Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:26

And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abraham;   Dead (People);   Death;   Hell;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Rich, the;   Torments;   Wicked (People);   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Accumulation of Wealth;   Association-Separation;   Earthly;   Irreparableness;   Loss;   Poverty-Riches;   Profit and Loss;   Riches, Earthly;   Separation;   Treasures, Earthly;   Wealth;   The Topic Concordance - Damnation;   Wealth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Death, Eternal;   Parables;   Punishment of the Wicked, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Government;   Lazarus;   Luke, gospel of;   Mercy;   Sheol;   Work;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Abraham's Bosom;   Ethics;   Hades;   Hell;   Hospitality;   Immortality;   Intermediate State;   Jesus Christ;   Statute;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Soul sleep;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Divination;   Elisha;   Lazarus;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Dives;   Gulf;   Intermediate State;   Lazarus;   Leprosy;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Wrath, Wrath of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Descent into Hades;   Ethics;   Gulf;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Beggar;   Church (2);   Common Life;   Confirmation;   Discourse;   Dives;   Ebionism (2);   Gulf ;   Heart;   Hell ;   Lazarus;   Man (2);   Parable;   Poet;   Property (2);   Quotations (2);   Reality;   Restoration;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Sympathy;   Torment (2);   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   World ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Lazarus ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Lazarus;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Laz'arus;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Beside;   Gulf;   Immortal;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Punishment, Everlasting;   Wealth;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abraham's Bosom;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for December 22;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

A great gulf - The word translated “gulf” means chasm, or the broad, yawning space between two elevated objects. In this place it means that there is no way of passing from one to the other.

Fixed - Strengthened - made firm or immovable. It is so established that it will never be movable or passable. It will forever divide heaven and hell.

Which would pass - We are not to press this passage literally, as if those who are in heaven would “desire” to go and visit the wicked in the world of woe. The simple meaning of the statement is, that there can be no communication between the one and the other - there can be no passing from one to the other. It is impossible to conceive that the righteous would desire to leave their abodes in glory to go and dwell in the world of woe; nor can we suppose that they would wish to go for any reason unless it were possible to furnish relief. That will be out of the question. Not even a drop of water will be furnished as a relief to the sufferer.

d Neither can they pass to us … - There can be no doubt that the wicked will desire to pass the gulf that divides them from heaven. They would be glad to be in a state of happiness; but all such wishes will be vain. How, in the face of the solemn statement of the Saviour here, can people believe that there will be a “restoration” of all the wicked to heaven? He solemnly assures us that there can be no passage from that world of woe to the abodes of the blessed; yet, in the face of this, many Universalists hold that hell will yet be vacated of its guilty millions, and that all its miserable inhabitants will be received to heaven! Who shall conduct them across this gulf, when Jesus Christ says it cannot be passed? Who shall build a bridge over that yawning chasm which he says is “fixed?” No: if there is anything certain from the Scripture, it is that they who enter hell return no more; they who sink there sink forever.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And besides all this, there is between us and you a great gulf fixed, that they who would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us.

The great teaching in view here is that death seals the soul's destiny. There will be no crossing from one side to another after death has closed life's day of opportunity. Such theologies as those related to the doctrine of purgatory are destroyed by the Saviour's words in this verse.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-16.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And besides all this,.... The different circumstances of each, both past and present, which should be observed and considered:

between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; as this may regard the state of the Pharisees after death, it intends not the natural distance between heaven and hell; though there may be an allusion to the notions of the Jews concerning that, who on those words in Ecclesiastes 7:14. "God hath set the one over against the other", sayF6Midrash Kohelet, fol 76. 1. ,

"this is hell and paradise, what space is there between them? an hand's breadth; R. Jochanan says a wall, but the Rabbans say, they are both of them even, so that they may look out of one into another.'

Which passage is cited a little differentlyF7Nishmat Chayim Orat. 1. sect. 12. fol. 31. 1. , thus;

"wherefore did the holy blessed God create hell and paradise? that they might be one against another; what space is there between them? R. Jochanan says, a wall, and R. Acha says an hand's breadth: but the Rabbans say, two fingers.'

And elsewhere itF8Raziel, fol. 15. 1. is said,

"know that hell and paradise are near to one another, and one house separates between them; and paradise is on the north east side---and hell on the north west.'

Mahomet seems to have borrowed this notion from them, who saysF9Koran, c. 7. p. 120. ,

"between the blessed and the damned, there shall be a vail; and men shall stand on "Al Araf", (the name of the wall or partition, that shall separate paradise from hell,) who shall know every one of them by their mouths.'

