The teachings of Messiah, 9:51-19:44

5. The coming kingdom, 16:14-18:14

ii] A word to disciples


Following a dispute with the Pharisees over wealth / mammon, Jesus addresses his disciples regarding the qualities of discipleship. To this subject Luke records three sayings of Jesus and a teaching parable.


Luke further develops the basis for discipleship, namely, faith apart from works of the law.


i] Context: See 16:14-31. A word to disciples, 17:1-10, serves as the second episode of six dealing with the subject of the coming kingdom, 16:14-18:14.


ii] Background:

Nomism; the heresy infesting religious Judaism, particularly the Pharisees. The heresy of nomism entails the faithful attention to divine law [inc. Jesus' discipleship requirements] for the purpose of controlling sin and advancing holiness for the full appropriation of God's promised covenant blessings. The Pharisees were expert nomists. They stood under the grace of God as God's chosen people, but the business of maintaining and advancing that standing for blessing entailed the faithful attention to God's law. Given that the doing of the Law is beyond mere mortals, the Pharisees had devised an intricate system of reductionism encapsulated in their traditions. Jesus constantly sought to expose their failure to keep the Law, and thus the fruitless nature of their religious quest. He did this by detailing the full extent of God's demands, outlining the necessary perfection of a person who would dare claim holiness before God on the basis of their works. With his disciples, Jesus similarly exposed the danger of promoting a holiness based on works of the law by outlining discipleship requirements which were well beyond the capacity of his followers. Paul's letters to the church in Rome and Galatia exegete Jesus' teaching on this subject, making it totally clear that our approval before God, yesterday, today and tomorrow, and thus our eternal salvation, is by grace, through faith, apart from works of the law.


iii] Structure: This passage, A word to disciples, presents as follows:

Linked sayings on stumbling-blocks, v1-3a:

"temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe ....."

"better if a millstone ..... than to cause one of these little ones to stumble."

Linked sayings on forgiveness, v3b-4:

"if your brother sins against you ....."

"even if he sins against you seven times ......"

Saying on faith, v5-6:

"if you have faith as small as a mustard seed ....."

Parable of the master and slave, v7-10:

Parable, v7-9;

Application, v10:

"we have only done our duty."


iv] Interpretation:

Having exposed the flawed law-obedience of the Pharisees, Jesus now warns his disciples of the danger of adopting the same heresy, namely nomism (see "Background" above), and in so doing, cause young believers "to fall away" from God's grace. The episode consists of a linked saying on stumbling-blocks, followed by a linked saying on forgiveness that reinforces the foolishness of trying to progress personal holiness for divine reward by works. Who, other than Jesus, has ever been able to forgive "countless times"? In a third saying, Jesus reveals the one law demanded of his followers, namely faith, and points out how even the most feeble faith achieves its intended purpose, namely, divine approval and reward. This is followed by a teaching parable which serves to make the point that even if a disciple had done everything demanded of a follower of Christ, had actually lived out in full Jesus' utopian ethic, had daily applied his cross-bearing demands, they would still have no claim on God because they would have done nothing more than is demanded of them. Given that the Jesus' demands are beyond us, we can only stand approved before God and entitled to the full appropriation of his promised blessings by a means other than works of the law. That means is faith. We are justified by grace, through faith, apart from works of the law.


Due to the illusive nature of Luke's Word to Disciples a somewhat more detailed exegesis is offered.


The diverse interpretations offered for this passage: Bock, Fitzmyer, Marshall, Leaney, Plummer, Creed, Caird, ..... take the view that the sayings and attached parable are unrelated and independent with no common theme. The sayings cover different aspects of discipleship: leading a brother astray, forgiveness, faith, and a disciple's proper attitude to their service.

