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Luke 9:46-50

Context
Concerning the Greatest

9:46 Now an argument started among the disciples 1  as to which of them might be 2  the greatest. 9:47 But when Jesus discerned their innermost thoughts, 3  he took a child, had him stand by 4  his side, 9:48 and said to them, “Whoever welcomes 5  this child 6  in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me, for the one who is least among you all is the one who is great.” 7 

On the Right Side

9:49 John answered, 8  “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop 9  him because he is not a disciple 10  along with us.” 9:50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

1 tn Grk “among them”; the referent (the disciples) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn The use of the optative mood means the answer is not clear (BDF §§267.2.3; 385.2.2).

3 tn Grk “knowing the thoughts of their hearts” (an idiom).

4 tn On this use of παρά (para), see BDF §239.1.1.

5 tn This verb, δέχομαι (decomai), is a term of hospitality (L&N 34.53).

6 sn Children were very insignificant in ancient culture, so this child would be the perfect object lesson to counter the disciples’ selfish ambitions.

7 tn Grk “among you all, this one is great.” The absence of a comparative term here makes the point that comparison should not be done.

8 tn Grk “And answering, John said.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “John answered.” Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

9 tc The translation follows the reading that has Luke’s normal imperfect here (ἐκωλύομεν, ekwluomen; found in Ì75vid א B L Ξ 579 892 1241). Most mss, however, have an aorist (ἐκωλύσαμεν, ekwlusamen; found in A C D W Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï co), which would be translated “we forbade him.” The imperfect enjoys the best external and internal support.

10 tn Grk “does not follow with us.” BDAG 36 s.v. ἀκολουθέω 2 indicates that the pronoun σοι (soi, “you”) is to be supplied after the verb in this particular instance; the translation in the text best represents this nuance.



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