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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:6

They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

Adam Clarke Commentary

They were both righteous - Upright and holy in all their outward conduct in civil life.

Before God - Possessing the spirit of the religion they professed; exercising themselves constantly in the presence of their Maker, whose eye, they knew, was upon all their conduct, and who examined all their motives.

Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless - None being able to lay any evil to their charge. They were as exemplary and conscientious in the discharge of their religious duties as they were in the discharge of the offices of civil life. What a sacred pair! they made their duty to God, to their neighbor, and to themselves, walk constantly hand in hand. See the note on Matthew 3:15. Perhaps εντολαι, commandments, may here mean the decalogue; and δικαιωματα, ordinances, the ceremonial and judicial laws which were delivered after the decalogue: as all the precepts delivered from Exodus 21:1; to Exodus 24:1; are termed δικαιωματα, judgments or ordinances.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Both righteous - Both “just” or holy. This means here more than external conformity to the law. It is an honorable testimonial of their “piety” toward God.

Walking in … - Keeping the commandments. To walk in the way that God commands is “to obey.”

Ordinances - Rites and customs which God had ordained or appointed. These words refer to all the duties of religion which were made known to them.

Blameless - That is, no fault or deficiency could be found in them. They were strict, exact, punctual. Yet this, if it had been mere “external” observance, might have been no proof of piety. Paul, before his conversion, also kept the law “externally” blameless, Philemon 3:6. But in the case of Zechariah and Elizabeth it was real love to God and sincere regard for his law.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Luke 1:6

Both righteous before God

Observance of God’s ordinances

By walking in the ordinances,” they walked likewise “in all the commandments of the Lord; “ that being the means whereby they did this.
(
Bishop Beveridge.)

Performance of duties

God communicates Himself with great variety to His saints, now in this ordinance and now in that, on purpose that He may keep up the esteem of all in our hearts. Take heed, therefore, Christian, that thou neglect not any one duty. How knowest thou but that is the door at which Christ stands, waiting to enter into thy soul (Jn 2 Thessalonians 3:16)? (W. Gurnall.)

All God’s commands to be observed

God’s commandments hang together; they are knit and woven together like a fine web, wherein you cannot loosen a single stitch without danger of unravelling the whole. If a man lives in the breach of any one of God’s commandments, if he allows himself to indulge in any one sin, none can tell where he will stop. There is no letting any one devil into our souls without the risk of his going and fetching “seven other devils wickeder than himself”; and the purer the house may hitherto have been, the more eager will they be to come and lodge in it. (A. W. Hare.)

Unity of Zacharias and Elisabeth

They were one in--

1. Affection.

2. Interest.

3. Christ. (VanDoren.)

A model coupler

Observe here--

1. The sweet harmony of this religious couple in the ways of God; they both walked in the commandments of God. It is a happy match when husband and wife are one, not only in themselves, but in the Lord.

2. The universality of their holiness and obedience: they walked, not in some, but in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord. Such as will approve themselves to be sincerely religious must make conscience of every known duty, and endeavour to obey every precept and command of God.

3. The high commendation which the Holy Spirit of God gives of this their religious course of holiness and obedience: they are pronounced blameless. To live without gross sin is our holiness on earth; to live without any sin will be our happiness in heaven. Many sins may be in him that has true grace; but he that has truth of grace cannot allow himself in any sin. Truth of grace is our perfection on earth; but in heaven we shall have perfection as well as truth.

4. A pattern for their imitation who wait at God’s altar, and are employed in and about holy things. All ministers of the gospel ought to be what Zacharias and Elisabeth are here said to be, blameless; that is, very innocent and inoffensive in their daily conversation. (W. Burkitt, M. A.)

Like stock, like fruit

It is not in the power of parents to traduce holiness to their children; it is the blessing of God that feoffs them in the virtues of their parents, as they feoff them in their sins. There is no certainty, but there is a likelihood of a holy generation when the parents are such. Elisabeth was just as well as Zachary, that the forerunner of a Saviour might be holy on both sides. If the stock and the graft be not both good, there is much danger of the fruit. It is a happy match when the husband and the wife are one, not only in themselves, but in God; not more in flesh than in the Spirit. Grace makes no difference of sexes; rather the weaker carries away the more honour because it has had less helps. (Bishop Hall.)

It may or may not carry benediction with it to be born into a household historically and by hereditary office renowned; but, coeteris paribus, it is a beatitude to have both father and mother “righteous” as before God, and “blameless” as before the world. How mournful to very tragedy is falsification of such a godly lineage, words are poor to tell I It is to set the whole home-life to sweetest music to have husband and wife, father and mother, agreed in religious faith and character, as it is to introduce inevitable discords when both are not so--when, perchance, children and servants see the husband (father) living “without God,” and the wife (mother) bearing an aching heart as she enforcedly goes alone to “the sanctuary,” and alone has “prayer” in the household. (Dr. Grosart.)