Ellis takes the view that the sayings are related: "Church leaders ... are to take heed not to cause a weaker brother to stumble and fall away from the faith. Rather, they must give a responsible rebuke to a sinning brother and a ready and continuing forgiveness..... Such forgiveness is an impossible command. To forgive, no less than to receive forgiveness, requires faith....... It's presence in the least mustard seed amount is sufficient to fulfill the demands made upon it ....... Faith in life is a duty that is owed, not a personal achievement for which thanks are due." Ellis sees such faith as a gift of God, although surely the disciples are asking for a strengthening of their weak faith. If Jesus has asked them to forgive seven times then obviously, in his power, they can forgive, although their request reveals their doubts. An interrelationship between the sayings is also recognized by Danker, Hendrickson, Arndt.

Interestingly, Ellis, a context man, gives little weight to the context on this occasion. Johnson, on the other hand, argues that the teaching of 17:1-10 is shaped by 16:14-31 where Jesus "indicted them (the Pharisees) of a false legal piety; they did not keep the deep moral demands of the law and the prophets even as they posed as their protectors. Since they were money-lovers they tried to serve both God and Mammon, but ended by hating and despising the commandments that demanded sharing of possessions."

Yet, it seems more than likely that the self-righteous nomism of the Pharisees, their speck-removing righteousness and log-blinding corruption (here greed), is what Jesus pointedly confronts in our passage for study. A disciple can easily adopt a similar corrupted nomism, a sin that will oppress and entrap a believer who is young in the faith, so, watch out, v1-3a. We do well to remember "the insufficiency of works", Plummer, our incapacity to forgive, v3b-4, and thus our need for saving faith, v5-6, for even if we had done all that the law demands we are still unworthy servants, v7-10.


A saying on stumbling-blocks, v1-3a. Luke's first saying of Jesus concerning stumbling-blocks is usually understood to refer to any sort of temptation that could lead "little ones" astray. Often general causes are identified, all sins, and if the temptation comes from us we are damned. As noted above, given the context, 16:14-31, the "offence" is likely to be nomism, that is, the belief that law-obedience both restrains sin and promotes holiness for the full appropriation of God's promised blessings. The impossibility of such self-righteousness was evident in the Pharisees who, although "righteous", were "lovers of money." It is this "offence", in particular, that will cause a brother "to fall away", for a person is saved by grace through faith apart from works of the law.


A saying on forgiveness, 3b-4. It is the rather incongruous nature of this saying that has prompted the view that it is simply an unrelated discipleship instruction. None-the-less, it is possible to argue that it serves to support the warning on nomism / law-righteousness in v1-3a. How then does this second saying fit with the first? It is possible that the saying is making the point that instead of taking the high moral ground, along with the righteous Pharisee, a disciple is to stand with "the last" and exhibit grace, especially the grace of forgiveness toward a fallen brother. This is certainly a reasonable interpretation, but it is more than likely that Luke has another function in mind for this saying of Jesus. Luke seems to be using this discipleship requirement to expose the human condition of sin and thus the absurdity of a nomistic (see "Background" above) approach to the Christian life. For a disciple, Jesus often exegeted the law in the terms of love, and in particular, its practical outworking in forgiveness. So, here Jesus presents the ideal of an "impossible forgiveness", Ellis. Obviously, the disciples recognize the impossibility of the demand and ask for help, v5a. So, this saying on forgiveness serves to remind us of the absurdity of a nomistic approach to the Christian life and of the disastrous consequences that flow, both to the "little ones" and to us, if we were to promote such a "stumbling-block." Of course, as is always the case with Jesus' utopian ethic, the ideal can never be done, but it can be aimed at. The ideal is already ours in Christ (in Christ God views us as perfect forgivers), but that doesn't stop us trying to be what we are - forgiving rather than vengeful. "If your brother wrongs you and if, upon being rebuked by you, he repents, you shall forgive him", TH.


A saying on the exercise of faith, v5-6. Luke now links an independent saying of Jesus on faith to the preceding saying with what is virtually an editorial comment. He uses the post-resurrection title for Jesus, namely, "the Lord" and the official title for the twelve, "the apostles." The nature of the request is somewhat unclear, but is usually interpreted along the line of the apostles asking for the "faith", as in the sense of spiritual strength, to forgive unconditionally, cf. v4. So prosqeV is usually translated as "increase", ie. "bolster up our capacity to forgive." The trouble is that we end up with a strange usage of pistiV, "faith", and a rather unconvincing translation of prostiqhmi, which properly takes the sense "to give, provide, grant." So, what point is Luke making?

