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The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.

Overview of Commentary Organization

  • Introduction—covers issues pertaining to the whole book, including context, date, authorship, composition, interpretive issues, purpose, and theology.
  • Each section of the commentary includes:
  • Pericope Bibliography—a helpful resource containing the most important works that pertain to each particular pericope.
  • Translation—the author’s own translation of the biblical text, reflecting the end result of exegesis and attending to Hebrew and Greek idiomatic usage of words, phrases, and tenses, yet in reasonably good English.
  • Notes—the author’s notes to the translation that address any textual variants, grammatical forms, syntactical constructions, basic meanings of words, and problems of translation.
  • Form/Structure/Setting—a discussion of redaction, genre, sources, and tradition as they concern the origin of the pericope, its canonical form, and its relation to the biblical and extra-biblical contexts in order to illuminate the structure and character of the pericope. Rhetorical or compositional features important to understanding the passage are also introduced here.
  • Comment—verse-by-verse interpretation of the text and dialogue with other interpreters, engaging with current opinion and scholarly research.
  • Explanation—brings together all the results of the discussion in previous sections to expose the meaning and intention of the text at several levels: (1) within the context of the book itself; (2) its meaning in the OT or NT; (3) its place in the entire canon; (4) theological relevance to broader OT or NT issues.
    • General Bibliography—occurring at the end of each volume, this extensive bibliographycontains all sources used anywhere in the commentary.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310521952
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 04/07/2015
Series: Word Biblical Commentary
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

John Nolland is Vice Principal and Head of Biblical Studies as well as Lecturer in New Testament Studies at Trinity Collge, Bristol, England. He holds S.Sc. (Hons.) from University of New England (Australia), the Th.L. from the Australian College of Theology, The B.D. from the University of London, the Ph.D. from Cambridge University, and the Dip.Th. from Moore Theological College. His numerous articles have been published in Revue de Qumran, The journal of Theological Studies, Vigiliae Christianae, Journal of Biblical Literature, Novum Testamentum, New Testament Studies, and The Journal for the Study of Judaism.

Bruce M. Metzger (1914 – 2007) was a biblical scholar, textual critic, and a longtime professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. Metzger is widely considered one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the 20th century. He was a general editor of the Word Biblical Commentary (1997 - 2007).

David Allan Hubbard (1928 – 1996), former president and professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, was a recognized biblical scholar. In addition to over 30 books, he has written numerous articles for journals, periodicals, reference works. He was a general editor of the Word Biblical Commentary (1977 - 1996).

Glenn W. Barker (d. 1984) was a general editor of the Word Biblical Commentary (1977 - 1984).

John D. W. Watts (1921 – 2013) was President of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Ruschlikon, Switzerland, and served as Professor of Old Testament at that institution, at Fuller Theological Seminary, and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His numerous publications include commentaries on Isaiah (2 volumes), Amos, and Obadiah. He was Old Testament editor of the Word Biblical Commentary (1977 - 2011).

James W. Watts is a professor and chair of the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His teaching and research interests include biblical studies, especially the Torah/Pentateuch, ritual theories, rhetorical analysis, and comparative scriptures studies. He is a co-founder of the Iconic Books Project. He had served as the associate Old Testament editor of the Word Biblical Commentary (1997 - 2011).

Ralph P. Martin (1925-2013) was Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Fuller Theological Seminary and a New Testament Editor for the Word Biblical Commentary series. He earned the BA and MA from the University of Manchester, England, and the Ph D from King's College, University of London. He was the author of numerous studies and commentaries on the New Testament, including Worship in the Early Church, the volume on Philippians in The Tyndale New Testament Commentary series. He also wrote 2 Corinthians and James in the WBC series.

Lynn Allan Losie is Associate Professor of New Testament at Azusa Pacific University. A generalist in New Testament studies, Dr. Losie teaches courses in the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Pauline Epistles, as well as in the background areas of Greek, early Judaism, and the greater Hellenistic World. He has published articles on the New Testament and had served as the associate New Testament editor of the Word Biblical Commentary (1997 - 2013). Ordained as a Baptist minister, he has also served in pastoral ministry in Southern California and Oregon.

Read an Excerpt

Luke 18:35-24:53, Volume 35C

By John Nolland, Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, Glenn W. Barker


Copyright © 1993 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-52195-2


Reaching the City of Destiny (18:35–19:46)

Jesus makes his way to the city as a royal figure, but ultimately as one who must go into a far country to take full possession of his kingly power. Meanwhile he saves the lost and the blind, restores the temple to its sanctity as a place for prayer, and makes it the base for his own teaching ministry to all the People.

