Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 17:6

And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Sycamine;   Thompson Chain Reference - Believers;   God's;   Promises, Divine;   The Topic Concordance - Faith/faithfulness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Sycamore or Sycamine;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Trees;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Faith;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Eschatology;   Tribulation, the;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Sycamine Tree;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Plants in the Bible;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Matthew, Gospel According to;   Sycamine;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Discourse;   Energy;   Faith ;   Fig-Tree ;   Impossibility;   Lord (2);   Metaphors;   Mustard;   Poet;   Proverbs ;   Righteous, Righteousness;   Salvation;   Sycamine;   Unconscious Faith;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Mustard Seed;   Sycamine, σ;   ;   ;   ;   ;   ;   ;   ;   ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Faith;   Mustard;   Sycamine tree;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Mustard;   Sycamine Tree;   Sycamore;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Mustard (tree);   Root;   Tree;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Mustard;   Sycamine;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Games;   Mustard;   Sycamine Tree;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

As a grain of mustard seed - A faith that increases and thrives as that is described to do, Matthew 13:32; (note), where see the note. See also Matthew 17:20.

This sycamine - The words seem to intimate that they were standing by such a tree. The sycamine is probably the same as the sycamore. Sycamore with us, says Mr. Evelyn, is falsely so called, being our acer majus, greater maple. The true sycamore is the ficus Pharaonis or Aegyptia, Pharaoh's, or Egyptian fig-tree; called also, from its similitude in leaves and fruit, morosyous, or mulberry fig-tree. The Arabians call it guimez : it grows in Cyprus, Caria, Rhodes, and in Judea and Galilee, where our Lord at this time was: see Luke 17:11. St. Jerome, who was well acquainted with these countries, translates the word mulberry-tree.

Be thou plucked up by the root - See the note on Matthew 21:21, where it is shown that this mode of speech refers to the accomplishment of things very difficult, but not impossible.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See Matthew 17:20. “Sycamine-tree.” This name, as well as sycamore, is given, among us, to the large tree commonly called the buttonwood; but the tree here mentioned is different. The Latin Vulgate and the Syriac versions translate it “mulberry-tree.” It is said to have been a tree that commonly grew in Egypt, of the size and appearance of a mulberry-tree, but bearing a species of figs. This tree was common in Palestine. It is probable that our Lord was standing by one as he addressed these words to his disciples. Dr. Thomson (“The Land and the Book,” vol. i. p. 22-24) says of this tree: “It is generally planted by the wayside, in the open space where several paths meet.” (Compare Luke 19:4.) “This sycamore is a remarkable tree. It not only bears several crops of figs during the year, but these figs grow on short stems along the trunk and large branches, and not at the end of twigs, as in other fruit-bearing trees. The figs are small, and of a greenish-yellow color. At Gaza and Askelon I saw them of a purple tinge, and much larger than they are in this part of the country. They were carried to market in large quantities, and appeared to be more valued there than with us. Still, they are, at best, very insipid, and none but the poorer classes eat them. It is easily propagated, merely by planting a stout branch in the ground, and watering it until it has struck its roots into the soil. This it does with great rapidity and to a vast depth. It was with reference to this latter fact that our Lord selected it to illustrate the power of faith.

Now, look at this tree - its ample girth, its wide-spread arms branching off from the parent trunk only a few feet from the ground; then examine its enormous roots, as thick, as numerous, and as wide-spread into the deep soil below as the branches extend into the air above the very best type of invincible steadfastness. What power on earth can pluck up such a tree? Heaven‘s thunderbolt may strike it down, the wild tornado may tear it to fragments, but nothing short of miraculous power can fairly pluck it up by the roots.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-17.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Luke 17:6

