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Luke 8:9-18


8:9 Then 1  his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 2  8:10 He 3  said, “You have been given 4  the opportunity to know 5  the secrets 6  of the kingdom of God, 7  but for others they are in parables, so that although they see they may not see, and although they hear they may not understand. 8 

8:11 “Now the parable means 9  this: The seed is the word of God. 8:12 Those along the path are the ones who have heard; then the devil 10  comes and takes away the word 11  from their hearts, so that they may not believe 12  and be saved. 8:13 Those 13  on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, 14  but 15  in a time of testing 16  fall away. 17  8:14 As for the seed that 18  fell among thorns, these are the ones who hear, but 19  as they go on their way they are choked 20  by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, 21  and their fruit does not mature. 22  8:15 But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing 23  the word, cling to it 24  with an honest and good 25  heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance. 26 

Showing the Light

8:16 “No one lights 27  a lamp 28  and then covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in can see the light. 29  8:17 For nothing is hidden 30  that will not be revealed, 31  and nothing concealed that will not be made known and brought to light. 8:18 So listen carefully, 32  for whoever has will be given more, but 33  whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has 34  will be taken from him.”

Luke 13:18-21

On the Kingdom of God

13:18 Thus Jesus 35  asked, 36  “What is the kingdom of God 37  like? 38  To 39  what should I compare it? 13:19 It is like a mustard seed 40  that a man took and sowed 41  in his garden. It 42  grew and became a tree, 43  and the wild birds 44  nested in its branches.” 45 

13:20 Again 46  he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? 47  13:21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with 48  three measures 49  of flour until all the dough had risen.” 50 

1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “what this parable might be” (an optative after a secondary tense, in keeping with good Koine style).

3 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

4 tn This is an example of a so-called “divine passive,” with God understood to be the source of the revelation (see ExSyn 437-38).

5 tn Grk “it has been given to you to know.” The dative pronoun occurs first, in emphatic position in the Greek text, although this position is awkward in contemporary English.

6 tn Grk “the mysteries.”

sn The key term secrets (μυστήριον, musthrion) can mean either (1) a new revelation or (2) a revealing interpretation of existing revelation as in Dan 2:17-23, 27-30. Jesus seems to be explaining how current events develop old promises, since the NT consistently links the events of Jesus’ ministry and message with old promises (Rom 1:1-4; Heb 1:1-2). The traditional translation of this word, “mystery,” is misleading to the modern English reader because this English word suggests a secret which people have tried to uncover but which they have failed to understand (L&N 28.77).

7 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.

8 sn A quotation from Isa 6:9. Thus parables both conceal or reveal depending on whether one is open to hearing what they teach.

9 tn Grk “is,” but in this context it is clearly giving an explanation of the parable.

10 sn Interestingly, the synoptic parallels each use a different word for the devil here: Matt 13:19 has “the evil one,” while Mark 4:15 has “Satan.” This illustrates the fluidity of the gospel tradition in often using synonyms at the same point of the parallel tradition.

11 sn The word of Jesus has the potential to save if it germinates in a person’s heart, something the devil is very much against.

12 tn The participle πιστεύσαντες (pisteusante") has been translated as a finite verb here. It may be regarded as an adverbial participle of attendant circumstance. From a logical standpoint the negative must govern both the participle and the finite verb.

13 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

14 sn This time of temporary faith represented by the description believe for a while is presented rather tragically in the passage. The seed does not get a chance to do all it can.

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

16 tn Traditionally, “temptation.” Such a translation puts the emphasis on temptation to sin rather than testing of faith, which is what the context seems to indicate.

17 sn Fall away. On the idea of falling away and the warnings against it, see 2 Tim 3:1; Heb 3:12; Jer 3:14; Dan 9:9.

18 tn Grk “What”; the referent (the seed) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

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

20 sn That is, their concern for spiritual things is crowded out by material things.

21 sn On warnings about the dangers of excessive material attachments, described here as the worries and riches and pleasures of life, see Luke 12:12-21; 16:19-31.

22 tn The verb τελεσφορέω (telesforew) means “to produce mature or ripe fruit” (L&N 23.203). Once again the seed does not reach its goal.

23 tn The aorist participle ἀκούσαντες (akousante") has been taken temporally, reflecting action antecedent (prior to) that of the main verb.

24 sn There is a tenacity that is a part of spiritual fruitfulness.

25 sn In an ancient context, the qualifier good described the ethical person who possessed integrity. Here it is integrity concerning God’s revelation through Jesus.

26 sn Given the pressures noted in the previous soils, bearing fruit takes time (steadfast endurance), just as it does for the farmer. See Jas 1:2-4.

27 tn The participle ἅψας ({aya") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

28 sn This is probably an ancient oil burning lamp or perhaps a candlestick. Jesus is comparing revelation to light, particularly the revelation of his ministry; see 1:78-79.

29 tn Or “its light,” if the Greek article is translated as a possessive pronoun (for such usage, cf. ExSyn 215).

30 sn Nothing is hidden. Light also exposes, and Jesus was suggesting that his teaching likewise revealed where people are and where they will be. Truth will be manifest in the future, just as it was declared by him then. Nothing will be concealed.

31 tn Or “disclosed.”

32 tn Or “Therefore pay close attention”; Grk “Take heed therefore how you hear.”

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

34 sn The phrase what he thinks he has is important, because it is not what a person thinks he has that is important but whether he actually has something or not. Jesus describes the person who does not heed his word as having nothing. The person who has nothing loses even that which he thought was something but was not. In other words, he has absolutely nothing at all. Jesus’ teaching must be taken seriously.

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

36 tn Grk “said,” but what follows is a question.

37 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.

38 sn What is the kingdom of God like? Unlike Mark 4 or Matt 13, where the kingdom parables tend to be all in one location in the narrative, Luke scatters his examples throughout the Gospel.

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

40 sn The mustard seed was noted for its tiny size.

41 tn Grk “threw.”

42 tn Grk “garden, and it.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

43 sn Calling the mustard plant a tree is rhetorical hyperbole, since technically it is not one. This plant could be one of two types of mustard popular in Palestine and would be either 10 or 25 ft (3 or 7.5 m) tall.

44 tn Grk “the birds of the sky” or “the birds of the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated either “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. The idiomatic expression “birds of the sky” refers to wild birds as opposed to domesticated fowl (cf. BDAG 809 s.v. πετεινόν).

45 sn The point of the parable seems to be that while the kingdom of God may appear to have insignificant and unnoticeable beginnings (i.e., in the ministry of Jesus), it will someday (i.e., at the second advent) be great and quite expansive. The kingdom, however, is not to be equated with the church, but rather the church is an expression of the kingdom. Also, there is important OT background in the image of the mustard seed that grew and became a tree: Ezek 17:22-24 pictures the reemergence of the Davidic house where people can find calm and shelter. Like the mustard seed, it would start out small but grow to significant size.

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

47 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.

48 tn Grk “hid in.”

49 sn This measure was a saton, the Greek name for the Hebrew term “seah.” Three of these was a very large quantity of flour, since a saton is a little over 16 lbs (7 kg) of dry measure (or 13.13 liters). So this was over 47 lbs (21 kg) of flour total, enough to feed over a hundred people.

50 tn Grk “it was all leavened.”

sn The parable of the yeast and the dough teaches that the kingdom of God will start small but eventually grow to permeate everything. Jesus’ point was not to be deceived by its seemingly small start, the same point made in the parable of the mustard seed, which preceded this one.

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