Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 17:5

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Faith;   Jesus, the Christ;   Thompson Chain Reference - Apostles;   Christ;   Disciples;   Faith;   Faith-Unbelief;   Leaders;   Religious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Faith;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Faith;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Eschatology;   Tribulation, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Apostles;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Faith;   Matthew, Gospel According to;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apostles;   Chosen One;   Discourse;   Faith ;   Fig-Tree ;   Growing;   Lord (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Faith;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for July 24;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Increase our faith - This work of pardoning every offense of every man, and that continually, seemed so difficult, even to the disciples themselves, that they saw, without an extraordinary degree of faith, they should never be able to keep this command. But some think that this and what follows relate to what Matthew has mentioned. Matthew 17:19, Matthew 17:20.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Increase our faith - This duty of forgiving offences seemed so difficult to the disciples that they strongly felt the need of an increase of faith. They felt that they were prone themselves to harbor resentments, and that it required an additional increase of true religion to enable them to comply with the requirements of Jesus. We may learn from this:

1.That Jesus has “the power” of increasing the faith of his people. Strength comes from him, and especially strength to believe the gospel. Hence, he is called the “Author and Finisher” of our faith, Hebrews 12:2.

2.The duty of forgiving offences is one of the most difficult duties of the Christian religion. It is so contrary to our natural feelings; it implies such elevation above the petty feelings of malice and revenge, and is so contrary to the received maxims of the world, which teach us to “cherish” rather than to forgive the memory of offences, that it is no wonder our Saviour dwells much on this duty, and so strenuously insists on it in order to our having evidence that our hearts have been changed.

Some have thought that this prayer that he would increase their faith refers to the power of working miracles, and especially to the case recorded in Matthew 17:16-20.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-17.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye would say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou rooted up, and be thou planted in the sea; and it would obey you.

This is the third of the four pronouncements. The apostle's reaction to the command of Jesus for what amounts to unlimited forgiveness appeared to them such a monstrous task that they supposed they needed a special measure of faith to be able to comply with it. The teaching here is that the faith they had was more than enough to enable it, provided only that they got on with the DOING of it.

Apostles ... Lord ... Those commentators who suppose that these terms were retrospectively incorporated in Luke's Gospel at a time long after the events, and at a time when the early church had "developed" these words are wrong. Jesus himself named the Twelve "apostles" (Luke 6:13); and they referred to Jesus as "Lord," using the word as a reference to the Godhead. Drowning Peter cried out, saying, "Lord, save me," and this student of the word of God will never consent to view these words as the equivalent of "Rabbi, save me" (Matthew 14:30).

Sycamine tree ... "This word sometimes means the mulberry tree, sometimes the sycamore."[7]

What did Jesus means by this promise? There are two things in it: (a)the forgiveness of those who sin against us is, humanly speaking, an impossibility, comparable to the outlandish wonder in view here; and (b) the faith of Christians, without any providential increase of it, is more than enough to enable it to be done.

Miller was right in affirming that such a wonder as Jesus promised here suggests "that genuine faith can accomplish what experience, reason, and probability would deny, if it is exercised within God's will."[8] Hobbs was sure that no miraculous ability was promised Christians in this; because, said he, "We cannot even transplant violets in a garden, to say nothing of transplanting trees from the land into the sea."[9] Jesus' true meaning is found in the Jewish usage of such extravagant figures of speech. "Rabbis of intellectual eminence were often called `uprooters of mountains' in allusion to their powers of solving difficult questions";[10] and, significantly, Matthew quoted Jesus using the term "mountain" in this same context on another occasion (Matthew 17:20). This, of course, is the same figure and should be understood spiritually.

[7] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 762.

[8] Donald G. Miller, The Layman's Commentary (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1959), p. 125.

[9] Herschel H. Hobbs, op. cit., p. 247.

[10] John William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1964), p. 182.