Faith is the only "yoke" to place on "the little ones." The disciples have been warned of the Pharisees self righteous law-obedience, their nomism, and the danger this poses for God's "little ones." Christ's demand for unconditional forgiveness (the standard was 3 times max, but for Jesus even 7 times in a day) exposes the folly of a righteousness / holiness based on works. The totality of God's blessings rest on grace accessed by the instrument of faith (Christ's faithfulness on the cross, upon which faithfulness we rely / believe in / have faith in). On our part, such faith is but a slender thread, and yet it activates the eternal promises of God.

The point has already been made in these notes that Luke, a colleague of the apostle Paul, is attuned to Paul's exegesis of Jesus' teaching on the means of accessing God's covenant promises. As with Matthew and Mark, Luke is faithful to the gospel tradition as received, but, by his arrangement of that tradition, he goes out of his way to draw out the doctrine of justification - it is by grace that we are saved, through faith, and this apart from works of the law.


The parable of the Master and the Slave, v7-9. Most commentators treat the parable as a teaching parable, a story/picture serving to illustrate a particular truth (unlike kingdom parables which, in the form of a riddle, proclaim the gospel - the coming of the kingdom of God). When it comes to the intended truth of the parable, most follow Plummer who titles the parable "The Insufficiency of Works", and summarizes its teaching as "a person can make no just claim for having done more than was due" Although, of course, who has ever done what was due?

As noted, most commentators follow Plummer: "Jesus repudiates the attitude ...... that the performance of good works constituted a claim upon God for due reward", Marshall; "Obedience is not to be accepted as a cause for merit but as a fulfillment of duty", Bock; "To meet God's demands is the duty of our station, not the basis of some special standing in his eyes", Nolland; "The conduct of such a Christian disciple in fulfilling his/her appointed tasks does not necessarily guarantee his/her salvation; having done all that is expected, the disciple still realizes that the destiny that awaits him/her is of grace", Fitzmyer; "A person's acceptance by God is not based on one's ability to perform, but is based on that person's faith and God's grace", Black; "When we have fulfilled all our duties we still have no claim on God", Creed; "The parable of the master and the slave is a warning against the book-keeping mentality, which thinks it can run up a credit balance with God", Caird. So, the major commentators tend to agree on the interpretation of this parable, although note how some see the issue as legalism (earning salvation by good works) and others as nomism ("Background" above).

Other less satisfying interpretations are offered: a) As a lesson on discipleship in general, so, "The disciples should not expect thanks for doing simply what they have been commanded", Johnson; "Discipleship is an entire, not a partial commitment", Tinsley; Luke "reminds his readers that there is no place for boasting and that disciples must remember who is to serve whom", Stein. b) Serving as an illustration of Jesus' teaching on faith. Danker takes this line, although he ends up joining Plummer and friends with, "the disciple is not to expect a pat on the back for doing his assigned task." Ellis, as usual, comes from left-field with "to be given faith is to be given responsibility, and the manifestation of faith in life is a duty that is owed, not a personal achievement for which thanks are due", or even more to the point, "faith such as Jesus asks of the disciples is a duty which they owe simpliciter to God", Manson.

Sadly, only Johnson and Leaney note the wider context of Jesus' confrontation with the Pharisees and their belief that wealth was a just reward for righteousness. Jesus' message is that his disciples must take care that they don't adopt the law-obedience of the Pharisees, their nomism, given its power to yoke and so undermine the way of salvation. In the end, true wealth is eternal, a gift of God's unlimited grace, appropriated through the instrument of faith. We can earn nothing from God, for we always remain "unworthy servants." The only "work" demanded of a disciple is repentance and faith, an easy "yoke" indeed. So, we do well to remember that having "fulfilled all our duties we still have no claim on God", Creed.