Zacharias and Elisabeth

Parentage of great men interesting. Parental influence generally determines intellectual, social, and largely moral standing. Introducing the story of one who was pronounced by the highest authority to have no superior among his predecessors or contemporaries Matthew 11:11), the sacred writer detains us a little with the character of his parents. View the text as a beautiful exhibition of personal and family religion.

I. A REPRESENTATION OF PERSONAL RELIGION. Their religion was--

1. Sincere--“before God.”

2. Irreproachable--“blameless” (Philippians 2:15).

3. Practical--“walking in all,” &e.

II. A PICTURE AND PLEDGE OF FAMILY RELIGION. What is said of one is said of “both”--a pious pair. Look at this in its bearing upon--

1. Their mutual comfort. Christian young men and women, let this be one of the first things at which you look seriously when you begin to contemplate the life union.

2. Their domestic life. Imagine them at their rural home in the hill-country. Mutual kindness, united prayer, quiet ways of doing good, &c.

3. Their parental duties. Surely their personal piety had something to do with their selection as parents of forerunner. Personal religion the main qualification for training of children. (John Rawlinson.)

Characteristics of true righteousness

In order to this we must be “justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ,” for “the man unto whom the Lord will not impute sin, is he whose transgression is forgiven.” Another characteristic of the righteous man is that, “in his spirit there is no guile,” or, as the Irish boy expressed this, he must be “dane inside.” See how David prayed for these blessings (Psalms 51:1; Psa_51:7; Psa_51:10). Then those who are righteous have all right principles in them (Galatians 5:22-23). A king of England once took a Romish fighting-bishop prisoner. The Pope sent a demand, “Set my son free.” In reply, the king sent the bishop’s helmet and coat of mail, and asked, “Is this thy son’s dress?” Those who are righteous before God will also be righteous before men. (H. R. Burton.)

Transparent in character

In the cathedral of St. Mark, in Venice--a marvellous building, lustrous with an Oriental splendour far beyond description--there are pillars said to have been brought from Solomon’s Temple; these are of alabaster, a substance firm and durable as granite, and yet transparent, so that the light glows through them. Behold an emblem of what all true pillars of the Church should be--firm in their faith, and transparent in their character; men of simple mould, ignorant of tortuous and deceptive ways, and yet men of strong will, not readily to be led aside, or bent from their uprightness! A few such alabaster men we know; may the great Master Builder place more of them in His temple! (C. H.Spurgeon.)

The blameless pair

I. To consider and illustrate the character described in the text; and--

II. To present some reasons why all who have entered the marriage state should endeavour to make it their own.

1. The first thing which demands attention in the character of this truly excellent and happy pair is, that they were righteous before God. It is, indeed, very easy to be righteous in our own estimation; nor is it very difficult to be righteous in the estimation of our fellow creatures; but it is by no means equally easy to be righteous in the estimation of God. He is constantly with us; He sees our whole conduct; nay, more, He reads our hearts. To be righteous before Him, then, is to be really, inwardly, and uniformly righteous. It is to be the same persons in every situation, and on all occasions: the same at home and abroad, in solitude and in society. Try yourselves by this rule. Would men think you righteous, did they know you as perfectly as God knows you?

2. Again: this pair walked in all God’s commandments and ordinances blameless. It is mentioned as an effect and a proof of their being righteous.

These two words, though nearly synonymous, are not perfectly so. The commands of God are His moral precepts, or those precepts which are designed to regulate our temper and conduct on all occasions. By His ordinances are meant those religious rites and institutions which He has directed us to observe. Some pretend to obey God’s commands, while they neglect His ordinances. Others visibly observe His ordinances, but neglect His commands. The term walk signifies a course of life. To walk in God’s commandments and ordinances, is to have the heart and life constantly regulated by them. It is not to step occasionally into the path of duty, and then take many steps in a different path; but it is to pursue this path with undeviating steadiness and perseverance. This pious pair did not select such commandments as were easy, or reputable, and neglect others. Nor did they observe those only, which they had little temptation to omit; but, to use the language of the psalmist, they had respect to all God’s commandments.

What is now, under the Christian dispensation, implied in walking in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord, blamelessly?

1. It implies the exercise of repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. These are the two first and great commands of the gospel. Until we begin to perform these duties, we cannot be righteous before God, nor walk in any of His commandments or ordinances; for inspiration hath declared, without faith it is impossible to please Him.

2. Walking in all God’s commandments and ordinances blamelessly, implies great diligence in seeking a knowledge of them. No man can regulate his conduct by a rule, with which he is unacquainted. As well might a mariner find his way to a distant port, without ever looking to his chart or compass. That copy of the Old Testament, which Zacharias and Elisabeth possessed, was doubtless worn with frequent use. It must have been their daily counsellor and guide.

