And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)At his doctrine.—Better, His teaching, as elsewhere. The form and manner was what amazed men.
His word was with power.—The word used is the same as the “authority” of Matthew 7:29. There was no timid references to the traditions of the elders or the dictum of this or that scribe, such as they were familiar with in the sermons they commonly heard in their synagogues.Mark 1:21-39. See Poole on "Luke 4:31"
for his word was with power: he spake with great fervency, majesty, and authority, and not with coldness and indifference, and dependence on the sense and authority of others, as their teachers did; and besides, such power went along with the word, that it reached their hearts; and as the Persic version renders it, "he penetrated them with it"; and he also confirmed it by powerful operations, by miraculous works, such as casting out devils, and healing diseases, of which an account follows.And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 4:32. I ἐν ἐξουσίᾳ: no reference to the scribes by way of contrast, as in Mk., whereby the characterisation loses much of its point.32. they were astonished] The word expresses more sudden and vehement astonishment than the more deeply seated ‘amaze’ of Luke 4:36.
at his doctrine] Rather, at His teaching, referring here to the manner He adopted.
his word was with power] St Matthew gives one main secret of their astonishment when he says that “He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes,” Luke 7:29. The religious teaching of the Scribes in our Lord’s day had already begun to be the second-hand repetition of minute precedents supported by endless authorities. (“Rabbi Zeira says on the authority of Rabbi Jose bar Rabbi Chanina, and Rabbi Ba or Rabbi Chija on the authority of Rabbi Jochanan, &c., &c.” Schwab, Jer. Berachôth, p. 159.) We see the final outcome of this servile secondhandness in the dreary minutiae of the Talmud. But Christ referred to no precedents; quoted no ‘authorities;’ dealt with fresher and nobler topics than fantastic hagadoth (‘legends’) and weary traditional halachôth (‘rules’). He spoke straight from the heart to the heart, appealing for confirmation solely to truth and conscience,—the inner witness of the Spirit.Verse 32. - And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. We have here again a picture which gives a general summary of Jesus' life extending over a considerable period. This is the fifth of these pictures of St. Luke. It represents the Master dwelling quietly at Capernaum, in the midst of his disciples, teaching and preaching; on the sabbath days gathering a considerable concourse drawn from the people at large, and generally surprising the listeners with his earnestness, freshness, and ability, which carried conviction into many a heart, Gentile as well as Jew. Although this period of the life of Jesus was signalized by many miracles, it does not seem that his ordinary preaching and teaching needed any such supernatural testimony to enable it to win its way. St. Luke especially tells us it was with power, and that the crowds heard it amazed and astonished. St. Matthew gives us (Matthew 7:29) one reason, which helps us to understand something of this success which attended his teaching. It was "not as the scribes." In the Talmud we have many a fair specimen of the sacred instruction of the "schools" in the time of our Lord. Frivolous minutiae, hair-splitting of texts, weary repetition of the sayings of the men of old, questions connected with the exact keeping of the sabbath, with the tithing of mint, anise, and cummin, a singular lack of all dealing with the weightier matters of the Law - justice, judgment, truth - were among the characteristics of the scribes' popular instruction. The practical heart-searching words of Jesus were in strong contrast with the curious but useless themes dwelt on by the official teachers of the day. It was with the thirty-first verse of this chapter that the great Gnostic heretic, Marcion (second century) began his Gospel, which, in the early days of Christianity, had a vast circulation. Marcion, while preferring St. Luke's Gospel, as emanating from St. Paul, before putting it out as the authoritative history to be used by his numerous followers, cut out the earlier chapters of our Gospel, which bore on the birth and infancy of the Lord, commencing here - prefixing, however, a note of time, thus: "In the fifteenth year of the government of Tiberius, Jesus went down" (Marcioh probably intended it to be understood from heaven) "into the town of Galilee named Capernaum."
See on Matthew 7:28.
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