New English Translation
Fear God, Not People
12 Meanwhile,[a] when many thousands of the crowd had gathered so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus[b] began to speak first to his disciples, “Be on your guard against[c] the yeast of the Pharisees,[d] which is hypocrisy.[e] 2 Nothing is hidden[f] that will not be revealed,[g] and nothing is secret that will not be made known. 3 So then[h] whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered[i] in private rooms[j] will be proclaimed from the housetops.[k]
4 “I[l] tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body,[m] and after that have nothing more they can do. 5 But I will warn[n] you whom you should fear: Fear the one who, after the killing,[o] has authority to throw you[p] into hell.[q] Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies?[r] Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.[s] 7 In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid;[t] you are more valuable than many sparrows.
8 “I[u] tell you, whoever acknowledges[v] me before men,[w] the Son of Man will also acknowledge[x] before God’s angels. 9 But the one who denies me before men will be denied before God’s angels. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit[y] will not be forgiven.[z] 11 But when they bring you before the synagogues,[aa] the[ab] rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you should make your defense[ac] or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment[ad] what you must say.”[ae]
The Parable of the Rich Landowner
13 Then[af] someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell[ag] my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But Jesus[ah] said to him, “Man,[ai] who made me a judge or arbitrator between you two?”[aj] 15 Then[ak] he said to them, “Watch out and guard yourself from[al] all types of greed,[am] because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 He then[an] told them a parable:[ao] “The land of a certain rich man produced[ap] an abundant crop, 17 so[aq] he thought to himself,[ar] ‘What should I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’[as] 18 Then[at] he said, ‘I[au] will do this: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to myself,[av] “You have plenty of goods stored up for many years; relax, eat, drink, celebrate!”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life[aw] will be demanded back from[ax] you, but who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’[ay] 21 So it is with the one who stores up riches for himself,[az] but is not rich toward God.”
Exhortation Not to Worry
22 Then[ba] Jesus[bb] said to his[bc] disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry[bd] about your[be] life, what you will eat, or about your[bf] body, what you will wear. 23 For there is more to life than food, and more to the body than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens:[bg] They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds[bh] them. How much more valuable are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying[bi] can add an hour to his life?[bj] 26 So if[bk] you cannot do such a very little thing as this, why do you worry about[bl] the rest? 27 Consider how the flowers[bm] grow; they do not work[bn] or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 28 And if[bo] this is how God clothes the wild grass,[bp] which is here[bq] today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven,[br] how much more[bs] will he clothe you, you people of little faith! 29 So[bt] do not be overly concerned about[bu] what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things.[bv] 30 For all the nations of the world pursue[bw] these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, pursue[bx] his[by] kingdom,[bz] and these things will be given to you as well.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased[ca] to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions[cb] and give to the poor.[cc] Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out—a treasure in heaven[cd] that never decreases,[ce] where no thief approaches and no moth[cf] destroys. 34 For where your treasure[cg] is, there your heart will be also.
Call to Faithful Stewardship
35 “Get dressed for service[ch] and keep your lamps burning;[ci] 36 be like people[cj] waiting for their master to come back from the wedding celebration,[ck] so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 Blessed are those slaves[cl] whom their master finds alert[cm] when he returns! I tell you the truth,[cn] he will dress himself to serve,[co] have them take their place at the table,[cp] and will come[cq] and wait on them![cr] 38 Even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night[cs] and finds them alert,[ct] blessed are those slaves![cu] 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief[cv] was coming, he would not have let[cw] his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”[cx]
41 Then[cy] Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?”[cz] 42 The Lord replied,[da] “Who then is the faithful and wise manager,[db] whom the master puts in charge of his household servants,[dc] to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that slave[dd] whom his master finds at work[de] when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth,[df] the master[dg] will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if[dh] that[di] slave should say to himself,[dj] ‘My master is delayed[dk] in returning,’ and he begins to beat[dl] the other[dm] slaves, both men and women,[dn] and to eat, drink, and get drunk, 46 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two,[do] and assign him a place with the unfaithful.[dp] 47 That[dq] servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or do what his master asked[dr] will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know his master’s will[ds] and did things worthy of punishment[dt] will receive a light beating.[du] From everyone who has been given much, much will be required,[dv] and from the one who has been entrusted with much,[dw] even more will be asked.[dx]
Not Peace, but Division
49 “I have come[dy] to bring[dz] fire on the earth—and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism[ea] to undergo,[eb] and how distressed I am until it is finished! 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division![ec] 52 For from now on[ed] there will be five in one household divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided,[ee] father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Reading the Signs
54 Jesus[ef] also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west,[eg] you say at once, ‘A rainstorm[eh] is coming,’ and it does. 55 And when you see the south wind[ei] blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and there is. 56 You hypocrites![ej] You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how can you not know how[ek] to interpret the present time?
