According to Luke 6:1-49

6  Now on a sabbath he was passing through grainfields, and his disciples were plucking and eating the heads of grain,+ rubbing them with their hands.+  At this some of the Pharisees said: “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”+  But in reply Jesus said to them: “Have you never read what David did when he and the men with him were hungry?+  How he entered into the house of God and received the loaves of presentation and ate and gave some to the men with him, which it is not lawful for anyone to eat but for the priests only?”+  Then he said to them: “The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.”+  On another sabbath+ he entered the synagogue and began teaching. And a man was there whose right hand was withered.*+  The scribes and the Pharisees were now watching Jesus closely to see whether he would cure on the Sabbath, in order to find some way to accuse him.+  He, however, knew their reasoning,+ so he said to the man with the withered* hand: “Get up and stand in the center.” And he rose and stood there.  Then Jesus said to them: “I ask you men, Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to destroy it?”+ 10  After looking around at them all, he said to the man: “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. 11  But they flew into a senseless rage, and they began to talk over with one another what they might do to Jesus. 12  On one of those days he went out to the mountain to pray,+ and he spent the whole night in prayer to God.+ 13  And when it became day, he called his disciples to him and chose from among them 12, whom he also named apostles:+ 14  Simon, whom he also named Peter, Andrew his brother, James, John, Philip,+ Bar·tholʹo·mew, 15  Matthew, Thomas,+ James the son of Al·phaeʹus, Simon who is called “the zealous one,” 16  Judas the son of James, and Judas Is·carʹi·ot, who turned traitor. 17  And he came down with them and stood on a level place, and there was a large crowd of his disciples, and a great multitude of people from all Ju·deʹa and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Siʹdon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.+ 18  Even those troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19  And all the crowd were seeking to touch him,+ because power was going out of him+ and healing them all. 20  And he looked up at his disciples and began to say: “Happy are you who are poor,+ for yours is the Kingdom of God.+ 21  “Happy are you who hunger now, for you will be filled.*+ “Happy are you who weep now, for you will laugh.+ 22  “Happy are you whenever men hate you,+ and when they exclude you+ and reproach* you and denounce* your name as wicked for the sake of the Son of man.+ 23  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for look! your reward is great in heaven, for those are the same things their forefathers used to do to the prophets.+ 24  “But woe to you who are rich,+ for you are having your consolation in full.+ 25  “Woe to you who are filled up now, for you will go hungry. “Woe, you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.+ 26  “Woe whenever all men speak well of you,+ for this is what their forefathers did to the false prophets. 27  “But I say to you who are listening: Continue to love your enemies, to do good to those hating you,+ 28  to bless those cursing you, to pray for those who are insulting you.+ 29  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your outer garment, do not withhold the inner garment either.+ 30  Give to everyone asking you,+ and from the one taking your things away, do not ask them back. 31  “Also, just as you want men to do to you, do* the same way to them.+ 32  “If you love those loving you, of what credit is it to you? For even the sinners love those loving them.+ 33  And if you do good to those doing good to you, of what credit is it to you? Even the sinners do the same. 34  Also, if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, of what credit is it to you?+ Even sinners lend to sinners so that they may get back as much. 35  On the contrary, continue to love your enemies and to do good and to lend without hoping for anything back;+ and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind toward the unthankful and wicked.+ 36  Continue being merciful, just as your Father is merciful.+ 37  “Moreover, stop judging, and you will by no means be judged;+ and stop condemning, and you will by no means be condemned. Keep on forgiving,* and you will be forgiven.*+ 38  Practice giving,+ and people will give to you.+ They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.” 39  Then he also told them an illustration: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Both will fall into a pit,* will they not?+ 40  A student* is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly instructed will be like his teacher. 41  Why, then, do you look at the straw in your brother’s eye but do not notice the rafter in your own eye?+ 42  How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, allow me to remove the straw that is in your eye,’ while you yourself do not see the rafter in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the rafter from your own eye, and then you will see clearly how to remove the straw that is in your brother’s eye.+ 43  “For no fine tree produces rotten fruit, and no rotten tree produces fine fruit.+ 44  For each tree is known by its own fruit.+ For example, people do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they cut grapes off a thornbush. 45  A good man brings good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.+ 46  “Why, then, do you call me ‘Lord! Lord!’ but do not do the things I say?+ 47  Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you whom he is like:+ 48  He is like a man who in building a house dug and went down deep and laid a foundation on the rock. Consequently, when a flood came, the river dashed against that house but was not strong enough to shake it, for it was well-built.+ 49  On the other hand, whoever hears and does nothing+ is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river dashed against it, and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”


