Luke 7:47

47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little."

Luke 7:47 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 7:47

Wherefore I say unto thee
Not "for this that she hath done", as the Persic version very wrongly renders it; not because she had washed Christ's feet with tears, and wiped them with her hairs, and kissed and anointed them, therefore her sins were forgiven; nor upon this account, and for those reasons did Christ say, or declare, that they were forgiven; but (ou carin) , "for this cause", or reason, he said this to Simon the Pharisee, to remove his objections, to rectify his mistakes, and stop his murmuring and complaining, by observing, that though she had been a great sinner, yet she was now not such an one as he took her to be; she was a pardoned sinner, and not that guilty and filthy creature he imagined; the guilt of all her sins was removed, and she was cleansed from all her filthiness:

her sins, which are many, are forgiven;
though she was like the largest debtor in the parable, which owed five hundred pence, yet the whole score was cleared; though her sins were numerous, and attended with very aggravating circumstances, which denominated her a sinner in a very emphatic sense, a notorious one, yet they were all fully, and freely forgiven:

for she loved much;
or "therefore she loved much": her great love was not the cause of the remission of her sins, but the full and free remission of her many sins, which had been, manifested to her, was the cause of her great love, and of her showing it in the manner she had done: that this is the sense of the words, is clear from the parable, and the accommodation of it to the present case, otherwise there would be no agreement. Upon relating the parable of the two debtors, Christ puts the question to Simon, which of the two it was most reasonable to think would love most? his answer is and which Christ approved of, he to whom most was forgiven; where, it is plain, that according to our Lord's sense, and even Simon's opinion of the case, that forgiveness is the cause, and love the effect; and that according as the forgiveness is of more or less, love is proportionate; and which is applied to the case in hand: this poor woman had been a great sinner; her many sins were pardoned; and therefore she expressed much love to him, from whom she had received her pardon by the above actions, and much more than Simon had done:

but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little;
this is an accommodation of the other part of the parable, and has a very special respect to Simon, the Pharisee, whose debts, in his own opinion, were few or none, at least ten times less than this woman's; and he had little or no sense of the forgiveness of them, or of any obligation to Christ on that account; and therefore was very sparing of his love and respect, and even of common civilities to him.

Luke 7:47 In-Context

45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little."
48 Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.