Clear the Debts
57 “And[el] why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your accuser before the magistrate,[em] make an effort to settle with him on the way, so that he will not drag you before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer,[en] and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the very last cent!”[eo]
- Luke 12:1 tn The phrase ἐν οἷς (en hois) can be translated “meanwhile.”
- Luke 12:1 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 12:1 tn According to L&N 27.59, “to pay attention to, to keep on the lookout for, to be alert for, to be on your guard against.” This is another Lukan present imperative calling for constant vigilance.
- Luke 12:1 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.
- Luke 12:1 sn The pursuit of popularity can lead to hypocrisy, if one is not careful.
- Luke 12:2 tn Or “concealed.”
- Luke 12:2 sn I.e., be revealed by God. The passive voice verbs here (“be revealed,” be made known”) see the revelation as coming from God. The text is both a warning about bad things being revealed and an encouragement that good things will be made known, though the stress with the images of darkness and what is hidden in vv. 2-3 is on the attempt to conceal.
- Luke 12:3 tn Or “because.” Understanding this verse as a result of v. 2 is a slightly better reading of the context. Knowing what is coming should impact our behavior now.
- Luke 12:3 tn Grk “spoken in the ear,” an idiom. The contemporary expression is “whispered.”
- Luke 12:3 sn The term translated private rooms refers to the inner room of a house, normally without any windows opening outside, the most private location possible (BDAG 988 s.v. ταμεῖον 2).
- Luke 12:3 tn The expression “proclaimed from the housetops” is an idiom for proclaiming something publicly (L&N 7.51). Roofs of many first century Jewish houses in Judea and Galilee were flat and had access either from outside or from within the house. Something shouted from atop a house would be heard by everyone in the street below.
- Luke 12:4 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Luke 12:4 sn Judaism had a similar exhortation in 4 Macc 13:14-15.
- Luke 12:5 tn Grk “will show,” but in this reflective context such a demonstration is a warning or exhortation.
- Luke 12:5 sn The actual performer of the killing is not here specified. It could be understood to be God (so NASB, NRSV) but it could simply emphasize that, after a killing has taken place, it is God who casts the person into hell.
- Luke 12:5 tn The direct object (“you”) is understood.
- Luke 12:5 sn The word translated hell is “Gehenna” (γέεννα, geenna), a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom (“Valley of Hinnom”). This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In OT times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (cf. Jer 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), and it came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned. In the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment (cf. 1 En. 27:2; 90:26; 4 Ezra 7:36).
- Luke 12:6 sn The pennies refer to the assarion, a small Roman copper coin. One of them was worth one sixteenth of a denarius or less than a half hour’s average wage. Sparrows were the cheapest thing sold in the market. The point of Jesus’ statement is that God knows about even the most financially insignificant things; see Isa 49:15.
- Luke 12:6 sn This is a typical form of rabbinic argumentation, from the lesser to the greater: If God cares about the lesser thing (sparrows) how much more does he care about the greater thing (people).
- Luke 12:7 sn This represents the second call by Jesus not to be afraid in the section (previously in v. 4). Since the previous reference was related to fear of persecution, it is probable that this one does as well. Once again the sparrows are mentioned and the argument is from lesser to greater (if God cares about individual hairs on the head and about sparrows, how much more does he care about people).
- Luke 12:8 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Luke 12:8 tn Or “confesses.”
- Luke 12:8 tn Although this is a generic reference and includes both males and females, in this context “men” has been retained because of the wordplay with the Son of Man and the contrast with the angels. The same is true of the occurrence of “men” in v. 9.
- Luke 12:8 sn This acknowledgment will take place at the judgment. Of course, the Son of Man is a reference to Jesus as it has been throughout the Gospel. On Jesus and judgment, see 22:69; Acts 10:42-43; 17:31.
- Luke 12:10 sn Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit probably refers to a total rejection of the testimony that the Spirit gives to Jesus and the plan of God. This is not so much a sin of the moment as of one’s entire life, an obstinate rejection of God’s message and testimony. Cf. Matt 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-30.
- Luke 12:10 tn Grk “it will not be forgiven the person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.”
