Luke 18:17

What does it mean to “receive the kingdom of God as a child” (Luke 18:17)?

…δέξηται τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς παιδίον

There are actually three possibilities here (see Green, 651 n 131 for details):

  1. to receive the kingdom as a child receives the kingdom
  2. to receive the kingdom as if one were a child
  3. to receive the kingdom as one receives a child

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“Teacher” and “Master” in Luke

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here, but I noticed something interesting today:

there seems to be a distinct way in which Jesus is addressed by various groups in Luke.

The vocative διδάσκαλε is used to address Jesus only be people who don’t fully recognise who he is. It is never used by the disciples. It’s used by:

  • Simon the Pharisee (7:40)
  • The father of the ‘epileptic’ boy (9:38)
  • Lawyers (10:35; 11:45)
  • People in the crowd (12:13)
  • The rich young ruler (18:18)
  • Jesus’ opponents (19:39; 20:21, 28, 39)
  • A rather vague “some” 21:7

Furthermore, “Master” (ἐπιστάτα) is only used by the disciples (5:5; 8:24, 45; 9:33; 49) except 17:13 where it is used by the ten lepers.

“Rabbi” is not used at all in Luke. But 4 times in Matt and 3 times in Mark.

Interesting…

Awkwardness of Luke 7:29-30

All the commentators (that I have access to) write about the “awkwardness” of vv29-30. It is debated whether these verses continue Jesus words from vv24-28; or whether they are a narrators’ comment inserted by Luke.

Most (Bock, Culy, Nolland) conclude that they are narrators comments; while Morris argues for a continuation of Jesus’ works.

It is the “awkwardness” of the third-person references (e.g. “the crowd”) that lead many to argue for narrators comments. But it is just as awkward that there is neither any conjunction or re-introduction of speech in v31.

This, I fear, is an example of the lack of attention that is paid to discourse features by many commentators and exegetes.

Given the way Luke (and other NT authors) purposefully use conjunctions and other discourse features to mark and structure their work (see e.g. my notes on Luke 1:5-38) it seems strange that so many commentators are happy so simply recognise the strange absence in v31 without letting it influence their decision about vv29-30.

I’m not (necessarily) claiming that vv29-30 are Jesus words – but I am suggesting that the lack of the discourse features should at least be weighed alongside the awkwardness of the grammar.

Bog Standard Word Order

Paying careful attention to word/constituent order in Greek often proves useful for getting a clearer understanding of what the author is trying to say. Thus the works Levinsohn and Runge are exceedingly valuable to teach us about topic, focus etc.

But it occurred to me this week that sometime the absence of any specific “discourse features” can tell us things too.

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