3. Walking in all God’s commandments and ordinances blamelessly, implies a careful performance of all the duties which husbands and wives owe each other.

4. Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of God blamelessly, implies a careful performance, on the part of parents, of all the parental duties which He has enjoined.

5. Walking in all God’s ordinances and commandments blamelessly, implies the maintaining of the worship of God in the family.

6. Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly, implies a suitable concern for the present and future happiness of servants, apprentices, and dependents.

7. Walking in the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly, implies a careful performance of all the duties which we owe our neighbours.

8. Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly, implies a proper use of the temporal good things which are entrusted to our care. Lastly: Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly, implies a sacred observance of the Sabbath, a diligent attendance on the public worship of God, and a commemoration of Christ at His table. Having thus considered and illustrated the character brought to view in the text, I proceed, as was proposed--

II. To state some reasons why all who have entered the marriage state should endeavour to make it their own.

1. God approves, and requires you to possess, such a character. He commands you to be righteous before Him.

2. Consider how much it would promote your present happiness to possess such a character. Where can happiness be found on earth, if not in such a family as has now been described?

3. Permit me to remind you how greatly such a family would honour God and adorn religion. It would, indeed, in such a world as this, be like one of those ever verdant islands, which rise amidst the wide ocean of Arabian sands, and whose constant verdure leads the weary and thirsty traveller to seek for the hidden spring which produces it. It is, perhaps, impossible for an insulated individual to exhibit all the beauty and excellence of Christianity; because much of it consists in the right performance of those relative duties, which he has no opportunity to perform. But in a religious family, a family where both husband and wife are evidently pious, religion may be displayed in all its parts, and in the fulness of its glory and beauty; and one such family will do more to recommend it, and to soften the prejudices of its enemies, than can be effected by the most powerful and persuasive sermon. (E. Payson, D. D.)

Domestic life

In this short account there is much to interest and instruct us; “ they were both righteous.” The priest maintained the sanctity of his character by marrying a daughter of Aaron; a daughter of Aaron’s piety as well as of his flesh. The union, cemented by affection, was strengthened by piety. Thrice happy pair! united to God and to each other! who can separate you? what can harm you? Life with all its trials; death with all its terrors; all things shall work together for your good. If congeniality is necessary to happiness in any state, surely in that which is most interesting and important. “How can two walk together except they be agreed?” Besides, if the families of God’s people are to be the nurseries for the Church, it is indispensable that both parents should be righteous.

I. THE PRINCIPLE OF THEIR OBEDIENCE--“They were righteous before God.”

II. THE RULE OF THEIR OBEDIENCE--“The commandments and ordinances of the Lord.”

III. THE UNIVERSALITY OF THEIR OBEDIENCE--“Walking in all the commandments,” &c. Religion, wherever it exists, will leave its own entire impression upon the character; not one feature, but every feature of the “new man” will be developed; the duties to man, as well as those we owe to God, will be conscientiously regarded.

IV. THE CONSISTENCY OF THEIR OBEDIENCE. The text adds to the preceding description of their character “blameless;” not sinless. Happy is it for the interests of the Church when a blameless consistency marks its professors, more especially when its professors, like Zacharias and Elisabeth sustain public and important stations; the priest emphatically should be “blameless;” if the tongue of slander should attack him, it should meet with no second accuser. To be thus “blameless” requires a constant dependence upon the grace of God. (Essex Remembrancer.)


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 1:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

It should be noted that this verse has Luke's words, and that he who was the companion of the great apostle to the Gentiles and thus fully knowledgeable of Paul's teaching about "the righteousness of God," here gave what is tantamount to a definition of that "righteousness," the same being not some kind of an inheritance through faith alone, but a state marked by the most careful and consistent obedience of the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. Advocates of the "faith only" doctrine have, of course, sought to soften this. Summers said, "In later Christian use, particularly Pauline, the word RIGHTEOUS took on a connotation of RIGHTNESS with God through faith commitment to Christ rather than through obedience to legal requirement."[13] If this view is correct, Luke could not possibly have written anything like this verse; but since he most assuredly wrote it, it must appear as a fair conclusion that this verse presents a Pauline view of righteousness fully in harmony with Romans 1:5,16:26 where "obedience of faith" is also stressed.

ENDNOTE:

[13] Ray Summers, Commentary on Luke (Waco, Texas: Word Books, Publisher, 1974), p. 24.


