Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 15:7

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   God Continued...;   Heaven;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Joy;   Lost Sheep;   Penitent;   Pharisees;   Praise;   Repentance;   Salvation;   Sheep;   Thompson Chain Reference - God's;   Joy;   Penitence-Impenitence;   Penitent;   Promises, Divine;   Repentance;   Soul-Winners' Joy;   The Topic Concordance - Losing and Things Lost;   Repentance;   Salvation;   Seeking;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Angels;   Heaven;   Joy of God over His People, the;   Parables;   Repentance;   Sheep;   Shepherds;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Parable;   Shepherd;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Repentance;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christ, Christology;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Righteousness;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Gospel;   Imagery;   Jesus, Life and Ministry of;   Luke, Gospel of;   Mammon;   Names of God;   Parables;   Salvation;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ethics;   Joy;   Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Parable;   Repentance;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Benevolence;   Children of God;   Circumstantiality in the Parables;   Complacency;   Doctrines;   Eternal Punishment;   Father, Fatherhood;   Gospel (2);   Happiness;   Ideas (Leading);   Individuality;   Love (2);   Man (2);   Numbers (2);   Organization (2);   Personality;   Redemption (2);   Religious Experience;   Reward (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Sinners;   Wilderness (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Repentance;   Sheep;   Versions of the Scripture, English;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joy;   Justification;   Like;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for November 14;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Just persons, which need no repentance - Who do not require such a change of mind and purpose as these do - who are not so profligate, and cannot repent of sins they have never committed. Distinctions of this kind frequently occur in the Jewish writings. There are many persons who have been brought up in a sober and regular course of life, attending the ordinances of God, and being true and just in all their dealings; these most materially differ from the heathens mentioned, Luke 15:1, because they believe in God, and attend the means of grace: they differ also essentially from the tax-gatherers mentioned in the same place, because they wrong no man, and are upright in their dealings. Therefore they cannot repent of the sins of a heathen, which they have not practised; nor of the rapine of a tax-gatherer, of which they have never been guilty. As, therefore, these just persons are put in opposition to the tax-gatherers and heathens, we may at once see the scope and design of our Lord's words: these needed no repentance in comparison of the others, as not being guilty of their crimes. And as these belonged, by outward profession at least, to the flock of God, and were sincere and upright according to their light, they are considered as being in no danger of being lost; and at they fear God, and work righteousness according to their light, he will take care to make those farther discoveries to them, of the purity of his nature, the holiness of his law, and the necessity of the atonement, which he sees to be necessary. See the case of Cornelius, Acts 10:1, etc. On this ground, the owner is represented as feeling more joy in consequence of finding one sheep that was lost, there having been almost no hope of its recovery, than he feels at seeing ninety and nine still safe under his care. "Men generally rejoice more over a small unexpected advantage, than over a much greater good to which they have been accustomed." There are some, and their opinion need not be hastily rejected, who imagine that by the ninety and nine just persons, our Lord means the angels - that they are in proportion to men, as ninety-nine are to one, and that the Lord takes more pleasure in the return and salvation of one sinner, than in the uninterrupted obedience of ninety-nine holy angels; and that it was through his superior love to fallen man that he took upon him his nature, and not the nature of angels. I have met with the following weak objection to this: viz. "The text says just persons; now, angels are not persons, therefore angels cannot be meant." This is extremely foolish; there may be the person of an angel, as well as of a man; we allow persons even in the Godhead; besides, the original word, δικαιοις, means simply just ones, and may be, with as much propriety, applied to angels as to men. After all, our Lord may refer to the Essenes, a sect among the Jews, in the time of our Lord, who were strictly and conscientiously moral; living at the utmost distance from both the hypocrisy and pollutions of their countrymen. These, when compared with the great mass of the Jews, needed no repentance. The reader may take his choice of these interpretations, or make a better for himself. I have seen other methods of explaining these words; but they have appeared to me either too absurd or too improbable to merit particular notice.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Likewise joy … - It is a principle of human nature that the “recovery” of an object in danger of being lost, affords much more intense joy than the quiet “possession” of many that are safe. This our Saviour illustrated by the case of the lost sheep and of the piece of silver. It might also be illustrated by many other things. Thus we rejoice most in our health when we recover from a dangerous disease; we rejoice over a child rescued from danger or disease more than over those who are in health or safety. We rejoice that property is saved from conflagration or the tempest more than over much more that has not been in danger. This feeling our Lord represents as existing in heaven. “Likewise,” in like manner, or on the same principle, there is joy.

In heaven - Among the angels of God. Compare Luke 15:10. Heavenly beings are thus represented as rejoicing over those who repent on earth. They see the guilt and danger of people; they know what God has done for the race, and they rejoice at the recovery of any from the guilt and ruins of sin.

