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Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

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Luke 3:23

Jesus Himself (autov Ihsouv).
Emphatic intensive pronoun calling attention to the personality of Jesus at this juncture. When he entered upon his Messianic work.

When he began to teach (arxomenov).
The words "to teach" are not in the Greek text. The Authorized Version "began to be about thirty years of age," is an impossible translation. The Revised Version rightly supplies "to teach" (didaskein) after the present participle arxomenov. Either the infinitive or the participle can follow arxomai, usually the infinitive in the Koine. It is not necessary to supply anything (Acts 1:22).

Was about thirty years of age (hn wsei etwn triakonta).
Tyndale has it right "Jesus was about thirty yere of age when he beganne." Luke does not commit himself definitely to precisely thirty years as the age of Christ. The Levites entered upon full service at that age, but that proves nothing about Jesus. God's prophets enter upon their task when the word of God comes to them. Jesus may have been a few months under or over thirty or a year or two less or more.

Being Son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli (wn uiov wv enomizeto Iwshp tou Helei).
For the discussion of the genealogy of Jesus see on Matthew 1:1-17. The two genealogies differ very widely and many theories have been proposed about them. At once one notices that Luke begins with Jesus and goes back to Adam, the Son of God, while Matthew begins with Abraham and comes to "Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ" (Matthew 1:16). Matthew employs the word "begot" each time, while Luke has the article tou repeating uiou (Son) except before Joseph. They agree in the mention of Joseph, but Matthew says that "Jacob begat Joseph" while Luke calls "Joseph the son of Heli." There are other differences, but this one makes one pause. Joseph, of course, did not have two fathers. If we understand Luke to be giving the real genealogy of Jesus through Mary, the matter is simple enough. The two genealogies differ from Joseph to David except in the cases of Zorobabel and Salathiel. Luke evidently means to suggest something unusual in his genealogy by the use of the phrase "as was supposed" (wv enomizeto). His own narrative in Luke 1:26-38 has shown that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. Plummer objects that, if Luke is giving the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, uiov must be used in two senses here (son as was supposed of Joseph, and grandson through Mary of Heli). But that is not an unheard of thing. In neither list does Matthew or Luke give a complete genealogy. Just as Matthew uses "begat" for descent, so does Luke employ "son" in the same way for descendant. It was natural for Matthew, writing for Jews, to give the legal genealogy through Joseph, though he took pains to show in Matthew 1:16,18-25 that Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus. It was equally natural for Luke, a Greek himself and writing for the whole world, to give the actual genealogy of Jesus through Mary. It is in harmony with Pauline universality (Plummer) that Luke carries the genealogy back to Adam and does not stop with Abraham. It is not clear why Luke adds "the Son of God" after Adam (3:38). Certainly he does not mean that Jesus is the Son of God only in the sense that Adam is. Possibly he wishes to dispose of the heathen myths about the origin of man and to show that God is the Creator of the whole human race, Father of all men in that sense. No mere animal origin of man is in harmony with this conception.

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 3:23". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/rwp/view.cgi?book=lu&chapter=003&verse=023>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.

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