Luke 9:3

ESV And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.
NIV He told them: 'Take nothing for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.
NASB And He said to them, 'Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics.
CSB "Take nothing for the road," he told them, "no staff, no traveling bag, no bread, no money; and don't take an extra shirt.
NLT Take nothing for your journey,' he instructed them. 'Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.
KJV And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.

What does Luke 9:3 mean?

Before sending the Twelve to heal, cast out demons, and preach the kingdom of God, Jesus will first relay instructions for their journey (Luke 9:3–5).

The disciples have just witnessed Jesus perform radical miracles. He controlled nature and powerful demons and He healed chronic disease and even death (Luke 8:22–56). Here, Jesus wants the disciples to learn to trust He can provide for and protect them even when He is not with them. He tells them to take nothing they would need on a trip. He will do this again when He empowers seventy-two disciples to go out (Luke 10:3–4).

Shortly before His arrest, Jesus will give different instructions. He will say, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one" (Luke 22:36). After Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, the disciples will face hardship, persecution, and death. But in addition to the supplies they take, they will have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.

The "bag" is probably a type of purse commonly used by travelling scholars. The King James Version uses "staves" for staff and "scrip" for bag. In this context, a "stave" is a narrow wooden or metal rod, much like a short pole. This is the kind of "staff" modern persons associate with martial arts, and prior generations connected to literary characters like Little John and Robin Hood stories. A scrip is a bag or a wallet.

The Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—record Jesus' instructions in a potentially confusing way.

  • Luke 9:3: "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics."
  • Matthew 10:9–10: "Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff…"
  • Mark 6:8–9: "He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics."

    Matthew's "acquire" implies to add something, rather than to simply have it. They may take a tunic, sandals, and staff, but they may not acquire back-ups.

    Mark and Luke's discrepancy about the staff is more difficult to reconcile. Some posit Luke's "staff" is a short club for protection while Mark's is a walking stick, but all three Gospels use the same Greek word. Scholars often debate the answer, but agree the main point is exceedingly clear. The purpose of Jesus' list is to tell the disciples they needn't bring any extra supplies.
What is the Gospel?
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