One sinner - One rebel against God, however great may be his sins or however small. If a sinner, he must perish unless he repents; and they rejoice at his repentance because it recovers him back to the love of God, and because it will save him from eternal death.

That repenteth - See the notes at Matthew 9:13.

Just persons - The word “persons” is not in the original. It means simply “just ones,” or those who have not sinned. The word may refer to angels as well as to people. There are no “just” people on earth who need no repentance, Ecclesiastes 7:20; Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:10-18. Our Saviour did not mean to imply that there were any such. He was speaking of what took place “in heaven,” or among “angels,” and of “their” emotions when they contemplate the creatures of God; and he says that “they” rejoiced in the repentance of one “sinner” more than in the holiness of many who had not fallen. We are not to suppose that he meant to teach that there were just ninety-nine holy angels to one sinner. He means merely that they rejoice more over the “repentance” of one sinner than they do over many who have not fallen. By this he vindicated his own conduct. The Jews did not deny the existence of angels. They would not deny that their feelings were proper. If “they” rejoiced in this manner, it was not improper for “him” to show similar joy, and especially to seek their conversion and salvation. If they rejoice also, it shows how desirable is the repentance of a sinner. They know of how much value is an immortal soul. They see what is meant by eternal death; and they do not feel “too much,” or have “too much anxiety” about the soul that can never die. Oh that people saw it as “they” see it! and oh that they would make an effort, such as angels see to be proper, to save their own souls and the souls of others from eternal death!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-15.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be heaven,.... In the church below, and among the members of it; which is sometimes called heaven, especially in the book of the Revelations; or in heaven above, and among the angels there; see Luke 15:10

Over one sinner that repenteth; for the joy in heaven, is not over sinners as such; for as such, they are not grateful to God, nor to Christ, nor to the angels, nor to saints; only sinners delight in each other, as such; but as repenting sinners, who are truly so: and these are not such, who only legally and outwardly repent; nor all that declare a sense of sin; or that are externally sorry for it; or are terrified about it, and shed tears on account of it; or that cease from grosser sins of life, and outwardly reform: but such who repent in an evangelical way; who are turned to God, and are instructed by his Spirit; who believe in Christ, and have views, at least hopes, of pardon through his blood; and have the love of God and Christ shed abroad in their hearts; from whence arise a true sight and sense of sin, a godly sorrow for it, an hearty loathing of it, shame on account of it, an ingenuous confession, and a real forsaking of it. Now the reason why there is joy in heaven over such persons is, because, without such a repentance, they must perish; and by this they appear to be openly in a state of grace; and become proper subjects of the ordinances of Christ; and this repentance is unto life and salvation; or these are inseparably connected with it; and this joy is abundantly

more, than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance; by whom are meant, either such who are really righteous persons; not naturally and of themselves, nor legally by the deeds of the law, but by the imputation of Christ's righteousness to them: and who need no repentance to be added to their righteousness, it being perfect of itself; nor the grace and principle of repentance, because they have it, and it cannot be lost; or change of life and manners, which is not to be seen in such: and the more joy over repenting sinners, than over these is, because the salvation of the one is before certain to them, and the other is unexpected: but to this sense it may be objected, that saints, even righteous persons, need frequent conversions, and the continual exercise of the grace of repentance; nor does it seem feasible, that there should be more joy over a repenting sinner, than over one, whose life, through grace, is a series of righteousness: rather therefore, such who seem to be just, or are so in their own opinion, are here meant; for only such sort of righteous persons and repenting sinners, are opposed to each other, as in Matthew 9:13 moreover, the occasion and scope of the parable, determines this to be the sense; the Scribes and Pharisees, that murmured at Christ's receiving sinners, are the ninety and nine just persons, who were only outwardly righteous before men, and trusted in themselves that they were righteous, perfectly righteous, and without sin, and so stood in no need of repentance for it; now there is more joy in heaven over one repenting sinner, than over all these: hence learn, that a self-righteous person, is an impenitent one; that a repenting sinner is more regarded in heaven than a self-righteous man: our Lord here seems to have regard to a conceit of the Jews, who distinguish between penitents that were allowed to be righteous, and such who never were guilty of any notorious crime, and so were perfectly righteous, and needed no repentance, and were preferred to penitent sinners: some of them sayF21T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 34. 2. & Sanhedrim, fol. 99. 1. , that

"the prophets did not prophesy (good things and comforts), but לבעלי תשובה, "to penitents"; but as for צדיקים גמורים, "the perfect righteous", to them belongs that, "eye hath not seen", O God, "besides thee".---But R. Abhu says, the place in which "penitents" stand, the "perfect righteous" do not stand.'