The application of the parable, v10, Not just the parable, but possibly the whole teaching unit. The indefinite nature of this sentence should be stressed: "in like manner even you, were you to have completed everything that was commanded of you (and that of course is impossible), you would still have to admit to yourself that you can claim no benefit from God, no status or reward, for in the end, complete obedience is but your duty." In a startlingly clear statement Jesus dispels the notion that divine blessing may be appropriated by a faithful attention to the law (Mosaic law, Jesus' utopian ethic, Jesus' cross-bearing discipleship requirements, ...), thus identifying nomism as a heresy (which explains why Paul aggressively confronts the nomistic teachings of the judaizers / members of the circumcision party). Even if we were able to forgive seven times in a day there would still be no reward due, and of course, other than Jesus, no person is capable of constantly forgiving a brother or sister who is a full on pain-in-the-neck! The totality of God's promised blessings are ours in Christ as a gift of grace through faith apart from works. And when it comes to the business of doing, it is grace which prompts graciousness, not law. So, for example, when it comes to the business of forgiving, it is forgiven people who tend to be forgiving, not law-bound people. (I do have to admit that seven times in a day is well beyond my abilities - I can usually handle once!!! Of course, such reinforces my dependence on grace).


v] Synoptics:

The first linked saying, 17:1-3a is reflected in Matthew 18:6-7 and Mark 9:42, the second linked saying, v3b-4, is reflected in Matthew 18:15 and 18:21-22, and the third saying, v5-6, is reflected in Matthew 17:19-21 and Mark 9:28-29. Some commentators argue for the common use of the Q document, but the differences are better explained by the use of a local oral gospel tradition. The parable, v7-10, is unique to Luke.


vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 17:1

A Lesson for disciples, v1-10: i] A saying on stumbling-blocks, v1-3a. Addressing his disciples (in particular those who, because of their position in the church or their Christian maturity, have some influence over younger believers), Jesus warns them not to cause a believer (a "little one") to turn away from him. It's very easy for mature Christians to mimic the Pharisees' belief that a person's holiness, and thus their appropriation of God's promised blessings, is somehow improved by a rigorous attention to God's law. Let us take care that we never lead a young believer away from God's grace, for it is by grace, through faith, that we stand perfect before God, and this with the right of full access to his promised blessings.

proV + acc. "to [his disciples]" - Spacial. Jesus has just been speaking directly to the Pharisees, but now he focuses specifically on the disciples, and does so dealing with the same subject.

ta skandala (on) "cause people to sin" - the trap, snare / the stumbling block = the temptations to sin. The sense is possibly "traps, or snares", Danker, or "stumbling-block", Marshall, or "cause of offence", Marshall. Probably better paraphrased, "it is inevitable that things should happen to cause men (believers) to fall away", TNT.

di ou| "through whom". Expressing agency, although the agent is not identified. It is usually assumed the agent is a disciple, so believers in general, although the reference could primarily be to the Pharisees, whose example we must not follow; "watch yourselves."

tou .... mh elqein (ercomai) aor. inf. "are bound to come" - [it is impossible] not to come. This construction, the genitive articular infinitive, usually forms a final, or consecutive clause, but is sometimes epexegetic, as here. Marshall says its use here is "rather awkward." Culy and Porter opt for epexegetic / appositional; "it is impossible, namely, that stumbling blocks not come." See Plummer for other possibilities.


lusitelei (lusitelew) pres. "it would be better" - it is profitable. Taken in a comparative sense, "more profitable, better."

autw/ dat. pro. "for him / for them" - to him. Dative of interest, advantage; "for them."

ei + ind. "[to be thrown into the sea ....]" - if [a milestone is hung around the neck of him and he had been thrown into the sea]. Forming a conditional clause, 1st class in form, subject of the verb lusitelei, where the condition is assumed to be true, although note Zerwick #311. Had the condition been realized, namely that the person who had caused the little ones to stumble was drowned, then that person would be better off.

liqoV mulikoV "a millstone" - a stone belonging to a mill. The upper millstone, the stone with a hole in it, obviously suitable to weight down something heavy in water.

h] "than" - Comparative.

