You are on page 1of 3

Following Jesus as the Path to Eternal Life: Matthew 19.16-29 I.

Translation 16 And lookone person came to him and said, Teacher1, what good deed shall I do in order that I might inherit2 life eternal? 17 And Jesus3 said to him, Why do you ask me about the good? The good4 is one.5 But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.6 18 He says to him, What sort?7 And Jesus said, The list of commandments8: You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, 19 honor father and mother, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 20 The young man says to him, All these I have kept.9 What do I still lack? 21 Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your things and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and comefollow me. 22 But after the young man heard the message, he went away grieving10, for he did have11 many

Several less significant manuscripts (henceforth mss.) read dida;skale ajgaqe;, which may be deemed a copyist assimilation to the parallels in Mark 10.27 and Luke 18.18. 2 NA27 reads scw` (1st sing aor subj act e[cw), siding with mss. B C D etc. Following a L several Old Syriac mss. etc., I prefer the reading klhronomh;sw, which forms an inclusio with verse 29 (cf. Mk 10.17 and Lk 18.18). See Part II below. 3 The oJ de; indicates change of subject (James W. Voelz, Fundamental Greek Grammar [2nd ed.; St. Louis: Concordia], 155), hence the explicit inclusion of Jesus in the translation. 4 With the predicate nominative, the articular phrase should be considered the subject. See Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 43. 5 The several variants are scribal assimilations to the other Synoptics; Matthews distinctive version is to be preferred. See Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2nd ed.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994), 39-40. 6 A 1st class conditional clause, presuming reality (Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 690ff.). 7 Despite the usual translation Which (ones)? (NIV KJV ESV etc.), the Greek interrogative poi`o~ properly denotes a qualitative rather than identifying question (as with ti;~; Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 345f., especially n.85). 8 The neuter article to; introduces the 2nd table of the commandments (cf. Romans 13.9; R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew [NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007], 728 n.4). 9 Once again, some mss. assimilate the text to the other Synoptics. 10 Lupou;meno~ is an adverbial participle of manner (Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 628).

possessions. 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, Truly I say to you that a rich person will hardly12 enter the reign of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, a camel13 going through14 a needles eye is easier than a rich person entering into the reign of God15. 25 And when the disciples heard, they were flabbergasted16, saying, Who then is able to be saved? 26 And Jesus looked on17 and said to them, With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. 27 Then Peter, answering, said to him, Lookwe ourselves18 left everything and followed you; what then will be for us? 28 And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you that you yourselves, who have been following me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne19, you yourselves also will sit on twelve thrones, judging20 the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And all who have left houses or brothers or sisters


The periphrastic participial phrase h[n e[cwn amounts to an imperfect tense finite verb, conveying emphasis: he did have (See Voelz, Fundamental Greek, 70) 12 The translation is a deliberate wordplay on the Greek dusko;lw~, denoting both manner (with difficulty) and, in light of the context and the implication of Jesus assertion in verse 24, frequency (scarcely). 13 Some mss. read ka;milon (a rope, ships cable). Metzger (Textual Commentary, 40) notes that the two Greek words had become homophones. 14 The translation reflects that the infinitival phrase with dielqei`n is the subject of the verb ejstin, answering the question, What is easier? So also with eijselqei`n later in the verse. 15 This is the third (6.33; 12.28) of only five uses of the phrase basilei;a tou` qeou` in Matthew, who notoriously prefers b. tw`n oujranw`n (cf. verse 23), with no apparent difference. See Jeffrey A. Gibbs, Matthew (St. Louis: Concordia, 2006), 47 n.147. 16 The translation is a dynamic equivalent for the Greek, which literally reads extremely amazed. To this point in Matthews narrative, the crowds have been amazed (ejk plh;ssomai) by Jesus at 7.28 and 13.54, but no one has been extremely (sfo;dra) so. This is a hard saying of Jesus. 17 jEmble;ya~ is an attendant circumstance participle piggy-backing the main verb, ei[pen, and so is translated as a finite verb (Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 640ff.). 18 The pronoun hJmei`~ is emphatic, drawing a distinction between the disciples and the young man; cf. Jesus use of uJmei`~ in verse 28. 19 Literally throne of glory, it is an attributive (or Hebraic) genitive (Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 86f.). 20 Kri;nonte~ is a complementary participle, completing the thought of the main verb: you will sitjudging (Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 646). Another way to put it is that the reason for the sitting is the judging.

or fathers or mothers or children, for the sake of my name, will receive a hundredfold21 and inherit life eternal.


Variants reflect the parallel passage in Luke 18.30 (manifold). Metzger (A Textual Commentary, 40-41) cites external support and considerations involving Matthean dependence on Mark in preferring hundredfold.