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Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 1

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 I have consulted a great number of works of reference, such as histories, Bible Dictionaries, encyclopedias, lexicons and critical concordances; also a number of commentaries, and all agree that Luke is the author of the book we are now studying. For the sake of saving space, I do not think _it necessary to list all of these works, in view of the unity in their statements making the conclusion well founded. Many of them state also that Luke was not a born Jew, and that he was a doctor of medicine. He was not an apostle but was inspired to write a record of the Gospel.

Verse 2

2 Luke was not an eyewitness of the things on which he writes, but they were told him by those who were. In copying down the things told him he would be qualified by inspiration, even as the Spirit guaranteed the accuracy of the memory of the apostles which was promised by Jesus before he left them (Joh 14:26).

Verse 3

3 So thorough was the report these witnesses gave Luke that he says it caused him to have perfect ("exact" --Thayer) understanding of the whole story. The book of Luke was addressed to Theophilus who was an outstanding, educated Christian, according to the Bible Dictionaries. Being addressed to one individual does not affect its importance for others, any more than does the fact that Paul wrote four of his epistles to individuals do so.

Verse 4

4 The special purpose Luke had in writing to this man was that he might be assured of the instructions he had already received.

Verse 5

5 Luke, like Matthew, begins his record at the time just prior to the birth of Jesus. However, unlike Matthew, he first gives us the history concerning the parentage of John the Baptist. It was in the days of Herod (The Great) who was king of- Judea. Course of Abia is explained at 1 Chronicles 24 in volume 2 of the Old Testament Commentary. All priests had to be descendants of Aaron but that was not required of their wives, hence Luke gives us the added information that Elizabeth was also from Aaron.

Verse 6

6 This couple lived up to all requirements of the law, which proves that it was not physically impossible to do so as some teach. Paul was another who did this according to Php 3:6.

Verse 7

7 They had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren. This is a significant statement that contrasts with the practice of some professed Christians who are childless from choice. Such people treat with contempt the first object of marriage by practicing birth control. Not only was Elizabeth barren, but she and her husband were in advanced age as were Abraham and Sarah (Gen 11:30; Gen 17:17), yet they did not give up hope (verse 13).

Verse 8

8 Order of his course. (See the comments at verse 5).

Verse 9

9 This custom of the priest's office is described in Exo 30:7-10.

Verse 10

0 The whole multitude were obeying Lev 16:17.

Verse 11

1 The altar of incense was in the first holy room of the temple, and incense was burned on it daily. Right side; on Zacharias's right hand as he stood facing the altar in the service.

Verse 12

2 The people were not permitted to accompany the priest in this place (verse 10), hence the appearance of an angel there caused Zacharias to be disturbed.

Verse 13

3 Prayer is heard and bear thee a son are phrases that are related; he had been praying for a son. This was one thing that caused Luke to say this couple was righteous. Had they been opposed to children and tried to avoid having them, they would not have been righteous. The promise of a son included instructions for his name.

Verse 14

4 Not only was Zacharias to rejoice over this son, but many others would have reason to be glad for his birth because of the great work he was to do in preparing a people for the king of heaven.

Verse 15

5 Great in the sight of the Lord whether the world admired him or not. Drink neither wine nor strong drink was a qualification of a Nazarite under the law (Num 6:1-4). During his entire life he was to be under the guidance of the Spirit.

Verse 16

6 This verse shows the fulfillment of Mal 4:6.

Verse 17

7 Elias (Elijah) was a powerful prophet in the Old Testament, and John was to be given a spirit of power like his. Turn the hearts of the fathers, etc., refers to the same as at verse 16. A people prepared for the Lord means the people whom John baptized in preparing a people for Christ.

Verse 18

8 The promise of a child under the conditions seemed so nearly impossible that Zacharias overlooked the evidence of the miracle already before him, that of the presence of an angel in that exclusive spot.

Verse 19

9 This was not merely an angel, but was one of the two who only are named in the Bible. This one was from the immediate presence of God where he usually stood, ready to do the bidding of the occasions as they came up.

Verse 20

0 Zacharias was to receive a sign that would be both an evidence and a mild punishment, because he believed not the words. This dumbness that was to come at once would start the evidence, and when it was completed it would strengthen the meaning.

Verse 21

1 The people waited according to the law, but Zacharias was detained longer than the regular service usually required which caused them to wonder.

Verse 22

2 A vision is defined as something that appears to one either while awake or asleep. As Zacharias had become speechless since he entered the temple, the people realized that something supernatural had occurred.

Verse 23

3 Days of Ms ministration were accomplished. The priests took turns in the service which is explained in the comments at 1Ch 24:6, volume 2 of the Old Testament Commentary.

Verse 24

4 Hid is from PERIKRUPTO which Thayer defines, "to conceal on all sides or entirely, to hide," and he explains his definition, "to keep one's self at home." It is the usual custom for expectant mothers to keep in retirement the last months of the period, but Elizabeth did the reverse. Nothing is said about her continuing the retirement after the five months, hence we would not think the other was done out of false modesty. A reasonable conclusion is that she was still under the feeling that it was "too good to be true," and before telling the good news to her friends, she decided to await the five months which would be the time for life to be evident.

