figs are really, really important to the tree.
There are two complementary meanings.
General application: While it was not the season for figs, one might think that a fig tree by the road, possibly sheltered from the worst of the winter, might have some figs already. Whenever Jesus comes, we need to be ready. If you do not bear good fruit in your life, judgment will come.
It is time: Generally, fig trees did not start to bear figs until their fourth year. It does not specify if the owner waited three years from the time the fig tree was planted or three years from the time it ought to first be bearing figs. Regardless though, the servant asked the master to wait until the fourth year. When God wants us to do something, we should be ready. If not, the opportunity might be passed.
Specific application: the fig tree represented the Jewish nation. Jesus was given a sign of whether or not the Jewish nation as a whole would accept Him, and the answer was they would not.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.240, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.970, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.989 for more info.
Q: In Lk 13:13, should we be as willing to partner in ministry with people with physical illnesses or handicaps or spiritual problems?
A: If we would not, then we would cut out Paul, who had a thorn in the flesh, Timothy who had frequent stomach illnesses, Matthew who had a shady occupation as a tax collector, or Peter who once denied Jesus. It would be really, really sad to say those people are good enough for God, but not good enough for us, as we are not only trying to be their judge, but trying to be a tougher judge than God. A fruitful ministry is not dependent on our power anyway, physical or otherwise, but on God's Spirit.
There is absolutely nothing to say a person with a handicap or physical illness cannot be just as effective and useful as something without that. In fact, sometimes God can use their situation for His glory. In fact, one might make the argument that you should especially seek out those who have difficulties, or are counted as of little regard, as ministry partners.
As to spiritual problem, the answer is "it depends". If a person has repented and come out of a besetting sin, honestly acknowledge what was then, and what is now, and fully accept them. Perhaps you would not want to place them in a situation again that is tempting for them. Likewise, if a person has a weakness in an area, then you might not want to place them in an area where they could easily fall. Some Christians, such as Martin Luther, suffer bouts of depression. But before you write them off as not a good soldier for Christ, look at all that Luther did, even despite tremendous opposition.
Q: In Lk 13:14, why did the synagogue ruler believer it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath?
A: The Pharisees had 39 categories of work. Because they interpreted any creative act or production effort as work, and healing someone would be considered both of those. Apparently, both Godís Law and their additional invented hedges had a higher priority for them than God Himself. If God provided healing on the Sabbath, who were they to say God could not heal? Be careful of yourself when you try to tell God that He has to obey your rules, or even that He has to obey the rules He gave us.
Q: In Lk 13:15-17, why did Jesus answer the synagogue rulers this way?
A: Jesus could have appealed to the Old Testament Law (of which this man had a different interpretation), or to Him being the Messiah (which this man probably did not accept). Instead, Jesus shamed the manís own inconsistency and lack of compassion.
According to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.971, there were many examples of rabbis teaching helping animals in emergencies on the Sabbath. (However, at Qumran, they said not to help an animal at all on the Sabbath, even if it fell into a well or was giving birth.) Many times, in speaking with others, it is important to start with the "common ground" of what you both accept. After that, if you point out the other sideís inconsistencies, only then would they (possibly) see the need to consider a different point of view.
As a side note, this way of making a point is called arguing from the lesser to the greater. This was a common way rabbis presented their points.
Jesus exposed that though they had the appearance of wanting to know religious things, they were not really interested in God working in their lives.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.240, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.970, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.824,825 for more info.
Q: In Lk 13:15-17, apart from the Bible how do we know synagogues were in Bible times and not a later development?
A: One way we know they were earl is that the Theodotus Inscription was found near the end of the nineteenth century commemorating a Hellenistic-Jew named Theodotus, son of Vettenos. Vettenos was a priest and head of the synagogue, the son and grandson of the head of the synagogue. This was very likely written before 70 A.D. See the Dictionary of New Testament Background p.534 for more info.
Q: In Lk 13:18-21, why is the kingdom of God like a mustard seed or yeast (leaven)?
A: Both grow in and of themselves. A mustard seed is tiny, but a full-grown mustard plant is about 10 feet (3 meters) tall. Perhaps Jesus used both similes because a mustard seed grows on the outside, and leaven grows on the inside. Leaven cannot be seen, but it produces a result that one can see as fluffy bread on the outside.
This passage is also important in yeast symbolizing good because it balances other passages where yeast is a metaphor for bad teaching of the Pharisees. This use of yeast shows that you cannot take a simile with a particular meaning, and assign that word the identical meaning throughout the Bible, without regard for context.
On the other hand, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1424 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.240-241 think yeast/leaven always symbolizes evil and corruption. The Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.824 says this is incorrect here.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.972 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1424 for more info.
Q: In Lk 13:19, do the birds represent Gentiles or corrupt and false believers?
A: Christians disagree. It refers to other creatures, not a part of the large bush, that share in the shade or benefits of the bush. Some think this refers to Gentiles who are blessed. Others think it is false believers who have no business being the church, but are anyway.
It is corruption according to the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1424 for more info. However, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.824 disagrees.
Q: In Lk 13:23-27, why are only a few saved?
A: The disciples might have expected that Jesus' great teaching plus miracles would win over nearly everybody. They might have been disappointed when this did not happen, and so Jesus explained that the road to salvation is narrow. It was not those who saw and heard Jesus that would be saved. It was their decision and response to what they heard. It does not say as you travel go through the narrow door, or wait for the narrow door to come. Rather it says literally to "strive" to enter through the narrow door.
While Jesus did not address the additional question of why only a few are saved, we can make a number of observations and inferences.
1. Those who die after reaching the age of accountability have chosen their destiny, explicitly or implicitly.
2. God "hesitates" in judging because he wants to give people an opportunity to repent (2 Peter 3:9).
3. God is not required to give opportunities to repent forever, or even to continue to give opportunities while a person is still alive. Those who commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit are not always killed instantly.
4. Ultimately, God has no remorse about sending people to the destination of the path they have chosen.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.241, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1424, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.825 for more info.
Q: In Lk 13:25, who exactly is knocking in this parable?
A: While the parable does not directly say, Jesus is strongly hinting that the Jewish nation will knock and not be let in, if they reject Him.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1424 for more info.
Q: In Lk 13:31, why did these Pharisees tell Jesus that Herod Antipas (son of Herod the Great) planned to kill him?
A: It could be for a couple of reasons.
1. Perhaps these particular Pharisees were sympathetic to Jesus and wished for Jesus' safety.
2. Alternately, perhaps they just wanted Jesus to leave. Perhaps these Pharisees were not so much concerned with having Jesus dead; they just wanted Jesus out of the way. See also the next question. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.241-242 favors this view.
3. Finally, if they could tell people that Jesus fled for His life when Jesus heard the threat, that would undermine Jesus' status in the eyes of the people as the powerful Messiah.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1424, The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.569, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.825, and the New International Commentary on the Bible p.1211 for more on how Jesus could be told of this from various motives.
Q: Does Lk 13:31 prove Herod Antipas was planning to kill Jesus?
A: No, this verse neither proves nor disproves it. The Bible records the Phariseeís words, but it does not say whether or not they were telling the truth. Many times, people today can hear of threats and have to react to them without knowing if they are true or not.
Q: In Lk 13:31-33, what did Jesusí answer to this threat mean?
A: There are three observations we can make from this verse.
1. Jesus identified Herod Antipas as a cunning female fox, which was not a complimentary term. A fox back then was considered insignificant. A fox was also considered tricky, both back then and today.
2. Jesus was not afraid of him, and did not mind them repeating His answer to Herod.
3. Jesus knew He was going to die on the cross, but He also knew that everything would happen within the Fatherís timing.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1424, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.824, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.974 for more info.
Q: In Lk 13:35, what is significant about saying "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord"?
A: Jesus could have simply said "you must say, Ďblessed is Jesus the Messiahí, or something similar. However, since they did not accept that Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus was graciously putting this in terms they could accept. They would not get to Heaven unless and until they recognized the true Messiah, who was unnamed to them.
It is interesting to contrast how Jesus and Paul "bent over backwards" in their efforts to communicate the truth, with the fact that they were never bending with respect to the content of the Gospel.
Q: In Lk 14:1, why would a Pharisee in leadership let Jesus teach in his house?
A: Not all of the Pharisees and rulers were against Jesus, Ė just ask Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. In fact, after the resurrection Acts 15:5 shows that enough Pharisees believed that they had their own group within the church. John 12:42 also says that many Pharisees believed Jesus' teaching, but in secret because they did not want to be put out of the synagogue.
On the other hand, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1425 thinks it was not out of sincere friendliness, but in an effort to trap Jesus. After all, Luke 14:1f says that Jesus was being closely watched. Why would the Pharisee invite both Jesus and a man who needed healing, unless the man dropped in uninvited.
However, this is the fourth time the Pharisees brought up the issue of the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5; Luke 6:11; Luke 13:10-17), so Jesus' teaching on the Sabbath was a big stumbling block for them. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.976, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.242, and the New International Commentary on the Bible p.1211 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:2, what is dropsy?
A: This medical condition is an accumulation of fluid in the body. There are a variety of causes, such as the left ventricle of the heart not working properly, problems with the liver or lymph nodes, lupus, or toxic substances such as Argemone oil. Argemone is a weed that often grows in mustard fields can be harvested with the mustard seeds. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1425 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.825 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:3-6, why did Jesus question them?
A: They were trying to trap them by having someone there with dropsy. It could be caused by liver problems, kidney problems, or cancer. Jesus took the initiative and asked them to commit on whether it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath or not. If they said yes, then good things not prohibited in the Torah would be allowed. If they said no, that would show where their hearts really were: fixed on their rules instead of on doing good for God. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.242 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:7-11, what was the point of Jesusí teaching on taking the lowest seat?
A: First of all seats do not matter, and human honor does not matter, either. Rather, we should be humble and be concerned about pleasing God. God honoring us is far more significant than any human honor could be.
This is a good passage to share with children when they argue over who should sit in the front seat of a car.
Q: In Lk 14:7-11, why did Jesus give to the Pharisees the teaching on taking the lowest seat just after trying to correct them about healing on the Sabbath?
A: We can speculate on a couple of reasons.
1. Uniting the Phariseesí teaching was the desire to be honored and gain honor. Did they really make up all these rules on the Sabbath because of their love for God? No, they wanted the religious honor. Jesus is implying one should not seek religious honor; rather let God do the honoring.
2. If the Pharisees could not prove Him wrong on healing with Godís power on the Sabbath, then be humble and stop opposing Jesus.
Q: In Lk 14:12-15, what was Jesusí point about inviting the poor, maim, lame, and blind?
A: Their society did not consider these people ideally suited to come to a party. They were not ideally suited to work, and usually they were in no position to return a favor. Three lessons we can surmise:
1. One point is that God often chooses and uses those we would consider less than ideal.
2. These people often recognize they are not ideal and would be all the more likely to rely on God and give the glory to Him.
3. However, the truth of the matter is that all of us are not ideal. If Godís standard of righteousness were compared to physical health, all of us are maimed and blind and without wealth or any hope, apart from God.
See Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.117-118 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:16-24, what was the point of Jesusí parable of the banquet, at the banquet?
A: When one of the dinner guests pronounced a dinner blessing on everyone there who would eat in the kingdom, he was assuming everyone there would be eating in the kingdom. Jesus made the point that not everyone there would be present eating in the kingdom. Were Jesus' words kind? If you think about it, Jesus tacitly agreeing that everyone there was fine and would be eating in the kingdom, when that was not the case, would have been most unkind. So yes, sometimes severe-sounding words are the kindest thing you could say.
Since Jesusí listeners could relate well to banquets by men, Jesus told them a parable about God and His banquet. It would be wonderful to eat at the banquet of God; however, the sad truth is that most reject the invitation. Just as the master of a banquet can invite people, and they either can reject or accept, God sincerely invites all to partake of His grace, and they can either accept or reject. It says that all declined the second invitation. In that culture, they would give out the invitation fairly early, and then give a second invitation, a reminder, later. They had various different excuses, some fairly lame, but the fact is the master invited people who did not want to come. If a man's marriage would force him to decline coming, then why did that not come up during the first invitation? It seems incredible that somebody would refuse an invitation to a fabulous earthly banquet, but it happens.
Likewise, it probably seems incredible to angels that anyone would refuse Godís extremely generous offer to every single person, but it too happens.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.242, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.978, The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.574-575, the New International Commentary on the Bible p.1212, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1426 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:16-24, why is this similar, yet not identical to, the parable in Mt 22:1-10?
A: Remember that Jesus taught for almost three years, which is a lot longer than it would take for a person to read the gospels. Jesus probably preached a series of sermons in one town, and then moved to the next town and preached a similar series of sermons. These are similar, but not exactly the same; perhaps Jesus had a little different audience and changed it a bit. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.979 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:23, since the master compels people to come in, does this prove people have no free agency to come to Christ?
A: It no more proves this than it proves those who were not invited had no responsibility to follow God.
Obviously, nobody in this parable would think the master was sending an army, putting people in chains, and taking these people as slaves to his banquet. Rather, in this parable, "compelling" implies strong persuasion.
If someone were to try to use this passage to prove people had no free will, their attempt would backfire. The original guests were invited, yet did not come. Thus, the original invitation was a "lost cause". Furthermore, if someone in the world had any desire to come, but they were not invited, would that be wrong to have that desire? There are non-Christians who would like to go to Heaven, - at least on their own terms, though not on Godís terms.
Note that the Granville Sharp rule has exceptions: Luke 14:23 and Ephesians 2:20. See the Believerís Bible Commentary p.2064 for more info. Following the Granville Sharp rule on Titus 2:13 supports post-tribulationism.
Q: In Lk 14:24, how come none of the guests who were rejected got a second chance?
A: God often does give people multiple opportunities, but there is a limit. While the number of opportunities is not a point of this parable, God is under no obligation to give anyone multiple opportunities.
Q: What does Lk 14:25-35 teach about counting the cost and Lordship?
A: A person should be told to count the cost before making a commitment to follow Christ. On one hand, Zacchaeus did not have time to clean up his house, or his life, before Jesus came to him and pronounced that Zacchaeus had salvation. On the other hand, Luke 14:25-35 corrects this misconception that Jesus would rather have a half-finished tower than none at all. People do not have the power to clean up their life on their own, so we come to Jesus before our lives our cleaned up; but we have to come to Jesus with the commitment to allow Him to clean up our life. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.826 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:26, how are Jesusí disciples supposed to "hate" their father, mother, wife, children, and brothers?
A: The context of both this passage and their culture, based on the Mosaic Law would interpret this to mean "love less". Jesus is not telling them to disobey God's Word, which says to love your parents in Exodus 20:12 and later to love their wives in Ephesians 5:25. For example, in Deuteronomy 21:15, when it speaks of a man who loves one of his wives more than the other, the word here is "hate". Similar phrasing is used in Genesis 29:31 where Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Matthew 10:37 shows that Jesusí point is that we are not to love our parents more than we love God.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.475-476, the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.56-57, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1427, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.116,210 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:26, how would Jesusí teaching about parents relate to the law?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Jesusí listeners were all familiar with the Mosaic Law concerning parents, and Jesus knew that.
2. Jesusí point was one of balance. Loving God is the first commandment, and loving others is the second, not the other way around.
3. If your love or loyalty to parents, children, or anyone else, is greater than your love and loyalty to God, your priorities need to change. It is possible for even good things to become idols.
Q: In Lk 14:28, how should people count the cost of following Jesus, and count the cost of not following Jesus?
A: Halfway following Jesus, or trying to follow Him for a while and then turning back, does not good at all. A non-Christian coming to a Bible Study once asked me, "If I don't make Jesus the Lord of my life, will Christianity do me any good?" I answered that except for some smaller, insignificant ways, basically no. It is all or nothing. You must turn over your life to Jesus. We need to preach counting the cost, when we preach the gospel. Jesus is preaching against half-hearted followers.
John Calvin said, "I gave up all for Christ, and what have I found? I have found everything in Christ." Henry Drummond said, "The entrance fee into the kingdom of heaven is nothing: the annual subscription is everything."
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1428 and the New International Commentary on the Bible p.1213 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:31-32, what does this warfare refer to?
A: This would be on the mind of the hearers, since there was the possibility of Herod going to war against Aretas, his father-in-law. But Jesus' parable transcends that, that says that in general, there is no benefit in starting what you cannot finish. In fact, starting what you do not finish could be worse than not starting at all. It might be better to give up a desired, potential victory, if in fact you were not going to win anyway.
See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.567 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.244 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:34-35, what did Jesus mean, that salt that has lost its taste is only good for the dunghill?
A: Salt in general is good for providing essentials for life, flavoring, and preserving food. Salt that has lost its taste, through dilution with dirt or other causes, is not good for much. The salt that is left, if put on a dunghill will cause it to decompose slower, which will mean less concentrated bad smell. See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.577 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.992 for more info.
Q: In Lk 14:34-35, what are ways some Christians today can "lose their saltiness"?
A: Naturally speaking, high quality salt was expensive. In later times, in the African city of Timbuktu, it was said that a pound of salt was worth a pound of gold. Saltiness can lose its value in a couple of ways. It could contain small amounts of bad-tasting impurities. Or, it could be diluted with inert, tasteless filler, so that while it still looked the same, even the good part was worthless because it was diluted.
Spiritually speaking, someone can be working hard in ministry, but just a tiny amount of dishonesty, greed, or lust, and destroy their witness. Alternately a person can be eager to serve God when they have the time, but due to working a demanding job, high time commands from their lifestyle, or entertainment, or other things, they just act as though they have many more important things to do than serve God.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1427-1428 for more info.
Q: In Lk 15:1-32, what do the three parables have in common?