Or “paralyzed.”
Or “paralyzed.”
Or “satisfied.”
Or “insult.”
Or “cast out.”
Or “keep doing.”
Or “releasing.”
Or “released.”
Or “ditch.”
Or “disciple.”

Study Notes

through the grainfields: Perhaps by means of footpaths that separated one tract of land from another.

sabbath: See Glossary.

through grainfields: See study note on Mt 12:1.

what is not lawful: Jehovah had commanded that the Israelites do no work on the Sabbath. (Ex 20:8-10) Jewish religious leaders claimed the right to define exactly what constituted work. According to them, Jesus’ disciples were guilty of harvesting (plucking) and threshing (rubbing) grain. (Lu 6:1, 2) However, such a definition overstepped Jehovah’s command.

what is not lawful: See study note on Mt 12:2.

house of God: Here referring to the tabernacle. The account Jesus refers to (1Sa 21:1-6) occurred when the tabernacle was located at Nob, a town evidently in the territory of Benjamin and close to Jerusalem.​—See App. B7 (inset).

loaves of presentation: Or “showbread.” The Hebrew expression literally means “bread of the face.” The bread was figuratively before Jehovah as a constant offering to him.​—Ex 25:30; see Glossary and App. B5.

house of God: See study note on Mr 2:26.

loaves of presentation: See study note on Mt 12:4.

Lord of the Sabbath: Jesus applies this expression to himself (Mr 2:28; Lu 6:5), indicating that the Sabbath was at his disposal for doing the work commanded by his heavenly Father. (Compare Joh 5:19; 10:37, 38.) On the Sabbath, Jesus performed some of his most outstanding miracles, which included healing the sick. (Lu 13:10-13; Joh 5:5-9; 9:1-14) This evidently foreshadowed the kind of relief he will bring during his Kingdom rule, which will be like a sabbath rest.​—Heb 10:1.

Lord of the Sabbath: See study note on Mt 12:8.

whose right hand was withered: Three Gospel writers describe Jesus’ healing of this man on a sabbath, but only Luke mentions the detail that it was the man’s right hand that was withered, or paralyzed. (Mt 12:10; Mr 3:1) Luke often supplies medical details that Matthew and Mark do not. For a similar example, compare Mt 26:51 and Mr 14:47 with Lu 22:50, 51.​—See “Introduction to Luke.”

knew their reasoning: Luke records that Jesus knew what the scribes and Pharisees were thinking, whereas Matthew and Mark omit this detail.​—Compare the parallel accounts at Mt 12:10-13; Mr 3:1-3.

life: Or “soul.”​—See Glossary, “Soul.”

apostles: Or “sent ones.” The Greek word a·poʹsto·los is derived from the verb a·po·stelʹlo, meaning “to send away (out).” (Mt 10:5; Lu 11:49; 14:32) Its basic meaning is clearly illustrated in Jesus’ statement at Joh 13:16, where it is rendered “one who is sent.”

apostles: See study note on Mt 10:2.

the zealous one: A designation distinguishing the apostle Simon from the apostle Simon Peter. (Lu 6:14) The Greek word used here and at Ac 1:13, ze·lo·tesʹ, means “zealot; enthusiast.” The parallel accounts at Mt 10:4 and Mr 3:18 use the designation “the Cananaean,” a term thought to be of Hebrew or Aramaic origin that likewise means “Zealot; Enthusiast.” While it is possible that Simon once belonged to the Zealots, a Jewish party opposed to the Romans, he may have been given this designation because of his zeal and enthusiasm.