But not this natural space, be it what it will, but the immutable decree of God is intended here, which has unalterably fixed the state of the damned, and of the blessed:

so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us that would come from thence; not that those in heaven can desire to go to those in hell; though those in hell, may wish to be in heaven; but the sense is, that by this irrevocable decree of God, the saints in heaven are eternally happy, and the wicked in hell eternally miserable: and this also agrees with the notions of the JewsF11Caphtor, fol. 70. 2. , who represent it impossible: for a man, after he has descended into hell, to come up from thence any more: but as this may regard the Jews state of captivity and affliction, since the destruction of their city and temple, upon, and for their rejection of the Messiah; it may denote the impossibility of Christ's coming again upon the same errand he came on before, to be a Saviour of sinners, and a sacrifice for sin; and of the Jews believing in him, so long as they lie under the spirit of slumber, and are given up to judicial blindness and hardness of heart.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

besides all this — independently of this consideration.

a great gulf fixedBy an irrevocable decree there has been placed a vast impassable abyss between the two states, and the occupants of each.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

26. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

[A great gulf fixed.] It is well known from the poets, that inferi among the Latins comprehend the seat both of the blessed and the damned, denoting in general the state of the dead, be they according to the quality of their persons allotted either to joys or punishments. On this hand, Elysium for the good; on that hand, Tartarus for the wicked; the river Cocytus, or Acheron, or some such great gulf fixed betwixt them. The Jews seem not to have been very distant from this apprehension of things. "God hath set the one against the other, that is, hell and paradise. How far are they distant? A handbreadth. R. Jochanan saith, A wall is between." But the Rabbins say, They are so even with one another, that you may see out of one into the other.

That of seeing out of the one into the other agrees with the passage before us; nor is it very dissonant that it is said, They are so even with one another; that is, they are so even, that they have a plain view one from the other, nothing being interposed to hinder it, and yet so great a gulf between, that it is impossible to pass the one to the other. That is worth noting, Revelation 14:10, "Shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb."

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-16.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

There is a great gulf fixed. It is permanent and impassable. There is no bridging over the abyss. Destiny has been decided in life.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-16.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Beside all this (εν πασι τουτοιςen pāsi toutois).

In all these things (or regions).

Gulf (χασμαchasma). An old word from χαινωchainō to yawn, our chasm, a gaping opening. Only here in the N.T.

Is fixed (εστηρικταιestēriktai). Perfect passive indicative of στηριζωstērizō old verb (See note on Luke 9:51). Permanent chasm.

May not be able (μη δυνωνταιmē dunōntai). Present middle subjunctive of δυναμαιdunamai The chasm is there on purpose (that not, οπως μηhopōs mē) to prevent communication.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Beside this there is a great gulf fixed — Reader, to which side of it wilt thou go?

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-16.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they that would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us.

  1. Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they that would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us. We have here a clear statement of the separation which parts the good from the evil in the future state. But it has been urged that the coloring and phraseology of this parable is derived from rabbinical teaching, that our Lord made use of a current but erroneous Jewish notion to teach a valuable lesson, and that therefore it is not safe to draw any inferences from the narrative relative to the future state. But it should be noted that the parables of Jesus never introduce fictitious conditions, nor do they anywhere violate the order and course of nature. It is hardly possible that he could have made this an exception to his rule, especially since it is in a field where all the wisdom of the world is insufficient to make the slightest correction. Moreover, it is certainly impossible that he could exaggerate the differences between the states of the lost and saved in the hereafter. Nor can the teaching of the parable be set aside on the ground that it represents merely the intermediate and not the final condition of things. If the intermediate condition of things is fixed and established, the final condition must, a fortiori, be more so. Moreover, the teaching here differs from that of the old rabbis, for, according to Lightfoot, a wall and not a gulf separated between the just and the unjust, and they were not "afar off" from each other, the distance being but a handbreadth. The passage therefore confirms the doctrine that the righteous are neither homeless nor unconscious during the period between death and the resurrection (Philippians 1:23), and refutes the doctrine of universalism, for the gulf is (1) fixed, and (2) cannot be passed or bridged. The gulf of pride and caste between the rich man and Lazarus while on earth was easy to cross.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Ver. 26. There is a great gulf fixed] viz. By the unmovable and immutable decree of God, called mountains of brass, Zechariah 6:1, from between which all effects and actions come forth as so many chariots. εστηρικται. Firmissimum Dei statutum. Jansen.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

The meaning is, that there neither is, nor can be, any commerce or interaction between glorified saints and damned sinners; but the state of souls at death is unalterably fixed and stated.

