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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:15

"For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.

Adam Clarke Commentary

He shall be great in the sight of the Lord - That is, before Jesus Christ, whose forerunner he shall be; or he shall be a truly great person, for so this form of speech may imply.

Neither wine nor strong drink - Σικερα, i.e. all fermented liquors which have the property of intoxicating, or producing drunkenness. The original word σικερα, sikera, comes from the Hebrew, שכר shakar, to inebriate. "Any inebriating liquor," says St. Jerome, (Epis. ad Nepot)." is called sicera, whether made of corn, apples, honey, dates, or any other fruits." One of the four prohibited liquors among the East Indian Moslimans is called sikkir . "Sikkir is made by steeping fresh dates in water till they take effect in sweetening it: this liquor is abominable and unlawful." Hedaya, vol. iv. p. 158. Probably this is the very liquor referred to in the text. In the Institutes of Menu it is said, "Inebriating liquor may be considered as of three principal sorts: that extracted from dregs of sugar, that extracted from bruised rice, and that extracted from the flowers of the madhuca: as one, so are all; they shall not be tasted by the chief of the twice-born." Chap. xi. Inst. 95. Twice-born is used by the Brahmins in the same sense as being born again is used by Christians. It signifies a spiritual regeneration. From this word comes our English term cyder, or sider, a beverage made of the fermented juice of apples. See the note on Leviticus 10:9.

Shall be filled with the Holy Ghost - Shall be Divinely designated to this particular office, and qualified for it, from his mother's womb - from the instant of his birth. One MS., two versions, and four of the primitive fathers read εν τῃ κοιλιᾳ, In the womb of his mother - intimating that even before he should be born into the world the Holy Spirit should be communicated to him. Did not this take place on the salutation of the Virgin Mary? - and is not this what is intended, Luke 1:44;? To be filled with the Holy Ghost, implies having the soul influenced in all its powers, with the illuminating, strengthening, and sanctifying energy of the Spirit.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Shall be great - Shall be eminent, or distinguished as a preacher.

In the sight of the Lord - Greek, “before the Lord.” That is, shall be “really” or “truly” great. God shall regard him as such.

Shall drink neither wine - The kind of wine commonly used in Judea was a light wine, often not stronger than cider in this country. It was the common drink of all classes of the people. See the notes at John 2:11. The use of wine was forbidden only to the Nazarite, Numbers 6:3. It was because John sustained this character that he abstained from the use of wine.

Strong drink - It is not easy to ascertain precisely what is meant by this word, but we are certain that it does not mean strong drink in our sense of the term. Distilled spirits were not then known. The art of distilling was discovered by an Arabian chemist in the 9th or 10th century; but distilled liquors are not used by Arabians. They banished them at once, as if sensible of their pernicious influence; nor are they used in Eastern nations at all. Europe and America have been the places where this poison has been most extensively used, and there it has beggared and ruined millions, and is yearly sweeping thousands unprepared into a wretched eternity. The “strong drink” among the Jews was probably nothing more than fermented liquors, or a drink obtained from fermented dates, figs, and the juice of the palm, or the lees of wine, mingled with sugar, and having the property of producing intoxication. Many of the Jewish writers say that by the word here translated “strong drink” was meant nothing more than old wine, which probably had the power of producing intoxication. See the notes at Isaiah 5:11.

Shall be filled with the Holy Ghost … - Shall be divinely designated or appointed to this office, and qualified for it by all needful communications of the Holy Spirit. To be “filled” with the Holy Spirit is to be illuminated, sanctified, and guided by his influence. In this place it refers:

1.To the divine intention that he should be set apart to this work, as God designed that Paul should be an apostle from his mother‘s womb, Galatians 1:15.

2.It refers to an actual fitting for the work from the birth by the influence of the Holy Spirit, as was the case with Jeremiah Jeremiah 1:5, and with the Messiah himself, Psalm 22:9-10.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.

Great in the sight of the Lord ... is a far different thing from being great in the sight of men, the vicious and unprincipled Herod the Great, just mentioned, being a classical example of the latter type of "greatness."

No wine nor strong drink ... This prohibited, not merely wine, but all intoxicants, and supports the view that John the Baptist like Samuel, Samson, and the Rechabites in the Old Testament, was a Nazarite for life (Numbers 6:1-21); however, as Ash noted, "Some facets of the Nazarite vow are not specified here (e.g., allowing the hair to grow)."[16] The type of ascetic piety exhibited by John had its proper place in the purpose of God; although John, strictly speaking, was not in the kingdom, because he preceded it. Nevertheless, God used him, particularly in the manner of his life style contrasting so dramatically with that of Jesus.

It is impossible to avoid the significance of the contrast in this verse between intoxicating "spirits" which John would renounce and the "Spirit" who would be in him, filling him, even from his mother's womb, and for his whole life. The same contrast was evident on Pentecost when the apostles were not "drunk with wine" but filled with "the Spirit." Paul wrote, "And be not drunken with wine wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). Strong drink is an unqualified curse upon the earth; and, although Christ did not require the kind of abstinence which marked the life of John the Baptist, drunkenness is forbidden, as well as any association with a drunkard (1 Corinthians 5:11).

