Luke 12

twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Luke

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Luke 12
Uncial 0191 (K. 9031).jpg
Fragment of Uncial 0191, 6th century bilingual Greek-Coptic manuscript of the Gospels with text of Luke 11:51-12:5
BookGospel of Luke
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part3

Luke 12 is the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It records a number of teachings and parables told by Jesus Christ when "an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together", but addressed "first of all" to his disciples.[1][2] The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke composed this Gospel as well as the Acts of the Apostles.[3]


Codex Alexandrinus (c. AD 400-440), Luke 12:54-13:4.

The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 59 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

An innumerable multitude

In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. [1]

Scottish minister William Robertson Nicoll suggests this is "the largest crowd mentioned anywhere in the Gospels" [4] but Jesus speaks "first of all" to his disciples,[1] only turning to the multitude in verses 14-21, in response to a question from someone in the crowd, and again in verses 54-59. Peter asks (at verse 41) whether the parable of the faithful servant is addressed solely to the disciples or to the wider multitude (παντας, pantas: everyone).[5]

The Jerusalem Bible notes that an alternative reading would connect the word "first" with the succeeding statement: First of all, be on your guard ... (Greek: πρωτον προσεχετε εαυτοις, proton prosechete eautois).[6] Protestant commentator Heinrich Meyer likewise argues that "πρῶτον, before all, is to be taken with προσέχετε"; it does not belong to what precedes".[7]

Nicoll calls this passage (verses 1-12) an "exhortation to fearless utterance".[4]

Verse 2

For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.[8]

This verse matches Luke 8:17

For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.[9]

Parable of the Rich Fool

The Parable of the Rich Fool by Rembrandt, 1627.

Among the canonical gospels of the New Testament, this parable of Jesus appears only in Luke's Gospel. The parable reflects the foolishness of attaching too much importance to wealth. It is introduced by a member of the crowd listening to Jesus, who tries to enlist Jesus' help in a family financial dispute:[10]

One of the multitude said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.[11]

J. B. Lightfoot, Kuinoel (de:Christian Gottlieb Kühnöl), and others note and emphasise that he was "certainly no attendant of Jesus".[7] Meyer observes that he was "a Jew on whom the endowments and authority of Jesus produced such an impression that he thought he might be able to make use of Him in the matter of his inheritance", but considers that "whether he was a younger brother who grudged to the first-born his double share of the inheritance ... must be left in doubt".[7][12]

An abbreviated version of the parable appears in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas (Saying 63).[13]

The parable has been depicted by artists such as Rembrandt (illustrated), Jan Luyken, James Tissot, and David Teniers the Younger.

Do Not Worry

Seek the kingdom of God

Verse 31

But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.[14]

Similarly in Matthew 6:33, with a slightly longer text: Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.[15]

Verse 34

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.[16]

I came to bring fire to the earth

Verse 49

"I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" [17]

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges makes reference to an ‘unwritten saying’ of Christ, He who is near me is near the fire, which is recorded by Ignatius, Origen and Didymus.[18]

Make peace with your adversary

The final verses of the chapter (verses 57-59) make use of an illustration based on a pecuniary claim [7] heard before the magistrates' bench (Greek: ἄρχοντα, archonta, a Lukan word also appearing four times in the Acts of the Apostles):[19]

Verse 57

Even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? [20]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Luke 12:1
  2. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an Abbreviated Bible Commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1962.
  3. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  4. ^ a b Nicoll, W. R., Expositor's Greek Testament on Luke 12, accessed 19 June 2018
  5. ^ Luke 12:41
  6. ^ Jerusalem Bible (1966), footnote a at Luke 12:1
  7. ^ a b c d Meyer, H. A. W. (1880), Meyer's N T Commentary on Luke 12, accessed 23 June 2018
  8. ^ Luke 12:1
  9. ^ Jerusalem Bible, Luke 12:2
  10. ^ Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, Eerdmans, 1997, ISBN 0-8028-2315-7, pp. 487–491.
  11. ^ Luke 12:13
  12. ^ Sherpin, Y., Why (and How) Does the Firstborn Get a Double Inheritance?,, accessed 30 July 2020
  13. ^ Gospel of Thomas: Lamb translation and Patterson/Meyer translation
  14. ^ Luke 12:31 KJV
  15. ^ Matthew 6:33
  16. ^ Luke 12:34 KJV
  17. ^ Luke 12:49 NRSV
  18. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Luke 12, accessed 19 August 2018
  19. ^ Englishman's Concordance, ἄρχοντα, accessed 23 June 2018
  20. ^ Luke 12:57 NKJV

External links

Preceded by
Luke 11
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of Luke
Succeeded by
Luke 13
Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Luke 12