Copyright Statement
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 1:6". "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

And they were both righteous before God,.... Not as the Pharisees, only righteous before men, but in the sight of God, who sees the heart, and whose judgment is according to truth; and therefore were not justified by the deeds of the law; for by them no man can be justified in the sight of God; but were made righteous through the righteousness of Christ, by which the saints were made righteous before the coming of Christ, as those after it: see Acts 15:11. God beheld them in his Son, as clothed with that righteousness he engaged to bring in, and as cleansed from all sin in that blood of his which was to be shed: and they appeared to him, and in the eye of his justice, and according to his law, righteous persons: though this character may also regard the internal holiness of their hearts, and the truth and sincerity of grace in them: which God, who trieth the hearts and reins of the children of men, knew, took notice of, and bore testimony to: as likewise their holy, upright walk and conversation before men, and which was observed by God, and acceptable to him, though imperfect, as arising from a principle of grace, being performed in the faith and fear of him, and with a view to his glory, and for the sake, and through the righteousness of his Son,

Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord: this was not the matter of their righteousness before God, but the evidence of it before men: "by the commandments" are meant, all those that are of a moral nature, which regarded their duty to God and man, and which are comprehended in love to both; and by "the ordinances of the Lord", are intended the injunctions and institutions of the ceremonial law, which is called the law of commandments, contained in ordinances, which, though now abolished, were then in force: and it was right and commendable in them to observe them, who, by their "walking" in them, showed they loved them, both one and the other; esteemed them, concerning all things to be right; and had respect to them all, and observed them, and took pleasure in walking in them, which, by the grace of God, they continued to do; for walking not only shows that these commands and ordinances were a way marked out for them, but in which they took pleasure, and made progress: and were

blameless; not that they were without sin, as none are; and it appears from this chapter that Zacharias was not, see Luke 1:20 but they were so in the sight of God; as they were justified by the righteousness of Christ, so they were without fault before the throne, and unreproveable before God; and as to their moral and religious character and conduct before men, they did not indulge themselves in any known sin, but lived in all good conscience among men: nor were they remiss and negligent in the discharge of duty: they were not guilty of any notorious breach of the law of God, or of any remarkable negligence in the business of religious observances: and though they might observe enough in them to charge themselves with, and to humble themselves before God and men; yet so strict were they, in their lives and conversations, that those who were the most intimately acquainted with them, had nothing very material to blame them for.


Copyright Statement
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 1:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And they were both i righteous before God, k walking in all the l commandments and ordinances of the Lord m blameless.

(i) The true mark of righteousness is demonstrated when one is liked and accepted in the judgment of God.

(k) Lived, as the Hebrews say, for our life is as a way in which we must walk until we come to the mark.

(l) In all the moral and ceremonial law.

(m) Whom no man could justly reprove: now so it is that the fruits of justification are set forth here, and not the cause, which is faith only, and nothing else.


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

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "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

commandments and ordinances — The one expressing their moral - the other their ceremonial - obedience [Calvin and Bengel], (Compare Ezekiel 11:20; Hebrews 9:1). It has been denied that any such distinction was known to the Jews and New Testament writers. But Mark 12:33, and other passages, put this beyond all reasonable doubt.


Copyright Statement
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 1:6". "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

6. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

[In all the commandments and ordinances, &c.] So Numbers 36:13, These are the commandments and judgments. It would perhaps seem a little too fine and curious to restrain the commandments to the decalogue, or ten commandments, and the ordinances to the ceremonial and judicial laws, though this does not wholly want foundation. It is certain the precepts delivered after the decalogue, from Exodus 21 to chapter 24, are called judgments, or ordinances, Exodus 21:1, 24:3.

The Vulgar can hardly give any good account why he should render ordinances by justifications, much less the followers of that translation why they should from thence fetch an argument for justification upon observation of the commands, when the commands and institutions of men are by foreign authors called ordinances; nay, the corrupt customs that had been wickedly taken up have the same word, 1 Samuel 2:13, the priest's 'custom' with the people was, &c. 2 Kings 17:8, and walked in the 'statutes' of the heathen

The word ordinance is frequently rendered by those interpreters from ordain; which, to wave all other instances, may abundantly appear from Psalm 119. And the very things which the Jews speak of the Hebrew word obtain also in the Greek.

"Perhaps Satan and the Gentiles will question with Israel, what this or that command means, and what should be the reason of it. The answer that ought to be made in this case is, It is ordained, it is a law given by God, and it becomes not thee to cavil."

"Ye shall observe my statutes, [Lev 18:4] that is, even those which Satan and the nations of the world do cavil at. Such are those laws about eating swine's flesh; heterogeneous clothing; the nearest kinsman's [leviri] putting off the shoe; the cleansing of the leper, and the scapegoat. If, perhaps, it should be said that these precepts are vain and needless, the text saith, 'I am the Lord. I, the Lord, have ordained these things; and it doth not become thee to dispute them.'" They are ordinances, just and equal, deriving their equity from the authority of him that ordained them.


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

Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-1.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

They were both righteous. Almost invariably great men of God are born of parents eminently pious. Augustine, Luther, Wesley, and Campbell are examples.