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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 17:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-17.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the apostles said unto the Lord,.... Either on account of what was now said by Christ concerning offences, and forgiving injuries; being conscious to themselves of their own weakness to withstand temptations; and fearful lest they should be stumbled and offended with what they should meet with; or that they should give offence to others: and being also sensible of what spirits they were of, and of the difficulties of conquering them, and mastering the resentment of their minds, when injured and provoked; and also the necessity of divine assistance, of having fresh supplies of grace, and of having their graces, and particularly faith, strengthened, and drawn into a lively exercise; or on account of their not being able to cast out a devil from one that was possessed, Matthew 17:19 when words, to the same purpose, were spoken by Christ, as in the following verse; on occasion of one or other of these, though more likely the former, the apostles addressed Christ in this manner,

increase our faith; both the faith of working miracles, and the grace of believing in him: by which, as they express their sense of the weakness, and imperfection of their faith; and their great desire to have it increased, which might be for their comfort, and his glory; so they acknowledge his divine power, and that he is the author and finisher of faith; and that as the beginning, so the increase of it is from him: wherefore faith is not of a man's self, or the produce of man's freewill and power, but is the gift of God; and even where it is, it is not in man to increase it, or add to it, or to draw it forth into exercise; this also is the operation of God. And if the apostles had need to put up such a petition to Christ, much more reason have other men.

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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 17:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

(3) God will never be utterly lacking to the godly (although he may not be as thorough with them as they wish) even in those difficulties which cannot be overcome by man's reason.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Lord — (See on Luke 10:1).

increase our faith — moved by the difficulty of avoiding and forgiving “offenses.” This is the only instance in which a spiritual operation upon their souls was solicited of Christ by the Twelve; but a kindred and higher prayer had been offered before, by one with far fewer opportunities. (See on Mark 9:24.)

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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 17:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-17.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Increase (προστεςprosthes). Second aorist active imperative of προστιτημιprostithēmi to add to. Bruce thinks that this sounds much like the stereotyped petition in church prayers. A little reflection will show that they should answer the prayer themselves.

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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 17:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-17.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

Lord, increase our faith — That we may thus forgive, and may neither offend nor be offended. Matthew 17:20.

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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 17:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-17.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith1.

  1. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. The apostles asked for faith that they might be able to fulfill the great moral requirements which Jesus had just revealed. Our Lord sanctions the wisdom of their prayer by showing the greatness of faith.

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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 17:5". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-17.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE GROWTH OF FAITH

‘Lord, Increase our faith.’

Luke 17:5

Whatever admits of increase must have degrees. Faith is a ladder with many and long ascents. And yet the very highest, compared to what it might be, is as nothing. But faith, like every other grace, is a thing which has, in its own nature, a necessity to grow, and which certainly and steadily increases, if only we do not wilfully hinder it, and if we use the appointed means for its progress.

What are the conditions of its growth?

I. Reading the Word.—St. Paul lays it down absolutely that ‘faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.’ It was an age when there was no printing, and therefore there were very few or no books. Therefore the communication of truth was almost entirely by word of mouth. We should, perhaps, be more correct in the intention of that verse if we say: ‘Faith cometh by reading,’ not to the exclusion of hearing—God forbid!—but besides hearing, faith cometh by reading, by the diligent and close and constant prayerful reading, ‘and reading by the Word of God.’ But whether it be by preaching or by reading, it is equally the Word of God which is the instrument and channel of faith. The conclusion is evident: whoever would increase his faith must be a regular and painstaking reader of his Bible. But everything depends upon how he reads it.

II. Considering the wondrous work of Christ.—Place yourselves in holy fancy at the foot of His cross; look up into that meek, suffering, loving Face; see those precious wounds; hear Him say, ‘It is for you; it is for you.’ Feel that blood washing out your sins! What can faith want more? What has not that death purchased? Must not faith grow when it lives in that atmosphere?

III. Observing and watching the experiences of prayer.—Look at every answer to your prayers, and note them down in your mind when they come. Be constantly picking up the returning arrow which you shot into the skies. Almost every day you will find another and another and another seal of prayer, and faith seeing those seals, will learn to ask more and more confidently, and so faith will grow by watching the experiences of prayer.

Rev. James Vaughan.

Illustration

‘There is in this church many a child of God who has faith, real faith, and as yet that faith is very small, and therefore the peace is broken, joy is shaded, and life is clouded. Let me put you on your guard. We are generally apt to pray for the beginning of what is good more and more earnestly than we pray for the continuance and the increase of what is good. And yet it wants as much, perhaps more to go on and grow, than ever it did to set out. Without it the best and holiest thing will go down and down, even as a stone gravitates to the earth. And yet in the things of God whatever lives grows, and whatever grows not, dies.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/luke-17.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

Ver. 5. Lord, increase our faith] A most necessary request in this case. For the more any man believeth that God for Christ’s sake hath pardoned him, the readier he will be to pardon others.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-17.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Luke 17:5