A: All three parables have to do with lostness and the joy of being found. The parable of the 99 + 1 lost sheep shows God searches out the lost, and the joy of finding the one is greater than the 99 who no longer need to be found. The parable of the 9 + 1 lost coin shows that God searches very thoroughly, and rejoices over finding the lost. The parable of the prodigal son shows that God forgives and accepts back the lost and wayward. Of course, as we seek the heart of God, we want our love and attitude towards others to reflect Godís love and attitude, too.
Throughout Luke 15 God wants us to have a heart for the lost like He does. In Luke 16 God wants us to have a mind for the lost.
Q: In Lk 15:1-32, what is the main point; the lostness, the repentance, or the joy?
A: Is the main point of the parables the repentance or the joy? There is no mention of the lost sheep or coin repenting, so the primary point in these parables is the joy, not the repentance. The Pharisees, for all their study, did not understand the heart of God. So, when the Pharisees in their self-righteousness criticized Jesus for hanging out with sinners, Jesus essentially responded by telling them three parables about joy.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1213 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.994 for more info.
Q: In Lk 15:1, how do we make ourselves "approachable" by gross sinners, with them knowing that we love them, though not approving what they do?
A: Show them that you respect them, love them, care about them, and are willing to spend time to help them. While it is good to spend time with them, do not spend time with them doing morally compromising things.
There are a number of things we need to realize about ourselves though.
1) Sometimes we might tend to hang around with the 99 "righteous sheep" instead of having a hear to seek out the lost sheep.
2) Your character might get criticized for hanging around sinners.
3) Sometimes it is best for you not to be around them. One time a Christian girl was privately propositioned by an atheist for sex. The girl turned him down, but she still remained friendly towards him. It depends on the situation if she should have avoided him or not. If he thought her friendliness was still an invitation to him, then she should have avoided him.
4) Sometimes non-believes can drag us down or entice us to ungodly things. While the Bible says to resist evil it never says to resist temptation; rather flee temptation.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1428, the New International Bible Commentary p.1213,1214, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.992 for more info.
Q: In Lk 15:2, when should believers eat or not eat with sinners today?
A: The Old Testament does not say they could not eat with unbelievers, but the Jews in Jesusí time followed their own tradition of not eating with unbelievers, as Acts 10:28 and Galatians 2:12-14 show. But Galatians 2:12-14 show that we are to eat with all people, and the only exceptions are the following.
1. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 shows that if a person refuses to work, they should not eat.
2. 2 Thessalonians 3:14 says that we should have nothing to do with those who presumably claim to be believers, but choose to disobey what Paul wrote.
3. 2 John 7-11 says that one who is a deceiver should not be welcomed into our houses.
4. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 says that while we can associate with the immoral, greedy, robbers, or idolators, we should not eat with one of these if they claim to be a Christian.
Q: In Lk 15:8-10, how would a woman lose and find a coin like that?
A: This parable implies that ten silver coins was all she had. A silver coin here was probably a drachma, equivalent to one denarius, which was one day's wage for a laborer. Coins might have been given in a dowry, and a woman might wear the silver as a headdress. Today, it is somewhat similar in India where women might wear the gold they were given in a dowry.
If the woman thought she lost it in the house, she would go to great lengths to sweep the floor, and the coin might clink against something.
The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.578 points out that the woman is not giving a formal invitation for the neighbors to celebrate; rather she has the confident expectation that they will.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.982, the New International Bible Commentary p.1214, the New International Bible Commentary p.1213, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.244, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.992-993 for more info.
Q: In Lk 15:12-13, why do some children, even of believers, turn prodigal?
A: It can be a combination of at least five things.
1) Feeling restricted, having to live under standards that they might not choose at this point in their life.
2) Enticement at riotous living.
3) Feeling that "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence".
4) Peer pressure, or persecution: either social or worse.
5) Mental illness
6) Disappointment that dashed their hopes or expectations.
4) Fear of missing out that he needs to act to fully satisfy everything he would want in his life right now; he could not wait until his father passed away.
5) Failure to consider the possible high cost of their sinful actions.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.993 for more info.
Q: In Lk 15:17-18, who do the two sons and the father represent?
A: The father represents the heart of God. The father welcomed the prodigal son, but also earnestly pleaded with the older son.
The older son represents the Pharisees according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.245. For people who criticized Jesus eating with sinners, this parable would sting. But, this can be generalized to any religious people who value their works and religion over loving others.
There are a couple views of the younger son. The Believer's Bible Commentary : New Testament p.244 says the younger son is really away fallen-away believers, because he was a son before asking for the inheritance. On the other hand, salvation is not in scope here, only the father's love. More commonly, it is thought that the younger son was any lost person. Even he might have been religious, he was lost.
Q: In Lk 15:17-18, did the prodigal son repent, or was he just hungry?
A: Luke 15:14 says a famine came. During a famine, the people in the foreign country did not want him or value him, they were just giving him pig's feed out of pity, but perhaps such low food to encourage him to go away. It would be humiliating for a Jew to have to have a job feeding pigs. There was neither food nor love, nor hope of any change there. The Hebrew idiom "come to his senses" implies repentance. It could be both. It was certainly hunger, but hunger can drive repentance too.
Q: In Lk 15:20-24, why did the father take back the prodigal son, and should he have done so?
A: The father saw the son before the son came close; from this we can see that father had often been watching for him. The father took back the prodigal son simply because of compassion because he loved him. Any good merit the son had done was lost. The son did the father wrong and showed his disrespect, but the father freely forgave his son who returned. The feast might be a way to show to the servants, neighbors, and others who the sons was and his restoration.
A western Christian once read the parable to various people in the Mideast, who were not Christians and not familiar with the parable, and asked them about what if a son were to ask for the inheritance. He got answers of "this would never happen", and "I would beat my son if he said that." Another answer was that one man said he heard of that happening, and within a year the father died, heart-broken.
The father was under no obligation to take the son back, so nothing says he "should" have done so. However, the father was in his rights to be generous, and he graciously took back his son.
See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.582 for more info.
Q: In Lk 15:25,29-30, did the elder brother have a valid point?
A: A personís answer depends on if money and treasure are thought more important than people. The older brother thought his father should love him because of his work. The older brother gained back a brother, which he apparently did not value as much as one more fatted calf. The brotherís concern about fairness, down to one fatted calf, betrayed a lack of love. Notice that the older brother did not say "my brother" but rather "this son of yours".
It has been said that some people use things and love people, while others love things and use people. When a genuine Christian even begins to love things more than people, then their perspective is far from what God wants it to be. Things can include material possessions, knowledge, rituals, and even religion. The only thing that we are told to love more than people is God.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.476-477, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.995, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.245 for more info.
Q: In Lk 15:28, what is Jesus' point on the older brother's reaction?
A: A sheep owner with 99 sheep was well-off, and a woman with only ten coins was fairly poor. But besides that, all three of these parables are fairly similar; until we get to Luke 15:28. The 99 sheep and the 9 never-lost coins don't complain or get angry. It was not because of justice that the father took back the prodigal son, it was due to mercy and love. The father's term is literary "my child" teknon, which is more tender than "my son". Even today some people are more concerned about justice and punishment than mercy and love. There is a place for both, but mercy triumphs over judgment according to James 2:13.
Did the older brother eventually come around and celebrate or not? Jesus did not say, and deliberately so. Jesus was essentially asking the Pharisees, where their heart was. Are you going to come around to share the heart of God or not?
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.984-985, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.827, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.993 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:1, is the rich man / master Jesus, God the Father, or someone else?
A: Nothing links the master to being Jesus or the Father. This is simply a rich man, and Jesus uses a natural situation to draw some lessons of life. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.827 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:6-9, how exactly was the steward dishonest here?
A: The steward (or household financial manager) was caught "wasting" his master's goods prior to the parable, so the steward was dishonest or negligent before the parable started. Perhaps he promised to do his best to manage the master's money and he did not have his master's best interests at heart. So, the steward's dishonesty was before reducing the bills, though the master did not have prior knowledge of the bills being reduced.
The exact term was used in the Qumran scrolls where it meant "worldly" or describing the character of the age, according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.987.
Q: In Lk 16:6-8, why was the dishonest steward commended?
A: One needs to know some cultural background to see the answer. While the Israelites were commanded not to charge each other interest on loans (Leviticus 25:35, Exodus 22:25), the reality at this time was that they commonly did so. In addition, charging interest to foreigners was OK (Deuteronomy 23:20).
The steward gave back 50 out of 100 jugs of olive oil, and 20 out of 100 containers of wheat. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1761 says that the going interest rate on grain was 25% to 33 1/3 %. 25% of 80 containers of wheat would be 100 containers. I have heard a teaching that the interest on olive oil was 100%, but I have not been able to corroborate this, though the New Geneva Study Bible p.1636 also offers this as a theory. The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.988 says that 100 containers of wheat was a large amount: the yield of about 100 acres according to Jeremias Parables of Jesus p.181. Likewise, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.828 says that servant was rolling back the interest that was charged, when the Old Testament law said interest was not to be charged in the first place.
Thus, in giving these "discounts", perhaps the steward was not cheating the master, but rather taking off interest which he should not have charged a fellow Israelite anyway. It is an important point that the steward was NOT trying to get his job back; he already knew he could not do that. The steward was trying to ingratiate himself to the creditors so that they might consider giving him a job.
Either the master knew of the discounts or he did not. The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1430-1431 indicates that the master knew, and he (perhaps begrudgingly) commended the steward for his foresight. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.246 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.987 also indicate the rich man knew and still commended the steward for his shrewdness.
Sometimes when a business or investor is about to be bankrupt, the bank will arbitrary lower the amount of the loan a bit. It is better to get somewhat less money, and not have to foreclose, then to get no money and only the collateral.
Q: In Lk 16:9 (KJV), what is mammon?
A: Mammon is used here as both a synonym for money and the worship of money. While there was no idol specifically with the name of Mammon, the word is almost the same in Latin, Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, and Aramaic.
Q: In Lk 16:9, how are believers supposed to make friends using money?
A: The dishonest steward appeared generous at that time, not for unselfish altruism, but cold pragmatism. When believers realize the temporary worth of earthly riches, they should be all the more willing to give up riches for the sake of the Gospel. As the famous Christian missionary and martyr, Jim Elliot, wrote in his journal "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Hard Sayings of the Bible p.477-478 adds, "ĎYou see,í said Jesus, Ďworldly people, with no thoughts beyond this present life, will sometimes behave more sensibly and providently than other-worldly people, Ďthe children of light.í They will use material wealth to prepare for their earthly future; why cannot the children of light use it to prepare for their eternal future?..."
Q: In Lk 16:9, if you find that you have already been unjust or unfaithful, in God's eyes, at that point, what should you do to please God?
A: Realizing your sin and asking God for forgiveness is a great start, but there is more. Perhaps you should apologize to the people who have wronged too. Also, when it is possible, make restitution to pay them back what was taken from them, either directly by you, or indirectly as a result of your actions.
Q: In Lk 16:9, imagine how nice it would be to have customers, vendors, and business associates who would always treat you fairly, even when you would not be aware of unfair treatment, and always tell you the truth. What can you do to be a person like that?
A: It is fine to negotiate a deal, and it is fine not to tell everyone everything you know. But you should not lie, even if it was people call a "white lie". It is fine to drive a hard bargain to get a good deal, but there is a point, if the person you are negotiating with is desperate, who you can go beyond getting a good deal to exploiting a person's desperation. Do unto others as you would have them do until you. Are you the kind of person you would want to work for, supervise, or do business with?
There is no promise that you will be richer by doing these things. But you will better please God by doing that.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.994 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:9, how can we better remember that we are stewards, no owners, of what God has blessed us with?
A: First consider what gifts or talents you have above others that you deserved. You have none of those. Then consider what possessions or money you have apart from God's grace. You might have obtained some fruit, and accomplished some things by working hard, but who allowed you to have the ability and situation where your hard work would pay off.
Second, consider how long you will have the earthly blessings you currently have. Someone said there are no U-Hauls behind funeral hearses. It will all be gone, given to ithers, who might or not use them wisely, as Ecclesiastes 2:18-19 says.
Finally, believe Proverbs 8:10-11 where it says that wisdom is better than gold or silver. Spend all your extra time and energy seeking God's wisdom and His kingdom, not gold or silver. The riches you have are not the goal; they are tools to help you achieve your goal, or serving God and advancing His kingdom.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.994-995 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:14, why would the Pharisees, who loved money, sneer at Jesus?
A: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.246 puts this well, saying that Jesus was a poor man, followed by other poor men, trying to teach them about money. In one-sixth of all gospel verses deal with money. In Luke, 18 out of 40 parables deal with money. The Pharisees thought it compatible to serve both money and God.
See Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.828 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:15f, what are some things highly valued by the world that are an abomination in God's sight?
A: Some dishonesty and acting on shrewdness is prized by the world. In the Ocean's XX movies, the "heroes" are the gang that steals millions from casinos. In the Minion's movies, the "good guys" are the ones who steal from others. People are sometimes looked up to if they do something financially wrong or questionable, and they get away with it. Psalm 49:18f says that people will praise you if you do well for yourself. Curiously though, those same people are castigated as villains if they make a mistake or get caught. It is almost as if they are not looking up to them because of their moral character, but out of envy. Apparently, Kim Kardashian rose to fame after filming a sex scene. So how many episodes of the Kardashian's TV series have you watched? If it is more than zero, why did you do that?
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.995 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1432 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:16 and Mt 11:12, is "heaven" actively doing something or passive in that something is being done to or against it in these verses?
A: First some grammar, then three views, and then the answer.
Hard Sayings of the Bible p.479-480 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.829 say there is ambiguity in the Greek verb here. It can be active, such as "The kingdom of heaven is urgently inviting everyone to come" or passive, such as "people are striving to enter the kingdom of heaven", or "the Kingdom of heaven is suffering violence..." or "men are forcing themselves into the kingdom of heaven".
1) Active: "The kingdom of heaven is urgently inviting everyone to come." The .NET Bible has this view, and Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.829 says this view has the most to commend it.
2) Passive: Everyone is trying to get in. The Believer's Bible Commentary p.1432 favors this view.
3) Passive and violent: Men are using worldly violence to try to get in. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.247 and most translations have this view.
The answer: Matthew 11:12 uses the word "violence" twice and indicates that people are active and violent. In the context of the Pharisees, it is a criticism of religious people trying to use violent or worldly means to enter the kingdom. All of Luke 16 relates to faithfulness and greed, and the Pharisees are mentioned specifically in Luke 16, because all these things relate to them too.
Q: In Lk 16:16f and Mt 11:12, how do some try to enter forcibly into the kingdom of God/Heaven?
A: The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1432 points out that the context around Luke 16:16 is all about the Pharisees and their greed and avaricious hypocrisy. Regardless of whether people were trying to enter into Godís kingdom, or destroy the kingdom preached by John the Baptist. The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1244 points out that John the Baptistís preaching set off a vigorous reaction.
It is important to understand what kingdom is meant here. This does not necessarily mean that all of those forcing themselves will receive salvation, but rather they are forcing for themselves a place in Godís visible expression of His kingdom on earth.
The application is that we have to consider the means as well as the ends. Some wanted to go to heaven, a good thing, but they were trying to use worldly weapons to advance to it.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.479-480 and Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.828 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:17, since it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than the least part of the law, why can Christians eat pork and camel meat and shellfish, and why do they not do animal sacrifices anymore?
A: Jesus superseded the Old Testament Law here.
Food: Jesus said it was not what went into a man that made him unclean, but what came out of a man, in Matthew 15:10,17-20 and Mark 7:14-15.
Mark 7:19 adds that by this Jesus declared all foods clean.
An angel of God commanded Peter to kill and eat formerly unclean animals in Acts 10:12-16.
Muslims should be able to relate to this point, as Mohammed likewise did not obey the Old Testament Law when he ate camel meat.
Sacrifices: The Israelites were to practice sacrifices; unfortunately for many it became a ritual where the meaning was lost. Sacrifice is as important, or even more important, to Christians than to the Israelites, and Hebrews 7:23-10:26 show. We too need a sacrifice, and our sacrifice was performed once and for all by our high priest, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself on the cross.
Q: In Lk 16:19, why is the rich man often called Dives?
A: In Lazarus is named in this parable, some traditions have named the rich man "Dives". However, Dives is just the Latin word for a rich man.
Lazarus was the Greek form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, which means, "God has helped". Hades, Hebrew Sheol, is the grave. This word is used ten times in the New Testament. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.992 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:19-31, what are the main points of this parable?
A: Jesus was telling parables about money, and He continues with another one. Many Jews that that material wealth was a sign of God's favor. It would be a shock to hear of a wealthy Jew going to fire.
There are three main points.
1) The finality of death, and consciousness after it.
2) It is better for the godly than the ungodly who do not care for the poor.
3) People have a sufficient guide in the scriptures.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.1216 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1433 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:19-31, what is the Jehovah Witness interpretation of Lazarus and the rich man?
A: This parable disproves soul sleep, according to the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1433. However, Jehovah's Witnesses disagree. This was told to me verbally by a Jehovahís Witness, and parts I have also seen in written form. Hold on to your hats, because this is rather strange.
The rich man is the Pharisee (or clergy / priest) class feeling shamed by the faithful servant class (who follow God). Dogs represent false teachers, breadcrumbs mean Godís teaching. "Lifetime" in Luke 16:24 means they lived under the system of the law. Death does not mean physical death, but a change of position. Lazarus being carried away by angels, while the rich man who was buried means they changed states, which happened either after Jesusí spirit rose in a spiritual body, or else at Pentecost. (I am a little unclear on this.) Torment here does not include the meaning of physical discomfort and restriction like it does elsewhere. Rather, it means mental anguish at godly preachers saying bad things about them. Since [supposedly] people who are burned do not desire water, the fire is not literal fire. The great chasm is simply that the entire class cannot cross over, though individuals can.
As When Cultists Ask p.149 says, "Because this passage so obviously supports the idea of conscious existence after death - as well as conscious suffering for the wicked following death - the Jehovahís Witnesses go to great lengths to reinterpret it."
