Matthew 19:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

New Living Translation
Someone came to Jesus with this question: "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?"

English Standard Version
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”

Berean Study Bible
Just then, a man came up to Jesus and inquired, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to obtain eternal life?"

Berean Literal Bible
And behold, one having come to Him said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I might have eternal life?"

New American Standard Bible
And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?"

King James Bible
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Just then someone came up and asked Him, "Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?"

International Standard Version
Just then a man came up to Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what good deed should I do to have eternal life?"

NET Bible
Now someone came up to him and said, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to gain eternal life?"

New Heart English Bible
And look, someone came to him and said, "Teacher, what good thing must I do, that I may have eternal life?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And one came near and said to him, “Good teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then a man came to Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good deed should I do to gain eternal life?"

New American Standard 1977
And behold, one came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?

King James 2000 Bible
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

American King James Version
And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

American Standard Version
And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting?

Darby Bible Translation
And lo, one coming up said to him, Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have life eternal?

English Revised Version
And behold, one came to him and said, Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Webster's Bible Translation
And behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?

Weymouth New Testament
"Teacher," said one man, coming up to Him, "what that is good shall I do in order to win the Life of the Ages?"

World English Bible
Behold, one came to him and said, "Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"

Young's Literal Translation
And lo, one having come near, said to him, 'Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have life age-during?'
Study Bible
The Rich Young Man
15And after He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there. 16Just then, a man came up to Jesus and inquired, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to obtain eternal life?” 17“Why do you ask Me about what is good?” Jesus replied, “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”…
Cross References
Matthew 19:15
And after He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.

Matthew 25:46
And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Mark 10:17
As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up and knelt before Him. "Good Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Luke 10:25
One day an expert in the law stood up to test Him. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Luke 18:18
Then a certain ruler asked Him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Treasury of Scripture

And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

one.

Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, …

Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I …

what.

Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, …

John 6:27-29 Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures …

Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

eternal.

Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous …

Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, …

John 3:15 That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 4:14 But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst…

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: …

John 6:47,68 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life…

John 10:28 And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither …

John 12:25 He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life …

John 17:2,3 As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal …

Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and …

Romans 5:21 That as sin has reigned to death, even so might grace reign through …

Romans 6:22,23 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you …

1 Timothy 1:16 However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus …

1 Timothy 6:12,19 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto …

Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before …

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according …

1 John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, …

1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life.

1 John 5:11-13,20 And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and …

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our …

(16) Behold, one came and said . . .--The vagueness with which a man who must have been conspicuous is thus introduced, without a name, is every way significant. He was, like Nicodemus, "a ruler of the Jews" (Luke 18:18), i.e., probably, a member of the Sanhedrin or great Council, like Joseph of Arimatha. He was, beside this, conspicuously rich, and of high and ardent character. There is one other case in the first two Gospels which presents similar phenomena. In the narrative of the supper at Bethany, St. Matthew and St. Mark record the passionate affection which expressed itself in pouring the precious ointment of spikenard upon our Lord's head as the act of "a woman" (Matthew 26:7; Mark 14:3), leaving her unnamed. In St. John 12:3 we find that the woman was Mary, the sister of Lazarus. The train of thought thus suggested points to the supposition that here also there may have been reasons for suppressing in the records a name which was familiar to the narrator. What if the young ruler were Lazarus himself? The points of agreement are sufficiently numerous to warrant the conjecture. The household of Lazarus, as the spikenard ointment shows, were of the wealthier class. The friends who came to comfort the bereaved sisters, were themselves, in St. John's language, "of the Jews"--i.e., of the chief rulers (John 11:19). The young ruler was obviously a Pharisee, and the language of Martha (John 11:24) shows that she too believed in eternal life and the resurrection of the dead. The answer to the young ruler, as "One thing thou lackest" (as given by St. Mark and St. Luke), is almost identical with that to Martha, "One thing is needful" (Luke 10:42). In such a case, of course, nothing can be attained beyond conjectural inference, but the present writer must avow his belief that the coincidences in this case are such as to carry the evidence to a very high point of probability. It is obvious that the hypothesis, if true, adds immensely to the interest both of the narrative now before us, and to that of the death and resurrection of Lazarus in John 11

Good Master.--The better MSS. omit the adjective, and it has probably been added here by later copyists to bring the passage into a verbal agreement with the narrative of St. Mark and St. Luke. From the prominence given to it in the form of our Lord's answer, as reported by them, we may reasonably believe that it was actually uttered by the questioner. The words show reverence and, at least, half-belief. They are such as might well come from the brother of one who had sat at Jesus' feet, drinking in His words (Luke 10:39)--from one who, like Nicodemus, looked on Him as a Rabbi, "a Teacher" sent from God.