Though Maimonides seemsF23Hilchot Teshuba, c. 7. sect. 4. Vid. Kimchi in Isa. lvii. 10. & Jarchi in Isa. xliv. 5. & Zohar in Lev. fol. 7. 2. to understand this, as if it gave the preference to penitents; his words are these:

"let not a penitent man imagine that he is afar off from the excellency, or degree of the righteous, because of the sins and iniquities he has committed, the thing is not so; but he is beloved and desired before the Creator, as if he had never sinned; for his reward is great; for lo, he hath tasted the taste of sin, and hath separated from it, and hath subdued his evil imagination: the wise men say, the place where "penitents" stand, the "perfect righteous" cannot stand; which is as if it was said, their degree of excellency is greater, than those who never sinned, because they have subdued their imagination more than they.'

However, these instances, with others that might be produced, show that the Jews had a notion of some men being perfectly righteous and without sin; which they oppose to penitent sinners, and which our Lord here designs, and seems to describe in their own language, and serves to confirm the sense given; See Gill on Hebrews 12:23.

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 15:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-15.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

needing no repentance — not angels, whose place in these parables is very different from this; but those represented by the prodigal‘s well-behaved brother, who have “served their Father” many years and not at any time transgressed His commandment (in the outrageous sense of the prodigal). (See on Luke 15:29; see on Luke 15:31). In other words, such as have grown up from childhood in the fear of God and as the sheep of His pasture. Our Lord does not say “the Pharisees and scribes” were such; but as there was undoubtedly such a class, while “the publicans and sinners” were confessedly the strayed sheep and the prodigal children, He leaves them to fill up the place of the other class, if they could.

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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-15.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

7. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

[Which need no repentance.] Here we are to consider the distinction commonly used in the Jewish schools:--

I. All the good, and those that were to be saved at last, they called just persons. [It is opposed to the word wicked persons, as we may observe more than once in the first Psalm.] Hence this and the like passage very frequently, Paradise is for the just: good things laid up for the just.

Let us by the way play a little with the Gemarists, as they themselves also play with the letters of the alphabet, and amongst the rest especially the letter Tsadi, there is Tsadi that begins a word [or the crooked Tsadi] and Tsadi that ends a word [or the straight Tsadi]. What follows from hence? There is the just person that is crooked [or bowed down], and there is the just person that is erect or straight. Where the Gloss hath it, "It is necessary that the man that is right and straight should be bowed or humble, and he shall be erect in the world to come." Aruch acknowledgeth the same Gloss; but he also brings another which seems of his own making; That "there is a just person who is mild or humble; but there is also a just person who is not so." Let him tell, if he can, what kind of just person that should be that is not mild or humble. But to return to our business.

II. They divide the just into those that are just and no more: and those that are perfectly just. Under the first rank they place those that were not always upright; but having lived a wicked and irreligious life, have at length betaken themselves to repentance and reformation. These they call penitents. Under the latter rank are they placed who have been always upright and never declined from the right way: these they call perfectly just, and just from their first original: as also, holy or good men, and men of good works. Such a one did he account himself, and probably was so esteemed by others, that saith, "All these have I kept from my youth." And such a one might that holy man be thought, who never committed one trespass all the days of his life: excepting this one misfortune that befel him, that once he put on the phylacteries for his forehead before the phylacteries for his arms. A wondrous fault indeed! And what pity is it that for this one trespass of his life he should lose the title of one perfectly holy. Yet for this dreadful crime is the poor wretch deprived of a solemn interment, and by this was his atonement made.

We meet with this distinction of just persons in Beracoth: "R. Abhu saith, In the place where stand the penitents, there do not stand the perfectly just." This distinction also appeared both in the tongues and persons of those that were dancing in the Temple at the feast of Tabernacles. "Some of them said, 'Blessed be our youth that have not made our old men ashamed.' These were the holy and men of good works. Others said, 'Blessed be our old men who have expiated for our youth.' These were they who became penitents."

This phrase of perfectly just persons, puts me in mind of that of the apostle, the spirits of just men made perfect. Where (if I understand aright the scope of the apostle in the argument he is upon) he speaks of just men who are still in this life, and shews that the souls and spirits of believers are made perfectly righteous by faith, contrary to what the Jews held, that men were complete in their righteousness by works, even bodily works.

Seeing those whom they accounted perfectly just are termed men of works; so that perfectly just and men of works were convertible terms, it may not be improbable that the Essenes or Essaei may have their name from of works; so that they might be called workers, and by that be distinguished from the penitents. But of that matter I will raise no dispute.