There is a twofold difficulty in this passage: (1) The manner in which Christ receives the prayer of the Apostles seems to be not such as we should have expected; and, (2) the connection of thought between the prayer for increase of faith and the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant is far from obvious. I ask then—

I. What was there wrong,—or, if not wrong, at least unsatisfactory or ignorant—in the prayer which the Apostles made to Christ in the text? I believe the explanation is this, that the Apostles betrayed in their prayer an ignorance of the true meaning and province of faith; the Lord had just been impressing upon them a plain practical duty, that of forgiving each other their offences, and the Apostles feeling how hard it would be for human nature to fulfil this command, admitting that justice of the Lord's injunction, and fearing lest they should be tempted to forget it, make the prayer that He would increase their faith—as though faith were a kind of preservative from sin of which the more we had the better, as though a certain amount of faith would prevent a man from falling, just as a certain amount of medicine might cure a complaint; and as though if they had only faith enough given to them by God's grace they could be perfect in their walk through this world, and sure of life in the world to come. What is the Lord's reply? He tells them that if they have faith at all, they have in them that principle which can work miracles, faith no doubt admits of growth, but how? just by the performance of those practical duties which the Lord had enjoined; it is not for a man to say, "I cannot do such and such things, because I have not faith enough;" but rather to strive to increase His faith by doing God's will.

II. Faith, then, is represented by Christ as that which, if only possessed in the magnitude of a mustard seed, may be capable of great spiritual results; it is not the size of the seed which determines its importance, a portion of a large seed is not the same as the whole of a small one; no, the seed contains a principle of life; and so faith in the heart, if it be but genuine, may grow and bear most wonderful fruits. The prayer of the Apostles in the text is at least one which requires caution in the use; and it becomes positively mischievous if it implies the thought that any gift of faith from God, any supernatural influence, any inspiration from above, can be a substitute for the patient development of the seed of God's grace, the watering of it with prayer, the keeping it clear from noxious intertwining weeds, the pruning and dressing of the tree—in fact, the thorough devotion of our spiritual energies to carrying on the work of grace.

Bishop Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, 3rd series, p. 168.


Not quite sure—There are no sadder words; none at all. Every other trouble could be borne, if we were but delivered from doubt; if we were but perfectly sure of certain things which good people often say. The prayer of the text for many men and many women is a very old one. Day and night it ought to go up, to where prayer goes; the prayer the Apostle made to Jesus Christ: "Increase our faith."

I. I put quite aside the special use which they, perhaps, wished to make of a strong faith. Perhaps they thought to work mighty works, which we have not the least desire to do. It is faith to believe which we desire and ask for: faith to be perfectly sure. Give us more faith; firmer faith, constant faith; faith that does not ebb and flow: faith that is always there. It is a great thing to ask. There is a thread of the sceptic, even of the infidel, in many a good Christian. There come the agnostic moments into many a saintly life. So we come, we who are professed Christians, to God Almighty, with the prayer made in solemn earnestness: "Give us more faith."

II. It will not do in these days, to pretend that there are no difficulties in the way of a firm belief. But in the face of all difficulties, we take our stand here: that there is evidence adequate to the healthy mind, which proves the grand doctrines by which we live; that there is a God; a future life; that Christ was here; and if here at all, our Sacrifice and Saviour. I need not try to reckon up, or rehearse, the many truths which come of these, which multiply and are ramified into every detail of our daily life, always more and more as we grow older. These are the things we pray to believe. These are the things we have imperfectly in our minds, when we go to God and cry to Him with an earnestness beyond all words: "Oh give us more faith."

III. By what means shall we get increase of faith? (1) By asking it from God in earnest and continual prayer. (2) By keeping out of harm's way. There is a moral atmosphere laden with unbelief. Keep out of the society of unbelievers. Irreverence and flippancy and self-conceit are the characteristics of any whom you are likely to know. Such company cannot possibly do you good. It is almost certain to do you harm. (3) Stand in fear of any permitted sin. Not morally only, but intellectually too, you do not know how it may harm you, incapacitate you, pervert you. Pray with the Psalmist, "Cleanse Thou me from secret faults; keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins."