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.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-1.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Righteous before God (δικαιοι εναντιον του τεουdikaioi enantion tou theou). Old Testament conception and idiom. Cf. Luke 2:25 about Simeon. Expanded in Old Testament language. Picture of “noblest product of Old Testament education” (Ragg) is Zacharias and Elisabeth, Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna who were “privileged to see with clear eyes the dawn of the New Testament revelation.”


Copyright Statement
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 1:6". "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

Before God

A Hebrew expression. Compare Genesis 7:1; Acts 8:21.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "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

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Walking in all the moral commandments, and ceremonial ordinances, blameless — How admirable a character! May our behaviour be thus unblamable, and our obedience thus sincere and universal!


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.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-1.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And they were both righteous before God1, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless2.

  1. And they were both righteous before God. This is, truly righteous in God's judgment, and not in mere appearance (Genesis 7:1).

  2. Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. Strictly construed, commandments would refer to moral, and ordinances to ceremonial laws. The two words include all the positive and negative precepts.


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 1:6". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

6.And they were both righteous before God He awards to them a noble testimony, not only that among men they spent holy and upright lives, but also that they were righteous before God This righteousness Luke defines briefly by saying that they walked in all the commandments of God Both ought to be carefully observed; for, although praise is bestowed on Zacharias and Elisabeth for the purpose of showing us that the lamp, whose light went before the Son of God, was taken not from an obscure house, but from an illustrious sanctuary, yet their example exhibits to us, at the same time, the rule of a devout and righteous life. In ordering our life, (Psalms 37:23,) therefore, our first study ought to be to approve ourselves to God; and we know that what he chiefly requires is a sincere heart and a pure conscience. Whoever neglects uprightness of heart, and regulates his outward life only by obedience to the law, neglects this order. For it ought to be remembered that the heart, and not the outward mask of works, is chiefly regarded by God, to whom we are commanded to look. Obedience occupies the second rank; that is, no man must frame for himself, at his own pleasure, a new form of righteousness unsupported by the Word of God, but we must allow ourselves to be governed by divine authority. Nor ought we to neglect this definition, that they are righteous who regulate their life by the commandments of the law; which intimates that, to the eye of God, all acts of worship are counterfeit, and the course of human life false and unsettled, so far as they depart from his law.

Commandments and ordinances differ thus. The latter term relates strictly to exercises of piety and of divine worship; the latter is more general, and extends both to the worship of God and to the duties of charity. For the Hebrew word הקים, which signifies statutes or decrees, is rendered by the Greek translator δικαιώματα, ordinances; and in Scripture הקים usually denotes those services which the people were accustomed to perform in the worship of God and in the profession of their faith. Now, though hypocrites, in that respect, are very careful and exact, they do not at all resemble Zacharias and Elisabeth. For the sincere worshippers of God, such as these two were, do not lay hold on naked and empty ceremonies, but, eagerly bent on the truth, they observe them in a spiritual manner. Unholy and hypocritical persons, though they bestow assiduous toil on outward ceremonies, are yet far from observing them as they are enjoined by the Lord, and, consequently, do but lose their labor. In short, under these two words Luke embraces the whole law.

But if, in keeping the law, Zacharias and Elisabeth were blameless, they had no need of the grace of Christ; for a full observance of the law brings life, and, where there is no transgression of it, there is no remaining guilt. I reply, those magnificent commendations, which are bestowed on the servants of God, must be taken with some exception. For we ought to consider in what manner God deals with them. It is according to the covenant which he has made with them, the first clause of which is a free reconciliation and daily pardon, by which he forgives their sins. They are accounted righteous and blameless, because their whole life testifies that they are devoted to righteousness, that the fear of God dwells in them, so long as they give a holy example. But as their pious endeavors fall very far short of perfection, they cannot please God without obtaining pardon. The righteousness which is commended in them depends on the gracious forbearance of God, who does not reckon to them their remaining unrighteousness. In this manner we must explain whatever expressions are applied in Scripture to the righteousness of men, so as not to overturn the forgiveness of sins, on which it rests as a house does on its foundation. Those who explain it to mean that Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous by faith, simply because they freely obtained the favor of God through the Mediator, torture and misapply the words of Luke. With respect to the subject itself, they state a part of the truth, but not the whole. I do own that the righteousness which is ascribed to them ought to be regarded as obtained, not by the merit of works, but by the grace of Christ; and yet, because the Lord has not imputed to them their sins, he has been pleased to bestow on their holy, though imperfect life, the appellation of righteousness The folly of the Papists is easily refuted. With the righteousness of faith they contrast this righteousness, which is ascribed to Zacharias, which certainly springs from the former, and, therefore, must be subject, inferior, and, to use a common expression, subordinate to it, so that there is no collision between them. The false coloring, too which they give to a single word is pitiful. Ordinances, they tell us, are called commandments of the law, and, therefore, they justify us. As if we asserted that true righteousness is not laid down in the law, or complained that its instruction is in fault for not justifying us, and not rather that it is weak through our flesh, (Romans 8:3.) In the commandments of God, as we have a hundred times acknowledged, life is contained, (Leviticus 18:5; Matthew 19:17;) but this will be of no avail to men, who by nature were altogether opposed to the law, and, now that they are regenerated by the Spirit of God, are still very far from observing it in a perfect manner.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Ver. 6. In all the commandments and ordinances] That is, in all the duties of both the moral and ceremonial law.