See also the next question.
Q: In Lk 16:19-31, what is a response to the Jehovah Witness interpretation?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
1. The early Christians, who spoke Greek, uniformly believed in conscious torment after death for the ungodly. Besides early Christian writings, one can simply read Matthew 13:40-42,50, Revelation 20:10, and Revelation 14:9-11
2. The Jews also believed the same. This is proved by 1 Enoch 22:1-4, the Assumption of Moses 10:10, 2 Esdras 7:36, Judith 16:17, and the Psalms of Solomon 3:13. See the discussion on Luke 23:43 for the actual quotes. The rabbis thought in terms of Sheol/Hades has two divisions separated by a wall, a palm breadth or a finger breadth (vide Weber, Lehre des Almud, p.326f) according to The Expositor's Greek Testament p.589.
3. Jesus did nothing to rebuke or correct these allegedly false beliefs. As a matter, of fact, Jesus endorsed them by using them without correcting them. Furthermore, the terms Jesus used: "bosom of Abraham", and "Paradise" actually are terms used in the Jewish Talmud.
4. Either Jesus was deceiving them, by endorsing the allegedly belief of conscious existence after death, or else Jesus was using as true something that was commonly understood.
An illustration I gave to two Jehovahís Witnesses missionaries shows this point.
Suppose one day I picked up a copy of the Jehovahís Witness Awake magazine, and it told the story of two boys. One grew up and followed God, and good things happened to him after he died. The second boy grew up rejecting God, and after he died he was reincarnated as an insect. Then, I asked them if they thought I would ever read anything like that in Awake magazine, and they said certainly not, because reincarnation was not Biblical. I agreed, but then I asked, wouldnít they still try to use a false doctrine like reincarnation to prove a true point, that you should follow God? They strongly disagreed, saying that would be deceptive of them. I agreed, but said that if consciousness of the ungodly after death was a false doctrine, then werenít they saying that Jesus did exactly that?
Q: What does Lk 16:19-31 tell us about the poor?
A: This passage is a strong rebuke to many (but not all of) the rich. The rich man is called the "rich man" three times before he dies, but he and Lazarus are not called the rich man or the poor man after they did. The name "Lazarus" means "helped by God, yet he was so destitute his sores were licked by dogs. Dog saliva is more antiseptic than ours, so even the stray dogs helped Lazarus more than the rich man did. The poor, prisoners, and oppressed may be invisible to us, but they are not at all invisible to God. Likewise, some of the people who are idolized in this world but be dishonorable in Godís eyes. We should not admire those live lives that God would despise. Would that we could see people and things with Godís eyes!
Q: What does Lk 16:19-31 tell us about the rich?
A: It specifically does not say riches are evil, because it specifies Abraham in paradise, and Abraham, by either ancient standards or modern, was an extremely wealthy man. However, many of the rich suffer what Darrell Bock calls "the coma of callousness" and cannot even see the poor outside the gate to their mansion. The poor man Lazarus was almost invisible to the rich man. If you are not careful, riches can harm your eyesight and hearing, making you blind to the poor and deaf to the cry of the oppressed. But regardless of your wealth, if you could see and hear a little better than you do now, spiritually speaking, what is one step you could take to help the poor, the prisoners, and the oppressed, to let them know that they are not forgotten, and someone cares for them and wants to help them?
Q: If Lk 16:20-25 is a parable, why is it the only parable where someoneís name is mentioned?
A: While people can split hairs over whether this completely follows a parable or not, Lazarusí name served an important purpose in the parable. Nobody in this parable is given a name except Lazarus; Lazarus might have seemed unimportant, but God knew his name. Lazarus means "helped by God" yet we see someone who did not get much, help, from God, the rich man, or anyone else in this life. We are not even that Lazarus received a decent burial, yet he was helped much better than that by going to Paradise where Abraham was. The rich man knows Lazarusí name in Luke 16:24, so he was as least dimly aware that Lazarus existed just outside the comfort of his mansion gate. But people who might seem invisible to the rich (and unfortunately perhaps even us) are known and important to God. Everyone is made in the image of God, and we should respect all people, regardless of whether they are honored in this present world or not.
Lazarus, and its Greek form, Eleazar, were common names, and no reason is given in scripture why this beggar is named the same as Mary and Martha's brother. However, this could be a foreshadowing. When Lazarus was raised from the dead later, someone might recall hearing this parable, and the rich man's request to send Lazarus back from the dead.
Q: In Lk 16:26, what is the significance of how Abraham addressed the rich man?
A: The Greek word here is teknon, or "child", not "my son". It is a gentle, tender word, but it does not imply that Abraham was saying the rich man was his child, or offspring, even if the rich man was Jewish.
Q: In Lk 16:26, what is the great chasm/divide between torment and Paradise?
A: This is the chasm God made between Heaven (paradise) and Hell (prison). This is the only place in the New Testament where this Greek word, chasma, is used, and we need to remember that many people whom we rub shoulders with every day will be on the other side of the great chasm after death. C.S. Lewis in his novel about Heaven and Hell, called The Great Divorce, speculates that people in Hell could travel to Heaven, but that few would ever choose to do so. However, Luke 16:26 contradicts this speculation of C.S. Lewis. Jude 7 and Matthew 25:46 also say their punishment is eternal.
Curiously, the rich man never asked to get out, he only asked for relief. Then he asked, or rather commanded, Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, saying in effect, "I did not have enough evidence; send evidence to my brothers."
As a side note, the word "paradise" is only used three times in the New Testament. If someone from Hell could send a message, what would they say? First of all, the rich man wanted to lessen his torment. Second, the rich man wanted to send a message so that his brothers could stay out of where he was. Even this person in Hell wanted someone to share the gospel with others. Also note that the rich man could see Abraham and Lazarus, but it does not say that Lazarus could see the rich man.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.480-482 for more info.
Q: In Lk 16:31, what did Jesus mean that they still would not believe, even if someone rose from the dead?
A: This was both an observation of their present attitude and a prediction of their response to the resurrection of Jesus. It is interesting that Abraham still called the rich man "my son", Of course, a short time later, Jesus even proved this by raising the brother of Mary and Martha, Lazarus, in John 11:45-53 and 12:10-11.
Q: In Lk 16:31 was Abraham in heaven, as the skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible states on p.985?
A: No, the Bible does not say where Abraham was. While Abraham and Lazarus were in a comfortable place, many Christians would teach that they were not in heaven yet, but in a "holding place, where Jesus told the thief on His right that the thief would go that day, which Jesus called Paradise. Paradise is the part of the afterlife where those who followed God went until Jesus rose from the dead.
Q: In Lk 16:31, do miracles prove Jesusí mission?
A: Miracles were a witness supporting Jesusí mission according to Hebrews 2:4, but a miracle of itself does not "prove" something as there can be fake miracles. However, even with the evidence for the resurrection and other miracles, all of the fulfilled prophecies, and the testimony of the early Christians we still do not have "absolute proof", as you can never have absolute proof of a historical event.
Nevertheless, even though Jesus provided overwhelming evidence, providing overwhelming evidence is one thing, but a listener accepting overwhelming evidence is something else. Even in modern times you can find a few people who believe the earth is flat, think a holocaust never happened, or that killing certain people and drinking their blood gives protection against AIDS. But the fact that a few people believe each of these three falsehoods, even in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, does not mean the evidence against these crazy things not overwhelming.
See When Critics Ask p.392-393 for a complementary answer.
Q: In Lk 17:1-2, why is it so serious an offense to cause someone else to stumble?
A: The consequences are serious of being Satanís tool to turn someone away from a life of joy with God eternally.
Q: In Lk 17:2, who are the little ones here?
A: Let's examine three possibilities.
a) It could be children, but nothing else in this teaching references you kids, like in other teachings. Jesus and the Bible treat children just as valuable as adults, but it does not treat them as more valuable.
b) It could be new believers, children in the faith, and those with a faith still being formed, whether they are physically children or older.
c) It could be "little" i.e., poor people of the world. However, except for the closeness to the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, nothing else would recommend this interpretation.
The answer: Since the context it offending or causing someone to stumble who could be offended or made to stumble, the answer would be b). There can be materially poor people who are rich in the faith and would not be subject to stumbling.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.994 also says it definitely cannot be a) and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1434, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.996, and the New International Bible Commentary p.1216 say it is b).
Q: In Lk 17:3-4, why is it so offensive for a believer to not forgive others?
A: Perhaps an analogy can help here. Why is it so important for our blood to carry oxygen and food to the cells in our body, and to carry carbon dioxide and waste away? Just as these physical things are a sign of life, so is love and forgiveness a sign of our spiritual life. Anything that blocks the bloodís function is a serious problem.
As our bodies need food and oxygen, so we continually need Godís grace and love. As our bodies need to be rid of carbon dioxide and waste, so we need Godís forgiveness and cleansing. We can forgive others easily, because of how much God has forgiven us who are in Christ. If someone cannot forgive, either they have been ineffective in realizing how much God has forgiven them, or perhaps they were not saved.
Q: In Lk 17:5-6, what is Jesus teaching here about faith?
A: Faith is not a substance you are given, and what you have is all you ever have. So, it is not about getting more "pieces" of faith", but rather growing what you already have when you first believed in Christ. Rather, living faith is like a seed, it has life and grows. Even if you have just a small amount of living faith, it can still grow to be a great faith, as long as the weeds and bugs are kept away, and it is watered and cared for. So, you don't need a "big faith"; you just need a genuine faith, because it can grow to a big faith. If you are a genuine Christian, how are you nurturing your faith?
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1435 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.996-997 for more info.
Q: In Lk 17:6, what do we know about mulberry trees?
A: While there are 12 species of mulberry trees, the kind grown in the Israel and the Mediterranean was generally the black mulberry tree, also called the sycamine tree. They were grown for their fruit, and they were not used for silkworms in the west until much after the time of Jesus.
Mulberry trees have shallow root systems, and high winds can topple a tree over and blow it away. Metaphorically speaking, one can imagine a strong wind (the Holy Spirit), moving a mulberry tree to the sea, an impossible-looking outcome that undoubtedly has happened.
Different answer: The New International Bible Commentary p.1217 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.248, say the sycamine tree has very strong roots. Nevertheless, https://homeguides.sfgate.com/potting-soil-and-cactus-mix-13768053.html says that mulberry trees in general have wider and shallower root systems than many other types of trees to aid in getting nutrients better. But in loose soil with a strong wind, this would make the tree easier to uproot.
Q: In Lk 17:7-10, what is Jesus teaching about servanthood in speaking of the servant coming in from the field and preparing the meal?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
Pride in our obedience is foolish. Obedience is only our fitting duty. Our obedience should be an expression of our gratitude to God.
Boasting: We should not tell God how great and obedient we are. Jesus gave an example of this in the prayer of the Pharisee vs. the Publican (tax collector) in Luke 18:9-14.
Special treatment: We should not think we deserve special treatment because of our obedience. No amount of spirituality or past obedience exempts us from listening to God and obeying Him in the future. We should not have a sense of entitlement, and we should not give a sense of entitlement to others, as James 2:1-9 shows.
Q: In Lk 17:9 (KJV), what does "trow" mean?
A: This King James Version word means to "think". The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1750, adds that the word "I think/trow not" were not in the original Greek manuscripts.
Q: In Lk 17:11-19, why was Jesus offended by the nine lepers?
A: All were healed, but only one showed gratitude by returning to Jesus to thank Jesus. And that beggar was not from Judea and presumably did not have the opportunity to learn the Old Testament that the others did. It can be offensive, to others, and to God, when you think so much about yourself that you fail to show gratitude. All ten were healed of their leprosy, but only the one who returned was given the special blessing by Jesus. This stresses that the gospel message is as much for those without a Jewish background as those with it.
After Jesus healed all ten, the reason Jesus sent them off to the priests was for them to obey Leviticus 14:2-32. The priest was to examine the person, and if the leprosy was healed they were to pronounce them clean, and then they could rejoin the rest of society. It would also be a testimony to the priests. We do not know if the priests spoke harshly to the lepers or not when they learned the Jesus healed them, and we don't know if they gave them any warnings or not. Regardless of any opposition though, they should have returned to show gratitude to Jesus anyway.
But before you are too hard on the nine lepers, realize that many people are like this today. They are very friendly when asking for help, but once they have received all the help they need, they show no gratitude because they view the person only as a means to an end they felt entitled to. As believers we need to make sure we do not show ourselves ungrateful to others. Jesus was offended when the nine lepers did not show any gratitude but just took Him for granted. Does God feel offended when we fail to show Him gratitude and take Him for granted? I hope you "count your blessings" daily and prayerfully gives thanks all the time to God.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1436 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.829 for more info.
Q: In Lk 17:19, why did Jesus often tell people: "your faith has made you well"?
A: First, Jesus wanted to commend their faith, and we should do the same. Today, it is not sufficient for Christians just to tolerate and accept believers in other godly ministries. We should pray for them, praise God for them, and publicly commend them for their faith and work for the Lord.
Q: In Lk 17:20, were these Pharisees sincere in asking Jesus when the kingdom was coming, were they mocking Jesus, or just trying to possibly trap Him?
A: Based on the context we cannot tell which one it was, or if it was part sincerity and part skepticism. Someone hearing the question at the time might not have been able to tell either. But no matter. When we are presented with a question that could be sincere, we don't need to spend time trying to evaluate someone's heart; just answer the question.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1436 for more info.
Q: In Lk 17:21, since the kingdom of God is within believers, does this mean that human kingdoms are unreal, as the Christian Science cult teaches?
A: No. One would have to believe an unreal definition of reality to say this. Of course, everything on earth, not just kingdoms, is not as real as Heaven. However, earthly kingdoms that "really" tortured and martyred Christians, and earthly kingdoms and philosophy that "really" turns people toward evil, are not to be trivialized as mere fantasy.
See When Cultists Ask p.150 for a different but complementary answer.
Q: In Lk 17:21, since the kingdom of God is within believers, does this mean people are divine, as the Christian Science cult teaches?
A: No. We can be confident that Paul the apostle knew the answer to that. In Acts 14:11-18, Paul and Barnabas were not willing to let the Lycaonian crowd worship them. Having the kingdom of God within you shows you are a child of God, but it does not make you divine or God. It is interesting that in answering the Pharisees, Jesus said to look for what is already here, while immediately after that, in talking to the disciples, Jesus said to watch in the future. See When Cultists Ask p.150-151 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1436 for more info.
Q: In Lk 17:31-33, what is Jesus saying about remembering Lotís wife?
A: There are at least two lessons to learn.
Suddenly Lotís wife was destroyed just when she felt secure after the angels rescued her. God saved her life, yet afterwards she perished due to her own disobedience. The problem was as the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1437 says, "She was out of Sodom, but Sodom was not out of her."
In general, Christians might wonder how many years it will be before they can relax their guard against temptation and sin, including materialism, lust, pride, and discouragement. When will they be so spiritually mature they can forget about resisting these evils? The answer is that, this side of Heaven, you can never relax your guard. Over and over again, the Bible warns us of our need to continue to persevere. Some ways are:
Watching our life and doctrine closely. 2 Timothy 1:14; Colossians 1:23; Proverbs 22:5
Not to follow wisdom of this world. Colossians 2:8-9; James 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-27; 2:6,8,14; 2 Corinthians 1:12
General perseverance. Hebrews 10:23,36; 12:1,12-13; 1 John 2:24; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Romans 5:3-4; James 1:3-4,12;5:11; 2 Peter 1:8-10
Believers have to persevere in suffering. Romans 8:17-18; 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 4:8-12; 6; 2 Timothy 2:3;4:5
Q: In Lk 17:34-36, what does this say about day and night on the earth?
A: This indicates a knowledge that it can be nighttime for some people in verse 34, and simultaneously daytime for others in 17:35-36. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1437 for more info.
Q: In Lk 17:37, what did Jesus mean by saying "where there is a dead body the vultures will gather"?
A: Regardless of whether this is a scavenger-type of eagle or a common vulture, Jesus i is using a metaphor of large scavenger birds as a symbol of a serious of impending judgments. Of course, when things exist, such as dead bodies, certain consequences generally occur, such as scavenger birds arriving. However, that is not the main point here, as Jesus could have used a large number of other metaphors if He merely intended to say that things have consequences.
General application for any time: Hard Sayings of the Bible p.482-483 says that some see this as saying, "where there is a situation ripe for judgment, there the judgment will fall."
End-time application: Jesus is speaking a parable about one consequence of wickedness before He comes. The wicked will be killed, and the scavenger birds will have plenty of food. This is spelled out more in Revelation 19:17-21.
70 A.D. Application: Some see the "eagles" here as also referring to the emblem of the Roman eagles that were on the standards carried by the divisions. The Roman army came and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.830 , The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.998, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.249 understand this as just vultures.
See also the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1437 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:1-8, if God is like the unjust judge in the parable, then does God ever appear unjust?
A: God is not unjust, but God in His providence can appear unjust for a period of time - just ask Job. The purpose of this parable is to show that since victims are persistent even before an unjust judge, how much more should Godís children be persistent with their Heavenly Father, who is just. Jesus wanted to illustrate a specific point with the unjust judge, similar to how he wanted to show a specific point with the rich man who fired the shrewd manager in Luke 16:1-9. Things often are unjust on earth, but God can set everything right in the final judgment. See the New International Bible Commentary p.1217-1218, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.249-250, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.999, and The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.596 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:4-6, what is Jesus teaching about our need for persistence in prayer?
A: If a person should be persistent with a judge who does not care about justice, how much more should we be persistent with God. This can refer to prayer in general, but according to the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1437 its placement right after Luke 17 suggests that this parable is especially apropos to the long time praying for Christ's return.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 commands us to pray without ceasing. The Greek "wears me out" is actually difficult to translate. It literally means "give me a black eye" which can both mean "beat me up" and "make me look bad".