ENDNOTE:

[16] Ibid., p. 31.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord,.... Of Jehovah, the Father; with whom, what is highly esteemed among men, is oftentimes an abomination; and of the Lord Jesus Christ, before whom he was to go, and who pronounced him a prophet, and more than a prophet, and even greater than any born of women, Matthew 11:9 and of the Lord, the Spirit, with whom he was filled from his mother's womb: he was great, not in birth and blood, in worldly riches and grandeur, but in gifts and grace, in his work, office, and usefulness, and in the esteem of God, and even of men too:

and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; which were forbidden the Nazarites, Numbers 6:3 where the Jews, by "wine", understand "new wine"; and by "strong drink", old wine: so all the "three Targums", of Onkelos, Jonathan ben Uzziel, and the Jerusalem, paraphrase the words there, "from wine new and old, he shall separate himself"; and they allow strong drink to a Nazarite, that has no wine in it: their canonF18Maimon. Hilch. Nezirut, c. 5. sect. 1. runs thus,

"three things are forbidden a Nazarite, defilement, and shaving, and whatever proceeds from the vine, whether fruit, or the refuse of fruit; but strong drink made of dates, or dried figs, and such like, is free for a Nazarite; and the strong drink which is forbidden him in the law, is strong drink made of mixture of wine.

But the Hebrew word, שכר, and which is here retained by the evangelist, signifiesF19R. David Kimchi in Sepher Shorashim, rad. שכר any sort of liquor, which is inebriating, whether it is made of fruits, or honey, or what not. The Jews had no such strong drink as ours, which we call beer or ale; but they speak of the strong drink of the Medes, which they say was an inebriating liquor, made of barleyF20Misn. Pesach. c. 3. sect. 1. & Jarchi, Maimom. & Bartenora in ib. :

and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb; or "whilst in his mother's womb", as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions render it: like Jeremiah, he was sanctified, set apart, and ordained to be the prophet of the Highest, before he came out of his mother's womb; and was then under such an influence of the Spirit of God, as to leap in it for joy, at the salutation of the mother of Christ to his, Luke 1:41 and very early appeared to have the extraordinary gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, qualifying him for his work,


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For he shall be great in the o sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor p strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

(o) So the Hebrews say when a rare kind of excellency is signified: so it is said of Nimrod in (Genesis 10:9), "He was a mighty hunter before the LORD".

(p) Any drink that might make someone drunk.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

great in the sight of the Lord — nearer to Him in official standing than all the prophets. (See Matthew 11:10, Matthew 11:11.)

drink neither wine nor strong drink — that is, shall be a Nazarite, or “a separated one” (Numbers 6:2, etc.). As the leper was the living symbol of sin, so was the Nazarite of holiness; nothing inflaming was to cross his lips; no razor to come on his head; no ceremonial defilement to be contracted. Thus was he to be “holy to the Lord [ceremonially] all the days of his separation.” This separation was in ordinary cases temporary and voluntary: only Samson (Judges 13:7), Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11), and John Baptist were Nazarites from the womb. It was fitting that the utmost severity of legal consecration should be seen in Christ‘s forerunner. HE was the REALITY and PERFECTION of the Nazarite without the symbol, which perished in that living realization of it: “Such an High Priest became us, who was SEPARATE FROM SINNERS” (Hebrews 7:26).

filled with the Holy Ghost, from … womb — a holy vessel for future service.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

15. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

[Neither wine nor strong drink.] That is, if the Jews may be our interpreters properly enough, "neither new nor old wine"; Numbers 6:3. Greek, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. Targum, He shall separate himself from wine new and old. So Deuteronomy 14:26.

"R. Jose of Galilee saith, Why doth the Scripture double it, wine and strong drink? For is not wine strong drink, and strong drink wine?" Strong drink is wine no doubt, Numbers 28:7; Thou shalt cause the strong wine to be poured out before the Lord. Targum, a drink offering of old wine.

Whilst I a little more narrowly consider that severe interdiction by which the Nazarite was forbidden the total use of the vine, not only that he should not drink of the wine, but not so much as taste of the grape, not the pulp nor stone of the grape, no, not the bark of the vine; I cannot but call to mind,

I. Whether the vine might not be the tree in paradise that had been forbidden to Adam, by the tasting of which he sinned. The Jewish doctors positively affirm this without any scruple.

II. Whether that law about the Nazarites had not some reference to Adam while he was under that prohibition in the state of innocency. For if the bodily and legal uncleannesses, about which there are such strict precepts, Numbers 5, especially the leprosy, the greatest of all uncleannesses, did excellently decipher the state and nature of sin; might not the laws about Nazarites which concerned the greatest purities in a most pure religion, be something in commemoration of the state of man before his fall?

There was, as the doctors call it, the wine of command; which they were bound by precept to drink. Such was "that wine of the tithes," Deuteronomy 12:17,18, that twas commanded to be drunk at Jerusalem, and the cup of wine to be drunk at the Passover. What must the Nazarite do in this case? If he drink, he violates the command of his order; if he do not drink, he breaks the command about tithes and the laws of his fathers. Let Elias untie this knot when he comes.


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Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-1.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

Shall drink... nor strong drink. No kind of intoxicant. Like the Nazarites (Numbers 6).


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-1.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Strong drink (σικεραsikera). A Hebrew word transliterated into Greek, an intoxicating drink. Here only in the N.T. John was to be a personal “dry” or Nazarite (Numbers 6:3).

Shall not drink (ου μη πιηιou mē piēi). Strong prohibition, double negative and second aorist subjunctive.

The Holy Ghost (πνευματος αγιουpneumatos hagiou). The Holy Spirit in contrast to the physical excitement of strong drink (Plummer). Luke uses this phrase 53 times, 12 in the Gospel, Mark and John 4 each, Matthew 5 times.

