Luke 18

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version         

← Luke 17   Luke 19 →

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?

27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.

29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,

30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.

32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:

33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:

36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.

37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,

41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

← Luke 17   Luke 19 →
   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Luke 18      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verse 1. That man ought to keep his internal or spiritual mind continually open to Divine influx, notwithstanding all the opposition of the external or natural mind

Verses 2-6. Since however false principles may prevail in the latter mind, yet if the desire of truth grounded in good prevail at the same time in the former mind, it will sooner or later become accepting of the light of truth.

Verses 7-8. Which consideration ought therefore to be attended to, because it proves that the Divine Truth is always present with those who are in the love of it, to deliver them from all false and evil persuasions, however it may appear at times to be absent, and to produce no effect. (First part of Verse 8).

Verse 8. Still, at the end of the Church, when there is no longer any faith, because there is no charity, Divine Truth, though revealed from heaven, will not be received. (Latter part of Verse 8).

Verses 9-15. For at that time man will be under the delusive idea, that he may be admitted into heaven by virtue of his works, without any regard to the principle from which they are done, whereas none are admitted into heaven but the humble and the penitent, whose works are not done from themselves, but from the Lord.

Verses 15-16. That the goods and truths of innocence ought all to be ascribed to the Lord, because heaven consists in such acknowledgement, and the Lord has communication with those goods and truths.

Verse 17. None therefore can be admitted into heaven, unless they be principled in innocence.

Verses 18-28. Nor can any one enter into heaven, unless he acknowledge the Lord, even as to His Human essence to be the God of heaven, and that from him is every good which is good, and unless he live also according to the precepts of the decalogue, by abstaining from those evils as sins, which are there forbidden.

Verses 19-20. For the Lord alone is good, and the source of good, and the way to attain conjunction of life with Him is to observe His precepts, which precepts teach, that man ought not to destroy or pervert in himself the life of love and charity; nor to ascribe that life to himself, but to the Lord alone; nor to call anything good or true but what is of the Lord; thus that he should respect and exalt in himself the Divine good and truth above every other.

Verses 21-22. Yet these precepts cannot be fulfilled, until man removes his heart from riches, fights against cravings, and acknowledges the Lord to be god.

Verse 23. Which things appear grievous to those who are in the knowledges of truth separate from the good of charity.

Verses 24-25. Therefore those knowledges, when so separated from the good of life, are rather hindrances to the attainment of conjunction with the Lord, since it is contrary to Divine order that knowledges of themselves, without the life of love and charity, should introduce any one into heaven.

Verses 26-27. Nevertheless they are no hindrances in case the Divine Truth be respected and exalted.

Verses 28-30. Inasmuch as all who reject their hereditary evils and falsities and acknowledge the Lord as to His Human essence to be god, shall be elevated to communication and conjunction with the Lord, and to all the joys of His eternal kingdom.

Verses 31-33. That in the Church, where mere falsities of doctrine and evils of life prevail, Divine Truth will be blasphemed, and perverted, and its good destroyed, nevertheless the Human principle of the Lord will attain to plenary glorification.

Verse 34. But these things cannot be apprehended even by those who are principled in the goods and truths of the Church.

Verses 35-43. Until they receive spiritual understanding from the LORD.

Verse 38. Asking it of Him from the pure love of truth.

Verse 39. And are the more urgent to receive, in proportion as they meet with opposition.

Verses 40-41. And explore diligently the end or intention they have in view, when they seek the knowledge of the truth.

Verses 42-43. For in such case their understandings receive light by communication with the Lord's Divine Human principle, which they gratefully acknowledge, and which is thus acknowledged by others.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 39, 430, 874, 1059, 1072, 2343, 2658, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 55, 809

Conjugial Love 414

Divine Providence 324

Doctrine of Life 30

Faith 69

Heaven and Hell 281

The Last Judgment 35

True Christian Religion 384, 764


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 63, 83, 152, 186, 239, 532, 696, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 83

