The Meaning of Luke 5:17 Explained

Luke 5:17

KJV: And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

YLT: And it came to pass, on one of the days, that he was teaching, and there were sitting by Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who were come out of every village of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was -- to heal them.

Darby: And it came to pass on one of the days, that he was teaching, and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and out of Jerusalem; and the Lord's power was there to heal them.

ASV: And it came to pass on one of those days, that he was teaching; and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.

What does Luke 5:17 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Again Luke stressed the priority of Jesus" teaching ministry. The Pharisees and scribes had come to hear what He was teaching. These men, first appearing in Luke here, were the guardians of Israel"s orthodoxy. The Pharisees were a political party in Israel noted for their strict observance of the Mosaic Law as traditionally interpreted by the rabbis. Some of these doctors of the law (i.e, scribes, lawyers) were probably Pharisees, but probably not all of them were. The figure is a hendiadys indicating that they were religious watchdogs and does not mean that other religious leaders were absent. A hendiadys is a figure of speech in which someone expresses a complex idea by naming two entities and linking them with a conjunction. Thus scribes and Pharisees means religious leaders but does not imply that other religious leaders such as the Sadducees were absent. [1]
Luke viewed the power of God as extrinsic to Jesus (cf. John 5:1-19). Jesus did not perform miracles out of His divine nature. He laid those powers aside at the Incarnation. Rather He did His miracles in the power of God"s Spirit who was on Him and in Him as a prophet.
"Why would Luke say that "the power of the Lord was present for him to heal" if Jesus could heal at any time, under any condition, and solely at his own discretion? This statement only makes sense if we view healing as the sovereign prerogative of God the Father, who sometimes dispenses his power to heal and at other times withholds it." [2]
In Acts , Luke would stress that the same Spirit is on and in every believer today, and He is the source of our power as He was the source of Jesus" power.

Context Summary

Luke 5:12-26 - Cleansing, Power And Pardon
Jesus did not hesitate to touch the leper, because He could no more be polluted by uncleanness than could a ray of light by passing through a fetid atmosphere. The question is never in can or will, as applied to Christ, but whether we will trust Him and can believe.
The Mosaic offering was a pair of birds, one of which was killed over running water; while the other, having been dipped into this mingled blood and water, was freed to fly away in its native air. Is not this the meet emblem of the forgiven and cleansed soul? See Leviticus 14:2-32.
At first the bed bore the paralytic, but after the power of Jesus had entered into him, he bore the bed. So Jesus pours His energy into our anemic natures, and we master what had mastered us. The miracle in the physical sphere, which men could test, approved His power in the realm of the spiritual, where only the forgiven one could actually know.
Do not forget to withdraw from the crowd, however eager it is, that you may pray, Luke 5:16. [source]

Chapter Summary: Luke 5

1  Jesus teaches the people out of Peter's ship;
4  shows how he will make them fishers of men;
12  cleanses the leper;
16  prays in the desert;
17  heals a paralytic;
27  calls Matthew the tax collector;
29  eats with sinners, as being the physician of souls;
33  foretells the fasting and afflictions of the apostles after his ascension;
36  and illustrates the matter by the parable of patches

