Mark 10:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 10:15, NIV: "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'"

Mark 10:15, ESV: "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”"

Mark 10:15, KJV: "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."

Mark 10:15, NASB: "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.'"

Mark 10:15, NLT: "I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.'"

Mark 10:15, CSB: "Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.""

What does Mark 10:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse can be easily misinterpreted. It does not mean that children are absolutely and perfectly sinless, as any parent can attest. It does not mean that children have special knowledge that earns them the right to receive God's blessings. It means that those most eligible to experience God's glory and sovereignty in their lives are the people who have no presumption that they legally or spiritually deserve it.

In Mark 9:37, Jesus says that His followers will accept children in His name, and in so doing, accept Him. In Mark 10:14, Jesus says that the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children. Here, Jesus commends those who receive the kingdom of God like children. When presented with a great gift they do not deserve, children will generally accept it gratefully and unselfconsciously. They have no thought of earning it or even feeling guilty about receiving it. They just want to enjoy it.

In our hyper-competitive world, characterized in equal amounts by pride and shame, we can quickly get to a place where we believe we must work to earn God's favor. We feel pressured to be successful in the world, with a steady income and an influential job, and successful in the church, able to serve, provide wisdom, and at least present the facade of a good family and righteous life. It's exhausting. And it's not what Jesus plans for us.

Our obedience to His will is to come out of a place of love for Him (1 John 5:3). That's all (John 14:15). And even so, He knows that we will not always obey. Our status in His kingdom is not dependent on how much we do. It's on how we love Him and how we know we can come to Him as the still-flawed children of God, with humility, boldness, and relief that He knows us and loves us anyway. It is then that the Holy Spirit can do the work in us that brings us a bit closer to holy (Philippians 2:13).