"Jesus, Son of David Have Mercy on Me!" (18:35–43)


The new section runs from 18:35 to 19:46. It has primarily a christological focus to which the "Son of David" of the present unit makes its own contribution.

The linked set of location markers contributes to the identification of the section here (18:35: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "when he drew near to Jericho"; 19:1: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "he entered and was passing through Jericho"; v 11: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "because he was near Jerusalem"; v 29: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "he went ahead going up to Jerusalem ... as he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany"; v 37: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "as he was drawing near to the descent of the Mount of Olives"; v 41: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "as he drew near, seeing the city"; v 45: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "entering the temple").

The inclusio effect around the Journey to Jerusalem narrative noted in the last several pericopes continues here: "Son of David" here in the first unit beyond the journey reintroduces the messianism that surfaced in the last unit before the section in which Luke introduced the journey narrative.

Luke passes over the material of Mark 10:35–45, but continues here with the Markan sequence in a version of Mark 10:46–52. Luke has changed the location of the episode, significantly abbreviated the account, clarified some of the obscurity of the Markan account, and added a doxological ending (for details see below).

The original unity of the Markan account has been questioned along a number of fronts. (i) Names are unusual in Gospel episodes, so both the location on the outskirts of Jericho and the name Bartimaeus have been seen as marks of later development, (ii) The disciples and the crowd are introduced rather awkwardly in v 46, so the presence of one and/or the other is often thought to be secondary, (in) Awkwardness has been sensed in the role of the "many" in v 48 and of the unspecified "they" of v 49, and this along with the unusual doubling of the appeal made by the blind man to Jesus has convinced many that w 48–49(50) represent a later development, (iv) The final statement about the man following Jesus in the way is normally considered secondary because it creates a tension with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] "go off/depart," earlier in the verse, (v) Finally, the uses of "Son of David" in the episode are generally thought to be additions because they are entirely unmotivated within the pericope, and, taken with other types of reference to Jesus in the pericope, create both a sense of overload and even a measure of tension (esp. between "Rabbouni" and "Son of David"). Of these, points ii, iv, and v are the most persuasive, though there is considerable difference of opinion about when and why "Son of David" was added to the pericope (for a brief and balanced discussion see Johnson, CBQ 40 [1978] 191–98, though I would be more inclined to retain w 48–49 in the original [the structural role is parallel to that of 2:4], and, despite his reservations, to attribute "Son of David" here to Mark [cf. Robbins, JBL 92 (1973) 224–43]; Steinhauser [NTS 32 (1986) 583–95; and cf. Achtemeier, Semeia 11 (1978) 115–45] has more recently argued for the unity of the whole as a call narrative, but the argument for the call form is far from compelling.)

The discussion about the right form-critical category to which one should assign this account has been inconclusive. The persistence of the blind man is too important for a pronouncement story and at least unusual for a miracle story. In the preserved form, the presence of "Son of David" has a confessional significance that moves beyond the normal range of a miracle story. Call narrative has been ruled out above. A modified miracle-story form seems to be best.

This is the only account in Luke of a restoration of sight (but see 7:21–22). Mark has as well 8:22—26, while Matthew has 9:27–31 (which is likely to be a secondary Matthean formulation). On the healing accounts generally, see at 4:38–39, and on their historicity, see further at 7:11—17; 8:22–25. There can be no doubt that Jesus was known as a healer and that people attributed extraordinary restorations to his power.


Jesus' power to heal is here shown to remain effective, faith is portrayed as persistent action on the conviction that God's help is to be found with Jesus, royal messianic categories are reintroduced with the blind man's "Son of David," and a popularity base for Jesus with all the People of God is brought to the fore.

35 Luke wants this pericope before 19:1–10, but Zacchaeus is more naturally located in the city so, starting from the Markan words at the beginning of 10:46, Luke relocates the encounter with the blind man from the time of exiting from Jericho to that of entry into Jericho. Luke takes the opportunity to introduce [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "to draw near," thus providing a root that he will use three more times in the introductory part of pericopes, or major sections of pericopes, in this section (see above; the verb is also introduced in v 40). Luke drops the mention of disciples, the crowd (he will introduce the crowd in v 36), and the (doubly given) name of the blind man and says that the man was begging, rather than that he was a beggar (Matthew has two unnamed blind people). Since Jericho and Jerusalem are linked already in the reader's mind by 10:30, the sense of approach to Jerusalem now begins to be represented geographically (cf. v 11). From 7:21–22, the reader is aware that from Jesus the blind receive their sight.

