What does Luke 14:7 mean?
ESV: Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,
NIV: When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:
NASB: Now He began telling a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them,
CSB: He told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they would choose the best places for themselves:
NLT: When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice:
KJV: And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
NKJV: So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:
Verse Commentary:
On the Sabbath, Jesus arrives for a meal at the home of a "ruler of the Pharisees." The guests were still finding their seats when Jesus saw a man with dropsy—edema—and healed him. In the process, Jesus called on the other guests to judge whether healing on the Sabbath was "work" that should be avoided. They declined to answer (Luke 14:1–6).

This entire section (Luke 14:1—15:32) is talking about who can enter the kingdom of God. In this context, that means to experience the blessings of God's authority, power, and character. In the previous story, it was a man with an incurable disease. In this parable, Jesus infers it is the person who is humble enough to assume he doesn't deserve it but willing to come when God calls (Luke 14:7–11).

Literally, "parable" refers to something that "stands alongside" and points to something else. In the case of a story, it reveals a truth that isn't explicitly spelled out in the story's events. In Jesus' story in the next few verses, the literal occasion is a formal banquet at a wedding, attended by several men who are trying to determine how close to the head table and the place of honor they can sit. Metaphorically, Jesus is talking about the humble attitude we should take when entering the kingdom of God.

"Those who were invited" means the guests whom the "ruler of the Pharisees" (Luke 14:1) invited and who are reclining around the table (Luke 14:15), as opposed to those who are standing quietly against the wall, waiting to hear the conversation. The host is a Pharisee and holds a position of authority somewhere—perhaps the synagogue or the local government.

The King James Version translates the verse: "And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them." "Bidden" means called to attend. The Greek word translated "chief rooms" is protoklisa and means "place of honor." The KJV uses "room" to mean "space" or area.
Verse Context:
Luke 14:7–11 occurs at a feast given by a Pharisee and is the first of three parables about how people enter God's kingdom. Jesus advises that when attending a banquet, not to assume a place of honor. If someone more important arrives, the host will make you shamefully walk to a seat at the foot of the table. Assume humility and you may be honored by another. Living in God's kingdom requires humility: knowing you don't deserve His blessing but accepting it when He offers. Next, Jesus teaches the Pharisees to bless those who cannot repay. These parables are unique to Luke's gospel.
Chapter Summary:
A Pharisee invites Jesus to a formal dinner. There, Jesus teaches lessons using invitations and feasts as a theme. These emphasize humility and the importance of not making excuses. After the dinner, Jesus warns that those who seek to follow Him will experience hardship. Believers should "count the cost" and understand what aspects of this world they may have to give up.
Chapter Context:
Luke 14 continues Jesus' doctrinal march to Jerusalem and the cross. Luke 14 and 15 contain the second grouping of one miracle and a series of discussions about the kingdom of God and salvation; Luke 13:10–35 is the first. Next will be a collection of warnings about rejecting God's kingdom (Luke 16:1—17:10) and two more sets of lessons about the kingdom and salvation, each beginning with a single miracle (Luke 17:11—18:34; 18:35—19:27). After this comes Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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