- Luke 12:11 sn The saying looks at persecution both from a Jewish context as the mention of synagogues suggests, and from a Gentile one as the reference to the rulers and the authorities suggests.sn See the note on synagogues in 4:15.
- Luke 12:11 tn Grk “and the,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
- Luke 12:11 tn Grk “about how or what you should say in your defense,” but this is redundant with the following clause, “or what you should say.”
- Luke 12:12 tn Grk “in that very hour” (an idiom).
- Luke 12:12 tn Grk “what it is necessary to say.”
- Luke 12:13 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 12:13 sn Tell my brother. In 1st century Jewish culture, a figure like a rabbi was often asked to mediate disputes, except that here mediation was not requested, but representation.
- Luke 12:14 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 12:14 tn This term of address can be harsh or gentle depending on the context (BDAG 82 s.v. ἄνθρωπος 8). Here it is a rebuke.
- Luke 12:14 tn The pronoun ὑμᾶς (humas) is plural, referring to both the man and his brother; thus the translation “you two.”
- Luke 12:15 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 12:15 tn See L&N 13.154 for this use of the middle voice of φυλάσσω (phulassō) in this verse.
- Luke 12:15 tn Or “avarice,” “covetousness.” Note the warning covers more than money and gets at the root attitude—the strong desire to acquire more and more possessions and experiences.
- Luke 12:16 tn Grk “And he.” Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the connection to the preceding statement.
- Luke 12:16 tn Grk “a parable, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated here.
- Luke 12:16 tn Or “yielded a plentiful harvest.”
- Luke 12:17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate that this is a result of the preceding statement.
- Luke 12:17 tn Grk “to himself, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated here.
- Luke 12:17 sn I have nowhere to store my crops. The thinking here is prudent in terms of recognizing the problem. The issue in the parable will be the rich man’s solution, particularly the arrogance reflected in v. 19.
- Luke 12:18 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
- Luke 12:18 sn Note how often the first person pronoun is present in these verses. The farmer is totally self absorbed.
- Luke 12:19 tn Grk “to my soul,” which is repeated as a vocative in the following statement, but is left untranslated as redundant.
- Luke 12:20 tn Grk “your soul,” but ψυχή (psuchē) is frequently used of one’s physical life. It clearly has that meaning in this context.
- Luke 12:20 tn Or “required back.” This term, ἀπαιτέω (apaiteō), has an economic feel to it and is often used of a debt being called in for repayment (BDAG 96 s.v. 1).
- Luke 12:20 tn Grk “the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” The words “for yourself” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
- Luke 12:21 sn It is selfishness that is rebuked here, in the accumulation of riches for himself. Recall the emphasis on the first person pronouns throughout the parable.
- Luke 12:22 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. Jesus’ remarks to the disciples are an application of the point made in the previous parable.
- Luke 12:22 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 12:22 tc αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) is lacking in P45vid,75 B 1241 c e. Although the addition of clarifying pronouns is a known scribal alteration, in this case it is probably better to view the dropping of the pronoun as the alteration in light of its minimal attestation.
- Luke 12:22 tn Or “do not be anxious.”
- Luke 12:22 tc Most mss (P45 Ψ 070 ƒ13 33 M) supply the pronoun ὑμῶν (humōn, “your”) here, although several significant and early witnesses omit it (P75 א A B D L Q W Θ ƒ1 700 2542 al lat). Externally, the shorter reading is superior. Internally, the pronoun looks to be a scribal clarification. In context the article can be translated as a possessive pronoun anyway (ExSyn 215), as it has been done for this translation.
- Luke 12:22 tc Some mss (B 070 ƒ13 33 1424 al) supply the pronoun ὑμῶν (humōn, “your”) here, although the witnesses for the omission are early, significant, and varied (P45vid,75 א A D L Q W Θ Ψ ƒ1 M lat). See previous tc note for more discussion.
- Luke 12:24 tn Or “crows.” Crows and ravens belong to the same family of birds. English uses “crow” as a general word for the family. Palestine has several indigenous members of the crow family.
- Luke 12:24 tn Or “God gives them food to eat.” L&N 23.6 has both “to provide food for” and “to give food to someone to eat.”
- Luke 12:25 tn Or “by being anxious.”
- Luke 12:25 tn Or “a cubit to his height.” A cubit (πῆχυς, pēchus) can measure length (normally about 45 cm or 18 inches) or time (a small unit, “hour” is usually used [BDAG 812 s.v.] although “day” has been suggested [L&N 67.151]). The term ἡλικία (hēlikia) is ambiguous in the same way as πῆχυς. Most scholars take the term ἡλικία (hēlikia) to describe age or length of life here, although a few refer it to bodily stature (see BDAG 435-36 s.v. 1.a for discussion). Worry about length of life seems a more natural figure than worry about height. However, the point either way is clear: Worrying adds nothing to life span or height.