who turned traitor: Or “who became a traitor.” The phrase is of interest because it suggests that Judas underwent a change. He was not a traitor when he became a disciple; nor was he a traitor when Jesus appointed him to be an apostle. He was not predestined to be a traitor. Rather, by the misuse of his own free will, he “turned traitor” sometime after his appointment. From the moment the change began to take place, Jesus was aware of it, as suggested at Joh 6:64.

and stood on a level place: As shown by the context, Jesus came down from a mountain where he had prayed all night before choosing his 12 apostles. (Lu 6:12, 13) He finds a level place on the mountainside, perhaps not far from his center of activity in Capernaum. Great crowds of people gather, and Jesus heals them all. According to the parallel account at Mt 5:1, 2, he “went up on the mountain . . . and began teaching.” This expression may refer to an elevation above the level place on the mountainside. Taken together, the accounts of Matthew and Luke evidently describe how Jesus stopped his descent at a level place, found a slight elevation on the mountainside, and began to speak. Or Mt 5:1 may be a summary that does not mention what Luke explains in more detail.

Happy: The Greek word ma·kaʹri·os used here does not simply refer to a state of lightheartedness, as when a person is enjoying a good time. Rather, when used of humans, it refers to the condition of one who is blessed by God and enjoys his favor. The term is also used as a description of God and of Jesus in his heavenly glory.​—1Ti 1:11; 6:15.

Happy: The Greek word ma·kaʹri·os occurs 50 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Paul here describes “the happiness of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works.” (Ro 4:6) This Greek term is used to describe God (1Ti 1:11) and to describe Jesus in his heavenly glory (1Ti 6:15). It is also the term used in the famous statements on happiness in the Sermon on the Mount. (Mt 5:3-11; Lu 6:20-22) Here at Ro 4:7, 8, “happy” is quoted from Ps 32:1, 2. This type of pronouncement is common in the Hebrew Scriptures. (De 33:29; 1Ki 10:8; Job 5:17; Ps 1:1; 2:12; 33:12; 94:12; 128:1; 144:15; Da 12:12) The Hebrew and the Greek expressions used for “happy” do not refer simply to a state of lightheartedness, as when a person is enjoying a good time. From a Scriptural standpoint, to be truly happy a person needs to cultivate love for God, to serve him faithfully, and to enjoy his favor and blessing.

those conscious of their spiritual need: The Greek expression rendered “those conscious,” literally, “those who are poor (needy; destitute; beggars),” in this context is used about those who have a need and are intensely aware of it. The same word is used in reference to the “beggar” Lazarus at Lu 16:20, 22. The Greek phrase that some translations render those who are “poor in spirit” conveys the idea of people who are painfully aware of their spiritual poverty and of their need for God.​—See study note on Lu 6:20.

a beggar: Or “a poor man.” The Greek word can refer to one who is very poor, or destitute. The use of this word provides a stark contrast to the rich man in Jesus’ illustration. It is used in a figurative sense at Mt 5:3 in the phrase rendered “those conscious of their spiritual need,” literally, “those who are poor (needy; destitute; beggars) as to the spirit,” conveying the idea of people who are painfully aware of their spiritual poverty and of their need for God.​—See study note on Mt 5:3.

his disciples: The Greek word for “disciple,” ma·the·tesʹ, refers to a learner, or one who is taught, and implies a personal attachment to a teacher, an attachment that shapes the disciple’s whole life. Although large crowds gathered to listen to Jesus, it seems that he spoke mainly for the benefit of his disciples, who sat closest to him.​—Mt 5:1, 2; 7:28, 29.

