Luke 10:25

ESV And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
NIV On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?'
NASB And behold, a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, 'Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'
CSB Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? "
NLT One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: 'Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?'
KJV And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

What does Luke 10:25 mean?

Ancient writers did not always arrange stories in chronological order. As a result, we can't say for sure whether this event directly follows the previous. Yet by stacking the stories in this way, Luke makes an interesting contrast. He has just completed the extended story of seventy-two disciples sent to declare the coming of the kingdom of God with verifying miracles (Luke 10:1–17). To put the disciples' experience in context, Jesus teaches them that the real blessing of God's kingdom is not healing or casting out demons but eternal life (Luke 10:18–20). Jesus then thanks God the Father for choosing the meek who are not sophisticated in human or religious knowledge to reveal the truth about His kingdom (Luke 10:21–24).

Now, Luke introduces a religiously sophisticated lawyer. The man wants to know what he should do to grasp this kingdom blessing. Jesus leads the lawyer to understand that his obligation is to love God and love his neighbor.

The Jewish understanding of eternal life was to experience the kingdom of God in the resurrection. Daniel learned, "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2). When Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples, He revealed that those who reject the message of the kingdom of God will be judged and those who repent will be saved (Luke 10:10–12, 20).

"Lawyer" is Luke's term for a scribe of the law. The fact that the man asks about eternal life reveals he is a Pharisee; Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead while Sadducees did not. Pharisees were experts not only in the Mosaic law, but in the extra Oral Law that they followed and tried to enforce on others (Matthew 23:2–4). That the lawyer tries to "put him to the test" reflects the antagonistic relationship Jesus had with lawyers and Pharisees.

Only one other person is recorded asking Jesus this question: the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18–30). Both men were respected by their communities and devoutly religious. The ruler seems to be asking if his devotion to God is enough. The lawyer seems to want to start a debate, which was normal among teachers and students. Peter also faces the question of what one should do for salvation on Pentecost, as does Paul in a Philippian jail (Acts 2:37; 16:30).

This does not seem to be the same event that occurs during the Passion Week, although a discussion between Jesus and a lawyer about the greatest commandment is featured in both (Mark 12:28–34).

Directly after Jesus' interaction with the lawyer is the account of Mary and Martha. The lawyer wants to test Jesus. Martha wants to serve Him. Mary, however, wants to sit at His feet and learn all she can about Him. She exemplifies the little child who sees and hears (Luke 10:38–42).
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