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Bible Commentaries

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 8

Verse 1

Luke 8:1. Went about through city and village. From town to town, from village to village, in unwearied activity.

Bringing the glad tidings. One word in the Greek, hence ‘preaching’ does not govern ‘glad tidings.’

And the twelve with him, i.e. , went about with him, since this is joined closely with the previous clause. Hence after they had been chosen, but before they had been sent out to preach.

Verses 1-3

Peculiar to Luke. According to the usual view, the first circuit through Galilee was made before the choice of the twelve; this one (the second) with them; the third immediately after they were sent out to preach. But it is not certain that there were three distinct journeys. Our Lord was always occupied, and the Evangelists describe certain periods of His ministry in general terms, without introducing special occurrences. The period here spoken of seems to have been that succeeding (‘soon afterwards,’ Luke 8:1) the occurrences narrated in the last chapter. On the practical lessons, see close of section.

Verse 2

Luke 8:2. And certain women, etc. All of them had probably been cured of some affliction; hence their service was one of gratitude. Such a service, however, is contrary to the Oriental notions of propriety, founded upon low views of woman’s virtue. Christianity has done much to correct these notions. It is significant that this mention of our Lord’s female attendants should follow the account of the forgiven one in the Pharisee’s house.

Mary called Magdalene. A native of Magdala (see on Matthew 15:39).

From whom seven demons had gone out. This woman had been possessed of seven demons, and our Lord had cast them out. The notion of some (Dr. Lange among others) that this means released from special sinfulness, ‘seven demons’ being an expression for total subjection to the spirit of the world, is an attempt to support the legend that Mary Magdalene was the ‘sinner’ of the last chapter. But that occurrence loses its appropriateness, if we suppose that the woman had been already dispossessed of seven demons by oar Lord. The accuracy and aptness of the Gospel narrative are diminished by this theory.

Verse 3

Luke 8:3. Joanna. Her name appears again in chap. Luke 24:10.

The wife, perhaps at that time a widow, of Chuzas Herod’s steward, i.e., the ‘house-steward’ of Herod Antipas. Through this family Herod and his servants (Matthew 14:2) might have heard of Jesus. Some have identified Chuzas with the ‘nobleman’ whose son was healed by our Lord (John 4:46-54); but the reason for Joanna’s gratitude was that she had herself been healed (Luke 8:2).

Susanna (‘lily’). Not mentioned again.

And many others. Comp. Matthew 27:55.

Who ministered. All of them were such as thus ‘ministered,’ i.e. , provided food and other necessary attentions.

Unto them (the better supported reading), i.e. , to the whole company. The alteration to the singular was probably designed to exalt the service of the women; but what was done to the disciples was done to Christ, according to His own words (Matthew 25:40).

From their substance. This implies that some, perhaps most of them, were persons of means.

Our Lord confided in the purity and faithfulness of His Galilean friends; He exalted women into the circle of His followers; woman’s work was at once a service of grateful love (a diaconate); these women of high position felt that constant temporal service was a fitting, though insufficient, return for spiritual benefits. Such a circle as this is possible only where Christ is; about Him as the centre, gather preaching men and ministering women in purity and harmony.

Verse 4

Luke 8:4. And as a great multitude were coming together, etc. The E. V. gives the wrong impression that He waited until all came; it was the gathering crowd that led Him to enter a boat (Matthew, Mark).

Those of every city, attracted out of the various places where He had preached. Luke’s mention of the preaching tour probably leads him to give prominence to these. The three Evangelists agree, but show entire independence.

Verses 4-21

CHRONOLOGY. It is evident from the parallel accounts that the incident of Luke 8:19-21 preceded the parable, etc., Luke 8:4-18. Some would even insert between them a number of discourses related by Luke further on (Luke 11:37 to Luke 13:9), but the language of Matthew 13:1 seems to forbid this. The order of Mark, confirmed in this case by that of Matthew, is most exact. After the journey just spoken of (Luke 8:1-3) or during its progress, our Lord healed a demoniac, giving occasion to the Pharisees to vent their growing hostility. This incident is narrated out of its order by Luke (Luke 11:14, etc.). It was immediately followed by the demand for a sign from heaven (Matthew 12:38-45; Luke 11:16; Luke 11:29-36), possibly by other events narrated by Luke in the same connection. About this time, while the controversy was going on, the mother and brethren of Jesus sought Him (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21). Then came the discourse in parables (Matthew 13:0; Mark 4:1-25), a part of which is here recorded (Luke 8:4-18).

