Luke 8:18

ESV Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away."
NIV Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them."
NASB So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.'
CSB Therefore take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him."
NLT So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.'
KJV Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
NKJV Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

What does Luke 8:18 mean?

This is the theme of Luke 8:4–17, as well as the rest of the chapter. In the parable of the sower, seed falls on four different types of soils, but only one is receptive enough to produce a good crop. In the same way, Jesus' message is free for everyone, but only some will accept it, contemplate it, ask what it means, and allow it to produce good fruit in their lives. We must all "take care then how [we] hear."

The bulk of the verse has been interpreted in different ways. Some believe they can have, be given more of, or have taken away blessings from God for a fruitful life. Nothing in the larger passage, including the parable of the sower, mentions blessings or rewards for obedience.

The passage is about hearing and understanding (Luke 8:10). Whoever has the faith to accept the truth of Jesus' message, meditate on the truth, and allow it to sink in and affect their lives, will gain even more understanding. Those who understand a little but have hardened hearts (Luke 8:5, 12), refuse to search out the meaning (Luke 8:6, 13), or are easily distracted by the pleasures and concerns of the world (Luke 8:7, 14) will lose what little understanding they have.

The word translated "listen," in Greek, implies a continuous act of hearing. The verse agrees with Proverbs 1:2–7, especially verse 5: "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance," and verse 7: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." It also ties in to the parable of the ten minas (Luke 19:11–27). God expects us to use what He gives us. Those who don't are no better than enemies.

The next segment gives a personal application of Jesus' exhortation. He is in a crowded house teaching while His mother and brothers, concerned for His health, are outside, trying to reach Him and bring Him home (Mark 3:20–21, 31–32). When someone notifies Jesus that His family would like to see Him, He replies, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it" (Luke 8:19–21). Jesus identifies with those who listen to His words and bear good fruit more than His own birth family.
What is the Gospel?
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