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Luke 8:19-21

Jesus’ True Family

8:19 Now Jesus’ 1  mother and his brothers 2  came to him, but 3  they could not get near him because of the crowd. 8:20 So 4  he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” 8:21 But he replied 5  to them, “My mother and my brothers are those 6  who hear the word of God and do it.” 7 

1 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 sn The issue of whether Jesus had brothers (siblings) has had a long history in the church. Epiphanius, in the 4th century, argued that Mary was a perpetual virgin and had no offspring other than Jesus. Others argued that these brothers were really cousins. Nothing in the text suggests any of this. See also John 7:3.

3 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

4 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the sequence of events.

5 tn Grk “answering, he said.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “he replied.”

6 tn There is some discussion about the grammar of this verse in Greek. If “these” is the subject, then it reads, “These are my mother and brothers, those who.” If “these” is a nominative absolute, which is slightly more likely, then the verse more literally reads, “So my mother and brothers, they are those who.” The sense in either case is the same.

7 sn Hearing and doing the word of God is another important NT theme: Luke 6:47-49; Jas 1:22-25.

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