Verses 5-15

Luke 8:5-15. THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER and its interpretation. See on Matthew 13:3-8; Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:3-20. The new details are few.

Going on their way. This indicates carelessness. Some indeed think this refers to a being drawn away by the cares, etc., but this is doubtful.

In patience. Peculiar to Luke. It means ‘ consistently, through the course of a life spent in duties, and amidst discouragements.’ (Alford).

Verses 16-18

Luke 8:16-18. See on Mark 4:21-25. The same thoughts occur in Matthew in different connections.

Thinketh he hath (Luke 8:18) is peculiar to Luke. It is self-deception, not deception of others that is referred to. Luke omits the other parables, given by Matthew and Mark, inserting two of them in a different connection however (chap. Luke 13:18-21).

Verses 19-21

Luke 8:19-21. THE MOTHER AND BRETHREN OF JESUS SEEK HIM. See on Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35. Luke presents no new incidents. The reason for putting this occurrence out of the exact order, may have been thus to enforce the lesson of the parable concerning the right hearing and doing of the word.

Verses 22-25

Luke 8:22-25. The Storm on the Lake. See on Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41. Before starting, the incidents mentioned in chap. Luke 9:57-62 probably occurred (comp. Matthew 8:18-22). Luke’s account is brief, agreeing more closely with that of Mark.

On one of the days (Luke 8:22). The indefiniteness indicates that Luke had not consulted Mark’s Gospel.

A boat Mark: ‘the boat.’ i.e. , the one from which He had been teaching.

Came down (Luke 8:23). Either from the sky, or from the hill-sides, since the sudden storms would roll down the valleys and burst upon the lake.

They were filling, i.e. , the boat was becoming full. The original brings out the sudden coming down of the storm, and then the gradual effect, filling the boat and putting them in danger.

Being awakened, or ‘awaking.’ So Mark; in Matthew it is simply ‘arising.’ Luke (Luke 8:25) agrees with Mark, in putting the rebuke of the disciples AFTER the rebuke of the elements. Matthew reverses the order, but the former is probably more exact.

Verses 22-39

The voyage across the lake, the storm, the demoniac in the country of the Gerasenes (Gergesenes). Luke is indefinite as to time (Luke 8:22), but it was the evening of the day on which the discourse in parables was delivered (Mark 4:35). The storm probably occurred at night, and the encounter with the demoniac the succeeding morning.

Verses 26-39

Luke 8:26-39. THE HEALING OF THE FIERCE DEMONIAC. See on Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20. The latter account is the fullest, and Luke’s agrees more closely with it Gergesenes . So Tischendorf reads, but the authority for Gerasenes (which is correct in Mark) is almost equally great. See on Matthew 8:28. Which is over against Galilee . Peculiar to Luke.

Verse 27

Luke 8:27. A certain man out of the city , i.e., belonging to the city. He did not come to meet them out of the city, but ‘out of the tombs’ (Matthew, Mark), his usual abode, as stated in all three accounts. Had worn no clothes . Peculiar to Luke, but implied in Mark’s account (Luke 5:15).

Verse 29

Luke 8:29. For he commanded , or, ‘was commanding.’ This agrees with Mark’s account. Our Lord was about to command, when the demoniac cried as in Luke 8:28. The parenthesis is not necessary.

For gives the reason of the command.

Oftentimes , or, ‘of a long time.’

Caught , or, ‘seized.’ The violent effect of the possession is set forth. Then follows an account of previous unsuccessful attempts to restrain him: He was bound , etc.

Being under guard . Peculiar to Luke.