Even from his mother‘s womb (ετι εκ κοιλιας μητρος αυτουeti ek koilias mētros autou). A manifest Hebraism. Cf. Luke 1:41.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Strong drink ( σίκερα )

A Hebrew word, meaning any kind of intoxicating liquor not made from grapes. Wyc., sydir.

Even from his mother's womb

Ἔτι ,yet, still, means while yet unborn. Tynd., even in his mother's womb. Compare Luke 1:41.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

He shall be great before the Lord — God the Father: of the Holy Ghost and the Son of God mention is made immediately after.

And shall drink neither wine nor strong drink — Shall be exemplary for abstemiousness and self-denial; and so much the more filled with the Holy Ghost.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-1.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord1, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink2; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit3, even from his mother's womb4.

  1. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord. Compare Genesis 1:6.

  2. And he shall drink no wine nor strong drink. Any other fermented liquor. Wycliffe's version calls it "syder", and the Anglo-Saxon version calls it "beor", of which palm wine was the most common kind. As to the temperance of the Baptist, compare the history of Samson (Judges 13:3-5) and the Law of the Nazarite (Numbers 6:2-4).

  3. And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit. The stimulation of the Spirit is elsewhere thus contrasted with alcoholic stimulants (Acts 2:15-18; Ephesians 5:18).

  4. Even from his mother's womb. See Luke 1:41.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Neither wine nor strong drink; that is, like the ancient prophets, he shall lead a life of abstemiousness and self-denial.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-1.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

15.For he shall be great He confirms what he said about joy, for John had been selected for a great and extraordinary purpose. These words are not so much intended to extol his eminent virtues as to proclaim his great and glorious office; as Christ, when he declares that among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist, (Matthew 11:11,) refers less to the holiness of his life than to his ministry. What follows immediately afterwards, he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, must not be understood to mean that John’s abstemiousness was a singular virtue, but that God was pleased to distinguish his servant by this visible token, by which the world would acknowledge him to be a continual Nazarite. The priests too abstained from wine and strong drink, while they were performing their duties in the temple, (Leviticus 10:9.) The same abstinence was enjoined on the Nazarites, (Numbers 6:3,) until their vow should be fulfilled. By a striking mark God showed that John was dedicated to him to be a Nazarite for his whole life, as we learn was also the case with Samson, (Jude 13:3.) But we must not on this ground imagine that the worship of God consists in abstinence from wine, as apish copyists select some part of the actions of the fathers for an object of imitation. Only let all practice temperance, let those who conceive it to be injurious to drink wine abstain of their own accord, and let those who have it not endure the want with contentment. As to the word σίκερα, I fully agree with those who think that, like the Hebrew word שכר, it denotes any sort of manufactured wine.

He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost These words, I think, convey nothing more than that John would manifest such a disposition as would hold out the hope of future greatness. By disposition I mean not such as is found even in ungodly men, but what corresponds to the excellence of his office. The meaning is, the power and grace of the Spirit will appear in him not only when he shall enter upon his public employment, but even from the womb he shall excel in the gifts of the Spirit, which will be a token and pledge of his future character. From the womb, means from his earliest infancy. The power of the Spirit, I acknowledge, did operate in John, while he was yet in his mother’s womb; but here, in my opinion, the angel meant something else, that John, even when a child, would be brought forward to the public gaze, accompanied by extraordinary commendation of the grace of God. As to fullness, there is no occasion for entering into the subtle disputations, or rather the trifling, of the sophists; for Scripture conveys nothing more by this word than the pre-eminent and very uncommon abundance of the gifts of the Spirit. We know, that to Christ alone the Spirit was given without measure, (John 3:34,) that we may draw out of his fullness, (John 1:16;) while to others it is distributed according to a fixed measure, (1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 4:7.) But those who are more plentifully endued with grace beyond the ordinary capacity, are said to be full of the Holy Ghost. Now, as the more plentiful influence of the Spirit was in John an extraordinary gift of God, it ought to be observed that the Spirit is not bestowed on all from their very infancy, but only when it pleases God. John bore from the womb a token of future rank. Saul, while tending the herd, remained long without any mark of royalty, and, when at length chosen to be king, was suddenly turned into another man, (1 Samuel 10:6.) Let us learn by this example that, from the earliest infancy to the latest old age, the operation of the Spirit in men is free.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

Ver. 15. Great in the sight of the Lord] Significatur singularis quaedam praestantia, ut Genesis 10:9. He shall be singularly qualified.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Luke 1:15

I. What makes people great in the sight of men? Several things do this; but birth, money, and talents are the chief things which give this kind of greatness.

II. What makes people great in the sight of God? It is not any of the things which lead to greatness in man's sight. A person may be born of the greatest king that ever lived, and be as rich as Stephen Gerard, and have many talents, and yet be never great at all in the sight of God. And then, on the other hand, a person may be born in a garret or a cellar, and never have any money to call his own, and no talent at all to to do anything that men call great, and yet may be really great in the sight of the Lord. What made John the Baptist great? And, what will make others as great as he was? The answer is—Obedience. It was simply his obedience which led to all John's greatness. He did just what God wanted him to do. He did nothing else, and he did this all the time. And if we obey God, as John did, it will make us great in His sight too. All the greatness which people get in men's sight is little and empty; but it is vast, wonderful, substantial greatness which they get who become great in the sight of God.