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1000 for more on how this means "damage my reputation". However, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.830 says the judge did NOT regard what people thought, but they judge was just tired of the woman bothering him.
Q: In Lk 18:4-5, how can you handle the situation where someone thinks you too unimportant to do for you what they are supposed to do?
A: The lesson from this parable is to keep nagging until you get it. There are times when we need to be persistent. Not rude, or losing our temper, but nicely persistent with no letup.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.998-999 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.830 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:8f, what did Jesus mean by asking if He would find faith on earth?
A: Jesus did not find much faith on earth, as John 1:10-12 shows. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.249-250 says that Jesus was not speaking out of ignorance, nor questioning about the rapture, but rather exhorting them to keep the faith with prayer, and greater service. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.483-484 for a complementary answer.
Q: In Lk 18:9, is it OK to trust in yourself for some things?
A: We are to take responsibility for our own actions, and we are to have confidence that with Godís help we can do the things He intends for us to do.
However, we would not even continue to exist apart from God, our Creator and Sustainer. Furthermore, we cannot do a single good thing of eternal significance without God. So, we have no basis to trust in our own goodness, power, or abilities apart from God.
Q: In Lk 18:9-14, are we obligated to tithe?
A: A tithe, or tenth, is a portion of your income given to the Lordís work. Leviticus 27:30-33 says it belonged to God, and it was for priests and Levites in the Old Testament in Numbers 18:21-32, Genesis 14:20; 28:22; 2 Chronicles 31:5; and Malachi 3:7-12.
In the New Testament, since the resurrection of Jesus, we are not under the Old Testament law (including tithing) but under grace. We can give more! But the "tithe" can still be thought of as setting the standard for generous giving. The New Testament mentions tithing in Luke 18:9-14; 1 Corinthians 16:1; and 2 Corinthians 8.
Q: In Lk 18:9-14, is it possible that the publican was Zacchaeus? Might this explain why the lord called him down in the next chapter, Lk 19:1-10?
A: While Zacchaeus would fit this situation, most commentators view Luke 18:9-14 as a parable, and for no specific tax collector, or Pharisee, in particular.
Q: In Lk 18:11, should we ever thank God that we are morally better than someone else?
A: This parable indicates that we should not. We have nothing good that was not given to us by God. It is arrogant to claim, even before God, we are better or more important than someone else. Philippian 2:3 says we are to esteem others as more important than ourselves.
As the New International Bible Commentary p.1218 says the Pharisee "glances at God, but contemplates himself." In contrast, the tax collector could not stand himself when he looked at God's holiness.
See Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.830 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.250 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:12 when did Jews fast twice a week?
A: Jews who fasted usually fasted on Monday and Thursday.
Q: In Lk 18:14, can prayer justify a person?
A: No. It is interesting that when the parable starts out, many would assume the righteous Pharisee would be the hero and the tax collector was a villain. It is God who chooses to justify or not. Prayer or other actions of ours do not "force" God Almighty to justify anyone. However, Jesusí point in this passage is that God chose to justify the repentant tax-collector rather than the proud Pharisee. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.999 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:16, why were the disciples thinking to rebuke the children?
A: Jesus was a busy man whom they thought "obviously" did not have time to see everyone who wanted to see Him. The disciples were trying to guard Jesus' valuable time from what they saw as a waste of His precious time. They were trying to "help God out" by eliminating what they viewed as the less valuable people. Note that Jesus never asked for this kind of help.
Today we should be careful whenever we think that God needs us to "help Him out", especially by doing things He never said for us to do.
In contrast to the disciplesí view of children the godly evangelist D.L. Moody once told a friend that "two and a half people were saved today." The friend asked, did you mean two adults and one child? Moody, said no, two young children and one older adult. Basically, the children had a full lifetime ahead of them to serve God. It was great that the older adult could both go to Heaven and serve God now, but the older adult had less than half his life left to serve God on earth.
Q: In Lk 18:16f, how is such as children is the kingdom of God?
A: One way is that children realize they are children. They are often more humble than adults, as they realize they do not have the knowledge, strength, or ability to do many things. That does not bother them though, if their parents are there to help them. Little children bring nothing to a parent-child relationship except their own weakness, need, dependency, and love. But though they know they are dependent, they have expectation and excitement. Likewise, we should be as children in entering the kingdom of God.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.999 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.250 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:18-23, why was Jesus emphasizing the law to the rich young ruler?
A: This is right after the situation with the little children, and this show someone who will NOT receive the kingdom like a little child. The rich young ruler did not see himself as lost, in need of forgiveness, or needing grace for salvation. Jesus went to his level and mentioned five of the Ten Commandments, though not yet covetousness. Jesus' command could also be considered an implied question: "just how important is your money to you?" Rather than just telling the ruler to believe in Him, Jesus first wanted to show the ruler that his works and heart were not sufficient to get to Heaven on his own. Jesus did not accuse the rich young ruler of any hypocrisy; rather Jesus wanted to give him a deeper understanding of his own heart.
While both the rich young ruler and the blind man came to Jesus, the blind man even after he was told to stop trying, Jesus gave very few people the invitation to leave everything and follow Him. But yet, the young man turned away. If you could be anyone in history, wouldn't it be great to be this rich young ruler, and when Jesus asked to you follow Him, as a disciple, joyfully given everything away and done so!
See When Cultists Ask p.151-152, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1438-1439, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.831 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:18-23 and Mt 19:21, must we give all we have to the poor, like Jesus asked the rich young ruler to do?
A: Scripture never says this, and Abraham actually was a very wealthy man. Paul retained private property, his cloak in 2 Timothy 4:13. Rather than saying the rich must do this or that, letís simply see what Paul said about the rich in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
"Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." (NKJV)
Notice that the rich young ruler had presumably followed the law better than Zacchaeus had, but the two had very different responses.
See When Critics Ask p.502 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.251 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:31, since Christ said in effect, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.", why were the prophecies of the Second Coming not fulfilled yet?
A: Every prophecy will be fulfilled. Despite the foreknown rejection of Christ by the Jews, these prophecies will still come true. However, if Christís eternal reign on earth had started before He was rejected and Jesus had never been rejected, then the prophecies in Isaiah 53 would be false.
This illustrates an important point about God. God has a sense of timing for his work, and sometimes we have to be patient and wait on Godís timing, as the first parable in Luke 18 reminds us.
Q: In Lk 18:34, why did Jesus tell them things they did not understand?
A: Jesus told them clearly, but they did not remember and understand clearly. This is the third incident in the first three gospels where Jesus told them He would be killed. Sometimes, when you teach someone, and they have trouble understanding how this could happen, you need to patiently reteach multiple times. Each time Jesus told them more details though. The disciples would understand clearly later. See the discussion on Luke 9:45, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.251, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.831 for more info.
Q: In Lk 18:40-41, what does this tell us about Jesus?
A: Jesus would stop everything for a blind beggar. As the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1440 says, while Joshua saw the sun stand still in the heavens, the Lord of the sun stood still for one blind beggar. Then strangely, Jesus asked the blind man what he wanted. It was not Jesus could not figure out what was obvious, but rather Jesus wanted him to verbalize his need.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1000-1001 for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:1-9, what about Zacchaeusí experience especially gives us hope?
A: The text starts out with this evil man seeking Jesus, but in truth Jesus was seeking Zacchaeus all along. Jesus did not ask to stay at Zacchaeus' house; Jesus told Zacchaeus that He must stay at his house, as though Zacchaeus had no choice. Zacchaeus did not have to change to clean up his home first, neither did Jesus expect him to. Zacchaeus did not have a chance to clean up his life first, and neither did Jesus expect him to either.
We might predict that after the righteous rich man refused to give up his goods to follow Jesus, a corrupt rich man would have almost zero chance of giving away his money and wanting to follow the Lord. This just goes to show that we should not try to be in the business of trying to predict who will accept Christ and who won't. Just preach, and God will take care of the response.
People knew who Zacchaeus was, and while it would like undignified for Zacchaeus to climb the true, it would look even worse in the eyes of others that Jesus accepted Zacchaeus. But Jesus did not care. People might have scoffed at Zacchaeus for thinking Jesus would want him, but Zacchaeus did not care. In living before an audience of many, do we seek the applause of One?
Zacchaeusí was changed, and from the inside out. Jesus did not tell Zacchaeus to give back the money that he took from the poor and others. Zacchaeusí new heart told him that he must do that.
Q: In Lk 19:2 what is unusual about this verse?
A: In Luke 19:2, the Greek phrase "chief tax collector" is not used anywhere else in all Greek literature, including the Bible. This is likely a title for a tax collector who supervised other tax collectors. See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.603, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.831, and the New International Bible Commentary p.1219 for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:8, why did Zacchaeus give half his possessions to the poor?
A: Scripture does not say but one factor was his new concern for the poor. Another reason might be that if he repaid all that he cheated others, he might not have more than one-half left. According to the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1441 the Greek word should not be translated as "if" but rather "since". Notice that while the rich young ruler would not part with his wealth, Zacchaeus was going to give away most of it. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.252 for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:13a, why did Jesus mention ten servants in the parable of the talents?
A: Jesus told other parables about money, and He also told other parables about power. This parable is unusual in combining both money and power. Jesus in Luke 19:15-26 only discussed the results of three servants; so many people mistakenly remember that there were only three servants in the parable. Jesus mentions that ten servants were given money, but he is silent on what the other seven did with theirs. It is almost as Jesus did not quite finish the parable, the other seven servants are us, His church, and we still finish the parable by what we do with our minas.
This is reminiscent of the ending of the Book of Jonah, where it leaves the question unsettled as to whether Jonah repented of his awful attitude toward the lost or not.
Q: In Lk 19:14, why did Jesus mention the subjects sending a delegation saying, "we do not want this man to be our king"?
A: The listeners of Jesus could very well relate to this description, as around 4 B.C, .a delegation from Herod the Great and his son Herod Archelaus had gone from Jericho to Rome for this exact reason. However, people from Judea sent a message to the Roman Emperor that they did not want Archelaus to be their king. As a sidenote, Rome finally deposed Herod Archelaus because of the constant petitions of his subjects. See The NIV Study Bible p.1577 , The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.603, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1441, the New International Bible Commentary p.1219, which take this from Josephusí Wars of the Jews 2.6.1 and Antiquities of the Jews 19.9.3 (written about 93-94 A.D.) for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:16-26, why did the master entrust this money to his servants?
A: A mina was about three-months wages for a laborer per The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.252 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.832. It was about 100 days per The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1001. While the master might like a few more silver talents, someone who is going to rule over cities would likely have a much bigger reason. He was looking for governors of the cities he was going to rule, and he wanted to know who would be faithful and who would not be. The servant who made ten minas from one mina must have used resourcefulness to do it. Likewise, when we are faithful in what God has given us, it is not just that God has a few more contributions, but He is testing us to see if we can be entrusted with much. See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.606 for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:20 what does the Greek word for "another" mean here?
A: In some ways Greek is more precise than other languages, and they have three different words for other/another. The word used here is eteros (Strong's 2087) , from which we get our prefix hetero, means "another of a different kind". This word is also used in 1 Corinthians 3:4; Hebrews 7:15 and Acts 1:2. A different word, allos (Strong's 243), means "another of the same kind". Allos is used in Matthew 4:21; 6:15; 20:3; 21:23; 27:42; and Acts 19:32.
Q: In Lk 19:20, while the third servant wanted nothing to do with the responsibility of stewardship, how can Christians (unfortunately) be like that today?
A: There is no indication that the servant was dishonest. At least the servant did not lose what he was entrusted with. But the servant was not interested in being about the king's business, in the absence of the king. Like that servant, Christians can leave dormant their gifts and abilities or not use them for God. If we do not use our opportunities, they can be taken from us. Then, when nothing happens, like the servant, some can tend to blame the master.
One kind of laziness is not doing what you should be doing. Another kind of laziness is not wanting to plan or think about what you should be doing. None of the servants were told what to invest in. The first two servants had to be resourceful, and use their own initiative in coming up with ways to make money. Our initiative should be under the Lordship of Christ; when a direction would look good for us, but God wants us to go a different way, we should go God's way. But we should still have initiative and be resourceful in trying to use our talents for God. We don't know if the third servant was lazy in what he did, lazy in not wanting to plan, or did what he did because of his attitude towards the master. It is likely that it could be all three, with the two types of laziness springing from his attitude.
When the third servant dug a hole to hide his mina, in a sense he was digging a hole for himself. None of the servants could be certain that they would be successful. But, out of an abundance of caution, the third servant did the worst thing he could have done, in the eyes of the master. Sometimes, out of fear, or when they feel threatened, people do foolish things. When the angels told the shepherds "don't be afraid" it might have meant two different but related things. The first is "don't feel afraid", and the second is "don't act out of fear."
Finally, when God gives us a gift or talent, and we decide that either we are not going to use it, or else we are not going to use it for God, are we not being as bad as the third servant. The most obvious natural gift people think of is wealth and career, but perhaps a more important natural gift is time. When you just "can't" serve God more, because you are spending too many hours each day watching TV or movies, aren't you digging a hole to put your talents in. As one TV preacher once said, for some the first step to serve God is to raise your pointer finger straight up, then rotate your hand to point it away from you, and then push the off button on the TV. So don't judge the third servant too harshly, because it might come back to you. Repent of ways you might have been unintentionally digging a hole to waste your gifts and talents that could be used for God.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1002, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.252-253, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1442 for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:38f, why did they not say "peace on earth" like at Jesus' birth?
A: Luke 19:39 quotes Psalm 118:26a and Psalm 48:1; however, they could have repeated what the angels said at Jesus' birth, but they did not. They spoke inspired by the Holy Spirit, and there would very soon be peace in heaven, but the leaders and many Jewish people rejected Jesus, so peace on earth would have to wait. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1443 for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:39, why did the Pharisees tell Jesus to rebuke His disciples?
A: Hosanna means praise, and they saw that the disciples were praising Jesus, and only God should be praised. They were right on one point: only God should be praised like this.
Q: In Lk 19:40, what does it mean that the stones would cry out?
A: The Pharisees were unhappy because Jesus acted as though the Temple and city belonged to Him. If the people would not worship Jesus, the stones themselves would glorify Him. Jews would be familiar with this imagery, because Habakkuk 2:11 said that even the stones would cry out. Habakkuk 2:11 shows it would not be good for those who reject Christ though, because the stones would cry out in judgment. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1443 for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:41-44 why is Jesus moved to tears here?
A: It is NOT because of what He is about to suffer; rather it is what is what is going to happen to Jerusalem. Later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus would ask if there was any way this cup would pass, so Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. But here, Jesus' focus is sadness at the future suffering of Jerusalem. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.832, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.253-254, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1002-1003 for more info.
Q: In Lk 19:44, why did Jesus prophecy that the Jewish infants would be dashed to pieces?
A: Jesus was not saying this with gladness, or commanding this, but rather only predicting this with great sorrow and weeping. God allows these things to happen, but somethings sadden God's heart.
Q: In Lk 20:2 why did the leaders ask Jesus where He got His authority?
A: There is the question, and then the question behind the question. The stated question was merely asking why Jesus thought He had the authority to have crowds praised Him and drive moneychangers out of someone else' temple. On the surface it sounds like they were just curious where he got his diploma, ordination, or rabbi certificate.
But the real question was more like, "How could you dare to do these things, since you do not have the authority to do so." A rabbi can have followers, but a mere rabbi should not be praised like that, unless the rabbi was actually the Messiah, or more. Both Jesus and all the leaders already knew that no religious or political leader, or anyone on earth for that matter, gave Jesus this authority. And yet, infuriating as it would be to powerful chief priests and others, it was obvious that Jesus did not care. Jesus was God, and His authority came from the Father.
Jesus did not answer them directly but asked a question of his own. On the surface, the question was: "I was also curious if you thought John the Baptist's authority was legitimate or not" But behind the question Jesus was indicting them as hypocrites. If the answer was clear to them, why would they have a need to first discuss it among themselves? If Jesus had asked about Jeremiah, they would just immediately respond with "Yes, he was from God." Why the hesitation on John the Baptist? They could not even answer a simple question, because either they feared the people stoning them, or else they saw where this question was leading. If John the Baptist had no human authority either, but authority from God, then why question me if you convicted yourself as knowing John was from God and yet not following God's authority.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.832, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1003, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1444, the New International Bible Commentary p.1220, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.254-255, and The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.611 for more info.
Q: In Lk 20:8, why did Jesus refuse to answer their question?
A: Before answering, notice that they did not ask among themselves "what is the right answer" or "what would God want us to say", but rather what answer they could make up that would sound the best. They were not interested in whether they answered truthfully or not here.
The answer: The chief priests and scribes knew they had the light of teaching from God in John the Baptist, yet they refused to accept the light that they had. Jesus refused to give them more light when they rejected the light that they had. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1013 for more info.
Q: In Lk 20:9-14, how were the chief priests and Sadducees like the vineyard tenants in the parable?
A: Absentee landlords were common in Palestine at this time, so the setting of the parable would sound familiar to them. Isaiah 5:1-7 had a similar allegory of God being the owner of the vineyard, and Israel being the vineyard, which produced worthless grapes.
There are four similarities. Both the tenants and the chief priests/Sadducees were occupying and making a living from what belonged to someone else, which was fine. But both refused to accept the authority of the Master. Both started getting the idea that it really belonged to them, not the rightful owner. Both would resort to murder to get what they felt rightfully belonged to them.
Whenever a group in power thinks that worship of God rightly belongs under their domain, there is trouble. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1014, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1444 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.833 for more info.
Q: In Lk 20:18 what is Jesus saying about the stone being both underfoot and falling on someone?
A: There is only one stone here. The stone that is a nuisance underfoot is the religious leaders being troubled at Jesus' first coming. But the stone, the same stone, later falling from heaven and pulverizing some will happen at Jesus' second coming. There is no way around it; you cannot reject the stone and be unharmed. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1004 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1444-1445 for more info.