III. Now which of these had the preference, whether perfect righteousness to repentance, or repentance to perfect righteousness, it is not easy to discern at first view, because even amongst themselves there are different opinions about it. We have a disputation in Beracoth, in the place newly cited, in these words: "R. Chaiah Bar Abba saith, R. Jochanan saith, All the prophets did not prophesy, unless for those that repent. As for those that are perfectly just, eye hath not seen besides thee, O God. But R. Abhu contradicts this: for R. Abhu saith, The penitent do not stand in the place where the perfectly just stand; as it is said, Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near. He names him that is far off first, and then him that is nigh. But R. Jochanan, Who is he that is far off? He that was far off from transgressing from his first original. And who is he that is nigh? He that was next to transgression, but now is afar off from it."

These passages of the Talmud are quoted by Kimchi upon Isaiah 57:19; and, out of him, by Drusius upon this place; but as far as I can perceive, very far wide from the mind of Kimchi. For thus Drusius hath it; R. David Isaiah 57:19, Hoc in loco, &c. In this place the penitent is said to be far off, and the just to be nigh, according to the ancients: but he that is far off is preferred; whence they say, The penitents are better than the perfectly just. As if this obtained amongst them all as a rule or maxim; when indeed the words of Kimchi are these: "He that is far off, that is, he that is far off from Jerusalem, and he that is near, that is, he that is near to Jerusalem. But there is a dispute in the words of our Rabbins about this matter. And some of them interpret it otherwise; for they expound him that is afar off, as to be understood of the penitent, and him that is near, as meaning the just: from whence they teach and say, That the penitent are better than those that are perfectly just."

Some, indeed, that do so expound it, say, that those that are penitent are to be preferred before those that are the perfectly just, but this was not the common and received opinion of all. Nay, the more general opinion gave so great a preference to perfect righteousness, that repentance was not to be compared with it. Hence that of R. Jochanan, approved of by R. Chaijah the great Rabbin, that those good and comfortable things concerning which the prophets do mention in their prophecies, belong only to those who were sometimes wicked men but afterward came unto repentance; but they were far greater things that were laid up for perfectly just persons,--things which had never been revealed to the prophets, nor no prophetic eye ever saw, but God only; things which were indeed of a higher nature than that they could be made known to men; for so the Gloss explaineth those words of theirs.

In this, indeed, they attribute some peculiar excellency to the penitent; in that, although they had tasted the sweets of sin, yet they had abandoned it, and got out of the snare: which it might have been a question whether those that are perfectly just would have done if they had tasted and experienced the same. But still they esteemed it much nobler never to have been stained with the pollutions of sin, always to have been just, and never otherwise than good. Nor is it seldom that we meet with some in the Talmudists making their own perfection the subject of their boast, glorying that they have never done any enormous thing throughout their whole life; placing those whom they called holy or good men, who were also the same with perfectly just, placing them (I say) in the highest form of just persons.

IV. After all this, therefore, judge whether Christ spoke simply or directly of any such persons (as if there were really any such) that could need no repentance; or rather, whether he did not at that time utter himself according to the common conceptions that nation had about some perfectly just persons, which he himself opposed. And this seems so much the more likely by how much he saith, "I say unto you," as if he set himself against that common conceit of theirs: and that example he brings of a certain person that needed no repentance, viz., the prodigal's brother, savours rather of the Jewish doctrine than that he supposed any one in this world perfectly just.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-15.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

There shall be joy in heaven. The Father rejoices and the Son and the angels with him.

Over one sinner that repenteth. That "comes to himself," decides to leave off sin and to serve God. Repentance means a change of mind or heart.

Than over ninety and nine just persons. Over those who are already in Christ, safe, and need no repentance. It is the saving of the lost that brings the greatest joy.

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.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-15.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Over one sinner that repenteth (επι ενι αμαρτωλωι μετανοουντιepi heni hamartōlōi metanoounti). The word sinner points to Luke 15:1. Repenting is what these sinners were doing, these lost sheep brought to the fold. The joy in heaven is in contrast with the grumbling Pharisees and scribes.

More than over (η επιē epi). There is no comparative in the Greek. It is only implied by a common idiom like our “rather than.”

Which need no repentance (οιτινες ου χρειαν εχουσιν μετανοιαςhoitines ou chreian echousin metanoias). Jesus does not mean to say that the Pharisees and the scribes do not need repentance or are perfect. He for the sake of argument accepts their claims about themselves and by their own words condemns them for their criticism of his efforts to save the lost sheep. It is the same point that he made against them when they criticized Jesus and the disciples for being at Levi‘s feast (Luke 5:31.). They posed as “righteous.” Very well, then. That shuts their mouths on the point of Christ‘s saving the publicans and sinners.