III. Why is it better to be great in the sight of the Lord than in the sight of men? We may answer the question by saying that it is so for three reasons. (1) Greatness in God's sight is better than greatness in man's sight because it is more useful. Great men in God's sight are more useful than others by their example. Now the most useful thing that can be done to anybody is to make him a Christian. But there is nothing like the influence of a Christian's example to help to make others Christians. (2) This greatness is more lasting than the other. Greatness in man's sight—a greatness that connects itself with birth, or money, or talents merely—will soon pass away; but greatness in God's sight—a greatness that connects itself with our being made good and holy—will never pass away. (3) It is within the reach of all. This is not true of greatness in the sight of men, but it is true of greatness in the sight of God. But there were three things in John's case that we must remember if we want to succeed: (1) John began early; (2) John had the Holy Spirit to help him; (3) John gave up everything that was likely to hinder him from becoming great.

R. Newton, Rills from the Fountain of Life, p. 71.


References: Luke 1:15.—J. Keble, Sermons for Saints' Days, p. 257; J. H. Hancock, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 388; New Manual of Sunday School Addresses, p. 216.


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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-1.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 1:15. He shall be great, &c.— By this some understand that true greatness, whereof God is the sovereign judge, in opposition to that greatness which men acknowledge, who very often err in their opinion of things. "He shall be great in the sight of God, not of man." But great in the sight of God seems to be a Hebrew expression of the same form with αστειος τω Θεω, Acts 7:20 fair to God, or exceeding fair, and signifies, he shall be exceeding great; namely, in respect of his character, his office, his inspiration, and the success of his ministry, as it is explained by the angel himself. He was to drink neither wine nor strong drink; that is, to convince mankind that he was separated in a peculiar manner for the service of God. He was to live the life of the Nazarites, Numbers 6:3 who were esteemed as devoted to God's service in a particular manner. He was to be filled with the Holy Ghost, which, in Scripture, commonly signifies that degree of inspiration by which the prophets anciently spake. Accordingly, in this chapter it is applied to Elizabeth, to Mary, and Zacharias, in cases where they all spake by a particular inspiration.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-1.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

15.] ἐνώπ. τ. κ., signifying the spiritual nature of his office and influence.

The priests were similarly prohibited to drink strong drink; and the Nazarites even more rigidly: see reff.

σίκ. = שֵׁכָר (from שָׁכַר, ‘inebriatus est’),—‘any strong liquor not made from grapes.’ [Wiclif renders “He schal not drynke wyne ne sidir.”]

πν. ἁγ. πλ. is a contrast to, and a reason for, the not drinking wine nor strong drink: compare Ephesians 5:18.

Olshausen and Meyer think that (comparing Luke 1:44) the meaning is, the Holy Spirit should in some wonderful manner act on the child even before his birth. But (see reff.) this is not necessary,—nay, would it not rather be in this case ἐν κοιλίᾳ …? The ἐκ seems to fix the prior limit of the indwelling of the Spirit, at his birth. Meyer grounds his view on the meaning of ἔτι as distinguished from ἤδη, and takes the construction as embracing both particulars—he shall be so in, and shall become so from … So likewise Bleek, and Hoffmann, Weiss. und Erfüll. ii. 250 f.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-1.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:15. ΄έγας ἐνώπ. τ. κυρ.] A designation of a truly great man; “talis enim quisque vere est, qualis est coram Deo,” Estius. Comp. on Luke 1:6.

καὶ οἶνον κ. τ. λ.] Description of a נָוִיר, as those were called, who had for the service of God bound themselves to abstain from wine and other intoxicating drinks (Numbers 6:3 ), and to let the hair of their head grow. John was a Nazarite, not for a certain time, but for life, like Samson (Judges 13:5) and Samuel (1 Samuel 1:12). See in general, Ewald, Alterth. p. 96 ff.; Saalschütz, Mos. R. p 361 f.; Keil, Archäol. I. § 67; Vilmar in the Stud. u. Krit. 1864, p. 438 ff.

τὸ σίκερα ( שִׁבָר ), which does not occur in the Greek writers, is any exciting drink of the nature of wine, but not made of grapes; Leviticus 10:9 and frequently in the LXX. It was prepared from corn, fruit, dates, palms (Pliny, H. N. xiv. 19), and so forth. Eusebius, Praep. Evang. vi. 10, has the genitive σίκερος.

ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας κ. τ. λ.] ἔτι never stands for ἤδη, but: of the Holy Spirit(19) he shall be full even from his mother’s womb, so that thus already in his mother’s womb (see Origen) he shall be filled with the Spirit. A pregnant form of embracing the two points. Comp. Plutarch, consol. ad Apoll. p. 104: ἔτι ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς ἠκολούθηκεν (having therefore already followed ἐν ἀρχῇ). Doubtless the leaping of the child in the mother’s womb, Luke 1:41, is conceived of as a manifestation of this being filled with the Spirit. Comp. Calovius and Maldonatus.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 1:15. ἔσται, shall be) viz. that son shall be.— κυρίου, the Lord) God the Father is meant. Presently after he speaks also of the Holy Spirit and of the Son of God. Already, in connection with the forerunner of the Messiah, the economy of the Holy Trinity more fully expands itself to view.— καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ, and wine and strong drink he shall not drink) So also Judges 13:4, μὴ πίης οἶνον καὶ σίκερα. σίκερα is from the Hebr. שכר, and denotes all drink distinct from wine, and yet intoxicating, as the juice of the date, malt liquor, etc. Such abstinence was enjoined on John, also on the mother of Samson.— καὶ, and) Similarly, being filled with the Holy Spirit, is put in antithesis to being drunk with wine, Ephesians 5:18 .— ἐκ, from) An abbreviated mode of expression: meaning, in the womb (Luke 1:41; Luke 1:44) and subsequently [from that time forward].