Q: In Lk 20:19-22, why did the chief priests and scribes ask Jesus about taxes?
A: This question was not just about taxes, but also about money, religion, and politics. They saw Jesus as a threat to their power over the religious system. They tried to entrap Jesus, meaning that if Jesus answered one way, many of His followers might be disappointed in Him, telling them to still pay taxes. But if Jesus answered the other way, refuse to pay taxes, that would be even better. They could run to Pilate or Herod and tell them this guy is on record saying to resist paying taxes, and if you are loyal to Rome, you will get Jesus.
Many Jewish people had three problems with paying taxes. They did not want to pay money to a foreign system to help support their oppression of the Jewish people. They were taxed up to a third of their income, according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1015. Second, Roman coins usually had a picture of an emperor on them, and they though this graven image would violate the second commandment. Third, by this time Emperors proclaimed themselves as gods, and so a Roman coin, with an emperor's picture, was a blasphemous image of an idol.
Jesus did not answer them directly and fall into their trap though. First, Jesus called out that this was a trap or test in Luke 20:23. Second, Jesus asked a simple question to get common ground, and third, Jesus put the ball back in their court. Jesus said to pay unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. Jesus did not specify how much should be Caesar's though. However, where did Jesus get the coin from? One of the Jews was carrying it. If the image was a blasphemous idol, when why was the Jew person carrying it?
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.833, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1004, the New International Bible Commentary p.1220, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.255, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1445 for more info.
Q: In Lk 20:27-38, why did the Sadducees test Jesus in this?
A: This is a different sort of test. The Sadducees thought they had an ironclad argument, and this would not just prove Jesus wrong, but the Pharisees wrong too. Deuteronomy 25:5-10 said that a surviving brother of the deceased husband is to marry the widow. If one assumed that marriage relations are in heaven just like on earth, then they might have a valid point. But Jesus showed them that their assumption was wrong here. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1004-1005, the New International Bible Commentary p.1220-1221, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1016 for more info.
Q: In Lk 20:35, how are some "counted worthy"?
A: In general, a person is worthy (deserving) of something good for one of two reasons.
1. They themselves paid for it, earned it, or owned it.
2. Another paid for it, earned it on their behalf, or gave it to them.
Jesus intended the second meaning, not the first, as He does not say we are worthy, but that we are counted worthy.
In the eyes of man, angels, and demons, we truly are counted worthy to share in eternal life, because Jesus paid the price for our sins in giving us this precious gift. People who try to earn their way to Heaven, and genuine Christians can agree that believers are saved by merit. The point of disagreement is whether it is the merit of Jesus or the merit of themselves.
Q: In Lk 20:40 (KJV), what does "durst not" mean?
A: This King James Version expression means "dare not".
Q: In Lk 20:41-44, what was Jesus' point here?
A: These two halves, that the Messiah was David's descendant and also David's Lord, are in the same verse in Psalm 110:1, so they have to be the same person. Where is the place in their theology for a single being who is both a human descendant of David and King David's Lord? If there is no place in their theology for this Old Testament Word of God to fit, then they need to go back and redo their theology. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.256 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1017-1018 for more info.
Q: In Lk 20:44-47, why was Jesus specifically against the scribes?
A: Three kinds of reasons are given. First, they loved the long robes, titles and greetings, and best seats. Second, they take money for their lavishness from poor widows. Third, they make long prayers just to sound good. They were misusing their religious authority for their own pride and financial gain. Unfortunately, since that time many religious leaders in long robes have acted similarly. Luke 20:47f says that religious leaders who are this way will have harsher judgment. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1005, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.256, the New International Bible Commentary p.1221, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1018 for more info.
Q: In Lk 21:1-4, why did Jesus commend the widow?
A: The two coins were called lepta, and they were worth about an eighth of a penny. It was an extremely small amount, but it was all she had.
Jesus commended the widow for a couple of reasons. Jesus had just talked about those who devoured widows' houses in Luke 20:47. Now Jesus is contrasting this by looking at things from the perspective of the widow. While others gave a small percentage out of their abundance, she gave all she had out of her poverty. While others might have showed little dependence on God, her offering showed dependence on Him. Widows had a hard time supporting themselves in ancient times unless they had sons and daughters. Some might expect a widow to be at the temple begging, but instead she was at the temple giving money.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.834, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1005, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.256, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1446, The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.618, the New International Bible Commentary p.1221, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1018 for more info.
Q: In Lk 21:5-6, how is what we view as magnificent different from what God views as magnificent?
A: Herod the Great started remodeling the Temple in 20/19 B.C., and it still was not done in Jesus time. It was only finished in 63 A.D. Jesus paid more attention to the widow than He did to the elaborate buildings constructed by Herod the Great.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.834 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1005 for more info.
Q: In Lk 21:5-6, should churches and religious building be expensively adorned?
A: Jesus here was commenting how all this would be destroyed, as happened in 70 A.D. In general, some people are more interested in donating expensive things to God, than in giving their lives to God.
Two concepts in the Bible give evidence that nicely decorating a church is OK.
In the Old Testament, the Tabernacle and later the Temple were elaborately adorned in reverence to God.
The sinful woman who anointed Jesus with oil costing a yearís wages, worshipped Jesus properly. Thus, it is still OK to spend some money on things that glorify God, apart from giving money to the poor (which also glorifies God).
Q: In Lk 21:7, why were the disciples so interested in when the Temple would be destroyed?
A: On one hand, they were amazed that such a massive structure would be so demolished that one stone would not be left upon another. On the other hand, when such as momentous thing as that will happened, they incorrectly thought the Messianic kingdom would be right after that.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1446 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1005-1006 for more info.
Q: In Lk 21:8-28, did Jesus exactly answer their question?
A: Yes, Jesus answered what they asked, but Jesus also answered what they were probably thinking too. They explicitly asked when the Temple would be destroyed. Jesus spoke of signs first, such as false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, etc. But what they did not know is that some of this would happen very soon, before the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., but the ultimate fulfillment would be I the end times when the rebuilt Temple is destroyed.
As an aside, when the Jews rebelled against the Romans and defeated two legions, the Romans returned around 67 A.D. with five legions. After Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman legions (Luke 21:20-21), the withdrew for a short period before returning. One might be inclined for safety to remain within the city walls. But Christian knew to specifically flee Jerusalem and go somewhere else, such as Pella, just east of the Jordan River and south of the Sea of Galilee, in modern-day Jordan. Jerusalem was captured, and her inhabitants killed or enslaved in 70 A.D.
Interestingly, in an attempt to disprove the truthfulness of Christianity, in 362 A.D. The Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate wrote two decrees, one to have the Jews rebuild Jerusalem and the other specifically to rebuild the temple. Julian died in 363 A.D. fighting the Persians. There was some kind of fire a few days after the construction started, and the construction was abandoned.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1447, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1006, The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.620, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1446 for more info.
Q: In Lk 21:8-28, how does history up to 70 A.D. match up with these prophecies?
A: There were a number of prophecies here, so let's take them one by one.
1 (yes, but only 3 to 6) False prophets and Christs (Luke 21:8): In Acts 5:34-37, the famous Jewish rabbi Gamaliel tells of Theudas (around 44 A.D.) and Judas of Galilee, who rose up with their followers to save Israel from the Roman yoke. In Acts 8:9-24, Peter rebukes a false religious leader named Simon, later known as Simon Magus. Church history tells us that Simon Magus subsequently set up his own religion, allegedly based on Christ, and became a false Messiah. 1 John was probably written after 70 A.D., but it mentions many false prophets with the Spirit of the Antichrist have gone out in 1 John 4:3. Early Church writings speak of Menander, Cerinthus, Carpocrates, but, it is not clear if they were before 70 A.D. or not.
2 (yes 19 wars) Wars (Luke 21:9-10): While there was a lot of fighting in China and some in India during this time, let's focus on just the Roman and Parthian Empires.
35-42 A.D. The Parthian general Vardanes puts down the city of Seleucia's revolt.
37 A.D. Herod Antipas defeats the Nabataean king Aretas.
40 A.D. Second revolt against Rome in Mauretania
48 A.D. Romans reconquer the Frisians, who had revolted for 20 years.
43-51 A.D. Romans under Aulus Plautius invade England, capturing Kent and Maiden Castle.
44 A.D. Romans reconquer Mauretania.
44 A.D. Romans conquer Pannonia (Serbia)
44 A.D. Theudas revolts against Rome in Palestine.
46 A.D. The Roman Pliny the Elder campaigns in Germany.
47-77 A.D. The Silures resist the Romans in England.
47/49 A.D. The Parthian Vardanes controls Babylon until he is assassinated.
51 A.D. Parthians defeat and kill the Parthian pretender Meherdates.
54 A.D. Acts 21:38 mentions a Jew who led 4,000 assassins into the wilderness. History tells us his name was Ben Stada.
60/61 A.D. Queen Boudicca of Britain leads a massive rebellion against the Romans. About 80,000 killed.
66-71 A.D. Jews revolt from Rome, defeating two legions. The Romans return with five more legions.
68 A.D. Betavians and Frisians rebel against Roman Emperor Nero.
69 A.D. The Roxollani invade Moesia and destroy Roman legion III Gallica
69-70 A.D. Septimus Severus defeats his rivals for Roman Emperor.
69-70 A.D. Roman Vespasian crushes Batavian revolt under Julius Civilis
3 (yes, but only 3) Earthquakes in various places (Luke 21:11):
33 A.D. Earthquake in Bithynia and Nicea according to the secular writer Phlegon.
60 A.D. Laodicea as destroyed by an earthquake. The Laodiceans rebuilt it with their own funds, without any Roman help.
62 A.D. Earthquake at Mt. Vesuvius, Italy. (Pompeii was not destroyed by an eruption until 79 A.D.)
4 (no) Famines (Luke 21:11): None recorded in the Roman and Parthian empires.
5 (no) Pestilences (Luke 21:11): None recorded in the Roman and Parthian empires.
6 (no) Fearful sights and great signs from heaven (Luke 21:11) Nobody recorded anything happening.
7 (yes, but only 2) Persecutions (Luke 21:11):
50 A.D. First local Roman persecution of Christian under Emperor Nero.
64 A.D. First general (empire-wide) Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Nero.
Frankly, there were a lot more persecutions after 70 A.D.
8 (no) Christians betrayed by close relatives (Luke 21:16): Nothing in particular recorded.
9 (no) Christians hated by all for Christ's name's sake (Luke 21:17): Not really, except for Nero's persecution, and people hated Nero more than Christians.
10 (definitely yes) Inhabitants of Jerusalem killed by the sword and led away captive (Luke 21:24) This happened. You can read all the details in Josephus.
11 (yes, though unusual to be called trampling) Jerusalem trampled by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24f) The Romans took over the city and destroyed the temple.
12 (no) Signs in the sun, moon, and stars (Luke 21:25): None recorded.
13 (no) Distress of the nations and the sea waves roaring (Luke 21:25): Less than the civil wars of the Romans and Parthians in other time periods. Much less than the Huns, and the slow fall of the Roman Empire and sack of Rome.
14 (no) Jesus coming with great power and glory (Luke 21:27): Christians knew nothing about this in 70 A.D.
Only six out of fourteen parts (43%) could be considered to be fulfilled by 70 A.D.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.256-257 and The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.619 for more info.
Q: How does Lk 21:8-28 match up with Revelation?
1 (yes, but only 3 to 6) False prophets and Christs (Luke 21:8): In Acts 5:34-37, the famous Jewish rabbi Gamaliel tells of Theudas (around 44 A.D.) and Judas of Galilee, who rose up with their followers to save Israel from the Roman yoke. In Acts 8:9-24, Peter rebukes a false religious leader named Simon, later known as Simon Magus. Church history tells us that Simon Magus subsequently set up his own religion, allegedly based on Christ, and became a false Messiah. 1 John was probably written after 70 A.D., but it mentions many false prophets with the Spirit of the Antichrist have gone out in 1 John 4:3. Early Church writings speak of Menander, Cerinthus, Carpocrates, but it is not clear if they were before 70 A.D. or not.
2 (yes 19 wars) Wars (Luke 21:9-10): Revelation 6:2-3, 12; 13:7
3 (yes) Earthquakes in various places (Luke 21:11): Revelation 6:12; 11:13
4 (yes) Famines (Luke 21:11): Revelation 6:6,12
5 (yes) Pestilences (Luke 21:11): Revelation 11:6.
6 (yes) Fearful sights and great signs from heaven (Luke 21:11) Revelation 6:12-13.
7 (yes) Persecutions (Luke 21:11): Revelation 12:17
8 (no) Christians betrayed by close relatives (Luke 21:16): Nothing in Revelation only Matthew 24 and Mark 13.
9 (yes, sort of) Christians hated by all for Christ's name's sake (Luke 21:17): Revelation 11:9-10, rejoice over the death of the godly.
10 (no) Inhabitants of Jerusalem killed by the sword and led away captive (Luke 21:24)
11 (yes) Jerusalem trampled by the Gentiles (Luke 21:24f) Revelation 11:2f
12 (yes) Signs in the sun, moon, and stars (Luke 21:25): Revelation 6:12-13.
13 (yes) Distress of the nations and the sea waves roaring (Luke 21:25): Revelation 6:15-17, 13:1
14 (yes) Jesus coming with great power and glory (Luke 21:27): Revelation 19:11-16
So, 12 out of the 14 events (86%) in Luke are also mentioned in Revelation. Of course, the book of Revelation has many events not mentioned in Luke 21.
Q: In Lk 21:23, who is "this generation"?
A: There is a one letter difference between the word "generation" and the word "race", so it could be one generation from the time the first signs are seen, or it could be the race of Jewish people will be around until these signs occur. A generation was considered to be about 40 lunar years or about 39.5 solar years. Since the prophecy has a dual fulfillment, the generation that saw the first of these signs would see the fulfillment. 70 A.D. is just a couple of years shy of a generation after 33 A.D. Since the first signs are seen in the endtimes, everything will pass within a generation of the first signs. So, both a "race" and a "generation" fit.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1448 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1022 for more info.
Q: In Lk 21:24f, what does "trampling by the Gentiles" mean?
A: Revelation 11:2 says that in the endtimes the Gentiles will trample on the Holy City for 42 months.
Q: In Lk 21:29-31, why is Jesus comparing this to a fig tree?
A: Jesus is not teaching anything new about trees; this was obvious to everyone already. Jesus was using a metaphor of something everyone knew to explain that these signs will not be some subtle thing, but they will be obvious to everyone. A fig tree often represents Israel in scripture, and certainly this would pertain to Israel. However, Jesus says a fig tree "or any tree" so this is not just Israel here.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1006, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.835, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1022, and The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.622 for more info.
Q: In Lk 21:34-36, how do believers become weighed down or entangled by the affairs of this world?
A: Believers do not have to reject or explicitly deny anything to grow colder. They can gradually make the things of God less and less of a priority and the things of the world a greater and greater priority. What are the most important things in your life right now? If that does not include glorifying God, sharing the gospel with others, helping others, strengthening other Christians, and defending the flock, consider that your priorities might be all messed up.
Satan and demons can tempt us with "fiery darts". A fiery dart might bounce off against the armor of God, but you can still feel the heat. Sometimes a fiery dart can get between a chink in the armor, and as believers we need healing from Jesus, the Great Physician.
In one sense the battle is won when we first come to Christ. But in another sense, the battle, the battle for sanctification, has just started. Make sure you are actually battling, and not just surrendering to the world. The command in Romans 12:2, to be transformed, is not a command for heaven but rather a command for our life now. While it might be easier to do that if we ware out of this world, God has us continue to be in the world; but we are not to be of it, as John 17:14-16 says.
Q: In Lk 21:34-36, how can a believer determine that he or she is becoming weighed down or entangled?
A: Sometimes you can tell just by your heart. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What excites you vs. what seems ho-hum to you. When you have nothing you really need to think about, what do you think about? Are they the things of God, or lesser things?
Q: In Lk 21:36 what exactly are we to watch and pray about?
A: The entire chapter can be summarized as reasons we need to take seriously the command to watch and pray. Watching for these things and praying about what God has decreed to happen is only a secondary meaning. The primary meaning is to watch your life and pray that God would count you worthy to escape these things.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1448 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:3 and Jn 13:2,27, how and why did Satan enter in Judas here?
A: While this could refer to demon possession of Judas, it does not necessarily mean this. Demon possession often is when the person loses control or does not know what they are doing. There is no hint that Judas lost control or was not in full control of what he was doing. Thus "demonic cooperation" is not always "demon possession".
Also, where did the money that the priests paid judas come from in Luke 22:5? It came from the temple treasury; in other words, money that was sincerely offered to God had its purpose twisted to pay to betray Jesus. Satan is not the creator; he did not create the money. He did not even persuade people to offer their own money to betray Jesus. All Satan had to do was to have the chief priest twist the purpose of the offering to serve Satan's purpose.
2. In Lk 22:3 and Jn 13:2,2, could a Christian be influenced by demons?
A: Unfortunately, yes. Even though a Christian is not demon-possessed, a Christian could still be influenced by demons if they let themselves be. If a Christian chooses to believe what the demon is tempting them with, turn to dark things for enjoyment, or allow demons to have control of a particular area of their life, then they can, at least in part, be under the demon's will.
Q: In Lk 22:10, what is a bit unusual here?
A: This is not a coincidence, that Jesus could predict the water carrier, and then the master of the house being told to provide a guest room, and gladly doing so. In fact, many think the master of the house was likely already a follower of Jesus.
Second, back in that society, many men worked as day laborers, and women often were the ones who carried the water. A man carrying water would not be unique, but would still be less common. The Believer's Bible Commentary p.1449 also said that the disciple's asked for a guest room but the host gave them something more than they asked for; a large, furnished upper room. The man probably knew who Jesus was. Also, people would probably have rooms to rent during this time when a large number of visitors came for the Passover. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.835, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.259, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1007 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:19-21, Jesus had eaten many meals with the disciples already, so what was the special significance of this meal?
