Luke 6
Papyrus 4 (Luk 6.4-16).jpg
Luke 6:4-16 on Papyrus 4, written about AD 150-175.
BookGospel of Luke
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part3
James Tissot, The Beatitudes Sermon, Brooklyn Museum, c. 1890
James Tissot, The Beatitudes Sermon, Brooklyn Museum, c. 1890

Luke 6 is the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, traditionally attributed to Luke the Evangelist, a companion of Paul the Apostle on his missionary journeys.[1] Jesus' teaching about the Sabbath enrages the religious authorities and deepens their conflict. The selection of twelve apostles is recounted and this is followed by the "Sermon on the Plain", where key aspects of Jesus' teaching are presented.


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 49 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

The Sabbath conflict

Luke relates two events which show the differences in the teaching about the Sabbath and lead to a widening conflict between Jesus and the religious authorities.

Lord of the Sabbath

See also: Lord of the Sabbath

This story is told in the synoptic gospels (Mark 2:23–28, Matt 12:1–8, Luke 6:1–5). Jesus' disciples are accused of breaking the Law (Exodus 20:8–11) by the Jewish authorities who see them pluck wheat, rub it and eat it during the Sabbath. Jesus invites his audience to recall the actions of David and his men who when hungry received the showbread (1 Samuel 21:1–6). Jesus indicates that he - the Son of Man - is the Lord of the Sabbath. Mark's text on the purpose of the Sabbath, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,[3] is not repeated in Luke.[4]

Luke places the event at a specific date: Greek: εν σαββατω δευτεροπρωτω (en sabbatō deuteroprōtō),[5] translated in the King James Version as "on the second Sabbath after the first". This phrase is not found elsewhere in the Gospel, and it is omitted in some ancient manuscripts, the New International Version and some other modern versions.[6] Evangelical writer Jeremy Myers suggests this could have been the day of Shavuot (Festival of Weeks), which would give the action of Jesus an added significance. Only the priests were allowed to collect wheat and process it on the Sabbath to bake the showbread (which they could eat). Jesus extends this privilege to his disciples: in essence, in his teaching, priesthood is open to all. This action represents a radical departure from traditional ways and structures, and undermines the special status of the priests.[7]

The healing on the Sabbath

See also: Healing the man with a withered hand

The story is told in the synoptic gospels (Mark 3:1–6, Matthew 12:9–13, Luke 6:6–11). In a synagogue, Jesus calls forward a man with a withered hand on a Sabbath. The synagogue was possibly the one in Capernaum,[8] but many commentators argue that "it is impossible to say where the synagogue was to which [the] Pharisees belonged".[9] Healing him by the verbal command: "Stretch forth thy hand", Jesus challenges the priestly authorities. They do not argue with him directly, but are "filled with anger" (verse 11 in the New Life Version, NLV). On the Sabbath they begin to plot against Jesus, ignoring his question: "I will ask you one thing. Does the Law say to do good on the Day of Rest or to do bad? To save life or to kill?" (NLV).

The choosing of the twelve apostles

See also: Commissioning of the twelve apostles

After retreating in prayer on a mountain, Jesus chooses twelve apostles, according to Luke (Luke 6:12–16): "Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor".

The commission of the Twelve is also recounted in Matthew 10:1–4 and Mark 3:13–19.

The Sermon on the Plain

See also: Sermon on the Plain

The commissioning of the apostles is followed by a description of the multitude gathered from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon,[10] and then by a sermon that lays down key aspects of Jesus' teachings. In the parallel section of Matthew's gospel, the crowds are said to have come from Galilee, and from the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.[11] Mark's description is the most extensive of the three synoptic gospels: "a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon".[12] The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges concludes "thus there were Jews, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Arabs among our Lord’s hearers".[13]

The four beatitudes and the four woes (6:20–26)

The sermon starts with a set of teachings about the four beatitudes and the four woes. The sermon may be compared with the more extensive Sermon on the Mount as recounted by the Gospel of Matthew. Both seem to occur shortly after the commissioning of the twelve apostles featuring Jesus on a mountain. In Luke, he delivers the sermon below the mountain at a level spot: Lutheran theologian Johann Bengel suggests perhaps half-way down the mountain: "a more suitable locality for addressing a large audience than a completely level plain".[14] Some scholars believe that the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain are the same sermon, while others hold that Jesus frequently preached similar themes in different places.[15] Luke will later relate the six woes of the Pharisees.

Verse 20

And he [Jesus Christ] lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said,

[1] Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.[16]

Verse 21

[2] Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.
[3] Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.[17]

Verse 22

[4] Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.[18]

Love thy enemies

See also: Love thy enemies and Turning the other cheek

As a key teaching of Jesus, this saying follows immediately after the four beatitudes and woes. Jesus expands on the theme indicating that loving people who love you is nothing special, instead he challenges his listeners to love those who hate them, and asks his followers to be merciful like the Father. The section also contains what is considered the Golden Rule.

Judging others

See also: Matthew 7:2 and The Mote and the Beam

Jesus delivers a warning not to judge others.

The blind leading the blind

See also: The blind leading the blind

This metaphor issues a warning that teaching needs to be done by leaders who are properly trained. It is also reported in Matthew 15:13–14.

A speck of sawdust

See also: The Mote and the Beam and The pot calling the kettle black

Jesus rebukes those who see faults in others and fail to examine themselves. Matthew relates the teaching as well (Matthew 7:3).

The tree and its fruit

See also: The Tree and its Fruits

Jesus offers a parable about testing a person. It is also related in Matthew 7:15–20.

The wise and foolish builders (6:46–49)

See also: Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders

This represents a teaching about placing one's life on the solid foundation provided by Jesus. It is also noted in Matthew 7:24–27.

See also


  1. ^ Jerusalem Bible (1966), "Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels", New Testament p. 5
  2. ^ Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8028-4098-1.
  3. ^ Mark 2:27
  4. ^ Franklin, E., Luke in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001), The Oxford Bible Commentary, p. 934
  5. ^ Luke 6:1- Textus Receptus
  6. ^ Luke 6:1
  7. ^ Jeremy Myers. "Grace Commentary: Luke 6:1-5". Grace Commentary. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  8. ^ Gill, J. (1746-63), Gill's Exposition on Luke 6, accessed 30 December 2021
  9. ^ Meyer, H. A. W. (1880), Meyer's NT Commentary on Luke 6, translated from the German sixth edition, accessed 30 December 2021
  10. ^ Luke 6:17
  11. ^ Matthew 4:25
  12. ^ Mark 3:7–8
  13. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Luke 6, accessed 4 June 2018
  14. ^ Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament on Luke 6, accessed 4 June 2018
  15. ^ Ehrman 2004, p. 101
  16. ^ Luke 6:20
  17. ^ Luke 6:21
  18. ^ Luke 6:22
Preceded by
Luke 5
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of Luke
Succeeded by
Luke 7