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 15:7". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-15.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Repenteth

See on Matthew 3:2.

sa40

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-15.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Joy shall be — Solemn and festal joy, in heaven - First, in our blessed Lord himself, and then among the angels and spirits of just men, perhaps informed thereof by God himself, or by the angels who ministered to them.

Over one sinner — One gross, open, notorious sinner, that repenteth - That is, thoroughly changed in heart and life; more than over ninety and nine just persons - Comparatively just, outwardly blameless: that need not such a repentance - For they need not, cannot repent of the sins which they never committed. The sum is, as a father peculiarly rejoices when an extravagant child, supposed to be utterly lost, comes to a thorough sense of his duty; or as any other person who has recovered what he had given up for gone, has a more sensible satisfaction in it, than in several other things equally valuable, but not in such danger: so do the angels in heaven peculiarly rejoice in the conversion of the most abandoned sinners. Yea, and God himself so readily forgives and receives them, that he may be represented as having part in the joy.

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 15:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-15.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, [more] than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance1.

  1. There shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, [more] than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance. How little Jesus thought of external morality may be seen by his words at Luke 18:9, but he here quoted the Pharisees at their own valuation to show that even when so doing, God's love for the sinner was the paramount love.

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 15:7". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-15.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Ver. 7. Joy shall be in heaven] Would we then put harps into the angels’ hands, ditties into their mouths? repent.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-15.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 15:7. Likewise joy shall be in heaven Greater joy will be in heaven over one converted sinner, than over, &c. The design of this parable being to represent divine things by images taken from the manners of men, what is here said of God and of the angels, (see Luke 15:10.) must be understood suitably to the nature of human passions, which are much more sensibly affected with the obtaining of what they have long vehemently desired, or with the saving of that which was looked upon as lost, than they are with the continuance of goods long enjoyed. However, it is clear from Luke 15:10 that the angels are, either during their ministrations here below for the children of God, or by immediate revelation or otherwise, informed of the conversion of sinners, which must, to those benevolent spirits, be an occasion of great joy; nor could any thing have been suggested more proper to encourage the humble penitent, to expose the repining Pharisee, or to animate all to zeal in so good a work as endeavouring to promote the repentance and conversion of others. Indeed, this part of the present and the following parable is beautifully drawn up. The angels, though high in nature, and perfect in blessedness, are represented as bearing a friendly regard to their kindred essences, and as having a knowledge of things done here below. It may be necessary to observe, that it cannot be our Lord's meaning here, that God esteems one penitent or newly-converted sinner more than ninety and nine confirmed and established believers, who are, as it appears to me, the persons spoken of as needing no conversion, — no μετανοια, or universal change of heart and life; for it would be inconsistent with the divine wisdom, goodness, and holiness, to suppose this: but it is plainly as if he had said, "As a father peculiarly rejoices, when an extravagant child is reduced to a sense of his duty, and when one whom he had considered as utterly ruined by his follies, and perhaps as dead, returns with remorse and submission; or, as any other person who has recovered what he had given up for lost, has a more sensiblesatisfaction in it, than in several things equally valuable, but not in such danger; so do the holy inhabitants of heaven rejoice in the conversion of the most abandoned sinners; and the great Father of all so readily forgives and receives them, that he may be represented as having part in the joy." Though, by the way, when human passions are ascribed to God, it is certain they are to be taken in a figurative sense, entirely excluded from those sensations which result from the commotions of animal nature in ourselves. Some have supposed that our Saviour, by the word just persons, meant to glance at the Pharisees, who trusted in themselves that they were righteous.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-15.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

7. λέγω ὑμῖν] In these words the Lord often introduces His revelations of the unseen world of glory: see Matthew 18:10.