Greek Commentary for Luke 5:17

That [και]
Use of και — kai = οτι — hoti (that) like the Hebrew αυτος — wav though found in Greek also. [source]
He [αυτος]
Luke sometimes has ην διδασκων — autos in the nominative as unemphatic “he” as here, not “he himself.”Was teaching (ησαν κατημενοι — ēn didaskōn). Periphrastic imperfect again like our English idiom.Were sitting by Periphrastic imperfect again. There is no “by” in the Greek.Doctors of the law (ιεροδιδασκαλος — nomodidaskaloi). A compound word formed after analogy of γραμματεις — hierodidaskalos but not found outside of the N.T. and ecclesiastical writers, one of the very few words apparently N.T. in usage. It appears here and Acts 5:34; 1 Timothy 1:7. It is not likely that Luke and Paul made the word, but they simply used the term already in current use to describe teachers and interpreters of the law. Our word “doctor” is Latin for “teacher.” These “teachers of the law” are called elsewhere in the Gospels “scribes” (νομικος — grammateis) as in Matthew and Mark (See note on Matthew 5:20; Matthew 23:34) and Luke 5:21; Luke 19:47; Luke 21:1; Luke 22:2. Luke also employs νομος — nomikos (one skilled in the law, οι γραμματεις και οι Παρισαιοι — nomos) as in Luke 10:25. One thinks of our LL.D. (Doctors of Civil and Canon Law), for both were combined in Jewish law. They were usually Pharisees (mentioned here for the first time in Luke) for which see note on Matthew 3:7, note on Matthew 5:20. Luke will often speak of the Pharisees hereafter. Not all the “Pharisees” were “teachers of the law” so that both terms often occur together as in Luke 5:21 where Luke has separate articles (οι ησαν εληλυτοτες — hoi grammateis kai hoi Pharisaioi), distinguishing between them, though one article may occur as in Matthew 5:20 or no article as here in Matthew 5:17. Luke alone mentions the presence here of these Pharisees and doctors of the law “which were come” (εκ πασης κωμης της Γαλιλαιας και Ιουδαιας και Ιερουσαλημ — hoi ēsan elēluthotes periphrastic past perfect active, had come).Out of every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem Edersheim (Jewish Social Life) observes that the Jews distinguished Jerusalem as a separate district in Judea. Plummer considers it hyperbole in Luke to use “every village.” But one must recall that Jesus had already made one tour of Galilee which stirred the Pharisees and rabbis to active opposition. Judea had already been aroused and Jerusalem was the headquarters of the definite campaign now organized against Jesus. One must bear in mind that John 4:1-4 shows that Jesus had already left Jerusalem and Judea because of the jealousy of the Pharisees. They are here on purpose to find fault and to make charges against Jesus. One must not forget that there were many kinds of Pharisees and that not all of them were as bad as these legalistic and punctilious hypocrites who deserved the indictment and exposure of Christ in Matthew 23. Paul himself is a specimen of the finer type of Pharisee which, however, developed into the persecuting fanatic till Jesus changed his whole life.The power of the Lord was with him to heal (Κυριου — dunamis Kuriou ēn eis to iāsthai auton). So the best texts. It is neat Greek, but awkward English: “Then was the power of the Lord for the healing as to him (Jesus).” Here δυναμεις — Kuriou refers to Jehovah.Dunamis (dynamite) is one of the common words for “miracles” What Luke means is that Jesus had the power of the Lord God to heal with. He does not mean that this power was intermittent. He simply calls attention to its presence with Jesus on this occasion. [source]
Was teaching [ησαν κατημενοι]
Periphrastic imperfect again like our English idiom. [source]
Were sitting by [νομοδιδασκαλοι]
Periphrastic imperfect again. There is no “by” in the Greek.Doctors of the law (ιεροδιδασκαλος — nomodidaskaloi). A compound word formed after analogy of γραμματεις — hierodidaskalos but not found outside of the N.T. and ecclesiastical writers, one of the very few words apparently N.T. in usage. It appears here and Acts 5:34; 1 Timothy 1:7. It is not likely that Luke and Paul made the word, but they simply used the term already in current use to describe teachers and interpreters of the law. Our word “doctor” is Latin for “teacher.” These “teachers of the law” are called elsewhere in the Gospels “scribes” (νομικος — grammateis) as in Matthew and Mark (See note on Matthew 5:20; Matthew 23:34) and Luke 5:21; Luke 19:47; Luke 21:1; Luke 22:2. Luke also employs νομος — nomikos (one skilled in the law, οι γραμματεις και οι Παρισαιοι — nomos) as in Luke 10:25. One thinks of our LL.D. (Doctors of Civil and Canon Law), for both were combined in Jewish law. They were usually Pharisees (mentioned here for the first time in Luke) for which see note on Matthew 3:7, note on Matthew 5:20. Luke will often speak of the Pharisees hereafter. Not all the “Pharisees” were “teachers of the law” so that both terms often occur together as in Luke 5:21 where Luke has separate articles (οι ησαν εληλυτοτες — hoi grammateis kai hoi Pharisaioi), distinguishing between them, though one article may occur as in Matthew 5:20 or no article as here in Matthew 5:17. Luke alone mentions the presence here of these Pharisees and doctors of the law “which were come” (εκ πασης κωμης της Γαλιλαιας και Ιουδαιας και Ιερουσαλημ — hoi ēsan elēluthotes periphrastic past perfect active, had come).Out of every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem Edersheim (Jewish Social Life) observes that the Jews distinguished Jerusalem as a separate district in Judea. Plummer considers it hyperbole in Luke to use “every village.” But one must recall that Jesus had already made one tour of Galilee which stirred the Pharisees and rabbis to active opposition. Judea had already been aroused and Jerusalem was the headquarters of the definite campaign now organized against Jesus. One must bear in mind that John 4:1-4 shows that