and began to say: The Sermon on the Mount is recorded both by Matthew (chapters 5-7) and by Luke (6:20-49). Luke recorded an abbreviated account of this sermon, whereas Matthew’s account is about four times longer and includes all but a few verses that appear in Luke’s presentation. The two accounts begin alike and end alike, often use identical expressions, and are generally similar in content and in the order that the subjects are presented. Where the two accounts run parallel, the wording sometimes differs considerably. Even so, the accounts are harmonious. It is worth noting that several large portions of the sermon that do not appear in Luke’s account are repeated by Jesus on other occasions. For instance, while delivering the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about prayer (Mt 6:9-13) and about a proper view of material things (Mt 6:25-34). About a year and a half later, it seems that he repeated these statements, which were recorded by Luke. (Lu 11:2-4; 12:22-31) Moreover, since Luke was generally writing for Christians from all backgrounds, he may have omitted portions of the sermon that may have been of special interest to Jews.​—Mt 5:17-27; 6:1-18.

Happy: See study notes on Mt 5:3; Ro 4:7.

you who are poor: The Greek expression rendered “poor” denotes being “needy; destitute; a beggar.” Luke’s version of this first happiness in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount varies somewhat from what is stated at Mt 5:3. Matthew also uses the Greek word “poor” but adds the word for “spirit,” making the whole expression literally read “poor ones (beggars) as to the spirit.” (See study notes on Mt 5:3; Lu 16:20.) This phrase conveys the idea of a strong awareness of one’s spiritual poverty and dependence on God. Luke’s account simply refers to the poor, which harmonizes with Matthew’s account in that those who are poor and downtrodden are often more inclined to recognize their spiritual need and are more fully aware of their dependence on God. In fact, Jesus said that an important reason for his coming as the Messiah was “to declare good news to the poor.” (Lu 4:18) Those who followed Jesus and were given the hope of sharing in the blessings of the Kingdom of God were primarily drawn from among the poor or common people. (1Co 1:26-29; Jas 2:5) But Matthew’s account makes it clear that simply being poor does not automatically result in having God’s favor. So the introductory statements in the two accounts of the Sermon on the Mount complement each other.

they have their reward in full: The Greek term a·peʹkho, meaning “to have in full,” often appeared on business receipts, with the sense of “paid in full.” The hypocrites gave in order to be seen by men, and they were seen and glorified by men for their charitable giving; thus, they have already received all the reward that they are going to get. They should not expect anything from God.

having your consolation in full: The Greek term a·peʹkho, meaning “to have in full,” often appeared on business receipts, with the sense of “paid in full.” Jesus spoke of the woe, that is, the pain, sorrow, and adverse consequences, that the rich might experience. This is not simply because they have a comfortable, or good, life. Rather, he warned that people who cherish material riches may neglect service to God and miss out on gaining true happiness. Such people would be “paid in full,” experiencing all the consolation, or comforts, that they are going to get. God will not give them anything more.​—See study note on Mt 6:2.

Continue to love your enemies: Jesus’ counsel is in harmony with the spirit of the Hebrew Scriptures.​—Ex 23:4, 5; Job 31:29; Pr 24:17, 18; 25:21.

Continue to love your enemies: See study note on Mt 5:44.

lend: That is, lend without interest. The Law forbade the Israelites from charging interest on loans to a needy fellow Jew (Ex 22:25), and it encouraged them to lend generously to the poor.​—De 15:7, 8; Mt 25:27.

Keep on forgiving, and you will be forgiven: Or “Keep on releasing, and you will be released.” The Greek term rendered “to forgive” literally means “to let go free; to send away; to release (for example, a prisoner).” In this context, when used in contrast with judging and condemning, it conveys the idea of acquitting and forgiving, even when punishment or retribution might seem warranted.

