What does Luke 4:33 mean?
ESV: And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,
NIV: In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice,
NASB: In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,
CSB: In the synagogue there was a man with an unclean demonic spirit who cried out with a loud voice,
NLT: Once when he was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon — an evil spirit — cried out, shouting,
KJV: And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,
NKJV: Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice,
Verse Commentary:
A hallmark of Jesus' earthly ministry was supernatural healing, including freeing people from the influence of demons. Those who heard Him speak noted the authority in His words and His delivery (Luke 4:32; Matthew 7:29; Mark 1:22). When Jesus displayed miraculous power, it served as evidence that His message was truly from God (John 10:25).

The man mentioned here is possessed by a demon. Luke refers to this as "the spirit of an unclean demon," literally pneuma daimoniou akathartou. Commentators differ on why Luke specifies that the demon is "unclean." Some suggest he is indicating a particular type of spirit, or one focused on a certain kind of affliction. Others believe that Luke is clarifying to his mostly-Gentile audience that this is an evil spirit—not one of the benevolent spirits in which many Greeks believed.

When it encounters Jesus, the demon will react in fear and loathing, only to be cast out (Luke 4:34–35).
Verse Context:
Luke 4:31–44 contains examples of Jesus healing as He teaches in Capernaum. These events include exorcising demons and curing diseases. Jesus' work is so popular that He finds it hard to be alone; the people demand He stay and continue. However, His mission includes other cities and towns. Jesus leaves to preach elsewhere, and the next passages record His calling of the disciples.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is taken into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. While fasting there, He is tempted by Satan. These temptations share an element of ignoring God in favor of what seems easier or quicker. Jesus resists all of these, citing Scripture as He does. When Jesus returns, He preaches and heals to great publicity in Judea and Galilee. While His hometown responds with stubborn skepticism, others are eager to hear His teaching and experience His miraculous power.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 3 explained how John the Baptist preached to prepare others to receive Jesus Christ. Luke then provided Jesus' earthly ancestry. Chapter 4 begins with Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. He returns to preach and perform healing miracles in Judea and Galilee. Chapter 5 shows Him calling disciples and demonstrating further proofs of His authority.
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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