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Luke 18:18-23

Context
The Wealthy Ruler

18:18 Now 1  a certain ruler 2  asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 3  18:19 Jesus 4  said to him, “Why do you call me good? 5  No one is good except God alone. 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 6  18:21 The man 7  replied, “I have wholeheartedly obeyed 8  all these laws 9  since my youth.” 10  18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have 11  and give the money 12  to the poor, 13  and you will have treasure 14  in heaven. Then 15  come, follow me.” 18:23 But when the man 16  heard this he became very sad, 17  for he was extremely wealthy.

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

2 sn Only Luke states this man is a ruler (cf. the parallels in Matt 19:16-22 and Mark 10:17-22, where the questioner is described only as “someone”). He is probably a civic leader of some kind, a leader in the society.

3 sn The rich man wanted to know what he must do to inherit eternal life, but Jesus had just finished teaching that eternal life was not earned but simply received (18:17). See the similar question about inheriting eternal life in Luke 10:25.

4 tn Grk “And Jesus.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

5 sn Jesus’ response, Why do you call me good?, was designed to cause the ruler to stop and think for a moment about who Jesus really was. The following statement No one is good except God alone seems to point the man in the direction of Jesus’ essential nature and the demands which logically follow on the man for having said it.

6 sn A quotation from Exod 20:12-16 and Deut 5:16-20. Jesus cited the parts of the ten commandments that relate to how others should be treated.

7 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (the ruler mentioned in v. 18) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

8 tn Grk “kept.” The implication of this verb is that the man has obeyed the commandments without fail throughout his life, so the adverb “wholeheartedly” has been added to the translation to bring out this nuance.

9 tn Grk “these things.” The referent of the pronoun (the laws mentioned by Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

sn While the rich man was probably being sincere when he insisted I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws, he had confined his righteousness to external obedience. The rich man’s response to Jesus’ command to give away all he had revealed that internally he loved money more than God.

10 sn Since my youth. Judaism regarded the age of thirteen as the age when a man would have become responsible to live by God’s commands.

11 sn See Luke 14:33.

12 tn The words “the money” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

13 sn See Luke 1:50-53; 6:20-23; 14:12-14.

14 sn The call for sacrifice comes with a promise of eternal reward: …you will have treasure in heaven. Jesus’ call is a test to see how responsive the man is to God’s direction through him. Will he walk the path God’s agent calls him to walk? For a rich person who got it right, see Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10.

15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the conversation.

16 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the man) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Or “very distressed” (L&N 25.277).



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