Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 10:41

But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Bethany;   Care;   Faith;   Friendship;   Jesus, the Christ;   Martha;   Mary;   Thompson Chain Reference - Anxiety, Forbidden;   Care;   Rest-Unrest;   Trouble;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Care, Overmuch;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Adummim;   Martha;   Mary;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Anxiety;   Martha;   Time;   Women;   Work;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Sexuality, Human;   Woman;   Work;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Martha;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Mary, Sister of Lazarus;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Luke, Gospel of;   Marriage;   Martha;   Woman;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the New Testament;   Martha;   Mary;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Activity;   Acts of the Apostles (2);   Bethany ;   Care ;   Gentleness (2);   Invitation;   Lord's Prayer (I);   Martha ;   Mary;   Mental Characteristics;   Minister, Ministration;   Mount of Olives ;   Praise (2);   Reflectiveness;   Wealth (2);   Worldliness (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Mary, Sister of Lazarus and Martha;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Martha;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Bethsaida;   Martha;   Mary;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Care;   Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);   Lazarus;   Luke, the Gospel of;   Martha;   Mary;   Olives, Mount of;   Papyrus;   Text and Manuscripts of the New Testament;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for June 14;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou art careful and troubled - Thou art distracted, μεριμνας, thy mind is divided, (see on Matthew 13:22; (note)), in consequence of which, τυρβαζῃ, thou art disturbed, thy spirit is thrown into a tumult.

About many things - Getting a variety of things ready for this entertainment, much more than are necessary on such an occasion.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou art careful - Thou art anxious.

Troubled - Disturbed, distracted, very solicitous.

Many things - The many objects which excite your attention in the family. This was probably designed as a slight reproof, or a tender hint that she was improperly anxious about those things, and that she should, with Mary, rather choose to hear the discourses of heavenly wisdom.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-10.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

The one thing needful ... This can be nothing except hearing the word of the Lord; that is what Mary was doing, and it was the thing which Jesus refused to interrupt on behalf of lesser human obligation. The application is timeless: whatever the duties of men, whether real or imagined, whether less or greater, the one great obligation of all who were ever born is that they shall heed the word of the Son of God. Much of the failure of modern Christianity lies in the fact that Christians are busy with all kinds of things, many of them important and necessary, of course; but yet they have no time for the word of the Lord.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Jesus answered and said unto her,.... Calling her by her name, and repeating it, Martha, Martha, which expresses great intimacy and friendship, and much earnestness, and, as it were, pitying her present situation and circumstances:

thou art careful and troubled about many things; intimating, that she was over anxious, and too solicitous, and more thoughtful and careful than she need be: he did not require such preparations for him, and so much attendance; she gave herself an unnecessary trouble in providing so many things for his entertainment, when less would have sufficed; so that instead of joining with her in her request, he reproves her for her over anxious care and solicitude, to have a nice and plentiful feast. The Persic version gives a sense quite contrary to the design of the text, rendering the words thus, "thou art adorned in all things, and hast the preference above many women".

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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 Rights 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
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-10.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Martha, Martha — emphatically redoubling upon the name.

careful and cumbered — the one word expressing the inward worrying anxiety that her preparations should be worthy of her Lord; the other, the outward bustle of those preparations.

many things — “much service” (Luke 10:40); too elaborate preparation, which so engrossed her attention that she missed her Lord‘s teaching.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-10.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Art anxious (μεριμναιςmerimnāis). An old verb for worry and anxiety from μεριζωmerizō (μεριςmeris part) to be divided, distracted. Jesus had warned against this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25, Matthew 6:28, Matthew 6:31, Matthew 6:34. See also Luke 12:11, Luke 12:22, Luke 12:26).

And troubled (και τορυβαζηιkai thorubazēi). From τορυβαζομαιthorubazomai a verb found nowhere else so far. Many MSS. here have the usual form τυρβαζηιturbazēi from τυρβαζωturbazō Apparently from τορυβοςthorubos a common enough word for tumult. Martha had both inward anxiety and outward agitation.

But one thing is needful (ενος δε εστιν χρειαhenos de estin chreia). This is the reading of A C and may be correct. A few manuscripts have: “There is need of few things.” Aleph B L (and Westcott and Hort) have: “There is need of few things or one,” which seems like a conflate reading though the readings are all old. See Robertson, Introduction to Textual Criticism of the N.T., p. 190. Jesus seems to say to Martha that only one dish was really necessary for the meal instead of the “many” about which she was so anxious.