Learn, that the miserable condition of damned souls in the next world, and the blessed condition of glorified souls is unchangeably and unalterably such: the power of God is irresistible, and the will of God is invariable, the oath of God is immutable; I have sworn that they never shall enter into my rest.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-16.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

26.] Even if it were not so,—however, and for whatsoever reason, God’s decree hath placed thee there—thy wish is impossible.

χάσμα μέγα] In the interpretation,—the irresistible decree—then truly so, but no such on earth—by which the Almighty Hand hath separated us and you, in order that, not merely so that, none may pass it. In the graphic description, a yawning chasm impassable.

ἐστήρικται, is fixed for ever. This expression precludes all idea that the following verse indicates the beginning of a better mind in the rich man.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-16.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 16:26. ἐπὶ πᾶσι τούτοις] Moreover, in addition to all. Comp. Luke 3:20. See on Ephesians 6:16, and Wetstein. There follows now after the argumentum ab aequo, Luke 16:25, still the argumentum ab impossibili for the non-compliance with the request.

χάσμα] a yawning chasm, cleft, frequently found in the classical writers; comp. χάσμα μέγα in the LXX. 2 Samuel 18:17. The idea of such a separation between the two portions of Hades does not occur among the Rabbins, among whom sometimes a separating wall is mentioned, sometimes it is said that the intervening space is only a hand, nay, only a thread in breadth. See Lightfoot, p. 857; Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 314 f. The chasm belongs to the poetical representation; the thought is the unalterable separation. The reference to Hesiod, Theog. 740, where in Tartarus itself is a χάσμα (comp. Eur. Phoen. 1599), is inappropriate.

ἐστήρικται] is established, so that it is never again closed.

ὅπως] purpose of the μεταξύ down to ἐστήρ.

διαβῆναι] pass over.

μηδὲ κ. τ. λ.] omitting the article before ἐκεῖθεν: and therewith they may not cross over thence to us. The subject is self-evident. The Recepta οἱ ἐκεῖθεν would have to be explained either, with Buttmann, by supplying θέλοντες διαβῆναι, or as a case of attraction instead of οἱ ἐκεῖ ἐκεῖθεν, Kühner, II. p. 319. Comp. Plat. Cratyl. p. 403 D Thuc. viii. 107. 2.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 16:26. καὶ, and) An argument drawn from the impossibility of the case.— ἐπὶ) This accumulates fresh reasons for rejecting his request. Comp. ἐπὶ, ch. Luke 3:20 [“Herod added this yet to (Engl. Ver. above) all,” ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, and ch. Luke 24:21, σῦν πᾶσι τούτοις, beside all this.— ὑμῶν, you) [not thee] Therefore there are many in hell.— χάσμα, a gulf) viz. the distance that there is between the bosom of Abraham and hell.— ἐστήρικται, there is firmly fixed) By this word the prayer of the self-indulger is cut off hopelessly.— οἱ θέλοντες, they who wish) if they could.— διαβῆναι) διαβαίνω is said of one passing unrestrictedly and of one’s self: διαπερῶ is said of one who crosses(178) by being carried.— οἱ ἐκεῖθεν) Expressed in abbreviated form for οἱ ἐκεῖ, ἐκεῖθεν.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-16.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 16:25"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:26". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-16.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Neither can they pass; there can be no interchange of places between those in heaven and those in hell.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.”

The further point, vividly put, is that the moment that this life is over, destinies have been determined. There can be no changes beyond the grave. There is no intermingling of those who enjoy eternal life with those who have gone to eternal death, nor can be. There is no Purgatory. What separates them is impenetrable.

‘A great gulf fixed.’ The idea is of people on both sides of an unbridgeable chasm. It is a vivid physical picture portraying a spiritual reality. There is no thought of a Purgatory. It is one place or the other with no way of moving in between.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-16.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

26.A great gulf—A chasm, or gorge; one impossible for even the disembodied spirit to overpass.

Fixed—Permanently established. We have thus, as far as sense can conceive, a complete view of the invisible state of the departed. Two regions there are of settled bliss and woe, with a broad impassable separation between them.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-16.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 16:26. And beside all this. Besides the moral impropriety of granting the request, the wish was an impossible one. God has immutably decreed otherwise: there is a great gulf fixed. The figure is that of an unfathomable abyss which cannot be spanned. Here our Lord reveals what was unknown to the popular mind of that time.