Faith as a grain of mustard seed

The force of faith

We must not imagine that these words give any encouragement to an idle and childish expectation of any startling and ostentatious outcome of a true faith in Jesus Christ; as though God’s grace could ever be used to win for any one the wonder and admiration of His fellow-men, or displayed in any abrupt and fruitless miracle, for our excitement or aggrandizement.
It is a far higher and nobler power which is really promised by our Lord even to the least measure of true faith in Him: a power which is far more fruitful and more mysterious than the mere working of a wonder which would only be like a conjuring trick on a large scale. For what He really here teaches us, as though in a short and vivid parable, is this: that since His coming upon earth, there is a new kind of force astir in the history and in the souls of men--a force which in the speed and certainty of its action can surpass all the ordinary means by which men scheme and work--a force which is effective far beyond all likelihood that we can see in it, so that even its least germ is able to achieve results of inconceivable difficulty and greatness: and for the secret, the character, of this new force He points us to the one spring and motive of the Christian life--to faith. Now, before we leave the outward form in which this truth is taught us, let us notice one point in it: that it is to a seed that our Lord compares the beginning of faith in a man’s heart: to a grain of mustard seed: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown it is the greatest amongst herbs, and becometh a tree, etc. He seems thus to teach us that all true faith is ever and everywhere growing: not a dead, self-contained thing, but a seed, filled with an almost infinite power of growth in strength and range and beauty. However poor and mean and worthless it may seem, there is that in it which will in due time and with due care force its way into the light and strive towards heaven itself, till the little speck of hope becomes a branching, fruitful wealth of life and beauty, a resting-place and shelter for those who hover round its boughs and find refreshment and protection in its gentle strength. Now I ask you to consider whether we ever meet with any character which does thus seem to escape from the ordinary restrictions of cause and effect: to exert a force far beyond all the likelihood that we can discover: and to achieve results which sober and practical men would never have expected from it? Is there any temper of mind and will which makes a way through insuperable obstacles, and forces mountainous difficulties to yield it service and obedience? Well, in the first place, do we not see a strange foreshadowing of such supernatural effectiveness, and a wonderful contrast between what might reasonably have been looked for and what is actually achieved, in the life and work of men who have a large degree of faith in themselves? Do we not see in what we know of history and politics, and in our own experience too, that the men who do great deeds, who leave a mark behind them, who bend stubborn circumstances to their will, who influence other men (bearing into their hearts the passions or the policy which they have themselves conceived), are always the men who have a firm faith in their own judgment, and a resolute conviction that they will achieve what they have set themselves to do: so that they are not always explaining and apologizing and qualifying and standing on the defensive, but rather going straight forward and fearlessly calling upon others to follow them? But, secondly, there is a nearer reflection of that which the text means, and a higher and more mysterious efficacy, in the power which some can wield by faith in their fellow-men. I trust we all know something of the strange influence by which some men seem able to discover and draw out and strengthen all that is good and hopeful in those with whom they have to do. The change which is wrought by one who meets his fellows with a simple, earnest trust and hope is just the contrary of that miserable atmosphere of dingy mist and cold in which a cynic lives and thinks and acts: distrusting and depreciating others till they cease to show him anything but those meaner, harsher elements in their character which he seems resolute and glad to find. There can hardly be a happier or more fruitful and wonderworking life than his in whose company men are always stirred to brightness and unselfishness just because he always believes that they are purer and better than they are: by whose trustful expectation they are reminded of what they once desired and hoped to be, so that the long-forgotten ideal seems again to come within their reach, and they live, if only for a while, by a light which they never thought to see again. For thus this quickening and enlightening power of faith in our fellow-men changes the whole air and aspect of a life: and he who is thus trustful and hopeful draws out in one man the timid and hidden germ of good, and engenders in another the grace and warmth which his faith presumes; and the dullest heart is startled into sympathy with the charity which believeth all things, and hopeth all things: so that everywhere this faith is greeted by the brightness which itself calls out, as the sun is welcomed by the glad colours which sleep until he comes
. (F. Paget, D.D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 17:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-17.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the Lord said,.... In answer to the disciples. The Syriac version leaves out the word "Lord": and the Persic version, in the room of it reads, "Jesus":

if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed; See Gill on Matthew 17:20.

ye might say unto this sycamine tree; which was near at hand; for in Galilee, where Christ now was, such trees grew, especially in lower Galilee: hence those wordsF21Misna Sheviith, c. 9. sect. 2. ;

"from Caphar-Hananiah, and upwards, all the land which does not bear שקמין, "sycamines", is upper Galilee, and from Caphar-Hananiah, and downwards, all which does bear "sycamines", is lower Galilee.'

This, by MaimonidesF23In Misna Demai, c. 1. sect. 1. & in Bava Bathra, c. 2. sect. 11. , is said to be a wild fig tree; but the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions render it, the "mulberry tree": and that the sycamine and mulberry tree are the same, Beza shows from Dioscorides, Athenaeus, and Galen; though whether it is the same with the sycamore in Luke 19:4 is not certain. The first of these writers makes them to be the same; and the last asserts they are different, and so they should seem by their different names.

Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea, and it should obey you: for such a tree to be plucked up by the root at a word speaking, is very wonderful and miraculous, and beyond the power of nature; and much more for it to remove into the sea, and plant itself there, where trees grow not; and to believe this should be done, and such a word of command obeyed, one should think required very great faith; and yet, if it was but as a grain of mustard seed, which is very small, it might be done. The design is to show, what great things are done by faith, and what an increase of it they should have.

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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.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

(a) If you had no more faith, but the quantity of the grain of mustard seed.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

sycamine — mulberry. (See on Mark 11:22-24.)

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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 17:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-17.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

6. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

[As a grain of mustard seed.] A phrase greatly in use. Sometimes we have it like a seed of mustard. Sometimes, like a grain of mustard seed. Sometimes, like a drop of mustard.

When our Lord had been teaching his disciples concerning charity towards their offending brother, they beg of him increase our faith. Which words (saving that I would not wrong the faith of the apostles, as if they begged of their Master an increase of it) I would inquire whether they might not be put into some such sense as this: "Lay down or add something concerning the measure of our faith, as thou hast done concerning the measure of our charity": which, therefore, he doth in his following discourse.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-17.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

If ye have (ει εχετεei echete). Condition of the first class, assumed to be true.

Ye would say (ελεγετε ανelegete an). Imperfect active with ανan and so a conclusion (apodosis) of the second class, determined as unfulfilled, a mixed condition therefore.

Sycamine tree (συκαμινωιsukaminōi). At the present time both the black mulberry (sycamine) and the white mulberry (sycamore) exist in Palestine. Luke alone in the N.T. uses either word, the sycamine here, the sycamore in Luke 19:4. The distinction is not observed in the lxx, but it is observed in the late Greek medical writers for both trees have medicinal properties. Hence it may be assumed that Luke, as a physician, makes the distinction. Both trees differ from the English sycamore. In Matthew 17:20 we have “mountain” in place of “sycamine tree.”

Be thou rooted up (εκριζωτητιekrizōthēti). First aorist passive imperative as is πυτευτητιphuteuthēti have obeyed (υπηκουσεν ανhupēkousen an). First aorist active indicative with ανan apodosis of a second-class condition (note aorist tense here, imperfect ελεγετεelegete).

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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 17:6". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-17.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Sycamine

Or mulberry. Luke distinguishes between this and συκομορέα , the fig-mulberry (Luke 19:4). The names were sometimes confused, but a physician would readily make the distinction, as both were used medicinally.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-17.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

And he said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed — If ye had the least measure of true faith, no instance of duty would be too hard for you.

Ye would say to this sycamine tree — This seems to have been a kind of proverbial expression.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-17.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed1, ye would say unto this sycamine tree2, Be thou rooted up, and be thou planted in the sea; and it would obey you.

  1. If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed. See . Says Godet,

    "The only real power of the universe is the divine will. The human will, which has discovered the secret of blending with this force of forces, is raised, in virtue of this union, to omnipotence."

    But our distance from omnipotence measures how far we are from attaining that desired union of will.

  2. Ye would say unto this sycamine tree. The sycamine tree is the well-known black mulberry tree, which belongs to the same natural order as the fig-tree, and is a tree distinguished for being deeply rooted.

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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.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-17.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Faith as a grain of mustard-seed; that is, a very small degree of faith.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-17.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Ver. 6. If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed] Faith as a grain of mustard seed is parva, humilis, sed et acris, fervida, small and low, but also sharp and lively; it must have acrimony and vivacity, and then it may remove mountains.

Ye might say unto this sycamine tree, &c.] That was a senseless slander of the Jews, that Christ stole the true name of God out of the holy of holies, by which means he wrought all his miracles; and that, lest he should lose it, he cut a hole in his thigh, and sewed it therein. Get we but the true faith of God closed up in our hearts (that most holy faith, as St Jude { 1:20} calleth it), and you may work wonders. {See Trapp on "Matthew 17:20"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-17.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 17:6. Ye might say unto this sycamine-tree, &c.— "If you had but a small measure of faith, it would overcome all temptations; even those, the conquering of which may be compared to the plucking up of trees, and planting them in the ocean." Some, taking this example, by which the efficacy of faith is illustrated, in a literal sense, have supposed that the apostles desired Jesus to increase their faith of working miracles; but the expression is proverbial, signifying not the working of miracles, but the doing of things extremely difficult. See another proverb of the same kind, Matthew 17:20.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". 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

Here our Saviour tells his disciples, that if they have the smallest degree of true faith, lively, operative faith, it will enable them to perform this difficult duty of forgiving injuries, and all other duties, with as much facility and ease as a miraculous faith would enable them to remove mountains and transplant trees.