iJna + subj. "for [him to cause ...... to sin] / to [cause ..... to stumble" - that [he might cause to stumble, entrap]. Here iJna serves to form a substantive / noun clause, subject of the controling verb for the second half of the comparison, namely lusitelei, "is better"; "[than] that he should cause to stumble ..... is better. "Than to be responsible for anything that causes one of these little ones to sin", Barclay.

twn mikrwn gen. adj. "[one of these] little ones" -[one of these] little. The adjective is used as a substantive. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. Numerous suggestions have been offered for the identity of these "little ones": children, believers, or new believers. Grundmann suggests the poor to whom the gospel is preached, although "poor in spirit", certainly not the materially poor. "Disciples" seems likely, so Bock, Stein, Johnson, but possibly new believers; "the weak, the lowly, the vulnerable", Nolland.


prosecete (prosecw) pres. imp. "so watch" - pay attention. Most likely this warning is attached to v1-2, although it may introduce the next saying, v3-4, so Plummer. "So be on your guard", REB.

eJautoiV dat. pro. "yourselves" - to yourselves. Dative of direct object after the verb prosecete, "pay attention."


ii] A saying on forgiveness, 3b-4. God's law can be encapsulated in the command to love our neighbor. The most practical expression of mutual love is found in forgiveness. Yet, is there anyone who could claim to have forgiven a brother countless times? The disciples certainly recognized the problem. A brother/sister may need rebuking, but above all they will need forgiving, accepting, including, .... and that's a hard call. Jesus' words serve to remind the disciples of their inability to be worthy of God through their own effort, and thus of the stupidity, even danger, of teaching the way of law-righteousness to "little ones."

ean + subj. "if [... sins]" - Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true (a probability when it comes to the human condition!); "if, as may be the case, .... then ...."

aJmarth/ (aJmartanw) aor. subj. "sins" - Used of offences toward God and other people. Note, in v4 it is "sins against you", so properly "if your brother offends you", Phillips.

epitimhson (epitimaw) aor. imp. "rebuke" - rebuke, speak seriously toward, warn. The word can take many shades and given the context, it seems unlikely that Jesus has in mind a censorious rebuke. A quiet chat on the side about the problem that has caused the hurt seems more likely; "loving admonition", Stein.

autw/ dat. pro. "him / them" - to him. Dative of direct object after the verb "rebuke".

metanohsh/ (metanoew) aor. subj. "repents" - A recognition of wrong and an attempted turning around from that wrong. Not a "feeling sorry", which is often the sense of the word today, or worse, just a "saying sorry", usually without any attempt to put things right. We are again reminded that where there is no repentance there is no forgiveness.

autw/ dat. pro. "forgive [him]" - show forgiveness [to him]. Dative of direct object after the verb "forgive", or dative of interest - Turner argues that most datives can be classified as datives of interest.


ean + subj. "if [he/they sins against you]" - Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, ...... then ......"

eJptakiV adv. "seven times" - Certainly "a large number", Arndt, but more likely meaning "countless times" TH.

eiV + acc. "against [you]" - to [you]. Spacial; personalizing the sins, see v3.

thV hJmeraV (a) gen. "in a day" - of the day. The genitive is adverbial, of time; "in one day", Moffatt.

legwn (legw) pres. part. "saying [I repent]" - The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his coming back.

afhseiV (afihmi) fut. "forgive / you must forgive" - An imperatival future tense = a command. "You should still forgive that person", CEV.

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - Dative as v3.


iii] A saying on the exercise of faith, v5-6. The truth is that there is but one law and that law, that eternal demand of God, is the exercise of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. Jesus goes on to remind the disciples that even the most hesitant and questioning reliance on him can activate God's eternal acceptance, and this against all odds. Rather than laying on the "little ones" the "yoke" of the law, lay on them the yoke of faith.

kai "-" - and. Here as a stitching device.

tw/ kuriw/ (oV) dat. "[said] to the Lord" - Dative of indirect object.

prosqeV (prostiqhmi) aor. imp. "increase" - add to. Numerous meanings are possible: "give us faith", BAGD.; "give us also faith", Creed, in the sense of "add faith to our other gifts"; "bestow upon us more faith", Creed; "give us a greater faith than we already have", Stein. Best taken as "grant us faith", Evans; see above.

hJmin dat. pro. "our [faith]" - [faith] for us. Probably best read as a dative of interest, advantage.


