Luke 6:38

38 Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back - given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

Luke 6:38 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 6:38

Give, and it shall be given unto you
Give liberally of your worldly substance to indigent persons, as you have an opportunity, according to your ability, and as cases require: and it shall be returned again to great advantage; with great recompense, either in temporals or spirituals, or both:

good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over,
shall men give into your bosom.
The allusion is to dry measure among the Jews, for to liquids, the terms used will not agree; and which, though right and full, which is here called good measure, they thrust and pressed to make it hold more; and shook it also for the same purpose, and then heaped it up as much as they could, till it fell over: of all these methods used in measuring, we have instances in their writings; which may serve to illustrate this passage: it is said of F1 one, that

``he measured, (hvwtk hdmb) , "with measure pressed down"; and therefore they measured to him, with measure pressed down.''

Some of their measures they heaped, and some they did not: they say {b};

``all the measures which were in the sanctuary, (twvwdgn) "were heaped", except the high priest's, and his heap was contained in it.''

And elsewhere they observe F3 that

``there were two decimaries (or tithing vessels) in the sanctuary, one was (vwdg) , "heaped", and the other was (qwxm) , "stricken": with that which was heaped they measured all the fine flour for the meat offerings, and with the stricken, that which was for the cakes of the high priest.''

With respect to this distinction of measures, they say it is a tradition of the Rabbins F4, that they do not "strike" in the place where

``they "heap", nor heap in the place where, they strike.''

Between these two measures there was another, which was full measure and just, and right, without heaping or striking F5, R. Papa inquired, whether the handful

``(of sweet incense the high priest took on the day of atonement) which is spoken of ( Leviticus 16:12 ) was of "stricken" or "heaped" measure; R. Abba said to R. Ase, come, hear, the handful spoken of, is neither of stricken nor heaped measure, (twpwpj ala) , "but of equal measure";''

sufficiently full, and no more. Dr. Lightfoot reads it, (twpwum) , "flowing over"; by what authority I cannot say; though the gloss says, the word signifies,

``flowing over, by reason of its height,''

But flowing or running over measure, was the same with that which was heaped, as appears from the following instance F6:

``all those that (hog hdmb Nyeypvmh) "cause to abound", or run over with the great "measure", it is lawful for them to sell that, of which it is doubted whether it has been tithed or not; and these are they, that "cause to run over", or "heap" with the great measure, as corn factors and fruiterers.''

Who buy corn and fruits to sell again, and which they buy by the large measure, and fill it up, add unto it, and heap it up; and so get more than what is properly due unto them, as the commentators observe F7: would you know the quantity of the heap, or that which ran over, or the difference between even measure, and that which was heaped, learn, it from hence: in ( 1 Kings 7:26 ) it is said, the molten sea held two thousand baths, and in ( 2 Chronicles 4:5 ) three thousand baths; which difficulty the Jewish writers solve this way, by observing, that the former text is to be understood of liquid measure, and the latter of dry measure, which was heaped: hence says R. Abai, we learn that, (ywh atlt avdwg) , "the heap is the third part" of the measure F8: now to this superabundant measure, Christ here refers; and signifies, that a large compensation should be made to such, who give liberally and generously to needy persons; that as they abounded in their acts of beneficence, so an overflowing plenty of good things should be returned to them: and when he says, that this should be "given into their bosom", he alludes to the long and large garments the Jews wore, into which they were capable of receiving large lapfuls of good things: the words may be read impersonally, "shall be given into your bosom"; or if personally, they may be understood of God, angels, and men, in different senses: the phrase "shaken together", is not in the Syriac and Persic versions: "for with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again"; a common proverb with the Jews: (See Gill on Matthew 7:2).


F1 T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 107. 2. T. Hieros. Yebamot, fol. 13. 3.
F2 Misn. Menachot, c. 9. sect. 5.
F3 T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 37. 1, 2.
F4 T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 89. 1.
F5 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 48. 1.
F6 Misn. Demai, c. 2. sect. 4.
F7 Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
F8 T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 14. 2. Vid Targum, Jarchi, Kimchi, & R. Levi ben Getshorn, in 1 Kings vii. 26. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 11. fol. 204. 3.

Luke 6:38 In-Context

36 Our Father is kind; you be kind.
37 "Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier.
38 Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back - given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."
39 He quoted a proverb: "'Can a blind man guide a blind man?' Wouldn't they both end up in the ditch?
40 An apprentice doesn't lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.

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Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.