That I may have eternal life.--In St. Mark (Mark 10:17) and St. Luke (Luke 18:18), and in some of the oldest MSS. of St. Matthew, "that I may inherit eternal life." The question exhibits the highest and noblest phase of Pharisaism. The seeker has a firm belief in something that he knows as "eternal life." He thirsts for it eagerly. He believes that it is to be won, as a perpetual inheritance, by some one good deed of exceptional and heroic goodness. The Teacher has left on him the impression of a goodness such as he had seldom, if ever, seen before, and as being therefore able to guide him to the Supreme Good.

Verses 16-22. - Answer to the inquiry of the rich young ruler concerning eternal life. (Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23.) Verse 16. - And, behold. The exclamation, as usual, denotes the suddenness and unexpected nature of the occurrence. It took place probably on the next day after the blessing of the children. One came (εϊς προσελθών). This is more emphatic than the enclitic τις, and we learn from St. Luke that he was "a ruler," i.e. of the synagogue, and he must have been of noted piety and worth to have arrived at this dignity while still a youth (ver. 22). St. Mark gives more details - he "came running, and kneeled to him." He was eager for an answer to his question, and recognized in Jesus a Rabbi worthy of all honour and veneration, though he saw in him nothing more. lie comes with no sinister intention, as the Pharisees did, but in all good faith, hoping to have a religious difficulty solved. Good Master. Thus the received text in the three synoptists. The epithet "good" is omitted by many excellent manuscripts, and has been expunged by most modern editors. It is required if the received text of the next verse is retained. It occurs in Mark and Luke without variation. The young man may have used the expression with the view of winning Christ's favour, or, at any rate, with the idea of showing the light in which he regarded him. What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? His notion was that eternal happiness was obtained by the performance of certain acts, and he is not sure that he has done enough for the reward, and wishes to know particularly what further good work will secure it. The other synoptists have merely, "What shall I do? but of course, good work is implied, if not expressed. This was a question much mooted in the rabbinical schools, and one to which the answers were as various as they were puerile. Some taught that the commandments were not equally important, and that what they deemed the lesser might be violated with impunity, if the others were observed. Some made the gift of perfection to depend on the daily recitation of certain prayers or psalms, others on giving due honour to the aged. Amid such perplexing rules, the youth desires an authoritative decision, which he may put in practice, and thus be sure of a happy place in Messiah's kingdom - be, as the Jews termed it, "a son of the age to come." And behold, one came,.... The Persic version reads, "a rich man"; and so he was, as appears from what follows: Luke calls him, "a certain ruler"; not of a synagogue, an ecclesiastical ruler, but a civil magistrate: perhaps he might be one of the sanhedrim, which consisted of "twenty one" persons; or of that which consisted only of "three", as in some small towns and villages Mark represents him as "running"; for Christ was departed out of the house, and was gone into the way, the high road, and was on his journey to some other place, when this man ran after him with great eagerness; and, as the same evangelist adds, "kneeled to him"; thereby paying him civil respect, and honour; believing him to be a worthy good man, and deserving of esteem and veneration:

and said unto him, good master: some say, that this was a title which the Jewish doctors were fond of, and gave to each other, but I have not observed it; he seems by this to intimate, that he thought him not only to be a good man, but a good teacher; that he was one that came from God, and taught good doctrine, which induced him to run after him, and put the following question to him:

what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Or, as in the other evangelists, "inherit eternal life"; a phrase much in use with the Jewish Rabbins (a):

"Judah confessed, and was not ashamed, and what is his end? , "he inherits the life of the world to come" (i.e. eternal life); Reuben confessed, and was not ashamed, and what is his end? "he inherits the life of the world to come".''

This man was no Sadducee, he believed a future state; was a serious man, thoughtful about another world, and concerned how he should enjoy everlasting life; but was entirely upon a legal bottom, and under a covenant of works; and speaks in the language and strain of the nation of Israel, who were seeking for righteousness and life by the works of the law: he expected eternal life by doing some good thing, or things; and hoped, as the sequel shows, that he had done every good thing necessary to the obtaining it.

(a) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 7. 2.Mt 19:16-30. The Rich Young Ruler. ( = Mr 10:17-31; Lu 18:18-30).

For the exposition, see on [1330]Lu 18:18-30. 19:16-22 Christ knew that covetousness was the sin which most easily beset this young man; though he had got honestly what he possessed, yet he could not cheerfully part with it, and by this his want of sincerity was shown. Christ's promises make his precepts easy, and his yoke pleasant and very comfortable; yet this promise was as much a trial of the young man's faith, as the precept was of his charity and contempt of the world. It is required of us in following Christ, that we duly attend his ordinances, strictly follow his pattern, and cheerfully submit to his disposals; and this from love to him, and in dependence on him. To sell all, and give to the poor, will not serve, but we are to follow Christ. The gospel is the only remedy for lost sinners. Many abstain from gross vices who do not attend to their obligations to God. Thousands of instances of disobedience in thought, word, and deed, are marked against them in the book of God. Thus numbers forsake Christ, loving this present world: they feel convictions and desires, but they depart sorrowful, perhaps trembling. It behoves us to try ourselves in these matters, for the Lord will try us.
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