Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 14:30

saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Prudence;   Salvation;   Seekers;   Self-Denial;   Thompson Chain Reference - Failure, Spiritual;   Spiritual;   The Topic Concordance - Disciples/apostles;   Hate;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Parables;   Prudence;   Self-Denial;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Cross;   Disciple;   Teacher;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christ, Christology;   Disciple, Discipleship;   Jesus Christ;   Lord's Supper, the;   Work;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Hospitality;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Family;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Matthew, Gospel According to;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ambassage;   Ambition;   Consciousness;   Discipleship;   Discourse;   Fellowship (2);   Forsaking All;   Ideas (Leading);   Organization (2);   Paradox;   Power;   Prudence;   Reality;   Redemption (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Disciple,;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Saying, this man began to build,.... He set out well, he promised great things, and made a considerable bluster and stir, as if he would carry things at once to a very high pitch:

and was not able to finish; it was all noise and talk, and nothing else: falling off from a profession of religion, exposes men to contempt and scorn; such are not only cast out of churches with disgrace, but are despised by men, by wicked men; and are a reproach, a proverb, and a taunt in all places; and even are mocked by devils too.

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 14:30". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-14.html. 1999.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

This man (ουτος ο αντρωποςhoutos ho anthrōpos). This fellow, contemptuous or sarcastic use of ουτοςhoutos f0).

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 14:30". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-14.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

This man ( οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος )

With sarcastic emphasis.

Was not able ( οὐκ ἴσχυσεν )

From ἰσχύς , strength. See on power, 2 Peter 2:11. To be strong in body or in resources, and so to be worth, as Lat., valere. “This man was not worth enough, or was not good for the completion.” In this latter sense, Matthew 5:13, “good for nothing.”

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 14:30". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-14.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have [wherewith] to complete it1?
    Luke 14:28-30

  1. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have [wherewith] to complete it? Discipleship is character-building, and shame awaits him who attempts to be a Christian and fails to live up to his profession. Unless his tower rises to the heavenly heights to which it aspired, it is but a Babel at last. The parable is not intended to discourage anyone from attempting to be a disciple. It is meant to warn us against attempting so great an undertaking with the frivolity of spirit and want of determination which insure failure.

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 14:30". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-14.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

TOWER BUILDING

‘For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost.… This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’

Luke 14:28; Luke 14:30

In the parable set before us is one who without counting the cost set to work to build a tower, and was not able to finish it. He thus became an object of ridicule to his neighbours.

It is not difficult surely to apply the lesson of the parable to ourselves. In one sense, indeed, I doubt whether there is any one here present who has not experienced the unfinished tower, who has not some time or another grown weary under the thraldom of some besetting sin, some bad habit. And this because he has not first counted the cost and found out that he has no strength of his own.

I. A tower of holiness.—The motto for the Christian banner is, ‘Higher, evermore higher.’ The aim set before each one of us is, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ It is indeed a mark which can never be reached in this life, but our life now is to be a continual progress towards it. It was this that St. Paul tells us he devoted all his energies to. ‘This one thing I do, I press towards the mark.’ But how is this to be done? How, when there are so many towers building around us and by us, towers of usefulness, towers of fame, and most of all towers of mere earthly riches, mere glittering gold, how, bewildered by all these, are we to be diligent in building up the unpretending tower of holiness? Well, we must remember first and last that we are Christians. Christian progress is only possible in Christ. We must begin with simple faith in Him. The foundation of all human goodness must be made deep in the blood of the Redeemer’s Cross, and in the power of His Resurrection. God has a will concerning each one of us. We are not to hurry blindly first here and then there, where various ambitions rise before us, but for His faithful ones God orders all for good, He renders all progressive towards the great end. Apart from Christ all earthly ambitions must surely sooner or later end in bitter disappointment, but in Him not one sphere of honourable industry is unblessed.

II. A tower of usefulness.—Let me speak briefly of another tower, a tower of usefulness. I mean usefulness in its highest sense, that of working as a member of Christ’s Church for Christ. I seek not to answer the question as to what form this work is to take. Each one may best answer this for himself. In these days the opportunities for doing work for Christ and showing a living interest in our brother’s welfare cannot be said to be far to seek. There is abundant work for every member of this congregation to do in his own parish. In the work of usefulness there is every need of self-forgetfulness. It is enough for the most ambitious of men that God should deign to accept his services and make him an instrument for good. It is not any particular scheme of our own; it is God’s work that we have to strive for, and thus it is only when we do really surrender ourselves to God that we can do Him true and laudable service. We can all of us speak of self-surrender, but when we stop to think what it really means we cannot but feel a kind of shame. How full our days are of selfishness! Self-denial and self-sacrifice are doctrines far beyond us, impossible for our faith to attain to. And so, indeed, they are, but for one thought giving illumination to our path—‘the love of Christ constraineth us.’ Thus alone can the work of our life be made acceptable, not an unfinished tower, open to all the winds and rains of heaven, standing with its incomplete buildings ready to fall to pieces at the last great day, but a perfect building founded upon a rock, pointing towards heaven. Such a house will stand unshaken amid the ruins of that day.