A: Rather than speculate, let's see what Jesus Himself said about it.
|In Luke 22:15, Jesus said He had "eagerly desired" (literally desired with desire) to eat this last mean with his disciples.
In Luke 22:16,18, Matthew 26:29, and Mark 14:25, Jesus said he would no longer eat bread or drink of the fruit of the wine until the kingdom of God comes, so this had significance for the end times.
In John 13:14-15, Jesus said He gave them an example of washing His disciples' feet.
In John 13:18, Jesus specifically ate with Judas, which fulfilled Psalm 41:9.
In Luke 22:19 Jesus broke the bread and said to do this in remembrance of Me.
Of course, Jesus celebrate the Passover as observant Jews were to do, and He taught His disciples too.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1450 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.836 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:19, why are the bread and wine not Christís physical body?
A: We can see that Jesus meant the bread and wine were His body symbolically for two reasons.
First, there is not a shred of evidence that people bowed down to the bread and wine, neither in the Bible nor in the early church. We are not to worship anything or anyone besides God. We worship Jesus, but if the bread and wine is not Jesus, we are not to worship bread and wine.
Second, if a person took this metaphor as the bread and wine was or became Jesus, then to be consistent we would have to take other metaphors of Jesus' body as Jesus too, such as in 1 Corinthians 12:27. We (the church) are Christ's body. Do you think people should worship your, or worship the congregation that you attend? If neither, then why would you not worship a Christian, made in the image of God more than bread and wine, which are not made in God's image.
Now of course we are not to worship of Christians. But would worshipping other people, and justifying it by Christ's metaphor, be worse than worshipping the bread and wine, and justifying it by Christ's metaphor?
See When Critics Ask p.393-384 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:24-30, what are the three betrayals in this chapter?
A: The first and greatest one was Judas accepting money to betray Jesus. The second is that even after spending over three years with Jesus, the disciples were still filled with selfish ambition. The third is Peter's fear for his life overcoming his love for Jesus. As Christians, even if we won't succumb to the first temptation, we need to beware that we do not fall for the last two. See
Q: In Lk 22:31, how does Satan sift someone like wheat?
A: Scripture does not say, but it implies that Satan breaks down their resistance and spiritual strength, the consistency of their life, and leaves them like putty in Satanís hands and ineffective to obey God. The Greek word for "you" here is plural, not singular. So, on one hand Satan wanted to sift all the disciples as wheat. But on the other hand, Jesus was addressing only Peter, and the one who would hold the group together. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1008 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:32, was Jesus' prayer that Simon Peter's faith not fail answered affirmatively or negatively?
A: The Greek can be translated as "fail" or "be extinguished". Jesus' prayer was soon answered negatively as Peter's faith did fail for a while when Peter denied Jesus three times. But in another sense Jesus' prayer was eventually answered positively as Peter came back. Sometimes, a believer completely walks away from the Lord, but later returns. In Luke 22:32, Jesus did not tell Peter what to do IF he turns back, but knowing what Jesus knew, Jesus told Peter WHEN he turns back. Peter was over-confident here not because Peter had a wrong view of his own frailty. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1028-1029 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1008 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:38, why did Jesus want to make sure they had two swords?
A: There are at least five different interpretations, as to what Jesus was communicating to the disciples.
Request satisfied: Jesus wanted them to take two swords. He knew they would need a sword, since Jesus still had a miracle to perform, healing a slaveís ear that was to be cut off.
Rebuke: "It is enough" meant that Jesus was speaking of swords symbolically, and the disciples were taking the words "with a sword" literally. Jesus said this was enough of that sort of talk. This is the interpretation of the New Geneva Study Bible p.1649 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1452.
Disinterest: Jesus was not rebuking or commending them. Jesus was simply saying two swords were fine, and to not concern themselves with this any more.
Fulfilled Prophecy: Jesus wanted them to have two swords, in order that the prophecy that they would be classified with criminals would be fulfilled. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.260 discusses three other views, but prefers this view.
Hard Sayings of the Bible p.486-488 adds that this shows how different they were from a band of Zealot revolutionaries. A warlike band would be much better equipped to fight.
Q: In Lk 22:40, what does this tell us about temptation?
A: In this particular situation, Jesus told them to avoid temptation by prayer. But this is good counsel in general. When we are tempted pray; and even better, pray with someone else.
Q: In Lk 22:42, what exactly was the "cup" Jesus was asking to pass from Him if possible?
A: First what is not the answer, and then the answer.
Not the answer: Some have thought that Jesus was praying that He not run away or call on angels to save Him, and fail in His mission of dying on the cross. Others have speculated that Jesus was asking He not die from the strain before getting to the cross.
The Answer: Knowing both the impending physical pain, and even worse, the impending separation from the Father, Jesus was asking if there was any other way they could go that would fulfill the requirements for salvation. It was fine for Jesus to ask, but the guards appearing while He was still praying indicate that the Father answered Jesus' request as "no".
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1032 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:45 (KJV), how were the disciples "sleeping for sorrow"?
A: The NIV says the disciples were "asleep, exhausted from sorrow."
The NET Bible says, "sleeping, exhausted from grief."
Williams Translation says, "asleep from sorrow".
Q: In Lk 22:50-52, what is significant about the temple guards here?
A: These are Jewish temple "police" who arrested Jesus, not the Roman guards. The temple guards had the duty to maintain order in God's Temple, but here they went way outside of the Temple area to be used by Satan to preserve order. Sometimes Satan does not stop someone from doing their job, rather they keep on doing their job, being repurposed for Satan and demons.
See The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.623-624 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:54-60, what do we see about Peter's denial?
A: Peter is the only disciple mentioned who had the courage to follow Jesus at all. Peter was brave, but his bravery went out the window when the servant girl surprised him by asking if he was a follower of Jesus. Peter did not deny Jesus because Peter lost his love for Jesus; rather Peter's fear of his life and doubting God's protection was greater than his love at this moment. If Jesus was handed over to the priests instead of being protected, Peter might wonder what protection there would be for him. However, Peter apparently learned his lesson well. In Acts 4:3-21and also Acts 5:18-33 Peter was not concerned about living without God's protection. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1035, the New International Bible Commentary p.1224, The Expositor's Greek New Testament vol.1 p.628 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1008-1009 for more info.
Q: In Lk 22:57-60, what is so clumsy about Peter's denial?
A: Peter did not just deny being a disciple; Peter denied knowing who Jesus was at all. Given that taught in Galilee and Judea for about three years, and that Jesus arrived in the triumphal entry, given that Jesus taught in the temple for almost a week, and given that Jesus drove out the money changers, I wonder what percentage of Jewish people in Jerusalem, with Galilean accents, could say they never heard of a fellow Galilean, Jesus, at all? Not only did Peter deny Jesus, he was also not even very good at it!
Q: In Lk 22:64 did they blindfold Jesus or not?
A: They blindfolded Jesus during part of the time they were playing games with Him. It does not say that Jesus was blindfolded the whole time. You certainly did not want to play games with Roman soldiers.
Q: In Lk 22:70; 23:3, what did Jesus mean when He said, "you say that I am"?
A: This was an expression of strong affirmation of what was said. The NIV rightly translates this as, "You are right I saying I am".
The Dead Sea scrolls shed additional light on this question asked of Jesus. One belief of the sect at Qumran was that the Messiah will do miracles, and healings, but personally will kill the Roman Emperor. It would take years to bury all the dead from the Messiahís military victories. Thus, as the Christian News (11/23/1998) says, "So now we know that when Caiaphas conducted the trial of Jesus, all he had to do was get Jesus to admit that he was the Messiah. As Jesus, who has performed the predicted miracles, made that admission, he was assumed to be guilty of treason against the emperor."
Q: In Lk 23:2, since the whole point of the Sanhedrin trial was to find charges to bring up to Pilate, what were the charges against Jesus and how significant would they be?
A: The Jewish council did not have the authority to execute anybody, so they passed Jesus to the highest Roman authority in the land: Pontius Pilate. When the Sanhedrin turned Jesus over to Pilate with the charges, this was an official repudiation of Jesus by the Jewish authorities. There were three charges.
Subverting the Jewish nation would probably not be too significant in Pilate's eyes, though he might make a show of caring.
Forbidding paying Roman taxes would be significant, and that disloyalty would be worthy of death. The Jewish authorities would know this charge was a lie.
Calling Himself a Messiah, a King. This is more complicated. Pilate would not care if someone were called an obscure religious term, but the Jewish elders added that would mean a "king". Of course, calling yourself a king would be very significant; there was no way the governor could let possibly rebelling as a king get by. So, Pilate started with this last one.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1039-1040, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.837, the New International Bible Commentary p.1224, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1453-1454, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.262, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1010 for more info.
Q: In Lk 23:4, why was Pilate willing to let Jesus go after Jesus said He was a king?
A: We have to remember that the gospels never claim to be a dictation of the entire conversation. Though it is not mentioned in Luke, after they discussed it, as John 18:33-38a shows. Pilate knew that Jesus did not claim to be a political king of this world, and Jesus would not have His followers fight. So, Pilate had no problem with Jesus then. Remember, Pilate had experience dealing with true rebels, but Pilate knew that Jesus was not that. But as we will see a few verses later, correctly declaring a man innocent or guilty was not Pilate's primary concern. He was more concerned with keeping order and justice.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1040, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1011, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1454 for more info.
Q: In Lk 23:6-8, why exactly did Pontius Pilate send Jesus to Herod Antipas?
A: The surface reason was because Jesus lived in Herod's jurisdiction. But Pilate could have ignored that. The real reason was one or more of three things.
Pilate did not want to deal with Jesus. Since Pilate had an excuse to turn him over to Herod, let Herod handle that. Or perhaps Pilate saw a chance to spread the responsibility for whatever would happen.
Pilate wanted to learn more: Since Herod knew Jewish customs much better than Pilate, Pilate wanted to hear from an expert in the matter how serious this claim of messiah was.
Pilate wanted to do Herod a favor. Pilate and Herod did not have a good relationship, and perhaps Pilate thought if he deferred to Herod in this insignificant way, and satisfy Herod's curiosity, it might help their relationship.
But Pilate found no guilt in Jesus in Luke 23:4, and both Herod Antipas and Pilate found no guilt in Jesus in Luke 23:14-15.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.837 for more info.
Q: In Lk 23:16, why did Pilate say he would punish/whip Jesus, and then let Jesus go, if he thought Jesus was innocent?
A: First of all, the Greek word for punish/whip here, paideusas, is a different word than the actual scourging, phragellosas, Jesus later ended up receiving in Matthew 27:26 and Mark 15:15.
Pilate's idea was to release Jesus after lightly punishing Him. Pilate might want to warn Jesus to "keep the peace" so the Jewish leaders could see that Jesus did get some punishment. Also, Pilate might not be happy that Jesus conducted Himself in such as way that got the Jewish leaders so mad in the first place. Finally, Matthew 27:19 mentions that Pilate's wife gave him a warning not to do anything to Jesus because she suffered much in a dream about this. So Pilate saw how he could have a "happy medium" through all of this. However, Pilate's idea was not to be. As Helmut Gollwitzer puts it, "Pilate has the power, but not the freedom".
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1040-1041, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1454, the New International Bible Commentary p.1225, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.837, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1010 for more info.
Q: In Lk 23:31, in the context of the fig tree, what did Jesus mean by saying, "For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
A: Green wood does not burn well, and innocent people are not supposed to be executed. But if (innocent) green wood is burned, metaphorically speaking, what will happen to the dry wood and guilty people? If people do these things when Jesus is present, even after seeing His miracles, how much more will they reject God when Jesus is not physically next to them, and they do not see the miracles. See the New International Bible Commentary p.1225 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1455 for more info.
Q: In Lk 23:33, was the place of Jesusí crucifixion called Calvary, or was it Golgotha as Mt 27:33 says?
A: Both, since the people were multilingual. Calvary comes from the Latin Roman term for skull, and Golgotha was from the Aramaic. The New International Bible Commentary p.1225 and Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.893 say the same.
Q: In Lk 23:33-49, what is interesting about these verses?
A: People had so many very different reactions to this one event. The soldiers were too busy gambling to pay much attention to Jesus. The women were crying, Jesus was dying in agony, and most of the Jewish leaders were glad. One thief on the cross mocked Jesus, and the other believed in Him. The centurion, previously apathetic towards Jesus, has changed and is now in amazement. See the New International Bible Commentary p.1225 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.837-838 for more info.
Q: In Lk 23:40-43, can people who reject God all their lives and accept Jesus in their dying breath still go to Heaven?
A: Both yes and no.
Yes: If someone comes to a true faith in Christ as they are dying, then like the thief on the cross in Luke 23:40-43, she or he will go to Heaven. They might not have all the rewards Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, but they will certainly be in Heaven.
No: If someone merely says the words, sort of like fire insurance, without really trusting their soul over to Christ, then as R.C. Sproul mentions in Now Thatís a Good Question p.113-115, they merely "profess faith" and do not "possess faith".
Q: In Lk 23:40-43, what is paradoxical about the thief on Jesusí right?
A: Even though some saw Jesus raise the dead and they still did not believe. The robber saw Jesus being put to death and still believes. After Jesus raised Lazarus, the Sanhedrinís response was to plot how to kill Jesus. Even today, if you could do as many miracles as Jesus did, for some it would only harden their opposition to the gospel.
Q: In Lk 23:40-43, what does the thief on the cross teach us about water baptism?
A: There are two points to consider in the answer.
1. A Christian in the Church of Christ told me that since they teach one must be baptized with water to be saved, the account of the thief of the cross being with Jesus in paradise bothered him for a long time. But then he concluded, that since the thief would have no opportunity to be baptized, God is certainly understanding of peoplesí situations.
His conclusion is absolutely correct. God is not restricted from saving somebody who is not baptized with water. While water baptism is something every obedient Christian does if and when they are able, God is not constrained by our circumstances.
2. I third view I was publicly told during a debate with a Church of Christ person is that the thief on the right must have been a previous follower of Jesus or John the Baptist, and he had been baptized prior to being on the cross.
3. A third Church of Christ view is that the thief on the cross died prior to Christís resurrection, and baptism is essential only after the resurrection. Of course, then John 3:5, "unless a person is born of water and spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God." was taught as true prior to the resurrection too.
This is a view that limits Godís power. Imagine if a condemned criminal in prison in a non-Christian country came to true faith in Christ, and the guards would not let him be baptized with water before execution. Would the guardsí actions "veto" God Almightyís ability to bring a person to Heaven who truly believe in Christ?
Furthermore, around 400 A.D., during the time of Ambrose, Augustine, and Prosper of Aquitaine, the opinion became common that baptized babies who die go to Heaven, and unbaptized babies who die go to Hell. "Coincidentally", infant baptism became very popular. Throughout most of history, until the time of the Anabaptists during the Reformation, Christians almost universally practiced infant baptism. Is every single Christian from 400 A.D. to about 1514 A.D. going to Hell, because of Godís inability or unwillingness to save them?
Q: In Lk 23:43, how could Jesus tell the thief on His right that today the thief would be in Paradise, when Jesus did not rise until on the third day?
A: Jesus went to paradise and preached to the spirits in prison immediately after his death and before His resurrection. It is interesting that Jesus did NOT tell the thief today you will be with me in Heaven, but today you will be with me in Paradise.
Q: In Lk 23:43, does this verse say "Truly I tell you today," as Jehovahís Witnesses say, or "Truly I tell you, today"?
A: No. There is no evidence the Greek-speaking Christians understood that "today" was when Jesus was speaking, not when the words would be fulfilled. When Cultists Ask p.152 says that out of 74 occurrences of "truly I say to you", this would be the only place where "today" would be put with this phrase. When a modern group of people comes up with a novel interpretation of the ancient Greek grammar, there should be some evidence that at least some early Christians understood it that way.
Q: In Lk 23:43, what exactly is paradise?
A: Since the thief on Jesusí right would be with Jesus that day in Paradise, Paradise is the place where Jesus went on that day. Prior to Jesusí birth, Jews understood that the grave, Sheol, was divided into two compartments, "prison" for the unrighteous and "paradise" for the righteous. Since Jesus used this term without any qualification, basically He had no correction for this doctrine. Paul visited the Third Heaven, paradise in 2 Corinthians 12:2,4.
The Jewish reference to two parts of Sheol is 1 Enoch 22:1-4. After judgment, the unrighteous would have pain and plague forever. Other Jewish references to eternal punishment for the wicked are:
Assumption of Moses 10:10
2 Esdras 7:36, when the Sons of the Maccabees were being burned to death, they said, "we will burn only for a little while, but you will burn for all eternity."
Judith 16:17 "fire and worms he will give to their flesh; they shall weep in pain for ever."
Psalms of Solomon 3:134 Macc. in the LXX use it for the Hebrew words such as Ďasam, for a reparation of guilt. In the Septuagint it is used in 1 Samuel 6:3, f. 8, 17 as a guilt offering. It is translated for shame, disgrace in Ezekiel 16:52, 42; 32:24,30, and a cause of sin and misfortune in Ezekiel 3:20 and 7:19. Ezekiel 16:52,52 and 32:24,40 show Godís punishments. Wisdom 3:1 says the righteous are untouched by any basanos.
2 Maccabees 7:13 and often in 4 Maccabees the noun and verb are used of the tortures of Jewish martyrs. It is used of the torture of Christian martyrs in 1 Clement 6:1,15, 2 Clement 17:7, Eusebiusís Ecclesiastical History 5, 1, 20 & 24 and Martyrdom of Polycarp 2,3.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.367-368 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.488-489 for more info.
Q: In Lk 23:44, when was the sixth hour?