Most commentators argue that the faith Jesus speaks of here is not quantitative, but qualitative; it is a faith "pure and simple", Danker; a faith that need only be exercised, not increased, so Nolland; a faith that need only be present, so Bock. We should not so quickly dispense with a quantitative sense. Faith is a reliance on Christ and his revealed will. Our reliance, our resting on Christ, may be weak and feeble, filled with doubts, but it is enough, for it is not the power of our faith that moves the tree, but rather the power of God. As to actually moving trees, it would need to be within the will of God, as evidenced by propositional revelation, indicating that he want's us to be in the tree-moving business.

ei + ind ..... a]n ind. "if [you have]" - Introducing a conditional clause, although the form of the apodosis indicates an unreal condition which implies that the disciples do not possess such faith, cf. Johnson, although Nolland disagrees. As a contrary to fact condition, "you have" in the protasis, should be imperfect, as with the verb "you would have said" in the apodosis, but it takes a present tense implying that the condition is real. The conditional sentence would then read "if you have faith ...... (and you do), you can ......" See Turner p.51-52. Note that the apodosis consists of two conjoined clauses both introduced by a]n. "Since you have some faith, small as it may be, you could say to this sycamine tree, be plucked up by the root .....", Turner.

sinapewV (i ewV) gen. "a mustard [seed]" - [a grain] of mustard. The genitive is adjectival, attributive.

th/ sukaminw/ (oV) dat. "[you can say] to this mulberry tree" - Dative of indirect object.

uJphkousen an aor. "it will obey [you]" - it would have obeyed [to you]. The aorist may express time before the command indicating "the certainty of (the command's) fulfilment", Marshall.


iv] The parable of the Master and the Slave, v7-10. Jesus has made the point to his disciples that they must take care that they don't adopt the law-obedience of the Pharisees, given its power to undermine the way of salvation. In the end, our standing before God is a gift of his kindness. We can earn nothing from God, for we always remain "unworthy servants." Jesus now illustrates this truth in a teaching parable. Were we to have completed everything that was commanded of us, we would still have to admit that we can claim no extra benefit from God, no increased status or reward, for in the end, complete obedience is but our duty.

tiV de ..... o}V ... epei (eipon) fut. "suppose one .... Would he say ..?" - who [among you having a slave ...] who [coming in from the field] will say? The construction is emphatic and expects the answer, "no one would ever say this to a slave." Taken as setting up a rhetorical question, which feature is lost in the complexity of the sentence, the verb to-be must be supplied; "is there anyone among you, having a slave ....... who, when he comes in from the field, will say to him ....?" Verses 8 and 9 are also best translated as rhetorical questions, TNT.

ex (ek) + gen. "of [you]" - from [you]. Here standing in for a partitive genitive.

ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "had" - having. The participle is adjectival, limiting the "who among you"; "which of you who has a servant."

doulon (oV) "servant" - Not really a servant, but rather "a slave", TNT.

arotriwnta (arotriaw) pres. part. "plowing [or looking after the sheep]" - plowing [or shepherding]. The participle, as with "shepherding", functions as the complement of the object "servant", forming an object complement double accusative (here treble) construction.

autw/ dat. pro. "to the servant" - [say] to him. Dative of indirect object.

eiselqonti (eisercomai) dat. aor. part. "when he comes in" - having come in. The participle is often read as adverbial, temporal, as NIV, TNT, ESV, ....., but technically, standing in agreement with autw/, "him = the servant", it is adjectival, attributive, limiting "him / servant; "will he say to the servant who has come in from the field ....."

ek + gen. "from [the field]" - Expressing source / origin.

parelqwn (parercomai) aor. part. "come along now [and sit down to eat]" - having come beside [lie down]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperatival verb "sit down." As in sitting down for a meal, although in their case, they would lie down to eat.


ouci erei (eipon) fut. "would he not [rather] say" - [but] will he not say [to him]. Obviously a deliberative future setting up the second rhetorical question. The negation expects a positive answer.

all (alla) "[won't he] rather" - but [will he not say]. Adversative; expressing a contrast.