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 15,16. We have a natural ambition to be great, but it is only to be great in the sight of men; thence one man coveteth riches, another honours and reputation; but the true greatness is to be

great in the sight of the Lord, who doth certainly judge with the truest and most infallible judgment. In God’s sight he is a great man of whom God maketh a great use, especially in turning many souls to himself. Consider John separately from his work, and the concurrence of God with his work, he was a very little man, and so looked upon by the Pharisees and rulers, who would not believe in him. His father was an ordinary priest. For titles and dignities, he had none; John the Baptist was his highest title. For his clothing; he was not clothed in soft raiment, (as princes’ chaplains), he was clothed with a skin, with camel’s hair, and had a leathern girdle about his loins; yet Christ saith of him,

Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. He had no palace, no stately habitation; he lived mostly in desert places little inhabited. Nature was his cook, that provided him locusts and wild honey. Where was his greatness, but in this—He was a great and faithful preacher of the gospel, and God blessed his labours to convert souls? They are little men that do little of the work for which God hath sent them into the world, and do little good in their generation.

He shall drink neither wine nor strong drink: by strong drink is meant any drink which ordinarily intoxicates. This was the law of the Nazarites, Numbers 6:3. It was forbidden the priests during the time of their ministration upon pain of death, Leviticus 10:9. No lovers of wine and strong drink can be great men in the sight of God. The minister of the gospel must not be one given to wine, 1 Timothy 3:3 Titus 1:7.

And he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. This is true, both as to prophecy, (which is all extraordinary gift of the Holy Ghost), and also of the Holy Ghost considered as a sanctifying Spirit renewing the heart.

And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. Then it seems there is another conversion besides the conversion of men from paganism. John (with the assistance of the Holy Ghost) was an instrument to turn many of the Israelites, who already verbally owned the true God, but were drenched in errors, and superstitions, and looseness of life, to the Lord their God, by repentance; and this he did by preaching both law and gospel to them. This made him a great man, for, They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever, Daniel 12:3.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Luke

ELIJAH COME AGAIN

TRUE GREATNESS

Luke 1:15.

So spake the angel who foretold the birth of John the Baptist. ‘In the sight of the Lord’-then men are not on a dead level in His eyes. Though He is so high and we are so low, the country beneath Him that He looks down upon is not flattened to Him, as it is to us from an elevation, but there are greater and smaller men in His sight, too. No epithet is more misused and misapplied than that of ‘a great man.’ It is flung about indiscriminately as ribbons and orders are by some petty State. Every little man that makes a noise for a while gets it hung round his neck. Think what a set they are that are gathered in the world’s Valhalla, and honoured as the world’s great men! The mass of people are so much on a level, and that level is so low, that an inch above the average looks gigantic. But the tallest blade of grass gets mown down by the scythe, and withers as quickly as the rest of its green companions, and goes its way into the oven as surely. There is the world’s false estimate of greatness and there is God’s estimate. If we want to know what the elements of true greatness are, we may well turn to the life of this man, of whom the prophecy went before him that he should be ‘great in the sight of the Lord.’ That is gold that will stand the test.

We may remember, too, that Jesus Christ, looking back on the career to which the angel was looking forward, endorsed the prophecy and declared that it had become a fact, and that ‘of them that were born of women there had not arisen a greater than John the Baptist.’ With the illumination of His eulogium we may turn to this life, then, and gather some lessons for our own guidance.

I. First, we note in John unwavering and immovable firmness and courage.

‘What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?’ Nay! an iron pillar that stood firm whatsoever winds blew against it. This, as I take it, is in some true sense the basis of all moral greatness-that a man should have a grip which cannot be loosened, like that of the cuttle-fish with all its tentacles round its prey, upon the truths that dominate his being and make him a hero. ‘If you want me to weep,’ said the old artist-poet, ‘there must be tears in your own eyes.’ If you want me to believe, you yourself must be aflame with conviction which has penetrated to the very marrow of your bones. And so, as I take it, the first requisite either for power with others, or for greatness in a man’s own development of character, is that there shall be this unwavering firmness of grasp of clearly-apprehended truths, and unflinching boldness of devotion to them.

I need not remind you how magnificently, all through the life of our typical example, this quality was stamped upon every utterance and every act. It reached its climax, no doubt, in his bearding Herod and Herodias. But moral characteristics do not reach a climax unless there has been much underground building to bear the lofty pinnacle; and no man, when great occasions come to him, develops a courage and an unwavering confidence which are strange to his habitual life. There must be the underground building; and there must have been many a fighting down of fears, many a curbing of tremors, many a rebuke of hesitations and doubts in the gaunt, desert-loving prophet, before he was man enough to stand before Herod and say, ‘It is not lawful for thee to have her.’

No doubt there is much to be laid to the account of temperament, but whatever their temperament may be, the way to this unwavering courage and firm, clear ring of indubitable certainty, is open to every Christian man and woman; and it is our own fault, our own sin, and our own weakness, if we do not possess these qualities. Temperament! what on earth is the good of our religion if it is not to modify and govern our temperament? Has a man a right to jib on one side, and give up the attempt to clear the fence, because he feels that in his own natural disposition there is little power to take the leap? Surely not. Jesus Christ came here for the very purpose of making our weakness strong, and if we have a firm hold upon Him, then, in the measure in which His love has permeated our whole nature, will be our unwavering courage, and out of weakness we shall be made strong.

