Luke 12:11

ESV And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say,
NIV When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,
NASB Now when they bring you before the synagogues and the officials and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say;
CSB Whenever they bring you before synagogues and rulers and authorities, don't worry about how you should defend yourselves or what you should say.
NLT And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say,
KJV And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

What does Luke 12:11 mean?

Jesus continues teaching His disciples about their need to remain faithful in Him. They will be brought before Jewish and Roman authorities and persecuted for their trust in Him (Matthew 10:18–19; Mark 13:11). If they are excommunicated from the synagogue, they could lose rights to legal protection as well as social and business contacts. Church tradition says most of them will be martyred. The first step is that they will be brought before the authorities.

Not long after the Holy Spirit indwells the Jesus-followers, the Jewish Sanhedrin arrests Peter and John for saying Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 2:1–2; 4:1–3). The council lets them go with a warning to stop preaching Jesus' resurrection (Acts 4:18). The disciples ignore the warning, and later the council arrests and beats all twelve apostles (Acts 5:17–42). The persecution has the opposite effect of what the Sanhedrin intends. The disciples leave, "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they [do] not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus" (Acts 5:41–42). Soon, a deacon will be martyred (Acts 7). A Pharisee named Saul will persecute the church, even voting that Jesus-followers be executed (Acts 8:1–3; 9:1–2; 26:10). James will be killed by Herod Agrippa I, and Peter will barely escape prison with his life (Acts 12:1–17). Church tradition says that most of the apostles will suffer a martyr's death. But none of them will deny Christ.

Jesus is not saying believers should be careless, unprepared, or senseless about how we approach questions about faith. He is teaching that we should not be anxious—fearful or troubled—when called to defend ourselves. Later, Peter will write:
"but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame" (1 Peter 3:15–16).
Peter also tells his readers they should expect to suffer when the world tests their faith (1 Peter 4:12–14). We will have unjust rulers who make unreasonable demands. We need to follow Jesus' example and endure that hardship (1 Peter 2:13–25).

Jesus will revisit this warning shortly before His crucifixion (Luke 21:10–19).
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