A. K. H. B., Towards the Sunset, p. 1.


References: Luke 17:5.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii., No. 1318; J. Kennedy, Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 17; H. W. Beecher, Sermons, 3rd series, p. 420. Luke 17:6.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 253; Expositor, 1st series, vol. ix., p. 307; Ibid., 2nd series, vol. iii., p. 207. Luke 17:7-10.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 350; G. Macdonald, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxii., p. 149; A. B. Bruce, The Parabolic teaching of Christ, p. 168.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-17.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 17:5. The apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. Our Lord's discourse in the preceding verses, being very opposite to the common notions concerning the Messiah and his followers, seems to have staggered the faith of the disciples a little. They began possibly to fear,that Jesus, who talked in such a manner, was not the person they had hitherto taken him for. They prayed him therefore to increase their faith; meaning, perhaps, that he should put an end to their doubts, by erecting his kingdom speedily, and distributing the rewards which they were expecting for their services. Or we may take the word faith, in its ordinary sense, for the true principle of holiness and virtue, which the disciplesdesired their Master to strengthen in them, because the duty that he had recommended was extremely difficult. Wontzogenius himself acknowledges, that the disciples applying to Christ to strengthen their faith, shews that they believed him to have a divine influence over the spirits of men.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-17.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here,

1. The supplicants, the apostles.

2. The person supplicated, the Lord.

3. The supplication itself, Increase our faith.

4. The occasion of this supplication, our Saviour urging the duty of forgiving injuries.

Learn,

1. That as all graces in general, so the grace of faith in particular, is weak and imperfect in the best of saints.

2. That the most eminent saints (apostles not excepted) are very sensible of the imperfection of their faith, and very importunate with God daily for the increase of it: Lord, increase our faith.

3. That faith strengthened enables the soul to the most difficult duties of obedience, and particularly helps to the practice of that hard duty of forgiving injuries. When our Saviour had preached the doctrine and duty of forgiveness, the apostles, instantly pray, Lord, increase our faith.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-17.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

5.] πρόσθ. ἡμ. πίστ.,increase our faith,’ of the E. V., is not exact: give us more faith, is more literal and simpler. Wordsw.’s rendering, “Give faith in addition to our other privileges, powers, and virtues,” is not so probable, seeing 1) that faith is not the crowning item in such a list, but the first and most elementary: and 2) that, had this been intended, it would most probably have been expressed πρόσθ. ἡμῖν καὶ πίστιν.

This is the only example in the Gospels in which the Apostles are marked out as requesting or saying any thing to the Lord. They are amazed at the greatness of the faith which is to overcome σκάνδαλα and forgive ἁμαρτήματα as in Luke 17:3-4 :—and pray that more faith may be added to them.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-17.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 17:5. εἰπον, said) Being moved with the sweetness of His words, Luke 17:4, they were wishing to have a more abundant enjoyment of the Divine benignity.— οἱ ἀπόστολοι, the apostles) who had in an especial degree need of great faith.— τῷ κυρίῳ, the Lord) This appellation being put here implies, that this petition was a very solemn one.— πρόσθες, add) They hereby recognise the Divine power of Jesus. Jesus deals with their petition in Luke 17:6, and Luke 17:7-10.— πίστιν, faith) which surmounts stumbling-blocks, and freely forgives offences.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-17.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Though we be not to seek a connection of all those speeches of our Lord which are recorded by the evangelists, they sometimes heaping together many of his golden sayings, without so much as regard to the order of time when he spake them, or their dependence on each other; yet he that wisely observes the preceding discourse for charity, will easily observe an excellent connection of this verse with the former. No duty required of men and women more grates upon flesh and blood than this of forgiving injuries, nothing that the most of people find harder to put in practice; so as indeed where there is not a root of faith, this fruit will not be found. It is faith which worketh by love. Till the soul cometh steadily and fixedly to agree to those propositions of the word where this is required, as the indispensable will of God; nay, till it comes firmly to rest upon those promises, and hope for them, which are made to this duty; finally, till it comes to have received Christ, and forgiveness from him, and considers itself bound to forgive, as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven it, Ephesians 4:32; it will hardly come up to the practice of this duty. Hence it is that unregenerate men are usually implacable, malicious, always studying revenge. Nay, so imperfect are the habits and workings of faith in believers, that they often find it very difficult to forgive. The apostles therefore very properly pray, Lord, increase our faith after hearing this discourse. Others make the connection thus: Lord, we have now heard thee discoursing our duty as to love, now increase our faith, discourse to us something for the increase of that. But the former seemeth to be least strained. By the way we may observe from hence, that as the beginnings, so the increase, of our faith must be from God. In things truly and spiritually good, without him we can do nothing.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 17:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-17.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

умножь в нас веру Буквально «дай нам больше веры». Они чувствовали, что не соответствуют тому высокому стандарту, который Иисус для них установил.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

To do their duty, all men need an increase of faith; and as Christ is the author and finisher of faith, all should habitually look to him for this inestimable gift. Hebrews 12:2.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-17.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

The power of faith, and caution against pride in that power, Luke 17:5-10.