Breaking the bands asunder . Mark speaks of this, but not in the same immediate connection.

Verse 31

Luke 8:31. Into the abyss . There can scarcely be a reasonable doubt that this means ‘hell,’ the place of punishment for evil spirits. We must distinguish between ‘abyss,’ ‘the ad interim place of torment, and the lake of fire into which the devil will be cast by Christ at the end: see Revelation 20:3.’ (Alford.) The respite obtained by their entering into the herd of swine was a very brief one.

Verse 35

Luke 8:35. At the feet of Jesus . Peculiar to Luke, indicating accuracy as well as independence. Notice the correct reading of this verse, which is unusually graphic.

Verse 40

Luke 8:40. Welcomed him. Lit., ‘received Him.

Waiting for him. His absence had been brief. Doubtless cases of sickness awaited Him. Some have thought that Jairus was among the number, and that his presence had caused additional interest. But this is opposed to Matthew 9:18.

Verses 40-56

WHILE the name of the place to which our Lord returned, is not given here, the fact that the people were waiting for Him suggests Capernaum (comp. Matthew 9:1: ‘His own city’). Jairus came to our Lord while He was at a feast in the house of Matthew (Matthew 9:10-18), who probably lived in Capernaum, and this feast (chap. Luke 5:29-39) took place just after the return from the other side. On the miracles, see Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43. The account of Luke is more full than that of Matthew, agreeing more closely with that of Mark, but presenting some new details.

Verse 43

Luke 8:43. Who had spent all her living, etc. Luke, himself a physician, thus puts the case.

Verses 43-48

Luke 8:43-48. THE WOMAN who touched our Lord’s garment. See parallel passages.

Verse 44

Luke 8:44. Luke simply states how the cure was effected. Mark tells of her thoughts. ‘This is a most encouraging miracle for us to recollect, when we are disposed to think despondingly of the ignorance or superstition of much of the Christian world: that He who accepted this woman for her faith, even in error and weakness, may also accept them.’ (Alford.)

Verse 45

Luke 8:45. And when all denied. It is not certain that the woman did so; she may have hidden herself in the crowd.

Peter, etc. Peculiar to Luke. The question of our Lord was to draw out the woman’s faith. Mark’s account implies that He knew who had done it

The multitudes press thee, etc. ‘Press’ and ‘crush’ are strong terms. Some find here ‘a solemn warning to all who crowd on Christ,’ a rebuke to familiarity in hymns, etc. Peter in those days might have rebuked the crowd; our. Lord did not. The touch of faith and the accidental touch differ: no virtue flows out in the case of the latter. The cure was not magical.

Verse 46

Luke 8:46. Notice the correct reading, as proving our Lord’s knowledge of all the circumstances of the case.

Verse 47

Luke 8:47. Could not be hid. She felt that He knew of the cure He had wrought.

In the presence of all the people. Peculiar to Luke, and significant. She sought a cure in secret, but is led to confess it openly. This our Lord desires and deserves. A caution to those believers who do not confess Him before men.

Verse 49

Luke 8:49. There cometh one. Mark is less definite.

Verse 50

Luke 8:50. Hearing it. See Mark 5:36: ‘not heeding,’ or, ‘overhearing.’

Made whole (lit. ‘saved’). Peculiar to Luke. The promise asked large faith from the father, but the miracle just wrought doubtless quickened Jairus’ confidence.

Luke 8:51. Not any man to go in with him, where the damsel was. He was already in the house. He had already stopped the crowd outside (Mark 5:37), but meeting another within (as described in Luke 8:52-53), those who could enter the chamber of death are singled out

Verse 54

Luke 8:54. ‘He put them all out’ is to be omitted. Luke has already told of the separation within the house; while Mark, who had told how the crowd outside was prevented from entering, properly adds this (Mark 5:40).

Verse 55

Luke 8:55. Her spirit returned. She was restored to life. The various accounts leave no reasonable doubt that this is the meaning. On the further details, see especially Mark 5:42-43.

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Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 8". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.