Verse 25

5 After the five months had shown that she was to become a mother, she then commented by saying (last word of the preceding verse) that it was the Lord who had dealt thus with her. In bestowing this upon Elizabeth she commented that it would take away her reproach. To be unable to bear children in those days was considered a reproach, and it is still so considered with those who respect the first commandment regarding the divine object of marriage.

Verse 26

6 Sixth month means the sixth since the conception by Elizabeth. The same angel who appeared to her at the first was sent on a similar mission to Nazareth.

Verse 27

7 A virgin is a person who has not had any relations with the opposite sex. The connection must show in each case whether the virgin is a male or female. Since this one was espoused (engaged) to a man we know it means a female. House is from OIKOS and Thayer defines it at this place, "stock, race, descendants of one," which denotes that Joseph was a descendant of David.

Verse 28

8. Hail is a friendly greeting, indicating that some good news is about to be given to the person addressed. This was to be given to Mary as a special favor peculiar to women, and it was to be from the Lord.

Verse 29

9 Troubled means "agitated," and it was caused by the unexpectedness of the situation, and she was wondering what it all meant.

Verse 30

0 Seeing the disturbed condition of Mary, the angel assured her there was nothing to fear, but that God had selected her as an object of His favor.

Verse 31

1 Womb is from GASTER, and this is the only place where it comes from that Greek word. Also, this is the only place in the Bible where a statement of conceiving is joined with the word womb; this is significant. Mat 3:9 says that God could raise up children even from the stones. To promise Mary (a single girl) a son might have been taken to mean that God would give, her a son in some miraculous way independent of her own body. Hence it was necessary to tell this virgin that she was to conceive in her womb. The name of the son also was selected for her at this time.

Verse 32

2 Verses 28 and 30 contain all that the angel said by way of praise for Mary. After that he spoke of the greatness to be bestowed upon her son. San of the Highest is the same as calling him the Son of God. Throne of David means the throne which David (his great ancestor) had prophesied should be given him (Psa 132:11).

Verse 33

3 House of Jacob is a phrase often used to mean the Jewish nation in general, and later referring to the people of God spiritually whether Jew or Gentile. The kingdom of this "son of David" and of Mary was to stand for ever. (See Dan 2:44.)

Verse 34

4 I know not a man. This cannot mean that Mary had no male acquaintance, for she was even engaged to one. The word know is from GINOSKO, and Thayer says at this place the word means, "the carnal [sexual] connection of male and female." Robinson says virtually the same thing, except that he gives it as his definition of the word at this place. Mary meant that she was not being intimate with any man, which she thought would be necessary to conceive in her womb. We are taught an important lesson in morals here. The fact of being engaged was as binding in Biblical times as the actual marriage as far as obligations towards each other were concerned, but it did not authorize any intimacies until the time of marriage.

Verse 35

5 The Holy Ghost (Spirit) is an invisible, though personal being, and that is why he could enter into and take charge of the womb of Mary without any conscious participation on her part. The germ of life necessary to fertilize that of the female was thus deposited in the proper place by this holy Being, sent directly from God and authorized to represent Him in this union. Therefore, the angel concluded, the person to be brought forth from this union was to be called the Son of God. This is the only instance in which God ever did a thing like this, and that is the reason Jesus is called the ONLY begotten Son of God. From the conception and ever afterward through the period of expectancy, the experience of Mary was like that of all mothers.

Verse 36

6 The Greek word for cousin has an indefinite meaning, and may apply to any relative not as near as brother or sister. Mary had not expressed any doubt of the miracle that the angel just promised. However, he supported the promise by reporting another one along the same line, that her cousin was already six months along in her expectancy, notwithstanding she was called barren.

Verse 37

7 This verse is the angel's explanation of the two miracles of conception. God cannot do anything wrong, but nothing is impossible with Him because it is too hard.

Verse 38

8 This speech of resignation of Mary is one of the sweetest passages ever made. There is no sign of exultation over her special favor, but a meek submission as a handmaid, unto the word of the Lord. The angel delivered his message and departed.

Verse 39

0 It was a sweet and confidential meeting these happy women had with each other. This joy was mutual, but Mary's evidence was only the word of the angel for as yet there was no physical evidence of her conception, while Elizabeth had that of the living child within her own body.

Verse 41

1 It is usual for an unborn babe at that period to manifest a movement of life, but this was a miraculous instance since it not merely moved but leaped. Besides, it occurred as an immediate result of the voice of Mary acting through the ears of Elizabeth. The explanation is in the closing sentence, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.

Verse 42

2 The entrance of the Spirit into Elizabeth inspired her so that the words she spoke from here through verse 45 are those of inspiration. The blessing pronounced on Mary was emphasized by the one upon the fruit of thy womb.

Verse 43

3 Mother of my Lord. Elizabeth could have known this only by having been filled with the Holy Ghost, for the angel said nothing about it as far as we are told.

Verse 44

4 An unborn babe is unconscious, so the physical movement of this one was a reaction to the effect produced in the mind of Elizabeth; it was for joy of hers that caused the stirring of the babe in her womb.