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-10.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Thou art anxious ( μεριμνᾷς )

See on Matthew 6:25.

Troubled ( θορυβάζῃ )

From θόρυβος , tumult. Anxious denotes the inward uneasiness: troubled, the outward confusion and bustle.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-10.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

Martha, Martha — There is a peculiar spirit and tenderness in the repetition of the word: thou art careful, inwardly, and hurried, outwardly.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-10.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things1:

  1. Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things. By thus repeating the name, Jesus tempered the rebuke. See also Luke 22:31

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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. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-10.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

Ver. 41. Thou art careful] Christ prefers attention before attendance. To hearken is better than the fat of rams, 1 Samuel 15:22.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-10.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 10:41. And troubled The word τυρβαζη is no where else used in the New Testament. It seems to express the situation ofa person in a tumultuous crowd, where so many are pressing upon him, that he can scarcely stand his ground;—or, of water in great agitation. See Mintert and Stockius on the word.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-10.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

As if Christ had said, "Martha, Martha, I well know that thou doest all this in love to me, and it is no more that what is thy duty in its proper season; but thou has now an opportunity to hear my word, which thou can not have every day, and it would have pleased me better, to whom it is meat and drink to feed souls, if I had seen thee sitting with thy dear sister at my feet, and yielding an attentive regard to my holy doctrine, than to find thee performing a necessary civility to my person. Thou hast not made a bad choice, but Mary has made a better; she has laid all aside to attend upon my ministry, and the fruit of it will continue with her to all eternity": It is that good part which shall never be taken away from her.

Note here, 1. The unexpectedness of our Saviour's answer to Martha, how contrary it was to her expectation: she thought that her sister should have been sent away with a check, and herself with thanks, but she is quite mistaken: for all her good cheer that she had provided for Christ, he spares not to tell her of her fault: Martha, Martha, thou art troubled about many things.

Learn hence, that no obligations to any particular persons should so enthrall us, but that our tongue should be at liberty to reprove the faults of our best friends, wherever we find them. Martha, though a pious and good woman, though a friendly and kind woman, though a woman greatly beloved by Christ, yet is she reproved by Christ.

Note, 2. The reproof given to Martha: Thou art troubled about many things: where Christ condemns not her hospitality, but her solicitude and superfluity, her distraction and perplexity.

Oh how prone are we to exceed in things lawful and necessary, and to go beyond our bounds in them: when we are satisfied in the matter, we are prone to exceed in the measure. Martha's entertainment of Christ was a noble service, but she was too anxious and solicitious about it; she was cumbered, she was careful, she was troubled.

Note, 3. Our Saviour's admonition: But one thing is needful: that is, there is one thing which ought first and principally to be regarded by us, and is of the greatest concernment to us; namely, the business of religion, and the care of our soul's salvation.

Learn hence, that the care of religion, and our soul's salvation, is the one thing necessary, and that which every man is concerned in the first place, and above all other things to regard and mind.

Note, 4. Our Saviour's justification of Mary's choice: Mary hath chosen that good part. Christ did not tell Martha she had chosen a bad part, but her sister had chosen the better. Martha's entertainment of Christ was good, but Mary's attendance upon Christ's ministry was better, and more pleasing unto Christ. Christ was better pleased to see Mary in the chapel, than Martha in the kitchen; though he does not condemn the one, yet he extols the other; Mary had chosen the good part.

Learn hence, that religion and the sevice of God must be the matter of our election and choice; we must choose the good part, and it being once chosen by us, it shall never be taken away from us: One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall never be taken away from her.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-10.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 10:41. ΄άρθα, ΄άρθα, Martha, Martha) An Epizeuxis [the forcible repetition of the same word in the same sentence] calculated deeply to impress Martha’s mind.— μεριμνᾷς, thou art careful) inwardly. The antithesis is, οὐ μέλει σοι, hast Thou no care?τυρβάζῃ, thou art troubled) externally. Its synonym is, περιεσπᾶτο, was distracted or cumbered. See Eustathius.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-10.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 41,42. Our Saviour plainly blames Martha for her too great solicitude and trouble to provide a dinner, or supper, for him, who had meat to eat which she was not aware of, it being his meat and drink to do the will of his Father, and to preach the gospel. Interpreters much trouble themselves in determining what that

one thing is, which our Saviour here saith is needful. Some think our Saviour meaneth no more than, one dish is enough; but this certainly is too low a sense. Others would have this one thing to be a life of meditation and contemplation, and that this was that