- Luke 12:26 tn This is a first class condition in the Greek text.
- Luke 12:26 tn Or “why are you anxious for.”
- Luke 12:27 tn Traditionally, “lilies.” According to L&N 3.32, “Though traditionally κρίνον has been regarded as a type of lily, scholars have suggested several other possible types of flowers, including an anemone, a poppy, a gladiolus, and a rather inconspicuous type of daisy.” In view of the uncertainty, the more generic “flowers” has been used in the translation.
- Luke 12:27 tn Traditionally, “toil.” Although it might be argued that “work hard” would be a more precise translation of κοπιάω (kopiaō) here, the line in English scans better in terms of cadence with a single syllable.
- Luke 12:28 tn This is a first class condition in the Greek text.
- Luke 12:28 tn Grk “grass in the field.”
- Luke 12:28 tn Grk “which is in the field today.”
- Luke 12:28 tn Grk “into the oven.” The expanded translation “into the fire to heat the oven” has been used to avoid misunderstanding; most items put into modern ovens are put there to be baked, not burned.sn The oven was most likely a rounded clay oven used for baking bread, which was heated by burning wood and dried grass.
- Luke 12:28 sn The phrase how much more is a typical form of rabbinic argumentation, from the lesser to the greater. If God cares for the little things, surely he will care for the more important things.
- Luke 12:29 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate a conclusion drawn from the previous illustrations.
- Luke 12:29 tn Grk “do not seek,” but this could be misunderstood to mean that people should make no attempt to obtain their food. The translation “do not be overly concerned” attempts to reflect the force of the original.
- Luke 12:29 tn The words “about such things” have been supplied to qualify the meaning; the phrase relates to obtaining food and drink mentioned in the previous clause.
- Luke 12:30 tn Grk “seek.”
- Luke 12:31 tn Grk “seek,” but in the sense of the previous verses.
- Luke 12:31 tc Most mss (P45 A D1 Q W Θ 070 ƒ1,13 33 M lat sy) read τοῦ θεοῦ (tou theou, “of God”) instead of αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”; found in א B D* L Ψ 579 892 co). But such a clarifying reading is suspect. αὐτοῦ is superior on both internal and external grounds. P75 includes neither and as such would support the translation above since the article alone can often be translated as a possessive pronoun.
- Luke 12:31 sn His (that is, God’s) kingdom is a major theme of Jesus’ teaching. The nature of the kingdom of God in the NT and in Jesus’ teaching has long been debated by interpreters and scholars, with discussion primarily centering around the nature of the kingdom (earthly, heavenly, or both) and the kingdom’s arrival (present, future, or both). An additional major issue concerns the relationship between the kingdom of God and the person and work of Jesus himself. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.
- Luke 12:32 tn Or perhaps, “your Father chooses.”
- Luke 12:33 sn The call to sell your possessions is a call to a lack of attachment to the earth and a generosity as a result.
- Luke 12:33 tn Grk “give alms,” but this term is not in common use today.
- Luke 12:33 tn Grk “in the heavens.”
- Luke 12:33 tn Or “an unfailing treasure in heaven,” or “an inexhaustible treasure in heaven.”
- Luke 12:33 tn The term σής (sēs) refers to moths in general. It is specifically the larvae of moths that destroy clothing by eating holes in it (L&N 4.49; BDAG 922 s.v.). See Jas 5:2, which mentions “moth-eaten” clothing.
- Luke 12:34 sn Seeking heavenly treasure means serving others and honoring God by doing so; see Luke 6:35-36.
- Luke 12:35 tn Grk “Let your loins be girded,” an idiom referring to the practice of tucking the ends of the long cloak (outer garment) into the belt to shorten it in preparation for activities like running, etc.
- Luke 12:35 sn Keep your lamps burning means to be ready at all times.
- Luke 12:36 tn That is, like slaves (who are mentioned later, vv. 37-38), although the term ἀνθρώποις (anthrōpois) is used here. Since in this context it appears generic rather than gender-specific, the translation “people” is employed.
- Luke 12:36 sn An ancient wedding celebration could last for days (Tob 11:18).
- Luke 12:37 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2.
- Luke 12:37 tn Or “watching”; Grk “awake,” but in context this is not just being awake but alert and looking out.
