Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:30

But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abraham;   Dead (People);   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Thompson Chain Reference - Accumulation of Wealth;   Earthly;   Poverty-Riches;   Riches, Earthly;   Treasures, Earthly;   Wealth;   The Topic Concordance - Damnation;   Wealth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Parables;   Repentance;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Luke, gospel of;   Repentance;   Sheol;   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;   Lazarus;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Dives;   Intermediate State;   Lazarus;   Leprosy;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Wrath, Wrath of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Descent into Hades;   Ethics;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abraham;   Almsgiving ;   Beggar;   Bosom ;   Church (2);   Common Life;   Discourse;   Dives;   Ebionism (2);   Heart;   Hell ;   Lazarus;   Man (2);   Moses;   Parable;   Property (2);   Restoration;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Sympathy;   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Lazarus ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Lazarus;   Scripture;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Laz'arus;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Immortal;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Punishment, Everlasting;   Wealth;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abraham's Bosom;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for October 4;   Every Day Light - Devotion for December 22;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

If one went to them from the dead, etc. - Many are desirous to see an inhabitant of the other world, and converse with him, in order to know what passes there. Make way! Here is a damned soul, which Jesus Christ has evoked from the hell of fire! Hear him! Hear him tell of his torments! Hear him utter his regrets! "But we cannot see him." No: God has, in his mercy, spared you for the present this punishment. How could you bear the sight of this damned spirit? Your very nature would fail at the appearance. Jesus keeps him as it were behind the curtain, and holds a conversation with him in your hearing, which you have neither faith nor courage sufficient to hold with him yourselves.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Nay - No. They will not hear Moses and the prophets. They have heard them so long in vain, that there is no prospect now that they will attend to the message; but if one should go to them directly from the eternal world they would hear him. The novelty of the message would attract their attention, and they would listen to what he would say.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one go to them from the dead, they will repent.

So here it comes out. The rich man thoroughly understood why he was in torments, even if the commentators cannot seem to get it straight. It was because he would not repent. As Miller put it:

The rich man's desire that his brothers repent indicates that he had discovered that he was not in hell because he was rich, but because he had failed to repent of self-lordship and place himself under the Lordship of God.[44]

It was not what the rich man did that landed him in the jail, but what he did not that landed him in hell.

ENDNOTE:

[44] Donald G. Miller, The Layman's Bible Commentary (Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press, 1971), p. 124.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "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 he said, nay, father Abraham,.... He contradicts his father Abraham, or at least desires it might not be so; this way he suggests, was not so right, and would not succeed; for he knew his brethren were a rebellious, and stiffnecked people, and would not hear Moses and the prophets, notwithstanding all their outward boast of them, and pretensions of regard to them:

but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent; but alas! repentance is not of man's will, but a gift of God's grace; nor could these men repent, because in a judicial way their eyes were shut, their ears were stopped, and their hearts were hardened; and though Christ came in person to them, and preached, as never man did, with power and authority, and confirmed his doctrine with miracles, yet they repented not, nor did they when he arose from the dead.

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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 16:30". "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

Nay — giving the lie to Abraham.

but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent — a principle of awful magnitude and importance. The greatest miracle will have no effect on those who are determined not to believe. A real Lazarus soon “rose from the dead,” but the sight of him by crowds of people, inclined thereby to Christ, only crowned the unbelief and hastened the murderous plots of the Pharisees against the Lord of glory; nor has His own resurrection, far more overpowering, yet won over that “crooked and perverse nation.”

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

They will repent (μετανοησουσινmetanoēsousin). The Rich Man had failed to do this and he now sees that it is the one thing lacking. It is not wealth, not poverty, not alms, not influence, but repentance that is needed. He had thought repentance was for others, not for all.

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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 16:30". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

The Fourfold Gospel

And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one go to them from the dead, they will repent1.

  1. But if one go to them from the dead, they will repent. With the spirit of a true Pharisee, he sought a sign for his brothers. See . But the guidance of Scripture is better than any sign.

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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 16:30". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

Ver. 30. They will repent] Bellarmine is of the opinion that one glimpse of hell were enough to make a man not only turn Christian and sober, but anchorite and monk; to live after the strictest rule that might be. Such a sight or report might work much upon the judgment, but it is the gospel only that works upon the affections, and produceth repentance never to be repented of.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Luke 16:30

The Future Results of Present Indifference.

I. Many read this parable, and are staggered at finding that so little is said against the rich man. What was it by which he so grievously offended? and which caused his being cast into that fire which shall never be quenched? We can only say, from what we read in the parable, that there was in this rich man a complete unmindfulness of others—that he was swallowed up in himself. The sick beggar lay at his gate, where he could not have been wholly unobserved; but he took no notice, and ordered no relief. This was a grievous inhumanity. I do not mean that the rich man was a cruel and hard-hearted man, but he was thoroughly selfish and devoted to his own pleasures and enjoyments; he did not give even a passing thought to the necessitous and the suffering among his fellowmen. Surely we ought to gather a more startling lesson from this than had the rich man been charged with what the world regards as enormous crime.