On these δίκαιοι, see note at Matthew 9:12-13. They are the subjectively righteous, and this saying respects their own view of themselves. (Or if it be required that the words should be literally explained, seeing that these ninety-nine did not err,—then I see no other way but to suppose them, in the deeper meaning of the parable, to be the worlds that have not fallen;—and the one that has strayed, our human nature, in this our world.) But we have yet to enquire, what sort of sinner this parable represents: for each of the three sets before us a different type of the sinner sunk in his sin. Bengel, in distinguishing the three, says, ‘Ovis, drachma, filius perditus—peccator (1) stupidus,—(2) sui plane nescius,—(3) sciens et voluntarius.’ This one is the stupid and bewildered sinner, erring and straying away in ignorance and self-will from his Shepherd, but sought by the Shepherd, and fetched back with joy.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-15.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 15:7. ὑμῖν, to you) Most weightily (impressively) the ‘murmuring’ [Luke 15:2] of the Pharisees is refuted by this joy.— χαρὰ) Joy, solemn and festive, upon hearing the tidings of the work of salvation accomplished on the earth.—[ ἔσται, shall be) Future; whereby the return of Jesus to His Fatherland seems to be intimated.—V. g.]— ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, in heaven) The Shepherd, Jesus Christ, has even especially the spirits of just men as His “friends and neighbours,” inasmuch as they are sharers in this joy the more in proportion as they have the stronger tie of connection with men. In the 10th verse there is a gradation made (an ascending climax) to angels, who are named in that passage rather than men, because there Christ is not regarded as man [in His human nature, but only as God: note, Luke 15:3]. Nor are the angels said to know the fact from their intercourse with the man: for they are not all with the one man; but from the revelation of the Lord, which is equally capable of being vouchsafed to the spirits of just men. Comp. Hainlin’s Sol. Temp. f. 80, and Ven. Weisemann, H. E. P. 1, p. 106. So the other inhabitants of heaven are put in contradistinction to the angels, in Revelation 18:20; Revelation 19:1; Revelation 19:4; Revelation 19:6.— ἑνὶ, one) and much more joy over many; see Luke 15:1.— ,) that is, μᾶλλον . See ch. Luke 18:14 [ δεδικαιωμένος ἐκεῖνον, i.e. ( μᾶλλον . So (156)(157)(158). But (159) Orige(160) and Vulg., παρʼ ἐκεῖνον]. LXX., Psalms 118 :(117) 8, 9, [ ἀγαθὸν πεποιθέναι ἐπὶ κύριον , (i.e. μᾶλλον ) πεποιθέναι ἐπʼ ἄνθρωπον, etc.] This clause is not added in Luke 15:10.— οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσι, have no need) inasmuch as they are with the Shepherd, and have long ago obtained repentance. The righteous is in the (right) way; the penitent returns to the way.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-15.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 15:4"

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 15:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-15.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

на небесах... радости Ссылка на радость Самого Бога. Было недовольство на земле, среди фарисеев (ст. 2), но была великая радость Бога и среди ангелов (ст. 10).

не имеющих нужды в покаянии Т.е. тех, кто считают себя праведными (ср. 5:32; 16:15; 18:9).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-15.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Joy shall be in heaven; as there is joy in heaven over the repentance of sinners, it was proper that Christ should associate with them, for the purpose of promoting their repentance.

Ninety and nine just persons; there is more joy in heaven over one who repents and turns to God, than over many who have never sinned and need no repentance, or who, having sinned, think that they need none.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-15.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“I say to you, that even so there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.”

Jesus then completes the parable with a comparison. Not only do sinners gather together to rejoice in the finding of what is lost, but when it is a lost sinner so also does Heaven. God Himself rejoices, and all who are with Him, for thereby is fulfilled Luke 5:32; Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5. The only ones left out are the religious cynics who have no time or inclination for such behaviour. The Rabbis in contrast preferred to speak of God’s joy over the downfall of the godless.

Those ‘who need no repentance’ may refer to the godly in Israel who are walking in God’s ways making use of the appropriate means of forgiveness (people such as Zacharias, Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna), but the Pharisees would certainly have included themselves in the total.

‘There will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance.’ This is not to disparage the ninety and nine, or to suggest that they were loved the less. The latter, if genuinely righteous, are fully appreciated in Heaven. However, they are not a surprise. But to find something valuable that is lost is an especially delightful surprise.

It is noteworthy in all this how confidently Jesus can speak of goings on in Heaven. For Him it was not ‘beyond the veil’. It was home.

Further Thoughts on the Parable.

The first emphasis in the parable is on the fact that the shepherd sought the sheep. It is a reminder that it is God in Jesus Christ Who in His graciousness seeks us, not we who tend to seek God. The second is on the fact that He sought until He found it. When Jesus Christ sets out after someone He does not cease until they have become His. There is behind both these ideas the concept of election, the concept that we are ‘chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, that we might be holy and without blame before him in love’ (Ephesians 1:4). The perfect number is fixed. Not one must be lost. (The same idea is present in Revelation 7:1-8). The third is the joy in Heaven once a sinner turns to God. It brings out that God is more concerned about such things than we are. The fourth is in a sense hidden behind the simplicity of the story, and that is the cost to the shepherd. Seeking a lost sheep could mean going into inhospitable territory, and the way could be hard. It can best be put in the words of the hymnwriter,

‘But none of the ransomed ever knew,

How deep were the waters crossed,

Or how dark was the night that the Lord passed through,

Ere He found that sheep that was lost,

Out in the desert He heard its cry,

Sick and helpless and ready to die.’