Bishop C. H. Turner.

Illustration

‘How many are there of us, I wonder, who can bear to labour earnestly in good causes for years with no apparent result, and then at last to see the object attained, and yet, as it seemed not by our means or not in a manner that we wished, perhaps our own labour altogether forgotten? Who can bear this, I say, and be simply thankful? And yet this has been the lot of numberless saints of God. It is a wholesome discipline for us. We learn that we cannot in our own strength do any work for God; we are but instruments in His hands to be directed by Him. In undertaking each good work, set before your mind the example of our Saviour Christ, “Lo! I come to do Thy will, O God.” “Not My will, but Thine be done,” with only one object, and that is God’s will, for the edification of His Church, the good of His service.’

(SECOND OUTLINE)

THE TRUE AIM OF DISCIPLESHIP

I. The building, or the true aim of discipleship.

(a) We are all building a house for our souls.

(b) What are you building?—a prison, or a house for God?

(c) What is Christianity for? For building.

II. The cost of the building, or the conditions of discipleship.

(a) Constant reference to the plan. The Bible is our plan.

(b) Continuous effort. You cannot ‘rush up’ a great edifice.

(c) Self-surrender—i.e. concentration and self-denial.

III. Note the failures.—Tower of the rash builder stands a gaunt, staring ruin.

Illustration

‘A certain man made public confession of faith in a surrender to Christ; whereupon his worldly friends lamented together that they would lose the enjoyment of the worldly entertainments for which his house had been noted. Not long after, these entertainments were resumed, and the profession allowed to fade away; with the result that the very friends who had respected, though they lamented, his change, now mocked at it and said: “After all, it has not made much difference.” The world which rejects the claims of Christ has often a keener apprehension of what those claims demand than the Christian who is careless about obeying them. The world can respect, even if it hates, the thorough disciple; but it mocks, even while it welcomes, the half-hearted and backsliding professor of religion.’

(THIRD OUTLINE)

.

EXAMPLES OF COUNTING THE COST

Look at some examples of counting the cost.

I. St. Peter.—When our Lord was enforcing the need for leaving all to follow Him, and St. Peter had asked the reward for doing so, He answered: ‘Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the Gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life’ (Mark 10:29-30). A proper counting of the cost will therefore put down the loss of ten thousand per cent—for such is the value of ‘an hundredfold’—to every one, who refuses to leave aught that stands in the way of discipleship.

II. St. Paul.—Again, when St. Paul counted the cost, he reckoned ‘that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:18); he declared that ‘our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’ (2 Corinthians 4:17); he counted the seven topics of human righteousness he possessed to be ‘but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord’ (Philippians 3:8).

III. Moses.—Again, of Moses we are told the double comparison he made, ‘choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward’ (Hebrews 11:25-26).

IV. The glory to be gained.—Once more, in the second and third chapters of Revelation, there is put before us a sevenfold reward and glory to be gained by those who consent to the sevenfold conditions of overcoming. Surely here are found the materials for calculation, and a right estimate of profit and loss. Who can endure to lose such glories, both present and eternal, for the fleeting and illusive profit of a passing moment?

Let us sit down, count the cost, and decide for God. The principle of the true Christian life is given in the words, ‘We walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Corinthians 5:7); and nowhere is the victory over sight more needed than when balancing the matters of profit and loss in the service of Christ.

—Rev. Hubert Brooke.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Luke 14:30". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/luke-14.html. 1876.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 14:30. οὗτος, this man) A proper name is meant. They commonly put N. N.(151)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 14:30". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-14.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 14:28"

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 14:30". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-14.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”

For if he fails people will say scathingly, “This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” In the same way therefore those who are considering leaving all and following Jesus should consider whether they are really willing to follow Him all the way, lest when they fail and return to their towns they are jeered at for their failure. Here the builder has a free choice and could choose to build or not as he desired (as with the disciples in Luke 9:57-62). And so have all who hear His words.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 14:30". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-14.html. 2013.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Saying, &c. = Saying that this man, &c. See note on Luke 4:21; Luke 19:9. Mark 14:30, &c.

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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 14:30". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-14.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Common sense teaches men not to begin any costly work without first seeing that they have the wherewithal to finish it. And he who does otherwise exposes himself to general ridicule.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 14:30". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-14.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Matthew 7:27; 27:3-8; Acts 1:18,19; 1 Corinthians 3:11-14; Hebrews 6:4-8,11; 10:38; 2 Peter 2:19-22; 2 John 1:8
Reciprocal: Nehemiah 6:3 - I am doing;  Matthew 27:40 - that destroyest

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 14:30". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-14.html.