- Luke 12:37 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Luke 12:37 tn See v. 35 (same verb).
- Luke 12:37 tn Grk “have them recline at table,” as 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.
- Luke 12:37 tn The participle παρελθών (parelthōn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Luke 12:37 sn He…will come and wait on them is a reversal of expectation, but shows that what Jesus asks for he is willing to do as well; see John 13:5 and 15:18-27, although those instances merely foreshadow what is in view here.
- Luke 12:38 sn The second or third watch of the night would be between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on a Roman schedule and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on a Jewish schedule. Luke uses the four-watch schedule of the Romans in Acts 12:4, so that is more probable here. Regardless of the precise times of the watches, however, it is clear that the late-night watches when a person is least alert are in view here.
- Luke 12:38 tn Grk “finds (them) thus,” but this has been clarified in the translation by referring to the status (“alert”) mentioned in v. 37.
- Luke 12:38 tn Grk “blessed are they”; the referent (the watchful slaves, v. 37) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Luke 12:39 sn On Jesus pictured as a returning thief, see 1 Thess 5:2, 4; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15.
- Luke 12:39 tc Most mss (א1 A B L Q W Θ Ψ 070 ƒ1,13 33 M lat syp,h sams bo) read “he would have watched and not let” here, but this looks like an assimilation to Matt 24:43. The alliance of two significant and early mss along with a few others (P75 א* [D] e i sys,c samss), coupled with much stronger internal evidence, suggests that the shorter reading is authentic.
- Luke 12:40 sn Jesus made clear that his coming could not be timed, and suggested it might take some time—so long, in fact, that some would not be looking for him any longer (at an hour when you do not expect him).
- Luke 12:41 tn Grk “And Peter.” Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the connection to the preceding statement.
- Luke 12:41 sn Is the parable only for disciples (us) or for all humanity (everyone)? Or does Peter mean for disciples (us) or for the crowd (everyone)? The fact that unfaithful slaves are mentioned in v. 46 looks to a warning that includes a broad audience, though it is quality of service that is addressed. This means the parable focuses on those who are associated with Jesus.
- Luke 12:42 tn Grk “And the Lord said.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Luke 12:42 tn Or “administrator,” “steward” (L&N 37.39).
- Luke 12:42 tn This term, θεραπεία (therapeia), describes the group of servants working in a particular household (L&N 46.6).
- Luke 12:43 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2.
- Luke 12:43 tn That is, doing his job, doing what he is supposed to be doing.
- Luke 12:44 tn Grk “Truly (ἀληθῶς, alēthōs), I say to you.”
- Luke 12:44 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the master) has been specified in the translation for clarity. See also Luke 19:11-27.
- Luke 12:45 tn In the Greek text this is a third class condition that for all practical purposes is a hypothetical condition (note the translation of the following verb “should say”).
- Luke 12:45 tn The term “that” (ἐκεῖνος, ekeinos) is used as a catchword to list out, in the form of a number of hypothetical circumstances, what the possible responses of “that” servant could be. He could be faithful (vv. 43-44) or totally unfaithful (vv. 45-46). He does not complete his master’s will with knowledge (v. 47) or from ignorance (v 48). These differences are indicated by the different levels of punishment in vv. 46-48.
- Luke 12:45 tn Grk “should say in his heart.”
- Luke 12:45 tn Or “is taking a long time.”
- Luke 12:45 sn The slave’s action in beginning to beat the other slaves was not only a failure to carry out what was commanded but involved doing the exact reverse.
- Luke 12:45 tn The word “other” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.
- Luke 12:45 tn Grk “the menservants and the maidservants.” The term here, used in both masculine and feminine grammatical forms, is παῖς (pais), which can refer to a slave, but also to a slave who is a personal servant, and thus regarded kindly (L&N 87.77).
- Luke 12:46 tn The verb διχοτομέω (dichotomeō) means to cut an object into two parts (L&N 19.19). This is an extremely severe punishment compared to the other two later punishments. To translate it simply as “punish” is too mild. If taken literally this servant is dismembered, although it is possible to view the stated punishment as hyperbole (L&N 38.12).
- Luke 12:46 tn Or “unbelieving.” Here the translation employs the slightly more ambiguous “unfaithful,” which creates a link with the point of the parable—faithfulness versus unfaithfulness in servants. The example of this verse must be taken together with the examples of vv. 47-48 as part of a scale of reactions with the most disobedient response coming here. The fact that this servant is placed in a distinct group, unlike the one in vv. 47-48, also suggests ultimate exclusion. This is the hypocrite of Matt 24:51.
