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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Luke 6

 

 

Verses 1-11

Luke 6:1-11. Sabbath Observance (Mark 2:23-28*, Matthew 12:1-14*).—There is little change to note here. No satisfactory explanation has been found of Luke 6:1 mg. It is a gloss not found in the best MSS. Codex Bezæ in Lk. transfers Luke 6:5 to the end of Luke 6:10 and in its place has, "On the same day He saw a man working on the Sabbath and said to him, ‘Man, if thou knowest what thou doest, blessed art thou; but if thou knowest not thou art accursed and a transgressor of the law.'" Montefiore thinks the saying "too subtle and Pauline" to be authentic, doubting whether Jesus would have so openly approved so direct a violation of a fundamental commandment. Note that Lk. (like Mt.) omits Mark 2:27; to him "Son of Man" always meant Messiah, hence Mark 2:27 could not be used to prove Lk.'s 5. In Luke 6:11 he says the Pharisees were "filled with madness" against Jesus. This is more to his mind than Mk.'s statement (Luke 3:5) that Jesus was angry with the Pharisees. The Perfect Man preserves a perfect calm. A tendency to heighten human distress (cf. Luke 8:42, Luke 9:38, "only child") appears in Luke 6:6; it is the man's right hand that is withered.


Verses 12-19

Luke 6:12-19. The Appointment of the Twelve. Miracles of Healing (Mark 3:12-19*, Matthew 10:2-4; Matthew 12:15-21*).—Mk. puts the healings first. Lk. transposes his order to bring the Twelve into prominence. Jesus prepares for the choice by a night of prayer, and then deliberately marks off the Twelve from the rank and file of the disciples. Judas (the son) of James, takes the place of Thaddæus (Mk.) or Lebbæus (Mt.). Jesus comes down (to the plain or to a level place on the hillside) to address the throng gathered from all Judæa (Codex Bezæ sensibly omits "and Jerusalem"), i.e. Palestine (Luke 4:44*), and Phœnicia. With Luke 6:19; cf. Luke 5:17, Mark 5:30.


Verses 20-49

Luke 6:20-49. The Sermon on the Level Place.—This is much briefer than Matthew 5-7. The sections in Mt. that illustrate the fulfilment of the Law are omitted; more stress is laid on love and mercy. Other parallels with Mt.'s Sermon are found elsewhere in Lk.; very little of Lk.'s Sermon (Luke 6:24-26, Luke 6:34 f. only) is not found in Mt. There are also differences of arrangement.

Luke 6:20-26. Beatitudes and Woes (Matthew 5:1-12*).—In place of eight blessings we have in Lk. four (shorter) blessings and four contrasted woes; in Lk. Jesus does not qualify "the poor" (or the hungry); they are, as with the Psalmist, the righteous, and will have their innings in the next life, where the rich (the wicked) will suffer. Cƒ. Dives and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-26.

Luke 6:22 f. suggests Jewish persecution of the early Church.—cast out your name as evil: a reference to calumny directed against those of the Christian way.

Luke 6:24-26. The woes are peculiar to Lk., and are less genuine than the blessings. Cf. James 5:1-4. Perhaps they are not launched at persecutors of the Church (e.g. rich Pharisees) so much as at worldly-minded folk in general.

Luke 6:26. General popularity too often implies that its recipient panders to prejudice and smothers his conscience.


Verses 27-36

Luke 6:27-36. The Love of Enemies (Matthew 5:39-48*, Matthew 7:12*).—While Mt.'s main point is the contrast between legal and true righteousness, Lk.'s main point is that true righteousness is love; he contrasts the spirit of selfishness with the spirit of love. Luke 6:27 f. is fuller than Matthew 5:44 and is put in the forefront. Note the differences from Mt. in Luke 6:29 b (robbery instead of lawsuit) and Luke 6:30 b. These injunctions seem primarily in keeping with the anticipation of a speedy end of the age and the early advent of the Kingdom of God. To apply them literally to-day would be to invite anarchy. We are bound to regard them "not as precepts but as illustrations of principles," to look beyond the letter to the spirit, which is that "resistance of evil and refusal to part with our property must never be a personal matter; so far as we are concerned we must be willing to suffer still more and surrender still more. Love knows no limits but those which love itself imposes. When love resists or refuses it is because compliance would be a violation of love, not because it would involve loss or suffering" (Plummer).

Luke 6:31-36. Following the plan of Luke 6:27-30, Lk. now gives the Golden Rule and a series of applications.

Luke 6:32. Love has the same meaning as do good to (Luke 6:33); thank is literally "favour," i.e. Divine reward.

Luke 6:34 f. Lk. only.—never despairing, i.e. of the heavenly recompense. The variant in mg. might be rendered "not robbing any man of his hope," i.e. disappointing no one.—sons of the Most High; the reward is that in the Kingdom those who fulfil these injunctions shall become sons of God, like the angels (cf. Matthew 13:43).

Luke 6:36. merciful: Mt. "perfect."—your father: only here and Luke 12:30; Luke 12:32.


Verses 37-42

Luke 6:37-42. Against Judging (Matthew 7:1-5*).—Lk. skips Matthew 6 and connects these sayings with love of enemies. It is not clear whether the reference is to law-courts or to general behaviour. Note the different use of "with what measure ye mete," etc., in Lk. and Mt. In Luke 6:39 f. (note the interpolating introduction) Lk. gives two sayings found in Mt. at Luke 15:14 and Luke 10:24 f.; perhaps he means them to carry on the thought of charity in judgment, with the added notion that immature disciples are not competent to judge. He may also have connected the blind leading the blind with the mote and the beam; in Luke 6:41 f. he is back at Matthew 7:3-5.


Verses 43-45

Luke 6:43-45. Trees and Fruit. The Treasure of the Heart (Matthew 7:16-21*, Matthew 12:33-35*).—Better than judging others is to examine oneself; the true test of a true disciple is his life. Right speech and action show a right heart.


Verses 46-49

Luke 6:46-49. Hearing and Doing (Matthew 7:21; Matthew 7:24-27*)—There are some interesting but not vital differences. Nominal adherence will not avail in the Judgment.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Luke 6:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/luke-6.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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