A: The Jewish day started around 6:00 in the morning, so the sixth hour would be about noon. The NIV Study Bible p.1587, the NET Bible, The New Geneva Study Bible p.1652, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.262 all say the same. This could not be a solar eclipse, because the Passover would occur during a full moon according to The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.1 p.641.
Q: In Lk 24:4, why did Luke call these two men instead of angels?
A: Luke is writing as things appeared, and they appeared as though they were men. However, Luke himself understand they were angels, as he calls them such in Luke 24:23. Also, even in Luke 24:4 the men had shining garments (i.e., cloth, not armor), which would be angelic clothing. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1048 and The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.1 p.643-644 for more info.
Q: In Lk 24:5f, how do people look for the living among the dead today?
A: As the women were looking in the wrong place for the risen Savior, people today can look to dead things to try to find life. On one hand, they can literally do occult things, like go to seances or as mediums to contact the dead, when believers are not supposed to do that. Metaphorically, they can look to dead institutions, liberal churches, and false religions for life. They can look to their organization, their traditions, their departed saints or heroes, or laws for life. But life only comes through Jesus. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1013 for more info.
Q: In Lk 24:13, where was the village of Emmaus?
A: Emmaus was a small place, and we are not exactly sure. Luke says it was sixty stadia, which is about seven miles. But since it was just a short walk from Jerusalem, there are three choices. Abu-Ghosh is about nine miles away, El-Qubeibeh is about seven miles away. Motza-Illit is only three and a half miles away, but the round trip would be seven miles. Josephus mentions it as Emmaus, and the Talmud mentions it as Motza. The Semitic word of Ha-Motza is similar to Emmaus. Later there was a Byzantine church there.
There is another site, Imwas, also called Nicopolis that existed at that time, but it was 160 stadia away, about 15 miles. Sinaiticus and some other manuscripts say 160 stadia.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.8 p.1055 for more info.
Q: In Lk 24:13-35 how does this apply to us today?
A: These believers did not recognize Jesus even though He was walking besides them. Today you might be on your own Emmaus road. You do not see Jesus yet, though He is walking right beside you. Sometimes what God wants you to do is in plain sight, except that you do not see it.
While it is possible that God supernaturally kept them from recognizing Jesus, it is likely that they did not recognize him for more mundane reasons. Besides possibly wearing different cloths, they saw that Jesus was dead, they were not looking for Jesus to be alive, and they did not see what they were not looking for. They knew what was told to them by the women and the others, and their hearts burned within them as they walked with the One they loved, but they had not the faith and were too slow to believe that God could raise Jesus. When we have the knowledge, and we have the love, things still might not come together with our walk with the Lord if we have not the faith.
Q: In Lk 24:16 how were the disciples prevented from recognizing Jesus?
A: Supernaturally, God could easily have prevented them from recognizing them, just as the men of lot could not find a simple door in Genesis 19:11. Naturally speaking, if someone wore something similar to a Bedouin's robe to keep the sun and dust off of them, then they would have little chance to see his face. They might also be too consumed with grief to really being observing people that closely. They did not believe that Jesus would overcome death, so even if they thought the man looked like Jesus, they would reject that thought due to their unbelief. Finally, they certainly were not looking for Jesus, since they knew Jesus had been killed. The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.1 p.646 does not see any need for a supernatural reason why they did not recognize Jesus. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1013,1014 for more info.
Q: In Lk 24:19-21, the two disciples were telling how they had put all their hope in Jesus, and their hopes and dreams were all crushed. How did you, or how would you, respond if God let your hopes and dreams be crushed?
A: Our goal is to please God, not accomplish our own ambitions. We should be vitally interested in what God is doing, and how we can be a part of that. On the other hand, we should be more "dimly interested" in things that God is not a part of. Sometimes it can be painful to let go of what looks like will satisfy your ambition, but we should realize that God has something better. Christians should, rightly understood, be very ambitious. But we should be ambitious with His ambition, for His kingdom, and not our ambition.
Q: In Lk 24:30-31, the guest, Jesus, became the host. How can Jesus go from guest to host in our life?
A: Many people are friendly towards Christianity and Jesus. Others want to listen to what He taught and perhaps follow some of it, and reject other parts. But will you let Jesus be the Lord of your life, turning away from what like promising or pleasurable things, because He says so, either in God's written word or after prayer, and follow what He wants?
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.1458 and the New International Bible Commentary p.1226-1227 for more info.
Q: In Lk 24:39, how did Jesusí flesh and blood differ before and after the resurrection?
A: Scripture does not say, but we can speculate on a few things. After the resurrection, Jesus was no longer subject to pain, death, or having any possibility of harm to His body. Undoubtedly, He could do more with His body when it was glorified than when His body was an ordinary human body. Jesus in His body could go through doors and walls, but He could also be solid to eat and be touched. See When Cultists Ask p.154-157 and When Critics Ask p.395-399 for more extensive discussions.
Q: In Lk 24:39-43, what does this mean for Jehovahís Witnesses and members of Rev. Moonís Unification church?
A: They have real problems with this verse, because both groups teach that Jesus was "spiritually raised", meaning that His physical body was still in the grave. Either
1. Jesus was telling a lie and He did not have a physical body here.
2. Since the disciples were slow to believe, Jesus temporarily create a physical body, and passed it off as His (I heard this theory from a Jehovahís Witness.) In other words, Jesus misrepresented himself to His disciples. If someone accepts this, then they should not take it too seriously that they think Christians misrepresent Jesus as being physically raised from the dead, as Jesus misrepresented this, too.
3. Jesus was telling the truth. Jesus said this because He really did physically rise from the dead.
As for me, I believe Jesus was telling the truth. See When Cultists Ask p.152-154 for a different but complementary answer.
Q: In Lk 24:39-43, what does this mean for false religion of Christian Science?
A: Christian Scientists believe that Jesus did not physically rise from the dead. According to When Cultists Ask p.157-158 Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science says that Jesus "was simply accommodating himself to the immature ideas of his disciples (Eddy, 593)".
Eddy is saying that Jesus blatantly deceived the disciples. Since they taught that Jesus physically rose, then Jesusí alleged deception deceived the western world for almost 2,000 years. Furthermore, if Jesus was simply accommodating himself to immature ideas, how come when Thomas did not believe Jesus was physically resurrected, Jesus allegedly deceived Thomas to change his view from a "more enlightened one" to a "more immature" one?
Q: In Lk 24:41-43 and Acts 10:10-16, is it OK for a Christian to be a vegetarian?
A: Yes, it is fine. However, it is not Christian to say that eating meat is morally wrong. Jesus ate fish in Luke 24:41-43, and Peter was commanded to kill and eat in Acts 10:10-16. Of course, eating fish shows that Jesus could eat, so He had a physical, glorified body. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.1018 for more info.
Q: In Lk 24:44, how did the writings of Moses speak of Jesus?
A: Letís look at the main principles, then the specific prophecies, and finally the imagery in the Torah, of first five books of the Bible.
Key principles: One cannot read the Torah without being struck by the frequency and importance of sacrifices. God had them practice this concept for 1,400 years, until it became such a regular part of their culture, that when John called Jesus "the lamb of God", everyone would know to what John was referring.
Genesis 3:15 says that the seed (singular) of the woman will crush Satanís head.
Genesis 49:10 says that the staff will not depart from Judah until "Shiloh" comes. This refers to them not losing the right of execution until Christ comes. See the discussion on Genesis 49:10 for the support for this statement.
Deuteronomy 18:15-19 says that one from among the Jews will come after Moses, and they must obey Him.
Imagery: There are a number of passages that provide imagery and foreshadowing of Christís coming, but they are not specific prophecies.
The bronze serpent (John 3:14; Numbers 21:8,9)
Q: In Lk 24:46, where did the Old Testament say that the Messiah must suffer and die and on the third day rise from the dead?
A: Some of the verses that say the Messiah would suffer and die are Daniel 9:26; Isaiah 53:1-12; and Zechariah 12:10 (mourning the one they pierced.) Prior to this, Jesus had taught that Jonah being in the belly of the fish was a foreshadowing of him in Matthew 12:40-41.
Q: In Lk 24:50-51, did Jesus ascend from Bethany, or from the Mount of Olives as Acts 1:9-11 says?
A: Both. Bethany was on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives about a mile from the top. When Critics Ask p.401 also suggests that the disciples might have stood on the top of the Mount with Jesus, and Jesus ascended eastward (away from Jerusalem) over Bethany. See also Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.200, The Expositor's Greek Testament vol.1 p.651, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.839 for more info.
Q: In Lk 24:53, should Jn 7:53-8:11 be added to the end of Luke?
A: No. The only manuscript that Aland et al. (3rd edition) says had this was 1333, which was written in the eleventh century. Moreover, it was added to this manuscript as a correction, apparently by a different hand.
Q: Why should the Gospel of Luke be in the Bible?
A: There are two reasons, and a third reason that makes the first two reasons look less important.
1. Luke is considered one of the most accurate of ancient historians.
2. Since Luke records an accurate account of Jesusí words, we would want to read the Messiahís sayings and doings.
3. Paul and the early church writers recognized it as Godís word. As The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.27-28 points out, in 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul quoted from the books of Deuteronomy [Dt 25:4] and Luke [Lk 10:7], calling them both Scripture. 1 Timothy was written in 63 A.D., only three years after Luke, yet Luke is still called Scripture on the same level as Deuteronomy.
Q: In Lk, what evidence is there that Luke wrote the Gospel that bears his name?
A: The early church universally accepted Luke the companion of Paul as the writer of the Gospel of Luke.
Irenaeus in Against Heresies p.439 chapter 14 v.1,3 (written 182-188 A.D.) quotes Luke 1:2 mentioned that it was by Luke.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) in Against Marcion book 4 chapter 2 says that "the evangelical Testament has apostles for its authors". In the same chapter Tertullian recognizes that Luke was not an "apostle" but an "apostolic man" because he was with Paul. For the reliability of the Gospel of Luke in general, see the next three questions.
Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes from Luke as being from Luke in Treatise 12 the third book 116.
Q: When was the Gospel of Lk written?
A: We know for certain it was written after 33 A.D., before the Book of Acts, and probably before 70 A.D.
Views of Various Writers
The NIV Study Bible p.1533 says the two most common suggested periods are 59-63 A.D. and in the 70s or 80s.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.199 says that since Acts was written while Paul was still alive, and Luke was before that, it might have been written before 64 A.D. It suggests a date of 58-60 A.D.
The New Geneva Study Bible p.1599 says that Luke and Acts may have been written about 63 A.D.
The Believerís Bible Commentary p.1367-1368 says the most likely date is very early in the 60ís. "While some put Luke between 75-85 (or even the second century), this is usually due at least partly to a denial that Christ could accurately predict the destruction of Jerusalem.
The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.605 says that the abrupt termination of Acts suggests that Luke did not long survive Paulís imprisonment. Also, it is not likely to have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem. It says that 58-59 A.D. would give abundant time for Luke to do his research.
The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1056-1057 simply says the second half of the first century.
The New International Bible Commentary p.1182 gives reasons for three views.
80-85 A.D. if one denies prophecy: It says that this most commonly held view is based on Luke 21:20 saying "when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies" could not be a prophetic prediction.
100 A.D., if Luke and Acts are based on Josephus: Josephus and Luke record some of the same events, so some think Luke copied from Josephus.
Before 70 A.D., because Acts ends with Paul alive.
The skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.912 says apparently some time after 70 A.D. Though some suggest dates as late as 100 A.D., 80 A.D. is more generally acceptable.
Q: How do we know that Luke today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three good reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. Here are a few of the writers who referred to verses in Acts.
1 Clement (96-98 A.D.) quotes Luke 6:36-38; 8:5 (paraphrase of the parable of the sower); 17:2. The quote of Luke 6:36-38 (ch.13 p.8) can also refer to Matthew 6:12-15; 7:2). The paraphrase of Luke 17:2 can also refer to Matthew 18:8; 26:24; Mark 9:42.
The Didache (c.60-120 A.D.) vol.7 ch.1 p.377 quotes Luke 6:30 "Give to every one that asks you, and ask it not back;"
Epistle of Barnabas (c.70-130 A.D.) ch.5 p.139 quotes Luke 5:32 (also Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17)
Epistle of Barnabas (c.70-130 A.D.) ch.19 p.148 quotes half of Luke 6:30 (also Matthew 5:42)
2 Clement (120-140 A.D.) ch.13 p.254 quotes loosely Luke 6:32 as the Lord is speaking. "No thank have ye, if ye love them which love you, but ye have thank, if ye love your enemies and them which hate you." It also refers to Luke 16:12.
2 Clement (120-140 A.D.) ch.13 p.254 quotes part of Matthew 9:13 and Luke 6:32 as Scripture. "An another Scripture saith, ĎI came not to call the righteous, but sinners." 2 Clement also refers to quotes Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13, in ch.16 p.252.
2 Clement (120-140 A.D.) ch.5 p.252 refers to a conversation of Peter and Jesus that is not in Scripture, and concluding it with a quote of Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:4,5.
These are all the references 2 Clement has to Luke.
Polycarp (100-155 A.D.) quotes a third of Luke 6:37 "forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you;" Polycarpís Letter to the Philippians ch.2 p.33.
Polycarp (100-155 A.D.) quotes what is Matthew 7:2 and Luke 6:38. "with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again;" Polycarpís Letter to the Philippians ch.3 p.33.
Polycarp (100-155 A.D.) quotes loosely what is both Matthew 5:3,10 and Luke 6:20. "Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousnessí sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God." Polycarpís Letter to the Philippians ch.3 p.33.
These are all the references Polycarpís letter has to Luke.
Justin Martyr wrote c.138-165 A.D. He quotes or paraphrases Luke 1:32,35,38,78; 6:28-30,34-36; 9:22; 10:16,19; 12:48; 13:26; 18:18f; 20:34,35; 22:19,42,44; 23:46; 29:32
Luke is mentioned in the Muratorian Canon (c.170 A.D.) along with the other three gospels.
Shepherd of Hermas (c.160) book 2 ch.6 p.30 quotes half of Luke 13:2, which is also Matthew 10:28.
Athenagoras (177 A.D.) quotes Luke 6:27,28, which is also Matthew 5:44,45. A Plea for Christians ch.11 p.134
Athenagoras (177 A.D.) quotes Luke 6:32,34, which is also Matthew 5:46. A Plea for Christians ch.12 p.134
Melito of Sardis (170-180 A.D.) quotes part of Luke 11:20: "and in the Gospels: ĎIf I by the finger of God cast out demons." From the Oration on the Lordís Passion vol.8 p.761
Tatianís Diatessaron (c.172 A.D.) quoted 77.4% of Luke or all but 260.3 out of 1151 verses.
Christians of Vienna and Lugdunum (177 A.D.) allude to Luke 1:67 "and having himself the Advocate, the Spirit, more abundantly than Zacharias;" vol.8 p.779
Theophilus of Antioch (168-181/188 A.D.) quotes Luke 18:27 in Theophilus to Autolycus book 2 ch.13 p.99
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) quotes all or part of 130 verses from Luke.
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) quotes Luke 1:6 as by Luke. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.10.1 p.423
Muratorian Canon (190-217 A.D.) 1. Third book of the gospels is Luke. (Thus, the unnamed Matthew and Mark are counted as two.)
Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) quotes Luke 3:1,2,23 as the Gospel of Luke in Stromata book 1 ch.21 p.333
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) quotes Luke 16:9 as by the Lord. Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved? ch.13 p.594-595.
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) stresses the authorship of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Revelation, and many of Paulís Letters in Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.5 p.350.
Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) quotes Luke 21:28; 21:18 as "the Lord says" Treatise on Christ and Antichrist p.218
Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) alludes to both Mark 12:42 and Luke 21:2. Instructions of Commodianus ch.72 p.217
Theodotus the probable Montanist (c.240 A.D.) quotes part of Luke 12:49 as by the "Savior" Excerpts from Theodotus ch.27 p.46
Theodotus the probable Montanist (c.240 A.D.) quotes Luke 1:43 as "the Gospel" Excerpts from Theodotus ch.50 p.49
Julius Africanus (232-245 A.D.) mentions "the Evangelist Matthew" and "Luke" in comparing the two genealogies of Jesus. Letter to Aristides ch.3 p.126
Origen (225-254 A.D.) mentions Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Origen Against Celsus book 5 ch.56 p.568. Also quoting Matthew 18:1 in Origenís Commentary on Matthew book 13 ch.14 p.482.
Novatian (250/4-256/7 A.D.) "For they propose and put forward what is told in the Gospel of Luke" and refers to Luke 1:35. Concerning the Trinity ch.24 p.635
Treatise Against Novatian (254-256 A.D.) ch.15 p.662 quotes Luke 8:1-5 says by the Lord Himself in the Gospel.
Treatise Against Novatian (254-256 A.D.) ch.6 p.659 quotes Luke 10:19 as said by the Lord in the Gospel. This work also refers to Luke 11:10 and 7:39.