- Luke 12:47 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Luke 12:47 tn Grk “or do according to his will”; the referent (the master) has been specified in the translation for clarity. This example deals with the slave who knew what the command was and yet failed to complete it.
- Luke 12:48 tn Grk “did not know”; the phrase “his master’s will” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the contemporary English reader.
- Luke 12:48 tn Grk “blows.”
- Luke 12:48 tn Grk “will receive few (blows).”
- Luke 12:48 tn Grk “required from him,” but the words “from him” are redundant in English and have not been translated.
- Luke 12:48 sn Entrusted with much. To be gifted with precious responsibility is something that requires faithfulness.
- Luke 12:48 tn Grk “they will ask even more.”
- Luke 12:49 sn This mission statement, “I have come to bring fire on the earth,” looks to the purging and division Jesus causes: See Luke 3:9, 17; 9:54; 17:29 for fire, 5:32; 7:34; 9:58; 12:51 for the topic of mission.
- Luke 12:49 tn Grk “cast.” For βάλλω (ballō) in the sense of causing a state or condition, see L&N 13.14.
- Luke 12:50 sn The figure of the baptism is variously interpreted, as some see a reference (1) to martyrdom or (2) to inundation with God’s judgment. The OT background, however, suggests the latter sense: Jesus is about to be uniquely inundated with God’s judgment as he is rejected, persecuted, and killed (Pss 18:4, 16; 42:7; 69:1-2; Isa 8:7-8; 30:27-28; Jonah 2:3-6).
- Luke 12:50 tn Grk “to be baptized with.”
- Luke 12:51 tn Or “hostility.” This term pictures dissension and hostility (BDAG 234 s.v. διαμερισμός).sn For rhetorical reasons, Jesus’ statement is deliberately paradoxical (seeming to state the opposite of Matt 10:13, for example, where the messengers are to bring peace). The conflict implied by the division (the parallel in Matt 10:34 has “sword”) is not primarily eschatological in this context, however, but immediate, and concerns the hostility and discord even among family members that a person’s allegiance to Jesus would bring (vv. 52-53).
- Luke 12:52 sn From now on is a popular phrase in Luke: 1:48; 5:10; 22:18, 69; see Mic 7:6.
- Luke 12:53 tn There is dispute whether this phrase belongs to the end of v. 52 or begins v. 53. Given the shift of object, a connection to v. 53 is slightly preferred.
- Luke 12:54 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “also” and δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Luke 12:54 sn A cloud rising in the west refers to moisture coming from the Mediterranean Sea.
- Luke 12:54 tn The term ὄμβρος (ombros) refers to heavy rain, such as in a thunderstorm (L&N 14.12).
- Luke 12:55 sn The south wind comes from the desert, and thus brings scorching heat.
- Luke 12:56 sn In Luke, the term hypocrites occurs here, in 6:42, and in 13:15.
- Luke 12:56 tc Most mss (P45 A W Ψ ƒ1,13 M lat) have a syntax here that reflects a slightly different rhetorical question: “but how do you not interpret the present time?” The reading behind the translation, however, has overall superior support: P75 א B L Θ 33 892 1241.
- Luke 12:57 tn Jesus calls for some personal reflection. However, this unit probably does connect to the previous one—thus the translation of δέ (de) here as “And”—to make a good spiritual assessment, thus calling for application to the spiritual, rather than personal, realm.
- Luke 12:58 sn The term magistrate (ἄρχων, archōn) refers to an official who, under the authority of the government, serves as judge in legal cases (see L&N 56.29).
- Luke 12:58 sn The officer (πράκτωρ, praktōr) was a civil official who functioned like a bailiff and was in charge of debtor’s prison. The use of the term, however, does not automatically demand a Hellenistic setting (BDAG 859 s.v.; K. H. Rengstorf, TDNT 8:539; C. Maurer, TDNT 6:642).
- Luke 12:59 tn Here the English word “cent” is used as opposed to the parallel in Matt 5:26 where “penny” appears, since the Greek word there is different and refers to a different but similar coin.sn This cent was a lepton, the smallest coin available. It was copper or bronze, worth one-half of a quadrans or 1/128 of a denarius. The parallel in Matt 5:26 mentions the quadrans instead of the lepton. The illustration refers to the debt one owes God and being sure to settle with him in the right time, before it is too late. Some interpreters, however, consider it to be like Matt 5:26, which has similar imagery but a completely different context.