Of course the highest type of this undaunted boldness and unwavering firmness of conviction is not in John and his like. He presented strength in a lower form than did the Master from whom his strength came. The willow has a beauty as well as the oak. Firmness is not obstinacy; courage is not rudeness. It is possible to have the iron hand in the velvet glove, not of etiquette-observing politeness, but of a true considerateness and gentleness. They who are likest Him that was ‘meek and lowly in heart,’ are surest to possess the unflinching resolve which set His face like a flint, and enabled Him to go unhesitatingly and unrecalcitrant to the Cross itself.

Do not let us forget, either, that John’s unwavering firmness wavered; that over the clear heaven of his convictions there did steal a cloud; that he from whom no violence could wrench his faith felt it slipping out of his grasp when his muscles were relaxed in the dungeon; and that he sent ‘from the prison’-which was the excuse for the message-to ask the question, ‘After all, art Thou He that should come?’

Nor let us forget that it was that very moment of tremulousness which Jesus Christ seized, in order to pour an unstinted flood of praise for the firmness of his convictions, on the wavering head of the Forerunner. So, if we feel that though the needle of our compass points true to the pole, yet when the compass-frame is shaken, the needle sometimes vibrates away from its true direction, do not let us be cast down, but believe that a merciful allowance is made for human weakness. This man was great; first, because he had such dauntless courage and firmness that, over his headless corpse in the dungeon at Machaerus, might have been spoken what the Regent Moray said over John Knox’s coffin, ‘Here lies one that never feared the face of man.’

II. Another element of true greatness that comes nobly out in the life with which I am dealing is its clear elevation above worldly good.

That was the second point that our Lord’s eulogium signalised. ‘What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment?’ But you would have gone to a palace, if you had wanted to see that, not to the reed-beds of Jordan. As we all know, in his life, in his dress, in his food, in the aims that he set before him, he rose high above all regard for the debasing and perishable sweetnesses that appeal to flesh, and are ended in time. He lived conspicuously for the Unseen. His asceticism belonged to his age, and was not the highest type of the virtue which it expressed. As I have said about his courage, so I say about his self-denial-Christ’s is of a higher sort. As the might of gentleness is greater than the might of such strength as John’s, so the asceticism of John is lower than the self-government of the Man that came eating and drinking.

But whilst that is true, I seek, dear brethren, to urge this old threadbare lesson, always needed, never needed more than amidst the senselessly luxurious habits of this generation, needed in few places more than in a great commercial centre like that in which we live, that one indispensable element of true greatness and elevation of character is that, not the prophet and the preacher alone, but every one of us, should live high above these temptations of gross and perishable joys, should.

‘Scorn delights and live laborious days.’

No man has a right to be called ‘great’ if his aims are small. And the question is, not as modern idolatry of intellect, or, still worse, modern idolatry of success, often makes it out to be, Has he great capacities? or has he won great prizes? but has he greatly used himself and his life? If your aims are small you will never be great; and if your highest aims are but to get a good slice of this world’s pudding-no matter what powers God may have given you to use-you are essentially a small man.

I remember a vigorous and contemptuous illustration of St. Bernard’s, who likens a man that lives for these perishable delights which John spurned, to a spider spinning a web out of his own substance, and catching in it nothing but a wretched prey of poor little flies. Such a one has surely no right to be called a great man. Our aims rather than our capacity determine our character, and they who greatly aspire after the greatest things within the reach of men, which are faith, hope, charity, and who, for the sake of effecting these aspirations, put their heels upon the head of the serpent and suppress the animal in their nature, these are the men ‘great in the sight of the Lord.’

III. Another element of true greatness, taught us by our type, is fiery enthusiasm for righteousness.

You may think that that has little to do with greatness. I believe it has everything to do with it, and that the difference between men is very largely to be found here, whether they flame up into the white heat of enthusiasm for the things that are right, or whether the only things that can kindle them into anything like earnestness and emotion are the poor, shabby things of personal advantage. I need not remind you how, all through John’s career, there burned, unflickering and undying, that steadfast light; how he brought to the service of the plainest teaching of morality a fervour of passion and of zeal almost unexampled and magnificent. I need not remind you how Jesus Christ Himself laid His hand upon this characteristic, when He said of him that ‘he was a light kindled and shining.’ But I would lay upon all our hearts the plain, practical lesson that, if we keep in that tepid region of lukewarmness which is the utmost approach to tropical heat that moral and religious questions are capable of raising in many of us, good-bye to all chance of being ‘great in the sight of the Lord.’ We hear a great deal about the ‘blessings of moderation,’ the ‘dangers of fanaticism,’ and the like. I venture to think that the last thing which the moral consciousness of England wants today is a refrigerator, and that what it needs a great deal more than that is, that all Christian people should be brought face to face with this plain truth-that their religion has, as an indispensable part of it, ‘a Spirit of burning,’ and that if they have not been baptized in fire, there is little reason to believe that they have been baptized with the Holy Ghost.

I long that you and myself may be aflame for goodness, may be enthusiastic over plain morality, and may show that we are so by our daily life, by our rebuking the opposite, if need be, even if it take us into Herod’s chamber, and make Herodias our enemy for life.

IV. Lastly, observe the final element of greatness in this man-absolute humility of self-abnegation before Jesus Christ.

There is nothing that I know in biography anywhere more beautiful, more striking, than the contrast between the two halves of the character and demeanour of the Baptist; how, on the one side, he fronts all men undaunted and recognises no superior, and how neither threats nor flatteries nor anything else will tempt him to step one inch beyond the limitations of which he is aware, nor to abate one inch of the claims which he urges; and on the other hand how, like some tall cedar touched by the lightning’s hand, he falls prone before Jesus Christ and says, ‘He must increase, and I must decrease’: ‘A man can receive nothing except it be given him of God.’ He is all boldness on one side; all submission and dependence on the other.