Practice giving: Or “Keep giving.” The form of the Greek verb used here for “to give” denotes continuous action.

your laps: The Greek word literally means “your bosom (chest),” but in this context it likely refers to the fold formed over the belt by the loose-fitting cloth of the outer garment. ‘Pouring into the lap’ may refer to a custom of some vendors to fill this fold with the goods that had been purchased.

illustrations: Or “parables.” The Greek word pa·ra·bo·leʹ, which literally means “a placing beside (together),” may be in the form of a parable, a proverb, or an illustration. Jesus often explains a thing by ‘placing it beside,’ or comparing it with, another similar thing. (Mr 4:30) His illustrations were short and usually fictitious narratives from which a moral or spiritual truth could be drawn.

an illustration: Or “a parable.”​—See study note on Mt 13:3.

straw . . . rafter: Jesus here uses striking hyperbole to describe a person who is critical of his brother. He compares a minor flaw to something small like a “straw.” The Greek word karʹphos can refer not only to a “straw” but also to a small piece of wood, so other Bibles render it a “splinter,” or a “speck of sawdust.” The critic implies that his brother’s spiritual vision, including his moral perception and judgment, is defective. By offering to “remove the straw,” he proudly asserts that he is qualified to help his brother see things more clearly and to judge matters correctly. Jesus, however, says that the critic’s own spiritual vision and judgment are impaired by a symbolic “rafter,” a log or beam that might be used to support a roof. (Mt 7:4, 5) Some suggest that this powerful, even humorous contrast, indicates that Jesus was familiar with the work done in a carpenter’s shop.

straw . . . rafter: See study note on Mt 7:3.

Hypocrite!: The Greek word hy·po·kri·tesʹ originally referred to Greek (and later Roman) stage actors who wore large masks designed to disguise the identity of the actor and to amplify the voice. The term came to be used in a metaphoric sense. It was applied to someone who hid his real intentions or personality by putting on a pretense. At Mt 6:5, 16, Jesus refers to the Jewish religious leaders as “hypocrites.” Here (Lu 6:42) he uses the term to address any disciple who focuses on another’s faults while ignoring his own.

a flood: Sudden winter storms are not uncommon in Israel, especially during the month of Tebeth, that is, December/January. They bring high winds, torrential rains, and destructive flash floods.​—See App. B15.


North Shore of the Sea of Galilee, Looking Northwest
North Shore of the Sea of Galilee, Looking Northwest

1. Plain of Gennesaret. This was a fertile triangle of land, measuring about 5 by 2.5 km (3 by 1.5 mi). It was along the shoreline in this area that Jesus invited the fishermen Peter, Andrew, James, and John to join him in his ministry.​—Mt 4:18-22.

2. Tradition locates Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount here.​—Mt 5:1; Lu 6:​17, 20.

3. Capernaum. Jesus took up residence in this city, and it was in or near Capernaum that he found Matthew.​—Mt 4:13; 9:1, 9.

Upper Fold of a Garment
Upper Fold of a Garment

The outer garment worn by Israelites in Bible times was voluminous over the chest. The garment might be worn so that a fold of material hung over the belt. That fold could be used as a large pocket into which a person could place grain, money, or other articles and could even carry a baby or a young lamb. (Ex 4:6, 7; Nu 11:12; 2Ki 4:39; Job 31:33; Isa 40:11) The Greek word rendered “your laps” at Lu 6:38 literally means “your bosom (chest)” but in this context refers to the folds of the garment. ‘Pouring into the lap’ may refer to a custom some vendors had of filling the fold of a person’s wide upper garment with the goods that he purchased.

Fig Tree, Grapevine, and Thornbush
Fig Tree, Grapevine, and Thornbush

Jesus no doubt carefully selected the plants he used in illustrations. For example, the fig tree (1) and the grapevine (2) are mentioned jointly in many texts, and Jesus’ words at Lu 13:6 show that fig trees were often planted in vineyards. (2Ki 18:31; Joe 2:22) The expression ‘sitting under one’s own vine and fig tree’ symbolized peaceful, prosperous, secure conditions. (1Ki 4:25; Mic 4:4; Zec 3:10) By contrast, thorns and thistles are specifically mentioned when Jehovah cursed the ground after Adam sinned. (Ge 3:17, 18) The type of thornbush that Jesus referred to at Mt 7:16 cannot be identified with certainty, but the one shown here (Centaurea iberica) (3), a type of thistle, grows wild in Israel.