Verse 45

5 She that believed refers to Mary who had no physical evidence as yet. (See the comments at verses 39, 40.) Elizabeth then gave Mary an assurance of the fulfillment of the promises, and that was an expression of her inspired mind.

Verse 46

6 To magnify the Lord denotes a desire to "esteem highly," not that any human being can contribute anything to the greatness of the Lord.

Verse 47

7 Mary is not making any technical distinction between her soul and her spirit. Her entire inner being was filled with praise for the greatness of the Lord.

Verse 48

8 Low estate refers to the humble station in life she had occupied; now she will receive the good esteem of all generations, but not that she would be worshiped.

Verse 49

9 Mary attributes her great favor to the One with a holy name.

Verse 50

0 The mercy will endure continuously to all who fear Him.

Verse 51

1 Since we know that Elizabeth was enabled by the Spirit to speak with supernatural wisdom, we may properly conclude Mary to have been doing the same thing.

Verse 52

2 He hath is general as to tense, and means that God always recognizes humility and rewards it with His favor, but deposes those who exalt themselves.

Verse 53

3 These statements are figurative in form, but teach the same principles as those in the preceding verses.

Verse 54

4 Holpen means helped Israel in remembrance or in view of his wonted mercy.

Verse 55

5 Abraham was the father of the Jewish race, and God had promised him an heir who should bless the world, which Mary was recalling to mind.

Verse 56

6 Mary visited with Elizabeth until the time for the birth of her son, then she returned to her own home in Nazareth in Galilee.

Verse 57

7 Elizabeth gave birth to a son at the usual time after conception.

Verse 58

8 Shewed great mercy refers to the former condition of barrenness that had been overcome. Rejoiced with her is an example of Rom 12:15.

Verse 59

9 The covenant with Abraham as well as the law of Moses required this rite (Gen 17:12; Lev 12:2-3). The law did not specify the age when the child should be named, but custom had established the time of circumcision for it. It happens frequently even today that people outside the family will presume to name the new baby. It was understandable why they would suggest the name of his father as that had long been another custom.

Verse 60

0 Elizabeth did not resent their wanting to pick a name for her baby, only they did not have the right one.

Verse 61

1 These people even argued the question which reminds us of 1Pe 4:15.

Verse 62

2 It is strange that the father had not been consulted in the first place, instead of waiting until they wanted him to decide a dispute. Made signs means they beckoned by a nod or something similar what they wanted him to do.

Verse 63

3 Zacharias had been dumb since the appearance of Gabriel (verse 20), hence his calling for a writing table which means a tablet. They marveled because Zacharias said the babe's name is John, indicating that the matter had been previously decided, which it had been by the angel (verse 13).

Verse 64

4 Mouth was opened immediately fulfills verse 20. He had two reasons for praising God; the birth of a son and the recovery of his speech.

Verse 65

5 Fear means a general feeling of respectful consideration for the wonderful things that had occurred. These sayings or happenings were reported extensively all through the country of Judea.

Verse 66

6 Laid them up in their hearts denotes that they kept them in mind. What manner of child shall this be! This remark was caused by the unusual circumstances connected with his conception and birth.

Verse 67

7 Being filled with the Holy Ghost made Zacharias' prophecies inspired.

Verse 68

8 This was said in view of the work of John in reforming the Jewish people, preparing them for the work of Christ (See Mal 4:6).

Verse 69

9 This whole speech of Zacharias was on a theme that combined the work of John and Christ, with the weight of, it in favor of the latter. This priest was happy to be the father of the forerunner of the Saviour of his people. Horn of salvation refers to the power that Christ would have to be able to save the people.

Verse 70

0 Christ had been foretold by the prophets through Old Testament times, in places toa numerous to mention at this place.

Verse 71

1 saved from our enemies has reference to the suffering the Jews were undergoing from the heathen powers, as well as from the influences of sin.

Verse 72

2 This holy covenant pertains to the promise of Christ.

Verse 73

3 This oath to Abraham is recorded in Gen 12:3; Gen 18:18; Gen 22:18.

Verse 74

4 This is the same in meaning as verse 71.

Verse 75

5 Zacharias places salvation on condition of lifelong righteousness.

Verse 76

6 Thou, child, has specific reference to his own son who had just been born. Called the prophet was done by Jesus in Mat 11:9. Go before . . . to prepare his ways pertains to the work of John in preparing a people for Christ.

Verse 77

7 Knowledge of salvation means to let the people know what would be necessary for salvation. It was to be the remission of sins upon repentance and baptism (Mat 3:11). This was preached by Jesus also (Mar 1:15).

Verse 78

8 Day spring is a comparison of the coming of Jesus into the world with the sunrising that ushers in a new day for the inhabitants of the earth.-

Verse 79

9 Light and darkness are figurative terms to represent truth and error. The teaching of Jesus was to show mankind the way of peace.

Verse 80

0 This child refers to the babe John, whose birth had occasioned this interesting speech of Zacharias. As the child grew he lived in the deserts. That was appropriate since he was to do his work there, when the time came for him to appear among the people of Israel as the forerunner of Christ.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Luke 1". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/luke-1.html. 1952.
 
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