II. Consider the rich man's entreaty that Lazarus might be sent to warn his five brothers, lest by living the same life they should incur the same doom. It seems inconsistent with the thorough selfishness of Dives that we should suppose him at all actuated in making this request by compassion towards his brethren. Probably, as a selfish being still, he dreaded the coming spirits as those of ministers of vengeance who would overwhelm him with reproaches and execrations, as having encouraged them by his example in the broad way of ruin. Dives shrank from the presence of his brethren. Come any companions rather than these.

III. Consider the reasons on which Abraham refused so earnest a petition. The parable put into the mouth of Abraham may be vindicated by the most cogent, yet simple, reasoning. The effect of a messenger threatening us with punishment unless we repent, depends chiefly on our assurance that it is actually a messenger from God. Now which is the stronger, the evidence which we have that the Bible is God's Word, or that which we could be supposed to have that the grave has given up its tenant, and that the spectre has spoken to us truth. The man who is not persuaded by Christ and the Apostles, might be expected to remain unpersuaded by the spectre. It would give a solemnity, an awful unearthliness, to the ministry of the word if it were conducted by a visitant from the separate state; but the pleasures and business of this life would produce gradually the same effect as now, obliterating the impression made by the solemn discourse. If they hear not Christ and His Apostles, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No., 1,496.

Reference: Luke 16:30, Luke 16:31.—J. B. Mozley, Sermons Parochial and Occasional, p. 63.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-16.html.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

As if he had said, they have always had Moses and the prophets in their hands, but yet their hearts remain impenitent; but if a special messenger be sent to them from the dead, this will not fail to awaken them, and bring them to repentance.

Learn hence, how prone we are to dislike God's method and means which he has appointed for reclaiming us from our sins, and imagine some methods of our own would be more successful. The scriptures read, the word preached, the sacraments administered; these are the ordinary means which the wisdom of God has appointed for men's conviction; and if we think a messenger from the dead would be a more conducible means, the next verse will confute us, and thoroughly satisfy us, that whom the scripture convinces not, probably nothing will; for thus it follows:

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-16.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 16:30. οὐχὶ, nay) Therefore the rich man during his life did not know the plan of salvation; and the wretched man, after having left behind his luxury, brought with him into hell his low estimation for Scripture. Hence he gave a counsel (proposed a plan) by no means in accordance with true theology. He supposed that, as he himself was now affected, so the survivors will presently be sure to be affected. Do thou [reader] rather look upon Lazarus whilst still living; so there will be no need of Lazarus’ appearing after death. Ungodly men demand that in one moment the reality of things invisible should be shown to themselves, first of all, in a manner altogether palpable, and such as to exclude the possibility of faith:(179) they shrink back from laborious investigation, faith, and patience.— τὶς, one) Lazarus, or some one else.— ἀπὸ νεκρῶν, from the dead) Therefore the rich man had not believed, neither did his brothers then believe, that there is a hell or a state of blessedness. It is not professed Sadduceeism, as the tenet of a sect, which is to be inferred from this [as the condemning characteristic of the rich man], but practical atheism, wherewith even not merely the Sadducees, but the Pharisees also were tainted, with (i.e. notwithstanding) all their hypocrisy. They were really deriding mockers, Luke 16:14. And it is probable that five Pharisees are stigmatized in Luke 16:28 above the rest.— μετανοήσουσιν, they will repent) That there is need of repentance, all are aware, even without apparitions: for even the self-indulger knew this in hell; although he could not comprehend that Moses and prophets aim at enforcing this same truth.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". 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

Ver. 30,31. How vain is man in his imaginations: We are prone all of us to think after the rate that this rich man is here brought in speaking; that although persons be deaf to the sound of the word, yet some sensible evidence of the wrath of God would make a change in their hearts and lives. There is no such thing. There is not, possibly, in all the book of God a text that more speaks the desperate hardness of a sinner’s heart than this, nor a text which looks more dreadfully upon persons sitting under the means of grace, reading and hearing the word of God, and yet find not their hearts so affected with the reading and hearing of it, as thereby to be brought to repentance, and faith, and such holiness of life as it requireth. If it were possible that such men and women should see one come out of the bottomless pit, tearing his hair, and wringing his hands, and gnashing his teeth, and bewailing his misery, and begging of them to be wise by his example, telling them for what sins he is made so miserable, and with tears and highest expressions of passion beseeching them that while they have time they would leave off those courses, acquaint themselves with God, and be at peace, that thereby good might come unto them, they would not yet believe nor repent; nor would this have any further effect upon them, than a little passion, till they could get the din out of their ears. For though sensible evidence be the highest advantage in the world to moral persuasion, yet these things are under no Divine appointment to such an effect. Henceforth let us wonder no more that a drunkard sees his companion drop down dead before him, yet presently cries again, Fill the glass; that hundreds of sinners are daily hurried down to hell in their wickedness, and yet their companions take no warning. In a fight at sea or land hundreds drop, yet their companions do not fly, but are held up by their stomachs and passion, and their ears are made deaf by the noise of the drums and trumpets. So in the world hundreds of sinners drop down daily into the pit, yet the rest of their companions tumble their companions into their graves, and never consider the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of his hands, till they also like sheep be laid in the grave, and death comes to feed upon them, and hell to devour them also. This now to those that duly consider not things, and in particular do not consider this text, seemeth strange and amazing. But it is no more to be wondered at than that hundreds read and hear the word of God, and are not by it converted and changed. It is not to be expected that any providence of God should work upon those souls any saving change, upon whom the word doth not work. That is the ordinance of God, with which the Holy Spirit joins itself, which alone can produce this change. If God works not this change thus, he will work it by nothing else; though he sometimes maketh use of such providences towards souls to whom he intends good, to make them observe and attend to the word better, in order to so blessed an effect.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:30". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-16.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And he said, “No, father Abraham, but if one go to them from the dead, they will repent.” ’