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

eJtoimason (eJtoimazw) aor. imp. "prepare" - "Get my dinner ready", TNT, as NIV.

deipnhsw (deipnew) aor. subj. / fut. ind. "my supper" - [something] I may eat. The subjunctive is probably being used to form a purpose clause, "in order that I may eat."

perizwsamenoV (perizwnnimi) aor. part. "-" - having wrapped about yourself [serve me]. In the sense of putting on a serving apron. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the imperatival verb "serve"; "gird thyself and serve me ...", AV.

diakonei (diakonew) pres. imp. "wait on" - serve. The present tense expresses duration, "continue to serve me", "go on serving me until I have finished", Moule.

moi dat. pro. "me" - Dative of direct object / interest, advantage.

eJwV + subj. "while [I eat and drink]" - until [I eat and drink]. Forming an indefinite temporal clause, the aorist underlining the "until I have finished eating." "You can eat and drink when I have finished", Barclay.

meta + acc. "after [that]" - Temporal.


mh "-" This negation is used in a question expecting a negative answer.

carin (iV ewV) "thank" - [does he have] gratitude [to the slave] ...? Grace in the sense of "gratitude due the slave", Nolland. "Slaves have to carry out their duties without expecting that they thereby place their masters under obligation", Marshall.

tw/ doulw/ (oV) dat. "the servant" - the slave. Dative of direct object / interest, advantage.

oJti "because" - that. Here expressing cause/reason.

ta diatacqenta (diatassw) aor. pas. part. "what he was told to do" - the things having been assigned, arranged, commanded. The participle serves as a substantive.


ouJtwV adv. "so [you] also" - thus, in this way. A modal comparative adverb, although Luke is using it to draw out a logical conclusion / application / the moral of the story, cf. 12:21, 14:33, 15:7, so "thus also you."

oJtan + subj. "when [you have done]" - Forming an indefinite temporal clause.

panta adj. "everything" - Expressing the comprehensive nature of a servants compliance.

uJmin dat. pro. "you" - [everything having been told] to you. Dative of indirect object.

ta diatacwqenta (diatassw) aor. pas. part. "were told to do" - the things having been commanded, instructed, assigned. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting panta "all the things"; "everything that you were commanded", ESV.

legete (legw) pres. imp. "should say" - say. Obviously not "say", but rather "think"; "you aught to remind yourself of this truth."

oJti "-" - Here introducing a dependent statement of direct speech expressing what should be said.

acreioi adj. "[we are] unworthy [servants]" - useless, troublesome, unprofitable / unworthy. In a negative sense it may describe a slave who has done no more than was required, "we're not much good as servants as we have only done what we aught to do", Phillips, or taking a positive sense, it may describe modesty, "we are servants and deserve no credit", REB; "we're nothing special in the way of servants", Barclay. A weaker sense, namely "unworthy", seems best. "Believers are unworthy in the sense that at their very best all they have done is what they should have done, ie. what the commandments teach. They have not done more than that. On the contrary, usually they have done much less", Stein.

pepoihkamen (poiew) perf. "we have only done" - we have done. The perfect tense expressing a past act with ongoing consequences. If we were the perfect servant of God and done everything expected of us, obeyed all the commands, there would still be no extra reward, for "we have done no more than our duty", NJB. "Obedience is not to be accepted as a cause for merit but as a fulfillment of duty", Bock, a duty, which of course, we never fulfill.

o} rel. pro. "-" - what. The relative pronoun forms a relative clause which serves as the object of the verb "we have done"; "we have done what we were obligated to do."

poihsai (poiew) aor. inf. "[our duty]" - [we were obligated] to do. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to work = obligated."


Luke Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]