Jesus had already left Jerusalem and Judea because of the jealousy of the Pharisees. They are here on purpose to find fault and to make charges against Jesus. One must not forget that there were many kinds of Pharisees and that not all of them were as bad as these legalistic and punctilious hypocrites who deserved the indictment and exposure of Christ in Matthew 23. Paul himself is a specimen of the finer type of Pharisee which, however, developed into the persecuting fanatic till Jesus changed his whole life.The power of the Lord was with him to heal (Κυριου — dunamis Kuriou ēn eis to iāsthai auton). So the best texts. It is neat Greek, but awkward English: “Then was the power of the Lord for the healing as to him (Jesus).” Here δυναμεις — Kuriou refers to Jehovah.Dunamis (dynamite) is one of the common words for “miracles” What Luke means is that Jesus had the power of the Lord God to heal with. He does not mean that this power was intermittent. He simply calls attention to its presence with Jesus on this occasion. [source]
Doctors of the law [ιεροδιδασκαλος]
A compound word formed after analogy of γραμματεις — hierodidaskalos but not found outside of the N.T. and ecclesiastical writers, one of the very few words apparently N.T. in usage. It appears here and Acts 5:34; 1 Timothy 1:7. It is not likely that Luke and Paul made the word, but they simply used the term already in current use to describe teachers and interpreters of the law. Our word “doctor” is Latin for “teacher.” These “teachers of the law” are called elsewhere in the Gospels “scribes” (νομικος — grammateis) as in Matthew and Mark (See note on Matthew 5:20; Matthew 23:34) and Luke 5:21; Luke 19:47; Luke 21:1; Luke 22:2. Luke also employs νομος — nomikos (one skilled in the law, οι γραμματεις και οι Παρισαιοι — nomos) as in Luke 10:25. One thinks of our LL.D. (Doctors of Civil and Canon Law), for both were combined in Jewish law. They were usually Pharisees (mentioned here for the first time in Luke) for which see note on Matthew 3:7, note on Matthew 5:20. Luke will often speak of the Pharisees hereafter. Not all the “Pharisees” were “teachers of the law” so that both terms often occur together as in Luke 5:21 where Luke has separate articles (οι ησαν εληλυτοτες — hoi grammateis kai hoi Pharisaioi), distinguishing between them, though one article may occur as in Matthew 5:20 or no article as here in Matthew 5:17. Luke alone mentions the presence here of these Pharisees and doctors of the law “which were come” (εκ πασης κωμης της Γαλιλαιας και Ιουδαιας και Ιερουσαλημ — hoi ēsan elēluthotes periphrastic past perfect active, had come). [source]
Out of every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem [δυναμις Κυριου ην εις το ιασται αυτον]
Edersheim (Jewish Social Life) observes that the Jews distinguished Jerusalem as a separate district in Judea. Plummer considers it hyperbole in Luke to use “every village.” But one must recall that Jesus had already made one tour of Galilee which stirred the Pharisees and rabbis to active opposition. Judea had already been aroused and Jerusalem was the headquarters of the definite campaign now organized against Jesus. One must bear in mind that John 4:1-4 shows that Jesus had already left Jerusalem and Judea because of the jealousy of the Pharisees. They are here on purpose to find fault and to make charges against Jesus. One must not forget that there were many kinds of Pharisees and that not all of them were as bad as these legalistic and punctilious hypocrites who deserved the indictment and exposure of Christ in Matthew 23. Paul himself is a specimen of the finer type of Pharisee which, however, developed into the persecuting fanatic till Jesus changed his whole life.The power of the Lord was with him to heal (Κυριου — dunamis Kuriou ēn eis to iāsthai auton). So the best texts. It is neat Greek, but awkward English: “Then was the power of the Lord for the healing as to him (Jesus).” Here δυναμεις — Kuriou refers to Jehovah.Dunamis (dynamite) is one of the common words for “miracles” What Luke means is that Jesus had the power of the Lord God to heal with. He does not mean that this power was intermittent. He simply calls attention to its presence with Jesus on this occasion. [source]
The power of the Lord was with him to heal [Κυριου]
So the best texts. It is neat Greek, but awkward English: “Then was the power of the Lord for the healing as to him (Jesus).” Here δυναμεις — Kuriou refers to Jehovah. [source]
Dunamis [dynamite)]
(dynamite) is one of the common words for “miracles” What Luke means is that Jesus had the power of the Lord God to heal with. He does not mean that this power was intermittent. He simply calls attention to its presence with Jesus on this occasion. [source]
He was teaching []
The pronoun has a slightly emphatic force: he as distinguished from the Pharisees and teachers of the law. [source]
Doctors of the law [νομοδιδάσκαλοι]
Only in Luke and 1 Timothy 1:7. Luke often uses νομικὸς , conversant with the law, but in the other word the element of teaching is emphasized, probably in intentional contrast with Christ's teaching. [source]
Judaea and Jerusalem []
The Rabbinical writers divided Judaea proper into three parts - mountain, sea-shore, and valley - Jerusalem being regarded as a separate district. “Only one intimately acquainted with the state of matters at the time, would, with the Rabbis, have distinguished Jerusalem as a district separate from all the rest of Judaea, as Luke markedly does on several occasions (Acts 1:8; Acts 10:39)” (Edersheim, “Jew ish Social Life”). [source]
Was present to heal them []
The A. V. follows the reading, αὐτούς , them; i.e., the sufferers who were present, referring back to Luke 5:15. The best texts, however, read αὐτόν , him, referring to Christ, and meaning was present that he should heal; i.e., in aid of his healing. So Rev. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Luke 5:17