You remember how, in the face of many temptations, that attitude was maintained. The very message which he had to carry was full of temptations to a self-seeking man to assert himself. You remember the almost rough ‘No!’ with which, reiteratedly, he met the suggestions of the deputation from Jerusalem that sought to induce him to say that he was more than he knew himself to be, and how he stuck by that infinitely humble and beautiful saying, ‘I am a voice’-that is all. You remember how the whole nation was in a kind of conspiracy to tempt him to assert himself, and was ready to break into a flame if he had dropped a spark, for all men were musing in their heart whether he was the Christ or not,’ and all the lawless and restless elements would have been only too glad to gather round him, if he had declared himself the Messiah. Remember how his own disciples came to him, and tried to play upon his jealousy and to induce him to assert himself: ‘Master, He whom thou didst baptize’-and so didst give Him the first credentials that sent men on His course-’has outstripped thee, and all men are coming to Him.’ And you remember the lovely answer that opened such depths of unexpected tenderness in the rough nature: ‘He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom heareth the voice; and that is enough to fill my cup with joy to the very brim.’ And what conceptions of Jesus Christ had John, that he thus bowed his lofty crest before Him, and softened his heart into submission almost abject? He knew Him to be the coming Judge, with the fan in His hand, who could baptize with fire, and he knew Him to be ‘the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.’ Therefore he fell before Him.

Brethren, we shall not be ‘great in the sight of the Lord’ unless we copy that example of utter self-abnegation before Jesus Christ. Thomas a Kempis says somewhere, ‘He is truly great who is small in his own sight, and thinks nothing of the giddy heights of worldly honour.’ You and I know far more of Jesus Christ than John the Baptist did. Do we bow ourselves before Him as he did? The Source from which he drew his greatness is open to us all. Let us begin with the recognition of the Lamb of God that takes away the world’s sin, and with it ours. Let the thought of what He is, and what He has done for us, bow us in unfeigned submission. Let it shatter all dreams of our own importance or our own desert. The vision of the Lamb of God, and it only, will crush in our hearts the serpent’s eggs of self-esteem and self-regard.

Then, let our closeness to Jesus Christ, and our experience of His power, kindle in us the fiery enthusiasm with which He baptizes all His true servants, and let it because we know the sweetnesses that excel, take from us all liability to be tempted away by the vulgar and coarse delights of earth and of sense. Let us keep ourselves clear of the babble that is round about us, and be strong because we grasp Christ’s hand.

I have been speaking about no characteristic which may not be attained by any man, woman, or child amongst us. ‘The least in the kingdom of heaven’ may be greater than John. It is a poor ambition to seek to be called ‘great.’ It is a noble desire to be ‘great in the sight of the Lord.’ And if we will keep ourselves close to Jesus Christ that will be attained. It will matter very little what men think of us, if at last we have praise from the lips of Him who poured such praise on His servant. We may, if we will. And then it will not hurt us though our names on earth be dark and our memories perish from among men..

‘Of so much fame in heaven expect the meed.’


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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-1.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; he was to be under the law of the Nazarites from his birth, like Samson. Judges 16:17; compared with Numbers 6:1-6.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

15. μέγας ἐνώπιον Κυρίου. And therefore great indeed, since “we are as great as we are in God’s sight, and no greater.” See Luke 7:24-30; Matthew 11:11.

καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ. He shall be a Nazarite (Luke 7:33; Numbers 6:1-4); like Samson (Judges 13:2-7); Samuel (1 Samuel 1:12); and the Rechabites (Jeremiah 35:6). ‘Strong drink’ (σίκερα from Heb. Shakar ‘he is intoxicated’) was also forbidden to ministering priests, Leviticus 10:8. The term seems to have been specially applied to palm wine (Plin. Hist. Nat. XIV. 19), and all intoxicants (e.g. beer, &c.) which are not made of the juice of the grape. ‘Ne Syder,’ Wyclif.

πνεύματος ἁγίου πλησθήσεται. The contrast between the false and hateful excitement of drunkenness and the divine exaltation of spiritual fervour is also found in Ephesians 5:18, “Be not drunk with wine … but be filled with the Spirit.” Comp. Acts 2:13.

ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ. Compare 1 Samuel 1:11; Jeremiah 1:5.


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"Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15. Neither wine nor strong drink—This is in accordance with the vow of the Nazarite, Numbers 6:3-4. Similar announcements were made concerning Samson, Judges 13:4-5, and Samuel, 1 Samuel 1:11. The Nazarite thus consecrates himself to an over self-severity, in order to raise the people to the idea of self-control and temperance. They were eminent in abstinence, in order by example to raise the popular standard of mastery over bodily appetites. They abstained from what was innocent, either in quality or measure, in order to influence the world to abstain from what was guilty either in kind or in excessive degree. John was to be Nazarite; Jesus was to be the model, not of over self-severity, but of practical and duly measured innocence and right. Paul gives a rule for Christian Nazaritism in 1 Corinthians 8:13. Our modern temperance societies are properly a Christian Nazaritism. They are a moral enterprise, aiming to raise the public practice to a standard of temperance by exhibiting an abstinence from even an otherwise innocent measure of indulgence. Strong drink included all exhilarating liquors besides wine. The chemical art of distilling the modern inflaming liquors was unknown to the ancients; but they were able to make intoxicating drinks from the palm-tree, from apples, and from grains. Drunkenness was by no means thereby wholly unknown. See Isaiah 5:22; Proverbs 23:29-30.