That. In the world of departed spirits, according to our Lord’s imagery, where He deviates from the popular notions, a change of state is impossible; God has so ordered it. Purgatory and repentance after death find no support here.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-16.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 16:26. The additional reason in this verse is supplementary to the first, as if to buttress its weakness. For the tormented man might reply: surely it is pressing the principle of equity too far to refuse me the petty comfort I ask. Will cooling my tongue increase beyond what is equitable the sum of my good things? Abraham’s reply to this anticipated objection is in effect: we might not grudge you this small solace if it were in our power to bring it to you, but unfortunately that is impossible.— ( , T.R.) , in all those regions: the cleft runs from end to end, too wide to be crossed; you cannot outflank it and go round from Paradise to the place of torment. With the phrase means, “in addition to what I have said”.— , a cleft or ravine (here only in N.T.), vast in depth, breadth, and length; an effectual barrier to intercommunication. The Rabbis conceived of the two divisions of Hades as separated only by a wall, a palm breadth or a finger breadth (vide Weber, Lehre des Talmud, p. 326 f.).— implies that the cleft is there for the purpose of preventing transit either way; location fixed and final.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-16.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Between us and you is fixed a great chaos, or gulf; i.e. God's justice has decreed, that the bad should forever be separated from the good. We may here take notice thta the Latin and Greek word, (ver. 22) translated hell, even in the Protestant translation, cannot signify only the grave. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-16.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

beside. Greek. epi. App-104.

is = has been.

gulf = chasm. A transliteration of the Greek chasma, from chasko, to gape. A medical word for an open wound.

fixed = set fast, established. Compare Luke 9:51 (set His face). Romans 1:11. 2 Peter 1:12.

would = desire to. Greek thelo. App-102.

to. Greek pros. App-101.

cannot = are not (Greek. me. App-105) able.

neither. Greek. mede.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-16.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

And besides all this (independently of this consideration), between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 'By an irrevocable decree there has been established [ esteeriktai (Greek #4741)] a vast impassable abyss between the two states and the occupants of each.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

26. There is a deep pit. Permanent and impassible! In the future state, the good and the evil will be separated from each other. [See note at the end of this chapter.]

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-16.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(26) There is a great gulf fixed.—Literally, a chasm, the opening or gaping of the earth. The scene brought before us is like one of the pictures of Dante’s Commedia—steep rocks and a deep gorge, and on one side the flames that burn and do not consume, and on the other, the fair garden of Paradise and the kingly palace, and the banquet at which Abraham presides. And those that are bearing the penalty, or reaping the reward, of their life are within sight and hearing of each other, and hold conversation and debate. It is obvious that no single detail of such a description can be pressed as a literal representation of the unseen world. What was wanted for the purpose of the parable was the dramatic and pictorial vividness which impresses itself on the minds and hearts of men, and this could not otherwise be gained.

So that they which would pass from hence . . .—So far as we may draw any inference from such a detail as this, it suggests the thought that the blessed look with pity and compassion on those who are in the penal fires, and would fain help them if they could. They that wish to pass are spoken of in tones which present a striking contrast to the vindictive exultation that has sometimes shown itself in Christian writers, such, e.g., as Tertullian (de Spectac. c. 30), and Milton (Reformation in England, ad fin.). A further lesson is, of course, implied, which strikes at the root of the specifically Romish theory of Purgatory and Indulgences—viz., that the wish is fruitless, that no interposition of the saints avails beyond the grave. The thought of their intercession that the discipline may do its appointed work is, indeed, not absolutely excluded, but that work must continue as long as God wills, i.e., till it attains its end.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
between
1 Samuel 25:36; Psalms 49:14; Ezekiel 28:24; Malachi 3:18; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10; James 1:11,12; James 5:1-7
they pass
12:59; Psalms 50:22; Matthew 25:46; John 3:36; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:10; 22:11
Reciprocal: Job 10:22 - the shadow of death;  Psalm 77:8 - Is his;  Proverbs 23:32 - At;  Ecclesiastes 9:4 - GeneralIsaiah 38:18 - they that;  Ezekiel 42:20 - a separation;  Matthew 5:26 - Thou;  Matthew 27:4 - see;  Romans 9:10 - not only;  1 Corinthians 10:13 - make;  2 Peter 1:5 - beside

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

26.A vast gulf lieth. These words describe the permanency of the future state, and denote, that the boundaries which separate the reprobate from the elect can never be broken through. And thus we are reminded to return early to the path, while there is yet time, lest we rush headlong into that abyss, from which it will be impossible to rise. The words must not be strictly interpreted, when it is said, that no one is permitted to pass who would wish to descend from heaven to hell; for it is certain, that none of the righteous entertain any such desire.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:26". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-16.html. 1840-57.