Blameless] αμεμπροι, sine querela, saith the Vulgate, "without complaint." They neither complained about others, nor were complained about by others. As it is reported of Burleigh, Lord Treasurer in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, that he never sued any man, nor did any man ever sue him, and was therefore in the number of those few that both lived and died with glory.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 1:6. In all the commandments and ordinances The critics are generally agreed that these words signify, the one the moral, the other the ceremonial precepts of the law; butthey are greatly divided in fixing the particular sense of each. The truth is, undoubted examples may be produced, to prove that both words were used promiscuously in both senses; for which reason, to dispute nicely about them is needless. The plain meaning is, that this exemplary couple were faithfully observant both of the moral and ceremonial institutions of the law; so that they were not only of a fair character in their dealings with men, but likewise illustrious for their piety, and sincere in their worship of God. This appears to be St. Luke's meaning. See Bell's Inquiry into the Missions of St. John, &c. p. 46.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. The sweet harmony of this religious couple in the ways of God, "They both walked in the commandments of God." It is a happy match when husband and wife are one, not only in themselves, but in the Lord.

Observe, 2. The universality of their holiness and obedience; "They walked, not in some, but in all, the ordinances and commmandments of the Lord." Such as will approve themselves to be sincerely religious, must make conscience of every known duty, and endeavour to obey every precept and command of God.

Observe, 3. The high commendation which the Holy Spirit of God gives of this their religious course of holiness and obedience; they are pronounced blameless, and without sin. To live without gross sin, is our holiness upon earth; to live without any sin, will be our happiness in heaven. Many sins may be in him that has true grace; but he that has truth of grace, cannot allow himself in any sin. Such are the condescensions of the covenant of grace, that sincere obedience is called perfection. Truth of grace is our perfection on earth, but in heaven we shall have perfection as well as truth.

Observe, lastly, a pattern for their imitation who wait at God's altar, and are employed in and about holy things; such ought all the ministers of the gospel and their wives to be, what Zacharias and Elizabeth are here said to be, namely, blameless; that is, very innocent and inoffensive in their daily conversation.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-1.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

6.] πορ. ἐν, a Hebraism, as also προβ. ἐν τ. ἡμέραις,, Luke 1:7, and ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ἱερ.… λ αχεν, Luke 1:8-9. This last is a construction frequent in Luke. In the phrase ἐντολαῖς κ. δικαιώμασιν (see reff.), we must not press any difference between the terms. δικαίωμα, as Bleek remarks, is used of an ordinance of God, laying down what is δίκαιον for men.


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". 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 1:6 f. δίκαιοι] upright, such as they ought to be according to God’s will.

ἐνώπιον τ. θεοῦ] a familiar Hebraism: לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה, characterizing the ἀληθὴς δικαιοσύνη (Euthymius Zigabenus), which is so not perchance merely according to human judgment, but before the eyes of God, in God’s presence, Genesis 7:1; Acts 8:21; Judith 13:20. Comp. Augustine, ad Marcell. ii. 13.

πορευόμενοι κ. τ. λ.] a more precise explanation of the foregoing, likewise in quite a Hebraizing form (1 Kings 8:62, al.), wherein δικαίωμα is legal ordinance (LXX. Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 30:16; Psalms 119:93, al.; see on Romans 1:32; Romans 5:16), ἐντολή joined with δικ. (Genesis 26:5; Deuteronomy 4:40) is a more special idea. The distinction that ἐντολή applies to the moral, δικαιώμα to the ceremonial precepts, is arbitrary (Calvin, Bengel, and others). We may add that the popular testimony to such δικαιοσύνη does not exclude human imperfection and sinfulness, and hence is not opposed to the doctrine of justification.

ἄμεμπτοι] not equivalent to ἀμέμπτως, but proleptic: so that they were blameless. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Winer, p. 549 f. [E. T. 778 f.].

The Attic καθότι, here as at Luke 19:9, Acts 2:24, Tobit 1:12; Tobit 13:4, corresponding to the argumentative καθώς: as then, according to the fact that, occurs in the N. T. only in Luke.

προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμ.] of advanced age, בָּאִים בַּיָּמִים, Genesis 18:11; Joshua 23:1; 1 Kings 1:1. The Greeks say προβεβηκὼς τῇ ἡλικίᾳ, Lys. p. 169, 37, τοῖς ἔτεσιν (Machon in Athen. xiii. p. 592 D), also τὴν ἡλικίαν, and the like (Herodian, ii. 7. 7; comp. 2 Maccabees 4:40; Judith 16:23), see Wetstein, and Pierson, ad Moer. p. 475. Observe that κ. ἀμφ. προβ. κ. τ. λ. is no longer connected with καθότι, but attached to οὐκ ἦν αὐτ. τέκν. by way of further preparation for the marvel which follows.


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". 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 1:6. δίκαιοι, righteous) The condescending goodness of Scripture, which speaks of the righteousness of the pious, ought not to be treated as if it is in opposition to the doctrine of justification [by faith].— ἀμφότεροι, both) God brings forth His chosen instruments from pious parents.— ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ, before [in the presence of] God) Genesis 17:1.— ἐντολαῖς, the commandments) viz. the moral ones.— δικαιώμασι) the ceremonial ones [ordinances], Hebrews 9:1.


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". 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

That they were not righteous by a perfect legal righteousness, being not guilty of any sin, is certain, for so there is none righteous, no, not one; but so righteous, as that God accepted them, and looked upon them as righteous; as Abraham believed, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, though he sinned in the denial of his wife, &c.; or as it is said of David, 1 Kings 15:5, He did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him, all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah. They also walked

in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. A man’s blameless conversation before the world is a piece of his righteousness, but will not make up alone such a righteousness as will testify his acceptation with God, or righteousness before him; he must, in the first place, walk in the commandments and in the ordinances of God. There is a duty towards God, as well as towards men; and that duty lies in the keeping his commandments, his ordinances, for the fear of the Lord must not be taught us by the precepts of men: yea, and in all the ordinances of God, having a respect to all God’s commandments; and making this his constant course and practice, not doing it by fits. He must also be blameless towards men. Here is a true pattern of what a married couple should be, especially where the husband waits at the altar, and is employed in the holy things of God. A bishop must be blameless, 1 Timothy 3:2; a deacon grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre, Luke 1:8; blameless, Luke 1:10; and, Luke 1:11, Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, & c. Such were Zacharias and Elisabeth. Such ought all ministers of the gospel and their wives to be.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

In order to be righteous in the sight of God, men must not only believe in Christ for salvation, but be disposed to observe all his commandments and ordinances, and to discharge with fidelity their private as well as public duties.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "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

6. δίκαιοι. The Hebrew Tsaddîkîm. It is one of the oldest terms of high praise among the Jews (Genesis 6:9; Genesis 7:1; Genesis 18:23-28. See Psalms 37:37; Ezekiel 18:5-19, &c.). It is used also of Joseph, Matthew 1:19; and is defined in the following words in the almost technical sense of strict legal observance which it had acquired since the days of the Maccabees. The true Jashar (upright man) was the ideal Jew. Thus Rashi calls the Book of Genesis ‘the book of the upright, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’

ἐναντίον τοῦ θεοῦ. The Hebrew לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה which implies perfect sincerity, since hypocrisy is

“the only evil that walks

Invisible, except to God alone,

By His permissive will, through heaven and earth.”

See Genesis 7:1; Acts 8:21. For the word ἐνώπιον which is read in some MSS. see note on Luke 24:11.

ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐντολαῖς καὶ δικαιώμασιν. The two words occur in the LXX[27] version of Genesis 26:5 (of Abraham) and 2 Chronicles 17:4 (of Jehoshaphat). ‘Commandments’ means the moral precepts of natural and revealed religion (Genesis 26:5; Deuteronomy 4:40; Romans 7:8-13). ‘Ordinances’ had come to be technically used of the ceremonial Law (Hebrews 9:1). The distinctions were not accurately kept, but the two words together would, to a pious Jew of that day, have included all the positive and negative precepts which later Rabbis said were 613 in number, namely 248 positive, and 365 negative. ‘To walk in the ordinances’ is a Hebraism (1 Kings 8:62; Deuteronomy 4:1; Psalms 119:93, &c.).

ἄμεμπτοι. ‘So that they were blameless.’ The word is used proleptically as in 1 Thessalonians 3:13. Blamelessness in external observances must not of course be confused with sinlessness.


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"Commentary on Luke 1:6". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6. Commandments and ordinancesCommandments refer to the moral law, ordinances to the ritual.