good part Mary had chosen. If Mary had thus spent her whole life they might have said something for this. But certainly Mary’s choosing to take advantage of Christ’s company, rather to spend an hour or two in hearing of him, than in preparing a supper for him, will prove no such thing. I should interpret it generally, concerning the care of the soul with reference to eternity. That is certainly the one thing necessary, that was the better part, which Mary had chosen, as to which Christ would not discourage her, nor any way blunt the edge of those holy desires he had kindled in her, an effect of which study and care was her sitting at the feet of Christ to hear his word.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 10:41". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-10.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Careful; anxious, perplexed.

Many things; with regard to this world.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-10.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

41.Martha, Martha—There is a solemn reproof in this repetition. It implies a doubt and a danger.

Careful and troubled—To be the best housekeeper in town adorns the Christian piety of a lady, if it in no way encroaches upon and destroys it. But it is sad when the ambition of a secular duty crowds out important spiritual thoughts and engagements; allowing no time for the cultivation of those germs of spiritual life which are the commencement here of a heavenly life hereafter. We venture to believe that Mary, who limited one duty by another, and gave each its just proportion, could, in her calmness and clearness, accomplish more even of secular duty than her older sister with all her fluster.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-10.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,” ’

Jesus replies gently but firmly. The double use of her name, "Martha, Martha", indicates His caring attitude, as such a phenomenon does elsewhere (see Luke 6:46; Luke 8:24; Luke 13:34; Luke 22:31). The Lord sympathises with her for her busyness, and the effort that she is putting in.

But at the same time the narrative draws attention to the fact that the cares of this world are preventing her from seeking what is most important. She is too taken up with what she is doing and letting it get on top of her. ‘Anxious.’ She is overburdened within and too particular. ‘Troubled.’ She is too externally agitated. The idea is that perhaps a simpler meal and more attention to the Lord might have been better. She was so anxious to do the very best for the Lord, that it had become an unnecessary burden to her, when He would have preferred a simple meal and for her to be at peace and heed His words.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-10.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 10:41. Martha, Martha. The repetition indicates reproof, but the tone is still one of affection.

Thou art anxious and troubled. The first word refers more to internal anxiety, the second to the external bustle; both together describe the habit of such a character.

About many things. This may have been suggested by Martha’s wish to present a variety on her table; our Lord hinting that a simpler preparation was all that was needful. But this is not the meaning of the passage, which, as the next verse shows, refers to spiritual things. Yet the bustling about the many things in the kitchen was but a sign of the bustling about many things in her religious life.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-10.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 10:41. (from , an uproar; T. R., from , similar in meaning, neither form again in N. T.), thou art bustled, gently spoken and with a touch of pity.— : a great day in that house. Every effort made to entertain Jesus worthily of Him and to the credit of the house.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-10.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Martha, Martha. Figure of speech Epizeuxis. App-6. See note on Genesis 22:11.

careful. See note on Matthew 6:25.

troubled = agitated. Greek. turbazomai. Occurs only here.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha - emphatically redoubling upon the name.

Thou art careful and troubled, [ merimnas (Greek #3309) kai (Greek #2532) turbazee (Greek #5182)]. The one word expresses the inward fretting anxiety that her preparations should be worthy of her Lord; the other, the outward bustle of those preparations.

About many things - "much serving" (Luke 10:40); too elaborate preparation, which so engrossed her attention that she missed her Lord's teaching.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-10.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(41) And Jesus answered.—The better MSS. give, “And the Lord answered.” (See Note on Luke 7:13.)

Martha, Martha.—We note a special tenderness of reproof in the two-fold utterance of the name, of which this and the like iteration of “Simon, Simon,” in Luke 22:31, are the only examples in our Lord’s recorded utterances during His earthly ministry. (Comp. “Saul, Saul,” in Acts 9:4.)

Thou art careful.—The verb is the same as the “take thought” of Matthew 6:25, and throws light upon the meaning of that phrase.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
thou
8:14; 21:34; Mark 4:19; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Philippians 4:6
many
Ecclesiastes 6:11; Matthew 6:25-34
Reciprocal: Genesis 16:5 - My wrong;  Luke 22:31 - Simon;  Luke 22:61 - turned;  John 20:16 - Mary;  Acts 9:4 - Saul;  1 Corinthians 7:21 - care

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 10:41". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-10.html.