Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 13:18

So He was saying, "What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Gospel;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Kingdom of Heaven;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Kingdom, Similitudes of;   Parables;   Similitudes;   Truth;   The Topic Concordance - Kingdom of God;  
Dictionaries:
Easton Bible Dictionary - Mustard;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Luke, the Gospel According to;   Parable;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Woman;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Matthew, Gospel According to;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Discourse;   Impotence;   Mustard;   Questions and Answers;   Seed (2);   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;  

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

He said therefore, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it? It is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his own garden; and it grew, and became a tree; and the birds of the heaven lodged in the branches thereof.

THE PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED

ANALOGIES IN THE PARABLE

The small seed = the small beginning of the church

The large tree = the size of the historic Christendom

The birds = evil, extraneous elements associated with the kingdom

The garden = the world

The one who sowed the seed = Christ, or God

The seed sown = the word of God

The mustard tree = the visible church of all ages

This parable and that of the leaven immediately following are not exactly like those in Matthew 13, "garden" instead of "field" being used by the Lord here. As Childers noted, Luke's account of these two parables does not come from the discourse reported in Matthew and Mark. "There, the parables are reported as part of Jesus' Galilean ministry; on the other hand, Luke is reporting another and later ministry,"[18] the Perean. Barclay also stated that "This is an illustration which Jesus used more than once, and which he used for different purposes."[19]

An amazing characteristic of interpreters of this parable is the near unanimous agreement that "usually each parable was spoken to make only one point,"[20] followed at once by their presentation of several points. Thus, it is agreed by all that the garden is the world where the kingdom has been planted by the Father, that the growth represents the spread of the kingdom, and that the great size of the mustard tree shows the future might and power of Christianity. Also, it is invariably pointed out that just as a mustard seed is small, so were the beginnings of the Lord's kingdom. If all this is "one point," then a porcupine is one quill! For further exegesis on this parable, see my Commentary on Matthew, Matthew 13:31-32.

[18] Charles L. Childers, op. cit., p. 540.

[19] William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956), p. 183.

[20] Everett F. Harrison, Wycliffe Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press), p. 238.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then said he, unto what is the kingdom of God like?.... The same with the kingdom of heaven, in Matthew 13:31 and so the Ethiopic version reads it here, "and whereunto shall I resemble it?" of this way of speaking; see Gill on Mark 4:30.

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 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
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-13.html. 1999.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

He said therefore (ελεγεν ουνelegen oun). It is not clear to what to refer “therefore,” whether to the case of the woman in Luke 13:11, the enthusiasm of the crowd in Luke 13:17, or to something not recorded by Luke.

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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

Matthew 13:31; Mark 4:30.

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.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-13.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

He said therefore, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it?

  1. Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I liken it? See .

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.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

Ver. 18. See Mark 4:30-31.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-13.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Our Saviour's design in both these parables, is to keep his disciples and followers from being offended at the small beginnings of his kingdom, and to foretell the future great success of the gospel, notwithstanding the present small appearance of the efficacy of it.

To this purpose he compares the kingdom of God, that is the gospel church, to a grain of mustard seed, which being one of the least seeds, yet in that country grew into so large a tree, that the birds did roost and lodge in the boughs of it. He also likens it to leaven, which quickly diffuses itself through the whole mass and lump, instantly turning a great heap of meal into its own nature. Christ shows hereby of what a spreading nature the doctrine of the gospel would be, notwithstanding all the malice and opposition of wicked men.

Learn hence, that how small beginnings soever the gospel had in its first plantation, yet by the fructifying blessing of God, and the influence of the Holy Spirit, it has had and shall have, a wonderful increase.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-13.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 13:18. τίνι, to what) Comp. ch. Luke 7:31. [The Saviour had put forth the same similes, as to the grain of mustard and the leaven, at about the interval of a year before this, as recorded in Matthew, ch. Luke 13:31; Luke 13:33, and also in Mark, ch. Luke 4:31.—Harm., p. 404.]— βασιλεία, the kingdom) Many were about to enter it of the Jews and Gentiles: comp. Luke 13:17; Luke 13:29.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-13.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 18-21. See Poole on "Matthew 13:31", and following verses to Matthew 13:33. They are two parables by which Christ foretells the great success of the gospel, notwithstanding the present small appearance of the efficacy of it.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 13:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-13.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘He said therefore, “To what is the Kingly Rule of God like? and to what shall I liken it?”

Note how the ‘therefore’ connects these illustration of the Kingly Rule of God with the previous passage. Having again revealed His continuing power over Satan, and His continuing deliverance of people from his control, Jesus now intends to make clear to His disciples that the Kingly Rule is already present and active in their proclaiming of it.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-13.html. 2013.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Then said He, &c. Repeated with variations from Matthew 13:31, &c.

Unto what . . . ? Compare Isaiah 40:18.

the kingdom of God. App-114.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-13.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
Unto
20; 7:31; Lamentations 2:13; Matthew 13:31
the kingdom
17:21; Mark 4:26,30-34
Reciprocal: Matthew 11:16 - whereunto;  Matthew 13:24 - The kingdom;  Mark 4:31 - like

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 13:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-13.html.