BlamelessBlameless even before God. Not blameless, indeed, as tried by the Christless law, which makes no allowance for infirmities; but blameless as living, through grace, under the atonement, in the undiminished approbation of God. So perfect was their faith, and so pure their life, that God imputed no blame unto them. This was their ordinary spiritual state; yet it excluded not the possibility of sin. For at a moment of trial Zacharias was betrayed into fault, and suffered a divine penalty.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

This verse shows that Elizabeth"s childless condition was not the result of her sin. In the Old Testament, God normally blessed the godly with children (cf. Genesis 1:28; Psalm 127; Psalm 128). She and her husband were right with God and followed Him faithfully. "Blameless" (Gr. amemptos) means that they dealt with sin in their lives quickly and as God required, not that they were sinless (cf. Philippians 2:15; Philippians 3:6; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 8:7). This Greek word is the equivalent of the Hebrew tam that describes Noah ( Genesis 6:9) and Job ( Job 1:8). The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was typically superficial and hypocritical, but Zechariah and Elizabeth were truly godly.

"Sometimes we are deprived of something because God has better things awaiting us down the road. When we wait patiently on the Lord, he often gives us more than we imagined possible. Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted a child; what they got was a prophet." [Note: Bock, Luke , p55.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:6. Righteous before God. Not outwardly, but really, pious.

Commandments and ordinances. The former probably refers to special commandments, the latter, as its derivation hints, to that by which God defines what is ‘righteous’ for men.

Blameless. The full sense may be thus expressed: ‘walking,’ etc.—so that they were ‘blameless.’ They were ‘saints’ after the Old Testament pattern. The promise made to Abraham (Genesis 22:18) was about to be fulfilled, and the first revelation was made to one of the Abrahamic character.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "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 1:6. δίκαιοι: an O. T. term, and expressing an O. T. idea of piety and goodness, as unfolded in the following clause, which is Hebrew in speech as in sentiment: walking in all the commandments and ordinances (equivalent terms, not to be distinguished, with Calvin, Bengel, and Godet, as moral and ceremonial) blameless (relatively to human judgment).


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Luke 1:6. They were righteous before God — They were sincerely and really righteous; they were so in God’s sight, whose judgment, we are sure, is according to truth; they approved themselves to him who searcheth the heart; and he was graciously pleased to accept them. It is a happy thing when those that are joined to each other in marriage are both joined to the Lord! And it is especially requisite that the priests, the Lord’s ministers, should, with their yoke-fellows, be righteous before God, that they may be examples to the flock, and give them cause of joy. Walking in all the moral commandments and ceremonial ordinances of the Lord blameless — Thus they manifested their righteousness: it shone forth in the whole course of their conversation; in every branch of piety and virtue. How admirable is the character given of this pious pair! May our behaviour be thus unblameable, and our obedience thus sincere and universal! The two words, εντολαις και δικαιωμασι, here used, are generally interpreted, the former of the moral, the latter of the ceremonial precepts of the divine law. It is certain, however, that they are often taken in a much more extensive sense; and that undoubted examples may be produced, to prove that both terms are used promiscuously in both senses.


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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

===============================

[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Sine querala, Greek: amemptoi, irreprehensibiles.


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

before. The Texts read enantion, not enopion (= in the presence of, as Luke 1:19). Both are found in the Papyri in this sense.

God. App-98.

ordinances = legal requirements. Greek. Plural of dlkaioma, which should always be so rendered in its other nine occurrences (Romans 1:32; Romans 2:26

;, Luke 5:16, Luke 5:18; Luke 8:4; Hebrews 9:1, Hebrews 9:10; Revelation 15:4; Revelation 19:8). Compare Numbers 36:13. Sometimes rendered "judgments" (Exodus 21:1; Exodus 24:3), where LXX has dikaioma.

the LORD. Must here and elsewhere be often rendered Jehovah. See App-98. A. b.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "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

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

And they were both righteous - not merely virtuous before men, but righteous

Before God who searcheth the heart. What that comprehended is next explained.

Walking - a familiar Biblical term denoting the habitual tenor of one's life, (Psalms 1:1, etc.)

In all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord - the one denoting the moral, the other the ceremonial precepts of the law-a distinction which it is falsely alleged that the ancient Jews were strangers to (see the note at Mark 12:33; and see Ezekiel 11:20; Hebrews 9:1).

Blameless - irreproachable.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) Commandments and ordinances.—The former word covered all the moral laws of the Pentateuch, the latter (as in Hebrews 9:1), its outward and ceremonial rules.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
righteous
16:15; Genesis 6:9; 7:1; 17:1; Job 1:1,8; 9:2; Romans 3:9-25; Philippians 3:6-9; Titus 3:3-7
walking
1 Kings 9:4; 2 Kings 20:3; Psalms 119:6; Acts 23:1; 24:16; 1 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Corinthians 1:12; Philippians 3:6; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 2:3,29; 3:7
blameless
Philippians 2:15; Colossians 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Peter 3:14

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

They both lived good lives in God's sight. Great men of God almost always come from parents who live holy lives. (Compare 2 Timothy 1:5).


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 1:6". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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