36–37 Luke elaborates on how the blind man comes to know that Jesus is passing by, in a manner that accentuates the conversational exchange that characterizes the whole account (with different changes he achieved much the same in 18:24–30). Mark's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] becomes [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (cf. Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 22:8; 26:9; the form is found also in Matthew 2:23; 26:71; John 18:5, 7; 19:19). Mark's form means unproblematically "a person from Nazareth," but the sense of the Lukan form remains uncertain. The main suggestions are that (i) it is merely a spelling variant for the Markan word; (ii) it is related to the Hebrew [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], nazîr, which is used in connection with those who take particular vows of consecration to God (see Num 6:1–21; but the Greek OT knows no such form); {iii) it is related to the Hebrew [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], neser.; "shoot/sprout," which could develop a messianic sense via Isa 11:1 (cf. Rev 22:16); (iv) the usage can be illuminated from the Mandean writings, which have the Aramaic [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], said to mean "observers," for a group related to John the Baptist (though this has the problematic long "o" that the other suggestions lack, its relevance seems doubtful; for further discussion of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] see R. E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah [Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977], 209–13, 223–25; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 1:275–84 [who both provide extensive bibliography]). At least for Luke, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is best taken in the same sense as the Markan term, though it is not at all unlikely that he has inadvertently used a spelling that is the product of Christian reflection on [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] or possibly [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (cf. esp. Matt 2:23). Mark's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "is," becomes [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "is passing by," which causes "Jesus the Nazarene" to be taken now as subject (movement toward Jerusalem is again underlined).

38 Luke changes the introduction here, dropping Mark's "he began," subordinating one of the verbs as a participle, and using [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in place of Mark's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to speak of the man's crying out. Luke also brings 'Jesus" forward to the beginning of the man's appeal. We are clearly meant to take "Son of David" as a royal messianic designation (see Pss. Sol. 17:22; and cf. Luke 1:27, 32: 2:4; 9:20). Despite the links between Solomon as son of David and exorcism in strands of Jewish tradition (as drawn attention to by K. Berger, "Die königlichen Messiastraditionen des Neuen Testaments," NTS 20 [1973–74] 1–44; D. C. Duling, "Solomon, Exorcism, and the Son of David," HTR 68 [1975] 235–52), there is no real basis for identifying a Jewish expectation of a Davidic healer. In connection with the inclusio around the Journey to Jerusalem narrative, some kind of parallelism with 9:20 is likely. Royal categories are to be important throughout this section. Jesus' own practice, experience, and expectations begin to redefine the expectations of royal messianism. We have seen earlier the role played by Isaianic traditions in Luke's redefinition of traditional messianic hopes (e.g., 3:4–6; 4:18–19; 7:22).

The rich man's appeal to Abraham was the same "have mercy on me" (16:24), and, expressed in the plural, the lepers say the same (17:13). Jesus describes the restoration of the demoniac in Mark 5:19 using the same language: "[the Lord] had mercy on you." The call is for compassionate treatment.

39 Mark's vague "many" is clarified as "those who were in the lead." Luke changes Mark's verb for "should be quiet" and adds an emphatic "he" to go with "cried out" (this time Luke keeps the verb he discarded in v 38). The language of rebuke and call to silence is reminiscent of Jesus' words to the demons (see 4:35), but this is a false trail. The role here of the vanguard of the crowd is, rather, comparable to that of the disciples in v 15 (and cf. 19:40). The man's persistence in the face of such opposition is an expression of his faith, which will be commended in v 42.

40 Mark's "he said, 'Call him'" becomes "he commanded him to be brought to him" (Luke's "to be brought" is appropriate for a blind man). The interchange of others with the blind man disappears, and Mark's graphic account of the man's coming is reduced to [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "when he had drawn near." Finally, the introduction to Jesus' question is simplified to "he asked him."

41 Luke does without [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "[the] blind man," and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] "to him," and replaces the Semitic [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "rabbouni," with the Kvpte, "Lord," which he frequently uses (the term means more than "Sir," but only takes on the full Christian meaning for those who are ready to confess Jesus as Lord; "Lord" sits more easily with "Son of David" than does Mark's "rabbouni" [equivalent to rabbi]). A plural form of the same question is addressed to the sons of Zebedee in Mark 10:35. There the answer revealed a request for places of glory, a request that Jesus was unable to honor; the request here is to be able to see again.

42 Luke omits Mark's "depart/go off" and compensates with "see again!" This moves the emphasis slightly from the effect of the man's faith onto the power and authority of Jesus' word (cf. 4:36). "Your faith has saved you" has already occurred at 7:50; 8:48: 17:19 (see discussion at those verses and also at 5:20). The faith is to be related to the persistence in the face of the crowd rather than immediately to the Son-of-David confession.