Matthew 9:2 They brought [προσεπερον]
Imperfect, “were bringing,” graphic picture made very vivid by the details in Mark 2:1-4 and Luke 5:17. [source]
Luke 6:17 Judaea and Jerusalem []
See on Luke 5:17. [source]
Luke 5:15 To be healed [θεραπεύεσθαι]
Originally, to be an attendant, to do service; and therefore of a physician, to attend upon, or treat medically. In classical writers it has also the meaning to heal, as undoubtedly in the New Testament, and in Luke (Luke 13:14; Acts 4:14, etc.). See on Matthew 8:7, and compare ἰαομαι , to heal, in Luke 5:17. [source]
Acts 5:34 Gamaliel [Γαμαλιηλ]
The grandson of Hillel, teacher of Paul (Acts 22:3), later president of the Sanhedrin, and the first of the seven rabbis termed “Rabban.” It is held by some that he was one of the doctors who heard the Boy Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:47) and that he was a secret disciple like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, but there is no evidence of either position. Besides, he appears here as a loyal Pharisee and “a doctor of the law” This word appears already in Luke 5:17 of the Pharisaic doctors bent on criticizing Jesus, which see. Paul uses it of Judaizing Christians (1 Timothy 1:7). Like other great rabbis he had a great saying: “Procure thyself a teacher, avoid being in doubt; and do not accustom thyself to give tithes by guess.” He was a man of judicial temper and not prone to go off at a tangent, though his brilliant young pupil Saul went to the limit about Stephen without any restraint on the part of Gamaliel so far as the record goes. Gamaliel champions the cause of the apostles as a Pharisee to score a point against the Sadducees. He acts as a theological opportunist, not as a disciple of Christ. He felt that a temporizing policy was best. There are difficulties in this speech of Gamaliel and it is not clear how Luke obtained the data for the address. It is, of course, possible that Saul was present and made notes of it for Luke afterwards. [source]
1 Timothy 1:7 Teachers of the law [νομοδιδάσκαλοι]
oP. It occurs in Luke 5:17and Acts 5:34. Νόμος is, apparently, the Mosaic law. These teachers may have been arbitrary interpreters of that law, but in what way, cannot be shown. [source]
1 Timothy 1:7 Teachers of the law [νομοδιδασκαλοι]
Compound only in N.T. (here, Luke 5:17; Acts 5:34) and ecclesiastical writers. [source]