Learn, that there is nothing which may tend to the glory of God, or to our own good and comfort, but may be obtained of God by a firm exercise of faith in him: All things are possible to him that believeth.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". 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

6.] See on Matt. (Luke 17:20) Luke 21:21. On this occasion some particular tree of the sort was close at hand, and furnished the instance, just as the Mount of Transfiguration in the former of those passages, and the Mount of Olives in the latter.

συκάμινος is the mulberry-tree; not very common in Palestine, but still found there. It must not be confounded with συκομορέα, ch. Luke 19:4, which is the Egyptian fig. See note there.

Notice the different tenses with ἄν: ἐλέγετε ἄν, ye would say: ὑπήκουσεν ἄν, it would (even while you were speaking) have obeyed.

ἐκριζώθ.] ‘Cum ipsis radicibus, in mari mansura. Tale quiddam fit ipsis fidelibus.’ Bengel.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". 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 17:6. εἰ) if) This IF itself sharpens the energies of minds striving after faith, and enlarges their powers so as to reach it. [By the very fact of setting forth the efficacy of faith, faith itself is increased.—V. g.]— συκαμίνῳ) שקמים, which the LXX. render συκάμινοι. The morus or mulberry tree, a tree often met in Palestine. See 1 Kings 10:27. Sometimes the συκομορέα is distinguished from it. See ch. Luke 19:4. See the lexicographers, and Bexa, on this passage. The wild fig-tree is a tree most deeply rooted.(180)φυτεύθητι, be thou planted) with thy roots, so as to remain in the sea. It is a similar effect to this which is produced on believers themselves.— ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, in the sea) They were at the time near the sea; comp. Matthew 17:20; Matthew 17:27.— ὑπήκουσεν ἂν, it would obey you) Metaphysicians term it the obediential power. The recognition of the Divine omnipotence, which faith apprehends, increases faith.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". 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

Matthew hath in effect the same, Matthew 17:20, though he saith, ye shall say unto this mountain;

See Poole on "Matthew 17:20". I cannot be of their mind who think that our Saviour in this, and the parallel place, speaks only of a faith that works miraculous operations; the object of which must be a Divine revelation or promise made to particular persons, that they shall be able to do things (by the power of God) out of and beyond the ordinary course of nature. I do believe that in both texts our Lord designs to show the great honour he will give to the exercise of the grace of faith, so as nothing which shall be for the honour of God, and the good of those that exercise it, and which God hath promised, shall be too hard or great an achievement for it: yet will it not thence follow, that if we had faith, that is, a full persuasion, that God would do such a thing by us, and a rest and confidence in God relating to it, we might remove mountains, or cast sycamine trees into the sea; for no such faith in us now could have a promise for the object, so as such a persuasion would be no faith, but a mere presumption. But there are other things as difficult, for which all believers have promises:

Sin shall have no dominion over you. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, &c. And there are duties to be performed by us, as hard in the view of our natural eye as removing mountains; amongst which this of forgiving injuries is not the least, especially to some natural tempers. But, saith our Saviour, do not think it impossible to do: you have said well to me, Lord, increase our faith, for if you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, either so small as a grain of mustard seed, (if true), or so lively and working, that had such a principle of life in it as a grain of mustard seed, you might do any duty, resist any temptation, mortify any corruption; and you that have a power given you, and a promise made you, for working miracles, might say to this sycamine tree, Be removed, &c.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 17:6". 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

веру с зерно горчичное См. пояснение к Мф. 17:20.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Sycamine; the same as sycamore. Matthew 17:20.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-17.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.If ye had faith—See notes on Matthew 21:21-22 and Matthew 17:20.

Sycamine tree—Alford makes a distinction between the sycamore and the sycamine; making the former a mulberry, from which the silkworm is fed, and the latter a species of fig. But Dr. Thomson identifies them as one. The sycamore or sycamine is a tree which bears seven times a year an insipid sort of green fig, spreading its branches broadly above, and its roots as broadly and very deeply below, so that transplanting would be indeed miraculous. “The mulberry,” he says, on the contrary, “was more easily plucked up than any tree of its size, and the thing is very often done. Hundreds are plucked and burned for firewood.”