43 Luke prefers [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] (Lukan in sixteen of eighteen NT uses, mostly in the Gospel in connection with instantaneous cures) to Mark's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] for "immediately." In place of Mark's "in the way," Luke adds the wording from "glorifying God" to the end of the verse (this makes for a more typical miracle-story ending). The man now joins the disciple band on its way to Jerusalem (cf. the language of following in 18:22, 28; this man has nothing that he needs to leave!). "Glorifying God" is a refrain that runs through the Gospel account (cf. at 2:20). It is a recognition that God has been marvelously at work. The People's praise is their equivalent to the man's glorifying of God. A cognate role for "all the People" (God's people) comes again in 19:48 at the beginning of the next section and a third time in 21:38 at its end (the first is [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the second [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII and third, again, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). This beginning of Jesus' activity against a backdrop of broad-based Jewish affirmation is an important Lukan perspective for the passion to come.


The new section takes us through to 19:46 and is concerned with Jesus as a royal figure. As well as reintroducing that motif, this unit also challenges to a faith like that of the blind man and shows how Jesus honors such faith. The unit also points to the widespread Jewish recognition that God was mightily at work in and through Jesus.

The blind man would be on the pilgrim route through Jericho to Jerusalem—a good place to beg. The passing of a crowd piqued his curiosity, and his inquiry gained him the news that Jesus the Nazorean (probably meaning "coming from Nazareth") was passing by. Reader expectation is stirred by knowing already that from Jesus the blind receive their sight (7:21–22).

The man cries out to make himself heard and appeals for mercy (here more as compassion than in connection with forgiveness). He addresses Jesus as "Son of David," which must be taken as a messianic designation (see esp. 1:32 with its mention of "the throne of [Jesus'] father David"). Those in the vanguard of the crowd try to shut him up. Whether they think in terms of not delaying Jesus on his journey or of Jesus as too important to be bothered with such a one, or whether they are seeking to exercise some proprietary claim upon Jesus for themselves remains unclear. In any event, it is clear that for them this blind beggar is unimportant. But the man is not to be deterred. His voice simply becomes louder.

Jesus comes to a standstill and asks for the blind man to be brought (he will not be able easily to find his own way). As he reaches Jesus, he is asked what he wants and expresses, naturally enough, his wish to see again. Jesus points to the man's faith, demonstrated in his persistence to establish contact with Jesus despite all opposition. For Jesus this is key to his restoration. But there is a second key as well: Jesus has only to issue the command "see again," and the authority and power of his word are immediately evident.

The man at once joins the disciple band headed for Jerusalem, but unlike the rich man or even the Apostles (18:22, 28), he has nothing that he needs to leave behind. Not just the man himself but all the People (Luke uses this term technically of God's People, the Jews) recognize that God has been marvellously at work in their midst (Luke will reinforce this point at the beginning and the end of the next main section)."


Excerpted from Luke 18:35-24:53, Volume 35C by John Nolland, Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, Glenn W. Barker. Copyright © 1993 Thomas Nelson, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Editorial Preface, xi,
Author's Preface, xii,
Abbreviations, xv,
Commentary Bibliography, xxxiv,
General Bibliography, xxxvi,
Text and Commentary, 1,
Dedicatory Preface (1:1–4), 3,
The Infancy Prologue (1:5–2:52), 13,
Preparation for the Ministry ofjesus (3:1–4:13), 136,
Preaching in the Synagogues of the Jews (4:14–44), 184,
Making a Response to Jesus (5:1–6:16), 218,
A Sermon for the Disciples: The Status and Demands of Being the Eschatological People of God (6:17-49), 273,
Something Greater than John Is Here (7:1–50), 312,
Itinerant Preaching with the Twelve and the Women (8:1–9:20), 363,
Making Ready for the Trip to Jerusalem (9:21–50), 457,
Accompanying Jesus to Jerusalem (9:51–10:24), 532,
Love of God and Love of Neighbor (10:25–42), 578,
Confident Prayer to the Father (11:1–13), 607,
Conflict and Contrast (11:14–54), 633,
Preparing for the Coming Judgment (12:1–13:9), 673,
Reversals Now and to Come (13:10–14:35), 721,
That Which Was Lost Is Found (15:1–32), 767,
Use and Abuse of Riches (16:1–31), 792,
Fitting Response to the Demand and Working of the Kingdom of God (17:1–19), 834,
Who Will Be Ready When the Son of Man Comes? (17:20–18:8), 849,
Entering the Kingdom like a Child (18:9–30), 872,
"Everything Written about the Son of Man Will Be Carried Out" (18:31–34), 894,
Reaching the City of Destiny (18:35–19:46), 897,
Teaching Daily in the Temple (19:47–21:38), 939,
The Passion Narrative (22:1–23:56), 1016,
The Resurrection Narrative (24:1–53), 1168,
Bibliographical Addenda to Volume 35A, 1231,
Indexes, 1245,

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