Treatise on Rebaptism (c.250-258 A.D.) ch.14 p.675 "in the Gospel according to Luke" and quotes Luke 12:50.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes Luke 11:41 and says, "The Lord teaches this also in the Gospel" in Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 8 ch.2 p.476
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) "In the Gospel according to Luke : ĎAnd ye shall be hated of all men for my nameís sake.í" (Luke 21:17) Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 3 ch.29 p.542
Firmilian of Caesarea to Cyprian (256 A.D.) quotes Luke 11:23 as by "Christ our Lord". (Letter 74 ch.14 p.394)
Gregory Thaumaturgus (240-265 A.D.) alludes to Luke 21:2, the poor widowís offering, as "laid down in the sacred writings" Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origin Argument 3 p.23
Dionysius of Alexandria (246-265 A.D.) "It was Ďin the end of the Sabbath,í as Matthew has said; it was Ďearly, when it was yet dark,í as John writes; it was Ďvery early in the morning,í as Luke puts it; and it was Ďvery early in the morning, at the rising of the sun,í as Mark tells us. Thus no one has shown us clearly the exact time when He rose." Letter 5 to the bishop Basilides p.94
Letter of Hymenaeus (268 A.D.) &&&
Pierius of Alexandria (275 A.D.) wrote a book
entitled On the Gospel According to Luke" Fragment 1 p.157
Anatolius of Alexandria (270-280 A.D.) quotes Luke 15:6 as said by the Lord Himself. The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria ch.10 p.149
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) "Will you agree if I show from the Gospels that they are not fabrications?" ... "The disciples of Christ wrote them: John and Matthew; Mark and Luke. Dialogue on the True Faith First Part "b 5" p.41
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) quotes Luke 23:46; 50-53 s by the evangelist. Dialogue on the True Faith Fifth Part 12 p.163
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) quotes Luke 1:35 as from the Gospel. Dialogue on the True Faith fifth part ch.9 p.159.
Victorinus of Petau bishop of Petau in Austria (martyred 304 A.D.) mentions Matthew, Mark, and Luke in Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John Victorinus of Petau (martyred 304 A.D.) mentions Matthew, Mark, and Luke in Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John From the fourth chapter 7-10 p.348
Pamphilus (martyred 309 A.D.) "We make this exposition, therefore, after the history of Luke, the evangelist and historian." An Exposition of the Chapters of the Acts of the Apostles p.166
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) (half quote) quotes Mark 11:9b, which is also Psalm 118:26a; Matthew 21:9b; Luke 19:38a; and John 12:13b. "Instead of our garments, let us strew our hearts before Him. In psalms and hymns, let us raise to Him our shouts of thanksgiving; and without ceasing, let us exclaim, ĎBlessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord;í" Oration on the Psalms ch.1 p.394
Athanasius (318 A.D.) quotes Luke 19:10: "as He [Jesus] says Himself in the Gospels: ĎI came to find and to save the lost.í Incarnation of the Word ch.14 p.43. He also quotes Luke 4:34, which is the same as Mark 5:7, in Incarnation of the Word ch.32.5 p.53.
Athanasius (318 A.D.) quotes Luke 10:18 in Incarnation of the Word ch.25 p.50
Eusebiusí Ecclesiastical History (318 A.D.) book 3 ch.24 p.152 discusses the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.152
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) quotes Luke 14:2 in The Divine Institutes book 5 ch.16 p.151.
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) alludes to Matthew 14; Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6 when he relates the incident of the five loaves and two fishes. The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.15 p.115
See the next question for which verses and fractions of verses were quoted and which were not.
Juvencus (329 A.D.) wrote an epic poem combining the four gospels.
Eusebius wrote whole commentaries on Luke and 1 Corinthians. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.1 p.41
Aphrahat the Syrian (337-345 A.D.) Select Demonstrations
Hegemonius (4th century) quotes Luke 4:34. Disputation with Manes ch.48 p.225.
Philo of Carpasia (fourth century) refers to Luke 23:11
Optatus (fourth century) refers to Luke 8:45
Zeno (fourth century)
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.) authoritatively refers to John, Luke, Matthew, and Mark. On the Trinity book 10 ch.43 p.193
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.) quotes from Luke 18:19 as by Jesus. On the Trinity book 1 ch.31 p.48. He also refers to Luke 1:35.
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Luke as part of the New Testament. It quotes all of Luke 1:1.
The schismatic Lucifer of Cagliari (370/371 A.D.) refers to Luke 13:27; 19:25
Ephraim the Syrian (373 A.D.)
Titus of Bostra (before 378 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-379 A.D.) quotes from Luke as by Jesus. He also refers to Luke 9:26. He also refers to Luke 14:29 as by the Lord in Letter 42 ch.1 p.143
Ambrosiaster (after 384 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.) quotes part of Luke 4:41 as Scripture in Lecture 10.15 p.4. He refers to it as the Gospel in Lecture 2.4 p.9.
Synod of Laodicea (in Phrygia) (343-381 A.D.) canon 60 p.159 lists the books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Canon 59 p.158 says only the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments may be read in church.
Cheltenham Canon (=Mommsen Catalogue) (ca.360-370/390 A.D.) refers to each of the four gospels.
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Apollinaris of Laodicea (c.390 A.D.) refers to Luke 1:35
Gregory Nanzianzus (330-391 A.D.) alludes to Luke
Amphilochius (-397 A.D.) quotes from Luke in Iambi ad Seleucum
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) refers to Luke 6:36 as by the Lord in Against Eunomius book1 ch.34 p.89
Didymus the Blind (398 A.D.)
Syriac Book of Steps (Liber Graduum) (350-400) references part of Luke as by Jesus.
Maximus of Turin (4th/5th century)
Asterius of Emesa (c.400 A.D.)
Syrian Catalogue of St. Catherineís (ca.400 A.D.)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.) Luke 1:28
Rufinusí Commentary on the Apostleís Creed (376-406 A.D.)
John Chrysostom (-406 A.D.) says Lukeís genealogy is fuller than Matthewís. Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew Homily 1.14 p.7 (vol.10)
Gaudentius (after 406 A.D.)
Chromatius (died 407 A.D.)
Severian (flourished 400-408 A.D.)
Jerome (317-420 A.D.) mentions each of the four gospels by name in letter 53.9 p.101.
Sozomon (370/380-425 A.D.) refers to Luke as scripture. Sozomonís Ecclesiastical History
Council of Carthage (393-419 A.D.) (218 bishops) (Implied)
Niceta of Remesianus (361-c.415 A.D) quotes from Luke. He refers to Luke 12:39.
Orosius/Hosius of Braga (414-418 A.D.) quotes from Luke
Sulpicius/Sulpitius Severus (363-420 A.D.) mentions Luke by name in History book 2 ch.28 p.110
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) referred to all four gospels in his work called Harmony of the Gospels.
John Cassian (Semi-Pelagian) (419-430 A.D.) mentions Luke 4:27 as by Luke in Conference of the Abbot Nesteros ch.1 p.445
Nilus (c.430 A.D.) refers to Luke
Hesychius of Jerusalem (-450 A.D.) (Pronounced HESS-us) refers to all four gospels
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.)
Theodoret of Cyrus (bishop and historian) (423-458 A.D.)
Speculum (fifth century)
Patrick of Ireland (420-461 A.D.) quotes from Luke. Letter to Corticus
Pope Leo I of Rome (440-461 A.D.)
Proclus (412-485 A.D.)
Evidence of heretics and spurious books
The Encratite heretic Tatian (c.172 A.D.) wrote a harmony of the four gospels called the Diatessaron, which means "through [the] four". In it he refers to 890.7 verses in Luke. That is 77.4% of the entire Gospel of Luke.
Apostolic Constitutions (375-380 A.D.)
Ptolemy and Valentinian according to Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.)
Priscillian (c.385 A.D.) refers to Luke 1:35 and other verses.
Nestoriusí Bazaar of Heracleides (451/452 A.D.)
Manichaean heretic Faustus-Milevis (383-400 A.D.) quotes Luke 3:22-23 as by Luke. Augustineís Reply to Faustus the Manichaean book 23 ch.2 Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers First Series vol.4 p.313
The Pelagian heretic Julian of Eclanum (c.454 A.D.) refers to Luke 20:36
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of Luke show there are small manuscript variations, but no theologically significant errors.
The Lukan manuscript in Paris of Luke 3:23; 5:36 is dated by Philip Comfort to about 100 A.D. More on this is in the book by Thiede, Carsten P. and Matthew díAncona, Eyewitness to Jesus: Amazing New Manuscript Evidence About the Origin of the Gospels (NY Doubleday 1996 206 pp.). They date this as "not much later than 68 A.D.. Of course, the Gospel of Luke was written prior to Acts.
p3 Luke 7:36-45; 10:38-42 6th/7th century. Alexandrian text.
6th or 7th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p4 Luke 1:58-59; 1:62-2:1; 2:6-7; 3:8-4:2; 4:29-32, 34-35; 5:3-8; 5:30-6:16 (mid-2nd century according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.33.) A photograph of p4 is in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.32. p4, p64, and p67 all come from the same manuscript.
The dating of the manuscript is as follows:
3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
3rd century - 1975 - Aland 3rd edition
Similar to early 2nd century - 1990 - Philip Comfort in Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament p.32 notes that until recently it was dated as 3rd century (c.250 A.D.) but since p4 is either a part of the same manuscript as p64 and p67, or else by the same scribe, and p64/67 is known to be early second century, p4 must have a similar date. (However, others say they are not the same.)
3rd century - 1998 - Aland 4th revised edition
Middle 2nd century - 1999 - Philip Comfort in The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.33
p7 Luke 4:1-3 (was in Kyiv, now lost) (3rd to 4th century?)
5th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament says it only contains Luke 4:1-2.
p42 Luke 1:54-55; 2:29-32 (7th to 8th century) It agrees with Alexandrinus.
7th to 8th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p45 Chester Beatty I (all four gospels and Acts) (100-150 A.D.) (formerly thought to be late 2nd or early 3rd century A.D.) 233 verses of Luke. (Luke 6:31-41; 6:45-7:7; 9:26-41; 9:45-10:1; 10:6-22; 10:26-11:1; 11:6-25, 28-46; 11:50-12:13 (12:9 was never written); 12:18-37; 12:42-13:1; 13:6-24; 13:29-14:10; 14:17-33) The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph showing part of p45 on p.146. On p.150-151 it says that the copy was a loose paraphrase, where he tries to bring out the thought of each phrase. A General Introduction to the Bible p.389 says the original scroll was thought to have about 220 leaves, of which we have 30 leaves preserved. We have 7 leaves from Luke.
3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament
3rd century - 1975 - Aland et al. Third Edition
3rd century - 1998 - Aland et al. Fourth Revised Edition
Late 2nd or early 3rd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
p69 (=Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2383) Lk 22:40,45-48,58-61 (middle 3rd century). It never contained Luke 22:43-44. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph showing part of p69 on p.460, as does The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts p.470.
3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p75 Bodmer 14/15 Papyrii (most of Luke and John) Contains Luke 3:18-22; 3:33-4:2; 4:34-5:10; 5:37-6:4; 6:10-7:32; 7:35-39,41-43; 7:46-9:2; 9:4-17:15; 17:19-18:18; 22:4-24:53. is typically dated 175-200 A.D., or 175-225 A.D. However, its handwriting is very similar to another document, Papyrus Fuad XIX, which is known to have been written 145-146 A.D. The text is very similar to Vaticanus (A General Introduction to the Bible p.390) The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of it on p.495 and says a professional Christian scribe wrote this manuscript and on p.496 says it is 97% identical with Vaticanus (92% the same in John). The Archaeology of the New Testament (Finnegan) has a photograph of Luke 9:23-33 on p.383. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1982) vol.6 p.414 has a photograph of Luke 16:9-21, assigning it a date of 175-225 A.D.
beginning of the 3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament has Luke 3:18-22; 3:33-4:2; 4:34-5:10; 5:37-6:4; 6:10-7:32,35-43; 7:46-8:18; 22:4-24:53
p82 Luke 7:32-34,37,38 (4th to 5th century)
p97 Luke 14:7-14 (6th to 7th century)
p111 (3rd century) Oxyrhynchus Luke 17:11-13, 22-23
0171 (c.300 A.D.) contains Luke 22:44-50; 22:52-56
Vaticanus [B] (325-350 A.D.), Sinaiticus [Si] (340-350 A.D.), and Alexandrinus [A] (c.450 A.D.) contain all of Luke.
The Washington Codex (4th/5th century) contains all of Luke.
Cambridge 5th/6th century
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Sahidic Coptic 3rd/4rth century
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century
Gothic 493-555 A.D.
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Curetonian Syriac [Syr C] 4th-7th century
Sinaitic Syriac [Syr S] 4th-7th century
Georgian [Geo] 5th century
There is a picture of Luke 16:16-21 from a Bodmer papyrus (c.180 A.D.) in the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.604. A photograph of part of the scroll of the Bodmer 14/15 Papyrii is in the New International Dictionary of the Bible p.706.
Up through 200 A.D. we have preserved manuscripts contained 71% of the verses of Luke (818 out of 1151 verses). They are: Luke 1:58-59; 1:52-2:1; 2:6-7; 3:8-4:2; 4:29-32; 4:34-5:10; 5:30-7:32; 7:35-39,41-43; 7:46-9:2; 9:4-17:15; 17:19-18:18; 22:4-24:53.
See www.BibleQuery.org/Luke Manuscripts.html for more on early manuscripts of Luke.
Q: In Lk, what verses, and fractions of verses, were quoted by Pre-Nicene writers (prior to 325 A.D.)?
A: Prior to 325 A.D. church writers quoted about 84.7% of the verses in Luke. That is 975.25 verses. In other words, every one of the 992 verses in the Gospel of Luke are quoted except for 175.75 verses. The verses and fractions of verses not quoted are: Luke: 1:1; 1:3-4; 1:5m (not 5 3 not 19 words); 3:21m (not 12 1 not 3 words); 3:24-38; 4:2a (7/9 words); 4:3m (5 not 5 7 words); 4:4; 4:8-11; 4:12; 4:22f (7/24 words); 4:31a (8/14 words); 4:38f (10/23 words); 4:40a (1/24 words); 4:41a (5/28 words); 4:42m (3 not 5 9 not 8 words); 5:13; 5:14m (7 not 7 6 not 4 words); 5:17a (5/16 words); 5:36f (9/36 words); 6:1-2; 6:5; 6:10-11; 6:13a (8/17 words); 6:17f (10/30 words); 6:21a (6/12 words); 6:29m (1 not 9 1 not 11 words); 7:1a (11/14 words); 7:3f (8/19 words); 7:7; 7:37m (not 1 1 not 19 words); 8:4; 8:5m (not 5 3 not 16 2 not 2 words); 8:10-12; 8:13f (10/29 words); 8:14; 8:16; 8:21; 8:22m (19 not 6 2 words); 8:23; 8:28a (11/26 words); 8:29f (not 10 11 not 11 words); 8:37f (6/23 words); 8:40a (6/15 words); 8:41m (2 not 22 3 words); 8:42-44; 8:45a (13/21 words); 8:51-52; 8:54; 9:4; 9:6; 9:10; 9:12; 9:13a (4/32 words); 9:14a (5/17 words); 9:16-17; 9:18a (14/23 words); 9:19f (4/18 words); 9:23a (4/22 words); 9:26m (not 3 1 not 10 1 not 13 words); 9:28; 9:29a (12/18 words); 9:30a (6/11 words); 9:31a (4/13 words); 9:32m (not 9 2 not 12 words); 9:35; 9:38a (4/20 words); 9:39m (not 5 13 not 2 words); 9:40; 9:42a (22/28 words); 9:43f (12/20 words); 9:50a (10/17 words); 10:23a (8/15 words); 10:24f (17/23 words); 10:25f (7/14 words); 10:26; 10:27m (4 not 22 6 not 6 words); 10:34-35; 10:36m (not 2 2 not 6 3 words); 10:37m (3 not 6 3 not 5 words); 10:38a (3/17 words); 11:1a (12/30 words); 11:3-4; 11:15; 11:18m (4 not 4 4 not 9 words); 11:29; 11:33; 11:42; 11:44; 11:48-50; 12:6-7; 12:9m (not 10 2 not 1 words); 12:34; 12:39 (mixed 1/4 quote); 12:40; 12:42a (4/26 words); 12:43; 12:44m (not 7 1 not 3 words); 12:57a (2/9 words); 12:59a (8/12 words); 13:18a (2/18 words); 13:20a (2/9 words; 13:21; 13:35f (17/23 words); 16:13m (not 5 20 not 3 words); 17:1-2; 17:19a (5/10 words); 17:22a (5/20 words); 17:23-24; 17:26f (10/16 words); 18:15-17; 18:25-26; 18:27a (3/12 words); 18:32; 18:40f (7/10 words); 18:41; 19:34; 19:44m (9 not 8 9 words); 19:45; 19:46a (1/5 quote); 20:3; 20:4f (6/9 words); 20:5a (7/10 words); 20:7; 20:8a (5/14 words); 20:9a (9/21 words); 20:10-12; 20:15-16; 20:18-19; 20:21-22; 20:23a (3/8 quote); 20:23f (3/8 quote); 20:24; 20:27-28; 20:33f (half quote); 20:40-47; 21:1-2; 21:6; 21:10a (3/10 quote); 21:15m (not 10 2 not 5 words); 21:29a (4/11 quote); 21:32-33; 22:1; 22:2a (11/15 words); 22:4f (8/16 words); 22:5; 22:6f (6/12 words); 22:11f (16/22 words); 22:13; 22:17-18; 22:20; 22:22a (10/18 words); 22:24; 22:25a (11/16 words); 22:26; 22:33a (10/16 words); 22:34a (10/15 words); 22:39; 22:42a (1/19 words); 22:45f (2/15 words); 22:46f (9/12 words); 22:47; 22:50; 22:51a (5/14 words); 22:54; 22:55f (4/14 words); 22:56; 22:%8f (15/19 words); 22:59a (9/20 words); 22:60a (4/16 words); 22:66a (4/20 words); 23:1; 23:2a (5/22 words); 23:3; 23:5m (not 2 1 not 17 words); 23:17; 23:18f (5/11 words); 23:24; 23:25f (7/19 words); 23:26a (12/19 words); 23:34a (17/19 words); 23:38; 23:45f (7/10 words); 23:47a (10/16 words); 23:50; 23:51m (not 10 5 not 6 words); 23:52-54; 24:3a (3/10 words); 24:4a (2/17 words); 24:8-9; 24:12-13; 24:49f (12/23 words)
Every verse or fraction of verse not listed here was quoted. See www.bibleQuery.org/Bible/BibleCanon/EarlyChristianNTQuotes.xls for more info.
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