5.The apostles—The twelve, in distinction from the disciples in Luke 17:1, to whom the last remarks were addressed. The faith which they asked was a faith to empower them for the duties and struggles of their high office.

The Lord—The use of the term The Lord for Jesus is more habitual with Luke than with any other evangelist. This is the only passage in which the apostles are represented by Luke as styling him Lord, or requesting anything from him.

Increase our faith—This conversation we do not view as a continuation of that in the four preceding verses; but rather as a later conversation induced by the same general circumstances, namely, the pressure of the Pharisees of the Herodian party upon the converts and upon the religion of Jesus. See notes on Luke 13:32; Luke 13:18; Luke 13:10; Luke 15:1. What they desired was not simply a belief in Jesus and his Messiahship. It was a faith to be miraculously bestowed, energizing them with a burning zeal and eloquence, a clearness in preaching, and an efficiency for performing signs and wonders to demonstrate the divinity of their mission. Some faith, indeed, they had; faith enough at any rate to go to Christ and ask for more.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-17.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Luke referred to the Twelve as apostles here probably to highlight the importance of this teaching for disciple leaders. Evidently the apostles concluded that such a magnanimous approach to forgiving would require more faith in God than they possessed. They would have to believe that God could change a person"s heart even though he gave no evidence of genuine contrition by repeatedly sinning and then repeatedly professing repentance.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-17.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 17:5. And the apostles said. This is the only instance in the Gospels, where the Apostles as such make a request in common.

Increase our faith, lit, ‘add to us faith,’ i.e., give us more faith. They felt themselves unequal to the duty of forgiving love enjoined upon them (Luke 17:3-4). They had been taught this before, and no doubt in the mean time had learned their insufficiency. Those who offer the prayer should remember the occasion of it.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-17.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Increase our faith. The disciples having heard our Saviour inculcating maxims hard to flesh and blood, such as avoiding scandal, and forgiving our enemies, humbly beg their faith may be increased, that they may be able to comply with these maxims; for they had heard Christ say, that every thing was possible to him that believed. (Theophylactus) --- Christ compares faith to a grain of mustard seed; because, though the grain be small, it is nevertheless stronger than most herbs. (St. John Chrysostom)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the Lord. App-98.

Increase our faith = Give us more faith.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

And the apostles said unto the Lord (see the note at Luke 11:1), Increase our faith. What prompted so special a petition? No doubt the felt difficulty of carrying into effect such holy directions-the difficulty first of avoiding offences, and next of forgiving them so divinely. This is the only instance in which a spiritual operation upon their souls was solicited of Christ by the Twelve; but a kindred and even higher prayer had been offered to Him before, by one with far fewer opportunities, which in all likelihood first suggested to them this prayer. See the note at Mark 9:24, and Remark 3 at the close of that section.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-17.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) The apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.—The form in which the fragment that thus commences is brought before us suggests, as has been stated before (see Notes on Luke 7:13; Luke 10:1), that it was a comparatively late addition to the collection of “the words of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:35), and this is confirmed by the exceptional use of “the Apostles” for “the disciples.” It may have stood originally in an absolutely isolated form. On the other hand, its position here indicates a sufficiently traceable sequence. That command of a seven-fold—i.e., an unlimited—forgiveness seemed to make almost too great a strain on their faith. Did it not imply an almost miraculous victory over natural impulses, that could be wrought only by a supernatural grace? Was not the faith that could “remove mountains” wanted, if ever, here—a faith in the pardoning love of the Father, and in their own power to reproduce it? And so, conscious of their weakness, they came with the prayer that has so often come from the lips of yearning, yet weak, disciples of the Christ—reminding us of him who cried, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (see Note on Mark 9:24)—“Increase our faith.” May we not possibly think of Peter as having struggled to obey the rule which had been given to them before (Matthew 18:22), and as having found himself unequal to the task?

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
Increase
Mark 9:24; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10; Philippians 4:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 1:22,23
Reciprocal: Matthew 15:28 - great;  Acts 3:16 - through;  1 Corinthians 12:9 - faith;  1 Corinthians 13:2 - and though I have all;  Colossians 2:12 - the faith;  1 Thessalonians 3:12 - the Lord

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 17:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-17.html.