Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 13:20

And again He said, "To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Gospel;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Truth;   The Topic Concordance - Kingdom of God;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Leaven;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Woman;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Matthew, Gospel According to;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Discourse;   Impotence;   Leaven;   Leaven ;   Lord's Prayer (Ii);   Questions and Answers;   Science (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Leaven;   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

And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.

THE PARABLE OF THE LEAVEN (YEAST)

Despite the fact that "leaven" often is used of something evil, such as the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, the declaration is that "the kingdom of God is like leaven," forcing the conclusion that it stands for the opposite of evil in this passage.

This and the parable of the mustard seed are in fact twin parables, setting forth different characteristics of the kingdom of God. The mustard seed which produced the great plant teaches the ultimate mighty extent and power of the kingdom as it would appear visibly to all mankind. The parable of the leaven however, stresses the invisible power "hidden" from all human observation, but producing such marvelous results. It also indicates the transforming effect of the kingdom, tending to assimilate into itself all who receive its influence.

ANALOGIES IN THE PARABLE

The leaven = the teaching of Christ

The meal = the people who receive the truth

The quality of leaven that changes the whole mass into one kind = the transforming power of the gospel

Leaven rising silently = nature of church's progress

A little leaven, given time, can change a great mass = the vast power of historical Christianity

A woman took the leaven = the church as the teacher of the kingdom message

Three measures = three divisions of humanity.

The three measures of meal ... are usually understood by interpreters as an inert factor in the parable (and well they may be), Boles, for example, affirming that three measures of meal was "the amount used for one meal";[21] however, Summers calculated the amount of meal in the three measures as "four and one-half pecks,"[22] which goes beyond any ordinary meal. Likewise, Tinsley made the three measures to be "half a hundredweight of flour."[23] Thus it is clear that the three measures must be understood as something significant. In the analogy above, the flour is seen as representing humanity; and since there is a threefold division of humanity in the three sons of Noah - Shem, Ham, and Japheth - it appears quite logical to see the three measures as the threefold posterity of Noah. Trench was not unfavorable to this analogy, admitting that they "do indeed answer to three elements"[24] of humanity. Barclay gives an outline of the teaching of this parable thus:

1. God's kingdom starts from the smallest beginnings, a tiny pinch of leaven.

2. The power of the kingdom works unseen, as leaven.

3. The kingdom's power works from inside, as leaven.

4. The power to change humanity (the lump) must come from outside itself, the leaven being a power not of the lump at all, but from without. It is not in man to transform himself. The leaven of God from without must do it.[25]SIZE>

Note: It will be observed that there is here a different position taken with reference to the "three measures" than in my Commentary on Matthew, Matthew 13:33; but the change is due to more mature study of the parables.

In both of these remarkable parables, there is evidenced the ultimate power and extent of Christ's kingdom. The teaching in both of them is stamped with an originality and power which only Christ could have imparted. As Major said, "There is a quality in this teaching which marks it as HIS; it is above the level of his contemporaries and his reporters."[26]

[21] H. Leo Boles, op. cit., p. 274.

[22] Ray Summers, op. cit., p. 169.

[23] E. J. Tinsley, The Gospel according to Luke (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), p. 148.

[24] Richard C. Trench, op. cit., p. 120.

[25] William Barclay, op. cit., pp. 186-187.

[26] H. D. A. Major, T. W. Manson, and C. J. Wright, The Mission and Message of Jesus (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940), p. 72.

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 13:20". "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

And again he said,.... That is, Jesus, as the Syriac and Persic versions express it; besides the parable of the grain of mustard seed, that also of the leaven hid in three measures of meal:

whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God; either the Gospel of the kingdom, and the mysteries of it; or the church, which is Christ's kingdom; or the grace of God in the heart, which makes meet for the kingdom of glory; the first seems rather to be intended; See Gill on Matthew 13:33.

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 13:20". "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

Whereunto shall I liken? (Τινι ομοιωσωTini homoiōsō̱). This question alone in Luke here as in Luke 13:8. But the parable is precisely like that in Matthew 13:33, which see note for details.

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 13:20". "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

And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

Matthew 13:33.

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 13:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-13.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God1?

  1. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? 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 13:20". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

Ver. 20. See Matthew 13:33.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-13.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 13:20"

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 13:20". 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

‘And again he said, “To what shall I liken the Kingly Rule of God?”

Jesus then asks the question a second time. Among the Jews something vouched for a second time was seen as certain and secure.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 13:20". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-13.html. 2013.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 13:20. The parable of the leaven is given as in Mt. The point of both is that the Kingdom of Heaven, insignificant to begin with, will become great. In the mind of the evangelist both have probably a reference to Gentile Christianity.

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 13:20". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-13.html. 1897-1910.