And He knew the cost even as He taught this parable. He knew that ‘The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day’ (Luke 9:22). And yet He still sought the sheep, whatever the cost, until He found it.

And the fifth lesson that we must not lose sight of is that the one which was lost represents the outcast, and the despised. It represents those who while not precious in man’s sight, are precious in God’s sight.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-15.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.Joy shall be in heaven—A sweet and literal assurance that the inhabitants of heaven take a deep interest in the souls of our race, candidates as we are for a fellowship with them on high. Heaven is not in sight of earth, but earth is in sight of heaven. The Church above forever watches the Church below. When the children of God rejoice over a new convert saved by repentance and forgiveness from death, there is no vain joy. It is the only joy on earth with which we have proof that angels sympathize. Hence angels watched with interest while these Pharisees condemned our Saviour’s sympathy with these publicans and sinners.

One sinner—How much the joy of heaven then when whole scores and hundreds are converted. Truly he that winneth souls is wise.

RepentethThe repentance here spoken of, it is important to note, is the repentance of a sinner, taking the first step in that course by which from a child of hell he becomes an heir of heaven. It is the repentance of a publican and of a (Gentile) sinner classified with him. It implies previous unregeneracy, impenitence, and a course of persistent sin; from which having turned, the man is justified, regenerate, and enrolled in the Lamb’s book of life. This has nothing to do with the repentance of a justified Christian, which is a constant abhorence of sin, and sorrow for his shortcomings, which produce indeed condemnation, but not entire loss of justification.

Just personsUnder the Jewish dispensation, those who were justified, like Zachariah and Elizabeth, as walking in all the ordinances of the law blameless. Many of these had never by apostacy lost the first grace sealed upon them at circumcision, and hence were never heirs of hell. And so, under the new dispensation, if the child before arriving at years of accountability is accepted of God, there is no reason why he should lose that grace and become a child of the devil. God has never made it necessary that any one should be at any time of life an heir of death.

Need no repentance—Who have never been unregenerate sinners. For the word repentance signifies here the same thing as in the former part of the verse. That the just persons, here, are the unfallen inhabitants of other worlds, would be a beautiful interpretation, but a far-fetched one. That Jesus did go forth to redeem our race alone is very probable; but is hardly asserted in this text.

God may have a vast flock, and our race may be the only wandering sheep. But what our Lord is here doing is, to show that he is performing the work over which angels rejoice with a joy in which these scribes and Pharisees should join rather than murmur. They should, with angels, rejoice when he goes after the wandering Jewish publican and Gentile sinner in order to bring them home through repentance to the fold of the Church. To this the fallen and unfallen worlds may be analogous; but they do not come within the actual purpose of the parable.

It is by no means meant that the soul of the sinner converted from his abandonment is any more precious in the sight of God than is that of the faithful walker in the paths of righteousness, who has never fallen from the justification of his childhood. God more truly loves a life of faithful obedience than of late repentance. The man who spends half his life in sin, is little likely to receive that rich reward in glory which he might have attained had all his days been days of service. His powers, indeed, of efficient service, during the remainder of his years, are likely to be much diminished; and he will have through life just reason to lament the loss of his best days in sin; a loss which eternity cannot repair. What our Lord does mean here is, that such is the danger which the repentant sinner has escaped, such is the immediate interest of his rescue, and such the new rapture of having gained a companion in glory, that a sudden burst of joy arises in heaven.

It is sometimes said that if the angels believed that a repentant sinner might apostatise and be lost, we can hardly suppose their joy would be great. We might as well say, that if the angels knew who were the eternally elected, we can hardly suppose they would be much interested in their conversion; as it would make their salvation no more certain. We do not find that Christians who believe in the possibility of apostacy, as a general thing, take less interest in the conversion of souls than those who deny it.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-15.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The99 righteous persons represent the self-righteous Pharisees and lawyers ( Luke 15:2). Jesus was using the term "righteous" in irony. They were not really righteous, but they considered themselves righteous. The contrast then is between God"s joy over one sinner"s salvation compared to His sorrow over99 self-righteous people"s lack of salvation. "In heaven" means in God"s presence (cf. Luke 15:10).

Jesus revealed that even though sinners coming to Jesus made the Pharisees grumble, this rejoiced God"s heart. The parable showed how out of harmony they were with God. It also vindicated Jesus" contacts with sinners.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-15.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 15:7. An hundred measures. The Hebrew measure (‘cor’) is here spoken of, equal to ten ephahs.