What do the individual words in Luke 5:17 mean?

And it came to pass on one of the days that He was teaching there were sitting by Pharisees teachers of the law who were come out of every village - of Galilee of Judea of Jerusalem [the] power of [the] Lord was [there] for - to heal Him
Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν διδάσκων ἦσαν καθήμενοι Φαρισαῖοι νομοδιδάσκαλοι οἳ ἦσαν ἐληλυθότες ἐκ πάσης κώμης τῆς Γαλιλαίας Ἰουδαίας Ἰερουσαλήμ δύναμις Κυρίου ἦν εἰς τὸ ἰᾶσθαι αὐτόν

ἐγένετο  it  came  to  pass 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: γίνομαι  
Sense: to become, i.
μιᾷ  one 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἡμερῶν  days 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Plural
Root: ἡμέρα  
Sense: the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night.
καὶ  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: καί  
Sense: and, also, even, indeed, but.
διδάσκων  teaching 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: διδάσκω  
Sense: to teach.
ἦσαν  there  were 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
καθήμενοι  sitting  by 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: κάθημαι  
Sense: to sit down, seat one’s self.
Φαρισαῖοι  Pharisees 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: Φαρισαῖος  
Sense: A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile.
νομοδιδάσκαλοι  teachers  of  the  law 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: νομοδιδάσκαλος  
Sense: a teacher and interpreter of the law: among the Jews.
ἐληλυθότες  come 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἔρχομαι  
Sense: to come.
ἐκ  out  of 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐκ 
Sense: out of, from, by, away from.
πάσης  every 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: πᾶς  
Sense: individually.
κώμης  village 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: κώμη  
Sense: the common sleeping place to which labourers in the field return, a village.
τῆς  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Γαλιλαίας  of  Galilee 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: Γαλιλαία  
Sense: the name of a region of northern Palestine, bounded on the north by Syria, on the west by Sidon, Tyre, Ptolemais and their territories and the promontory of Carmel, on the south by Samaria and on the east by the Jordan.
Ἰουδαίας  of  Judea 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: Ἰουδαία  
Sense: in a narrower sense, to the southern portion of Palestine lying on this side of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, to distinguish it from Samaria, Galilee, Peraea, and Idumaea.
Ἰερουσαλήμ  of  Jerusalem 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: Ἰερουσαλήμ  
Sense: denotes either the city itself or the inhabitants.
δύναμις  [the]  power 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: δύναμις  
Sense: strength power, ability.
Κυρίου  of  [the]  Lord 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: κύριος  
Sense: he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.
ἦν  was  [there] 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
τὸ  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἰᾶσθαι  to  heal 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Middle or Passive
Root: ἰάομαι  
Sense: to cure, heal.