Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Luke 10:29

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Willing to justify himself - Wishing to make it appear that he was a righteous man, and that consequently he was in the straight road to the kingdom of God, said, Who is my neighbor? supposing our Lord would have at once answered, "Every Jew is to be considered as such, and the Jews only." Now as he imagined he had never been deficient in his conduct to any person of his own nation, he thought he had amply fulfilled the law. This is the sense in which the Jews understood the word neighbor, as may be seen from Leviticus 19:15-18. But our Lord shows here, that the acts of kindness which a man is bound to perform to his neighbor when in distress, he should perform to any person, of whatever nation, religion, or kindred, whom he finds in necessity. As the word πλησιον signifies one who is near, Anglo Saxon, he that is next, this very circumstance makes any person our neighbor whom we know; and, if in distress, an object of our most compassionate regards. If a man came from the most distant part of the earth, the moment he is near you he has a claim upon your mercy and kindness, as you would have on his, were your dwelling-place transferred to his native country. It is evident that our Lord uses the word πλησιον (very properly translated neighbor, from nae or naer, near, and buer, to dwell) in its plain, literal sense. Any person whom you know, who dwells hard by, or who passes near you, is your neighbor while within your reach.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

To justify himself - Desirous to appear blameless, or to vindicate himself, and show that he had kept the law. Jesus wished to lead him to a proper view of his own sinfulness, and his real departure from the law. The man was desirous of showing that he had kept the law; or perhaps he was desirous of justifying himself for asking the question; of showing that it could not be so easily settled; that a mere reference to the “words” of the law did not determine it. It was still a question what was meant by “neighbor.” The Pharisees held that the “Jews” only were to be regarded as such, and that the obligation did not extend at all to the Gentiles. The lawyer was probably ready to affirm that he had discharged faithfully his duty to his countrymen, and had thus kept the law, and could justify himself. Every sinner is desirous of “justifying himself.” He seeks to do it by his own works. For this purpose he perverts the meaning of the law, destroys its spirituality, and brings “down” the law to “his” standard, rather than attempt to frame his life by “its” requirements.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
If we speak of eternal life, and the way to it, in a careless manner, we take the name of God in vain. No one will ever love God and his neighbour with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace. But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions. Christ gave an instance of a poor Jew in distress, relieved by a good Samaritan. This poor man fell among thieves, who left him about to die of his wounds. He was slighted by those who should have been his friends, and was cared for by a stranger, a Samaritan, of the nation which the Jews most despised and detested, and would have no dealings with. It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others. But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ's image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbour as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction. It also sets forth the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward sinful, miserable men. We were like this poor, distressed traveller. Satan, our enemy, has robbed us, and wounded us: such is the mischief sin has done us. The blessed Jesus had compassion on us. The believer considers that Jesus loved him, and gave his life for him, when an enemy and a rebel; and having shown him mercy, he bids him go and do likewise. It is the duty of us all , in our places, and according to our ability, to succour, help, and relieve all that are in distress and necessity.
Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 215.3

If there were not another text in the Bible, this statement carries sufficient light and knowledge and assurance for every soul. The lawyer had answered his own question, but willing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (Verse 29). Then by the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ showed who is our neighbor, and gives us an example of the love we should manifest toward those suffering and in need. The priest and Levite, whose duty it was to minister to the needs of the stranger, passed by on the other side. UL 215.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 294

In the invitation to the gospel supper the Lord Jesus has specified the work to be done—the work that the churches in every locality, north, south, east, and west, should do. 6T 294.1

The churches need to have their eyes anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, that they may see the many opportunities all about them to minister for God. Repeatedly God has called upon His people to go out into the highways and hedges, and compel men to come in, that His house may be full; yet even within the shadow of our own doors are families in which we have not shown sufficient interest to lead them to think that we cared for their souls. It is this work lying nearest us that the Lord now calls upon the church to undertake. We are not to stand, saying: “Who is my neighbor?” We are to remember that our neighbor is the one who most needs our sympathy and help. Our neighbor is every soul who is wounded and bruised by the adversary. Our neighbor is everyone who is the property of God. In Christ the distinctions made by the Jews as to who was their neighbor are swept away. There are no territorial lines, no artificial distinctions, no caste, no aristocracy. 6T 294.2

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Ellen G. White
My Life Today, 232

Being a Good Neighbor

But he ... said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? Luke 10:29 ML 232.1

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 184.4

“Who is my neighbour?” ... He is the very one who needs help the most. Thy brother, sick in spirit, needs you as you needed him. He needs the experience of one who has been as weak as himself, who can sympathize with and help him. The very knowledge of his own weakness helps that one to help another in his weakness. OHC 184.4

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