Add parallel Print Page Options

Jesus and Martha

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus[a] entered a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest.[b] 39 She[c] had a sister named Mary, who sat[d] at the Lord’s feet[e] and listened to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted[f] with all the preparations she had to make,[g] so[h] she came up to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care[i] that my sister has left me to do all the work[j] alone? Tell[k] her to help me.” 41 But the Lord[l] answered her,[m] “Martha, Martha,[n] you are worried and troubled[o] about many things, 42 but one thing[p] is needed. Mary has chosen the best[q] part; it will not be taken away from her.”

Read full chapter


  1. Luke 10:38 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  2. Luke 10:38 tc Most mss have “into the house” (P3vid א C L Ξ 33 579) or “into her house” (א1 A C2 D W Θ Ψ 070 ƒ1,13 M lat) at the end of the sentence. But the English translation masks the multitude of variants: Different forms of “house” (οἰκίαν [oikian], οἶκον [oikon]) and “her” occur (see TCGNT 129). These variations argue against authenticity; they no doubt arose because of the abrupt ending of the sentence (the Greek is more literally translated simply as “Martha received him”), prompting copyists to add the location. The shorter reading is found in P45,75 B sa. tn For the meaning “to welcome, to have as a guest” see L&N 34.53.
  3. Luke 10:39 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  4. Luke 10:39 tn This reflexive makes it clear that Mary took the initiative in sitting by Jesus.
  5. Luke 10:39 sn The description of Mary sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to him makes her sound like a disciple (compare Luke 8:35).
  6. Luke 10:40 sn The term distracted means “to be pulled away” by something (L&N 25.238). It is a narrative comment that makes clear who is right in the account.
  7. Luke 10:40 tn Grk “with much serving.”
  8. Luke 10:40 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that the following was a result of Martha’s distraction.
  9. Luke 10:40 tn The negative οὐ (ou) used with the verb expects a positive reply. Martha expected Jesus to respond and rebuke Mary.
  10. Luke 10:40 tn Grk “has left me to serve alone.”
  11. Luke 10:40 tn The conjunction οὖν (oun, “then, therefore”) has not been translated here.
  12. Luke 10:41 tc Most mss (A B* C D W Θ Ψ ƒ1,13 M it) read “Jesus” instead of “the Lord” here, but κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) has the support of some weighty papyri, majuscules, and other witnesses (P3,[45],75 א B2 L 579 892 lat sa).
  13. Luke 10:41 tn Grk “answering, said to her.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “answered her.”
  14. Luke 10:41 sn The double vocative Martha, Martha communicates emotion.
  15. Luke 10:41 tn Or “upset.” Here the meanings of μεριμνάω (merimnaō) and θορυβάζομαι (thorubazomai) reinforce each other (L&N 25.234).
  16. Luke 10:42 tc Or, with some mss (P3 [א] B C2 L 070vid ƒ1 33 [579]), “few things are needed—or only one” (as well as other variants). The textual problem here is a difficult one to decide. The shorter reading is normally preferred, but it is not altogether clear how the variants would arise from it. However, the reading followed in the translation has good support (with some internal variations) from a number of witnesses (P45,75 A C* W Θ Ψ ƒ13 M lat sa).
  17. Luke 10:42 tn Or “better”; Grk “good.” This is an instance of the positive adjective used in place of the superlative adjective. According to ExSyn 298, this could also be treated as a positive for comparative (“better”).