An Invitation to the New Church 32

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 5, 35, 64

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 20:12

Ezra 9:6

Esther 4:16

Psalms 50:15, 23, 51:3, 55:18, 88:2

Proverbs 11:12

Isaiah 1:17, 23, 62:6

Hosea 14:3

Word/Phrase Explanations

spake
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

pray
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Fear not
Fear not, as in Revelation 1:17; Daniel 10:5, 12; Matthew 17:5, 7; 28:10, etc., signifies resuscitation to life, and at the same time adoration from...

coming
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

long
'Long' and thence to prolong, refer to good.

tell
'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

son of man
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

faith
It's interesting to note that despite the prominent place of faith in mainstream Christian belief systems, the word itself appears exactly twice in the King...

righteous
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

despised
We tend to think of "despising" something or someone as just a strong way of expressing dislike, but there is a further shade of meaning...

the temple
'Solomon's temple' represents heaven and the church.

pharisee
The Pharisees were a sect of the Jewish church at the time of the New Testament. The name comes from a root that means "separate",...

prayed
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

fast
To fast as in Mark 2:19, signifies to mourn on account of the defect of truth and good. Fasting corresponds to temptation.

week
'A week' signifies state, and 'the seventh week,' a holy state. The ancients understood 'a week' to mean any period divided into seven, whether days,...

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

Every one
The phrase “Every one,” where it occurs in Genesis 20:7, signifies every thing or all things.

touch
Imagine having your mother touch your cheek. Then imagine having your spouse or someone you love romantically touch your cheek. Then imagine having a baby...

disciples
A disciple in Matthew 10:41 signifies charity and at the same time, faith from the Lord. It disciple signifies the truth of life, and a...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

say
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

asked
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

To
'To jubilate' or 'make a joyful noise' signifies worship from the delight of good.

life
According to Swedenborg, the Lord is life itself, and we are recipients of life. This is true even of the most evil spirits, who loved...

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

poor
"The Word talks frequently about aiding the poor and needy. People in possession of external truths who have not yet been brought to internal truths...

treasure
'Treasure,' as in Matthew 13:44, signifies divine truth in the Word.

saved
To be saved or rescued means getting true ideas that we can hold to even in the face of a storm of false thinking. Sometimes...

peter
Peter – born Simon, son of Jonah – is certainly one of the Bible's most important figures, second only to Jesus in the New Testament....

parents
'Parents' signify the goods and truths of the church.

world
The term "world" has both general and more specific meanings in the Bible, including the relatively literal sense of the natural, physical world. In more...

everlasting
It is hard for us to conceive this, but time does not exist in spiritual reality. Time is an aspect of physical reality that no...

twelve
'Twelve' signifies all aspects of faith. This has been unknown to the world until now. Nevertheless, this is the constant significance of 'twelve,' anywhere it...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

all things
The Lord is life itself, is the Creator of the universe, and is the source of life on an ongoing basis. So in a literal...

written
If knowing what’s right were the same as doing what’s right, we would all be thin, healthy, hard-working, law-abiding, faithful to our spouses and free...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

third
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

rise
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

blind
The meaning of “blind” in the Bible is not hard to see (no pun intended!). If light represents the flow of truthful ideas from the...

sat
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

hearing
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

multitude
A company, congregation, and a multitude, in the Word, are predicated of truths.

went before
To "go before" in the Bible means either to lead or to prepare, depending on context. When it is said of the Lord or things...

sight
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

glorifying
'To glorify' signifies acknowledgment and confession.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Healing the Blind Miracles
Compare four stories about the Lord healing the blind by dramatizing them using the “Readers’ Theater” technique. Actors read lines from the script and act out their parts.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Jesus and the Children, Children in Heaven
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Modesty
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Eyes of the Blind Shall See Him
Make a picture of the Lord in heaven with bright light all around Him. Cover the picture with fabric or another piece of paper, attaching it only at the top edge so that it can be lifted up to see the picture of the Lord. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Last Supper
The Lord celebrated Passover with His disciples and told them to remember Him by eating bread and drinking wine. The Lord is still present with people in a special way through the Holy Supper. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 1, for ages 6-7.
Religion Lesson | Ages 6 - 7

 The Lord Blesses the Children
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 1)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 2)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord Loves Me
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Pharisee and the Publican
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14


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