Planted in the sea—Faith is able to pluck from the earth, and plant in the sea; and this last may be pronounced the greater miracle of the two. A sycamore, planted and maintaining its stand in the turbulent waves, is fancifully compared by Bengel to a Christian placed by God in this troublesome scene of sublunary storms.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-17.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jesus encouraged the disciples by reminding them that only a little trust in God"s ability can result in unbelievable change (cf. Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23). A mustard seed was proverbially small (cf. Luke 7:13). Mulberry trees grew to be as tall as35 feet and were difficult to uproot. [Note: Liefeld, " Luke," p994.] This response by Jesus amounted to telling the disciples that they did not need more faith. They just needed to use the faith they had.

"This word of Jesus does not invite Christians to become conjurers and magicians, but heroes like those whose exploits are celebrated in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews." [Note: Manson, p141.]

"It is not so much great faith in God that is required as faith in a great God." [Note: Morris, p256.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "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 17:6. If ye have faith, etc. See on Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:21. The original implies that they had not so great faith, though it does not assert that they had none.

This sycamine tree. The discourse was probably uttered in the open air, and the tree near by, as the mountains were on the other occasions when a similar saying was uttered. The mulberry tree seems to be meant, not the sycamore (chap. Luke 19:4). Some argue that the latter is meant, because it is more common in Palestine and a sturdier tree; but the original points to the former.—The promise here given is even stronger than that in Matthew, for the tree is represented as being planted in the sea, where growth is ordinarily impossible.

And it should obey you; the tree being represented a living thing.—This promise is misunderstood, only when miracles of power are put above miracles of grace. The whole passage may be thus paraphrased: You think the duties I enjoin too hard for your faith, but this shows that you have as yet no faith of the high order you ought to have, for the smallest measure of such a faith would enable you to do what seems altogether impossible in the natural world; and so much the more in spiritual things, since real faith is preeminently spiritual power.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-17.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 17:6. . with pres. in protasis, the imperf. in apodosis with . Possession of faith already sufficient to work miracles is here admitted. In Mt. the emphasis lies on the want of such faith. Another instance of Lk.’s desire to spare the Twelve.— , here only in N.T. = , Luke 19:4, the fig mulberry tree (vide there). A tree here, a mountain in Mt.; and the miraculous feat is not rooting it out of the earth but replanting it in the sea—a natural impossibility. Pricaeus cites a classic parallel: .

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-17.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

To this mulberry-tree. In St. Matthew, (xvii. 19.) we read, to this mountain. Christ might say both at different times. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

If. Assuming the condition. See App-118.

ye might say = ye might, with Greek. an, marking it as being purely hypothetical.

this sycamine tree. On a former occasion (Matthew 17:20) the Lord said "this mountain" (of the Transfiguration); and also on a later occasion (Mark 11:23), referring to Olivet. But here, "this tree, "because the locality was different. No discrepancy therefore.

sycamine = mulberry. Occurs only here. Not the same as in Luke 19:4. Both used medicinally.

in. Greek. en. App-104.

should. With Greek. an, still marking the hypothesis.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "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 Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine (or mulberry tree), be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. See the notes at Mark 11:22-24, 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 17:6". "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

(6) If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed.—The words remind us, and must have reminded the disciples, of those of Matthew 17:20, which were called forth by the failure of the disciples to heal the demoniac boy after the Transfiguration. The “sycamine tree” (probably not the same as the “sycamore,” but identified by most botanists with the mulberry tree, still cultivated on the slopes of the Lebanon and in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem and Nablous, both for its fruit and as supplying food for silkworms) takes the place of “this mountain,” sc. Hermon, as an illustration of what true faith could do. If we suppose the conversation to have taken place near the Sea of Galilee, both features of the comparison gain a local vividness. It is remarkable that our Lord meets the prayer with what sounds like a reproof; and such a reproof, we must believe, was needed. The most elementary faith would have been enough to teach them (assuming the connection that has been traced above) that God is love, and that He would help them to overcome all hindrances to their love being after the pattern of His own. There was something, it may be, false in the ring of that prayer, an unreal diffidence asking for that as a gift which really comes only through active obedience and the experience which is gained through it.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
If
Matthew 17:20,21; 21:21; Mark 9:23; 11:22,23; 1 Corinthians 13:2
as
13:19; Matthew 13:31,32
Reciprocal: Joshua 10:14 - the Lord;  Matthew 14:29 - he walked;  Acts 3:16 - through;  1 Corinthians 12:9 - faith

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 17:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-17.html.