Holy Ghost… from his mother’s womb—Even before birth the plenary influence of the Holy Spirit shall be upon and in his spirit. As soon as the soul shall quicken the unborn, there shall rest a holy power upon it. There is no Scripture ground for supposing with some that the child, even before birth, is no possible subject of sanctifying power.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:15. He shall be great in the sight of the Lord. Spiritual, not temporal, greatness is promised.

Neither wine nor strong drink. ‘Sikera,’ the Greek word here used, refers to liquors of an intoxicating character, not prepared from grapes. He was to be a Nazarite (see Numbers 6). Such vows were not unusual in New Testament times (see Acts 21:24). John ranks with Isaac, as a son begotten in old age; with Samson and Samuel, as granted to the barren in answer to prayer, and as a Nazarite (comp. 13:5;1 Samuel 1:12).

Filled with the Holy Ghost, not with wine (comp. Ephesians 5:18).

Even from his mother’s womb. ‘From his very birth,’ hence the Holy Spirit may work in and on infants.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 1:15. μέγας, a great man before the Lord; not merely in God’s sight = true greatness, but indicating the sphere or type of greatness: in the region of ethics and religion.— καὶ οἶνον, etc., points to the external badge of the moral and religious greatness: abstinence as a mark of consecration and separation—a devotee.— σίκερα = שֵׁכָר (not Greek), strong drink, extracted from any kind of fruit but grapes (here only in N. T.).— πνεύματος ἁγίου: in opposition to wine and strong drink, as in Ephesians 5:18. But the conception of the Holy Spirit, formed from the Johannine type of piety, is very different from that of St. Paul, or suggested by the life of our Lord.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Siceram, Greek: sikera, from the Hebrew shecar, or shacar, ebrius fuit.


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

in the sight of = before.

See note on "before", Luke 1:6.

shall drink neither = shallin no wise (Greek. ou me. App-105.) drink,

strong drink. Greek. sikera, any intoxicating drink not from grapes.

shall be filled. Verbs of filling take the Genitive of what the person or vessel is filled with. See App-101. note. Here pneuma hagion is in the Genitive case.

the Holy Ghost = holy spirit. Greek pneuma hagion, or "power from on high". See App-101.

from. Greek ek. App-104. i.e. before birth. Compare Luke 1:44.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord - i:e., great officially beyond all the prophets that went before him (as is evident from Matthew 11:11). In personal character John was indeed among the greatest of men; but it is the supereminent dignity of his office, as Messiah's Forerunner, that is here meant.

And shall drink neither wine nor strong drink - that is he, shall be a Nazarite, or ' separated one.' See Numbers 6:1, etc. As the leper was the living symbol of sin, so was the Nazarite of holiness: nothing inflaming was to cross his lips; no razor was to come on his head; no ceremonial defilement was to be contracted. Thus was he to be ceremonially "holy to the Lord all the days of his separation." In ordinary cases this separation was voluntary and temporary: we read of three only who were Nazarites from the womb-Samson (Judges 13:7), Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11), and here John Baptist. It was fitting that the utmost severity of legal consecration should be in the Forerunner. In Christ Himself we see the REALITY and PERFECTION of the Nazarite without the symbol, which perished in that living realization of it. "Such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, SEPARATE FROM SINNERS" (Hebrews 7:26).

And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 1:18), even from his mother's womb - a holy vessel for future service. This is never said of the supernatural endowments of ungodly men; and indeed of John it is expressly said that he "did no miracle" (John 10:41). Nor can the reference be to inspiration, because this does not appear to have come upon John until his public ministry commenced, when "the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness" (Luke 3:2). It is sanctification from the womb-a truth of high import in personal Christianity, of weighty bearing on the standing of the infants of believers in the Church of God, and ministering precious encouragement to religious parents.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

He must not drink any wine or strong drink. John was to be a Nazarite (see the law of Nazarites, Numbers 6). [Jesus was a Nazarene, something entirely different.]


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) And shall drink neither wine nor strong drink.—The child now promised was to grow up as a Nazarite (Numbers 6:4), and to keep that vow all his life, as the representative of the ascetic, the “separated,” form (this is the meaning of the term) of a consecrated life. He was to be what Samson had been (Judges 13:4), and probably Samuel also (1 Samuel 1:11), and the house of Jonadab the son of Rechab (Jeremiah 35:6). The close connection between the Nazarite and the prophetic life is seen in Amos 2:11-12. The absence of the lower form of stimulation implied the capacity for the higher enthusiasm which was the gift of God. The same contrast is seen in St. Paul’s words, “Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.—The words would be understood by Zacharias from the Hebrew point of view, not as seen in the fuller light of Christian theology. As such they would convey the thought of the highest prophetic inspiration, as in Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 61:1; Joel 2:28.

Even from his mother’s womb.—The thought of a life from first to last in harmony with itself and consecrated to the prophet’s work, had its prototype in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5).


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
great
7:28; Genesis 12:2; 48:19; Joshua 3:7; 4:14; 1 Chronicles 17:8; 29:12; Matthew 11:9-19; John 5:35
and shall
7:33; Numbers 6:2-4; Judges 13:4-6; Matthew 11:18
filled
Zechariah 9:15; Acts 2:4,14-18; Ephesians 5:18
even
Psalms 22:9; Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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