What does Luke 8:1 mean?
ESV: Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,
NIV: After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,
NASB: Soon afterward, Jesus began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him,
CSB: Afterward he was traveling from one town and village to another, preaching and telling the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,
NLT: Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him,
KJV: And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
NKJV: Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him,
Verse Commentary:
Some scholars believe Jesus spent much of the previous chapter in a town called Nain in the south of the district of Galilee. If this is the case, He again picks up the itinerate lifestyle He promised the disciples (Luke 4:43) before making His way towards Jerusalem and the cross. As He travels, He continues to proclaim the good news that the kingdom of God is near, proving His words by healing and expelling demons.

The "kingdom of God," also called the "kingdom of heaven," is an important concept that can be hard to define because of its many facets. God's kingdom includes any manifestation of His sovereignty, power, and authority over creation. When His kingdom is "near," His authority is especially noticeable. In this context, that means that people listen to and accept what Jesus says about God, Himself, repentance, and the right way of living in light of God's authority. Jesus also brings the kingdom when He rescues people from the fallenness of injury, illness, and demonic activity. With Jesus' first coming, He inaugurated God's kingdom on earth; when He comes again, He will complete God's kingdom.

Jesus is not a conventional rabbi, and He attracts unconventional disciples. The Twelve include fishermen, a tax collector, a Zealot, and a traitor (Luke 6:12–16). This is not a very distinguished list, but Jesus keeps them close as He trains them to extend His message of good news (Luke 9:1–6) and sacrifice for Him (Luke 9:23–27, 57–62), and to go on to build the church (Acts 1—2). Even more surprising, however, are the women who support Jesus' ministry out of their own means (Luke 8:2–3).
Verse Context:
Luke 8:1–3 completes the prior chapter's stories about those lacking advantaged positions in society who have faith in Jesus and welcome His blessings. Women in the ancient world did not have the respect of their culture. Even so, several use their financial resources to fund Jesus' ministry. They are like the sower who plants seeds in fertile ground and the lamp that shines from a stand (Luke 8:4–18). The synopsis of Jesus' travels is also recorded in Matthew 9:35, but the introduction of Jesus' supporters is unique to Luke.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 8 includes portions of three sections of Jesus' Galilean Ministry. The women who support Jesus' ministry bridge the faithful outcasts of chapter 7 to the sower who spreads the news of God's kingdom (Luke 8:1–3). Luke 8:4–18 includes the parables of the sower and the lamp under the jar. These illustrate the importance of hearing Jesus' message with a mind to believe and obey. Luke 8:19–56 presents different faith reactions when Jesus' life, power, and authority elicit questions about His identity.
Chapter Context:
This passage continues Luke's pattern in the account of Jesus' Galilean ministry: alternating calls to discipleship with stories that describe the discipleship He expects. In Luke 6:17, Jesus transitioned from calling and training the Twelve to a more general call; in Luke 7, Jesus interacted specifically with those with less privilege in society. Chapter 8 reveals how people react when Jesus reveals who He is, mostly through miracles. In Luke 9:18–50, Jesus returns to intense discipleship of the Twelve to give them courage and faith, preparing them for the journey to Jerusalem and what they will witness there.
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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