Write eighty. The variation in the amount deducted is without any special meaning. Still we may find in it a proof of the steward’s prudence. He knew the men with whom he had to deal and acted accordingly. Christian men too often slight such knowledge, but this parable condemns putting a premium on ignorance.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-15.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 15:7. , in heaven, that is, in the heart of God. Heaven is a synonym for God in Luke 15:18; Luke 15:21.— = more than, as if had preceded, so often in N.T. and in Sept[129] = Hebrew . The comparison in the moral sphere is bold, but the principle holds true there as in the natural sphere, even if the ninety-nine be truly righteous men needing no repentance. It is rational to have peculiar joy over a sinner repenting, therefore God has it, therefore Christ might have it. This saying is the third great word of Christ’s apology for loving the sinful. For the other two vide on Matthew 9:9-13 and Luke 7:36-50.

[129] Septuagint.

 

 

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 15:7". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-15.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Joy in heaven, &c. What incitement ought it not to be to us to practice virtue, when we reflect that our conversion causes joy to the troops of blessed spirits, whose protection we should always seek, and whose presence we should always revere. (St. Ambrose) --- There is greater joy for the conversion of a sinner, than for the perseverance of the just; but it frequently happens, that these being free from the chain of sin, remain indeed in the path of justice, but press not on eagerly to their heavenly country; whilst such as have been sinners, are stung with grief at the remembrance of their former transgressions, and calling to mind how they have forsaken their God, endeavour by present fervour to compensate for their past misconduct. But it must be remembered that there are many just, whose lives cause such joy to the heavenly court, that all the penitential exercises of sinners cannot be preferred before them. (St. Gregory, hom. xxxiv.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-15.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

I : i.e. I who know. John 1:51.

you. Murmuring Pharisees. This is the point of the parable.

heaven. Singular. See notes on Matthew 6:9, Matthew 6:10.

over. Greek. epi. App-104.

that repenteth = repenting. App-111.

just persons: i.e. the Pharisees. Compare Luke 15:2; Luke 16:15; Luke 18:9. Greek. ou. App-105.

repentance. App-111. Compare Matthew 3:2.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-15.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

I say unto you, That likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. It is not angels who are meant here as needing no repentance. The angels' place in these parables is very different from this. The class here meant, as needing no repentance, are those represented by the prodigal's well-behaved brother, who have "served their Father many years," and not at any time transgressed His commandment-in the outrageous sense of the prodigal. (But see the notes at Luke 15:29; Luke 15:31.) In other words, such as have grown up from childhood in the fear of God and as the sheep of His pasture. Our Lord does not say "the Pharisees and scribes" were such; but as there was undoubtedly such a class, while "the publicans and sinners" were confessedly the strayed sheep and the prodigal children, He leaves them to fill up the place of the other class, if they could.

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 15:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-15.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

7. There will be more joy in heaven. The Father, the Son, and all the angels! Over one sinner who repents. One who makes up his mind to turn from sin and give his life as a living sacrifice. Than over ninety-nine respectable people. God does not love the ones who are “safe in the pasture” ANY LESS, but the finding of the lost is cause for special joy!

 

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-15.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) Ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.—As regards the men and women among whom our Lord carried on His work, we cannot see in these words anything but a grave and indignant protest, veiled under the form of an apparent concession, against the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. His call to repent had been addressed to all. That all offended in many things; that for a man to say he had not sinned was a lying boast—this was the first postulate of every preacher of the gospel, whatever school of thought he might represent (Romans 3:23; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8). Once, indeed, the opposite thought had appeared in the devotional utterance of a penitent Israelite—“Thou therefore, O Lord, that art the God of ‘the just, hast not appointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, which have not sinned against Thee” (Prayer of Manasses in the Apocrypha); but there it was accompanied by personal contrition and confession. The man felt in his humility, how unlike he was to those saints of God. It was reserved for the Pharisees to develop the thought into the conviction that they were the just persons who needed no repentance, and that all their worship should consist in thanksgiving that they were so. (See Note on Luke 18:11.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-15.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
joy
32; 5:32; Matthew 18:13
which
29; 16:15; 18:9-11; Proverbs 30:12; Romans 7:9; Philippians 3:6,7
Reciprocal: Song of Solomon 3:11 - in the day of the;  Song of Solomon 5:1 - friends;  Matthew 3:2 - Repent;  Matthew 4:17 - Repent;  Matthew 9:13 - but;  Matthew 19:20 - All;  Matthew 20:16 - the last;  Mark 2:17 - They that are whole;  Mark 6:12 - preached;  Luke 15:6 - his;  Luke 15:9 - Rejoice;  Luke 15:24 - they;  Luke 18:21 - GeneralJohn 8:11 - go;  Acts 20:21 - repentance;  Acts 26:20 - repent;  2 Corinthians 7:9 - I rejoice;  Philippians 1:4 - with

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 15:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-15.html.