The rich man was a typical Jew. He believed in being given wonderful signs. He was not alone. The Jews were always seeking signs. And the reason for this was because their past history had been full of signs that God was with them. They were like children wanting a repetition of the display. Yet the point is that if those signs from the past would not convince them, why should present signs? Interestingly enough God would shortly give the Jews the sign that they wanted in the raising of another Lazarus (God has a sense of what is apposite), and what did the Jews do? They planned to put him to death (John 12:10). Many people today are similar. They say that they would believe if only they saw signs. But Jesus is making clear that while that may be so, it would not be a belief worth having. Why, says the rich man, if one goes to them from the dead they will repent. No, says Jesus, not if they are the kind who do not listen to the word of God.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-16.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 16:30. Nay, father Abraham. This scarcely means: they will not hear them, but rather, Nay, but make the matter more sure. The advocate of more decided ‘spiritual manifestations’ is a lost and still impenitent soul, without real discernment as to the best means of grace.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "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 16:30. , a decided negative = nay! that is not enough; so he knew from his own experience; the Scriptures very good doubtless, but men are accustomed to them.— : something unusual, the preaching of a dead man returned to life, that might do.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-16.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Nay. Greek ouchi. App-105.

if. Implying a contingency. See App-118.

from = away from. App-104. Contrast the Lord"s ek (App-104 in next clause).

the dead. No Art. See App-139.

repent. See App-111.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "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 he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

And he said, Nay, father Abraham (giving him the lie), but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. What a reply now is given to this, shutting up the dialogue where it ought to close-when nothing more remains to be said on the one hand, and nothing can be replied on the other.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(30) But if one went unto them from the dead.—The words are in accordance with the general Jewish craving for a “sign,” as the only proof of a revelation from God. (See Notes on Matthew 12:33; Matthew 16:1; 1 Corinthians 1:22.) The return of one who had passed into the unseen world and brought back a report of its realities would rouse, the rich man thought, the most apathetic. So far the picture is generic, but if we follow up the suggestion which has thrown light upon the parable before, we shall find here also a more individualising feature. It is specially recorded of the Tetrarch that he had hoped to see some miracle done by Jesus (Luke 23:8). He had given utterance, when he heard of the miracles that had been actually wrought, to the belief that John the Baptist was “risen from the dead” (see Note on Matthew 14:2), and yet that belief had not brought him one step nearer to repentance.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
repent
13:3,5; Revelation 16:9-11
Reciprocal: Matthew 3:2 - Repent;  Luke 16:24 - Father;  Luke 24:37 - GeneralJohn 11:46 - GeneralRomans 9:7 - because;  James 2:21 - Abraham

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

30.Nay, father Abraham. This is a personification, as we have said, which expresses rather the feelings of the living than the anxiety of the dead. The doctrine of the Law is little esteemed by the world, the Prophets are neglected, and no man submits to hear God speaking in his own manner. Some would desire that angels should descend from heaven; others, that the dead should come out of their graves; others, that new miracles should be performed every day to sanction what they hear; and others, that voices should be heard from the sky. (312) But if God were pleased to comply with all their foolish wishes, it would be of no advantage to them; for God has included in his word all that is necessary to be known, and the authority of this word has been attested and proved by authentic seals. Besides, faith does not depend on miracles, or any extraordinary sign, but is the peculiar gift of the Spirit, and is produced by means of the word. Lastly, it is the prerogative of God to draw us to himself, and he is pleased to work effectually through his own word. There is not the slightest reason, therefore, to expect that those means, which withdraw us from obedience to the word, will be of any service to us. I freely acknowledge, that there is nothing to which the flesh is more strongly inclined than to listen to vain revelations; and we see how eagerly those men, to whom the whole of Scripture is an object of dislike, throw themselves into the snares of Satan. Hence have arisen necromancy and other delusions, which the world not only receives with avidity, but runs after with furious rage. But all that is here affirmed by Christ is, that even the dead could not reform, (313) or bring to a sound mind, those who are deaf and obstinate against the instructions of the law.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:30". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-16.html. 1840-57.