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Jesus and Little Children

15 Now people[a] were even bringing their babies[b] to him for him to touch.[c] But when the disciples saw it, they began to scold those who brought them.[d] 16 But Jesus called for the children,[e] saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God[f] belongs to such as these.[g] 17 I tell you the truth,[h] whoever does not receive[i] the kingdom of God like a child[j] will never[k] enter it.”

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  1. Luke 18:15 tn Grk “they.”
  2. Luke 18:15 tn The term βρέφος (brephos) here can refer to babies or to toddlers (2:12, 16; Acts 7:19; 2 Tim 3:15; 1 Pet 2:2).
  3. Luke 18:15 tn Grk “so that he would touch them.” Here the touch is connected with (or conveys) a blessing (cf. Mark 10:16; also BDAG 126 s.v. ἅπτω 2.c).
  4. Luke 18:15 tn Grk “the disciples began to scold them.” In the translation the referent has been specified as “those who brought them,” since otherwise the statement could be understood to mean that the disciples began scolding the children rather than their parents who brought them.
  5. Luke 18:16 tn Grk “summoned them”; the referent (the children) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  6. Luke 18:16 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ teaching. The nature of the kingdom of God in the NT and in Jesus’ teaching has long been debated by interpreters and scholars, with discussion primarily centering around the nature of the kingdom (earthly, heavenly, or both) and the kingdom’s arrival (present, future, or both). An additional major issue concerns the relationship between the kingdom of God and the person and work of Jesus himself. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.
  7. Luke 18:16 sn The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Children are a picture of those whose simple trust illustrates what faith is all about. The remark illustrates how everyone is important to God, even those whom others regard as insignificant.
  8. Luke 18:17 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  9. Luke 18:17 sn On receive see John 1:12.
  10. Luke 18:17 sn The point of the comparison receive the kingdom of God like a child has more to do with a child’s trusting spirit and willingness to be dependent and receive from others than any inherent humility the child might possess.
  11. Luke 18:17 tn The negation in Greek used here (οὐ μή, ou mē) is very strong.