The Bible

Luke 10:38-42 : Jesus in the home of Mary and Martha

Study the Inner Meaning

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

   Study the Inner Meaning
Other New Christian Commentary

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Word/Phrase Explanations

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

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...

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

entered
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...

woman
'Virgin' and 'woman,' in the Word, signify the affection of good.

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

Sister
The Lord calls people who are in truth from the good of charity from Him 'sisters,' as in Matthew 12:50. 'Sister' denotes intellectual truth, when...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

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...

feet
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

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...

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

serving
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

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...

alone
To be alone in the Bible represents being free of evil and false influences. That's why the Lord seeks solitude to pray, and why the...

troubled
The Bible often talks of people being "troubled." The internal meaning is pretty straightforward; it indicates a state of spiritual turmoil, usually due to the...

many
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

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 by following this link.


 A Golden Heart
Make a golden heart to illustrate the beautiful heart of a person who is kind to others. 
Project | Ages up to 10

 Being a True Friend and Neighbor
If we want to be good friends, we must listen and look for the times when our friends really need us. We mustn’t just use our friends for what we can get out of them, and then leave them alone when they are in trouble.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Be Like the Good Samaritan
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Compassion
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Dramatize the Story of the Good Samaritan
Dramatize the parable of the Good Samaritan with this simple retelling of the story, 5 characters, and suggested props.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 For Discussion: Wine and Oil
Discuss ways that the "wine" in the parable of the Good Samaritan is like true ideas and the "oil" is like kindness. When might it be helpful to offer this kind of wine and oil to others?
Activity | Ages 7 - 17

 Go and Do Likewise
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 How Am I Saved?
The Lord wants to save all people but gives people the freedom to reject His love and choose the selfishness of hell instead, if they wish to.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Imagine the Lord's Joy!
 Picture the Lord's joy each time we take a step toward heaven. 
Activity | Ages over 15

 In His Name
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Keeping in a State of Hope
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Mary and Martha
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Overview of Hands of Love Levels A B C for ages 3-14
Overview of the Youth Journey Program Hands of Love Inherit the Kingdom, Levels A, B and C, for ages 3-14 for Sunday schools, camps, classrooms and families.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Picture the Samaritan Helping a Stranger
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Play: The Good Samaritan
A script for dramatizing the parable.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Qualities of Friendship
The Bible says we are to love the Lord and our neighbors, to value others lives more than our own life. Doing this depends on healthy relationships. Discover New Church teachings on healthy friendship.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Being a Good Neighbor
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Samaritan Is Good Neighbor
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Sending Out the Seventy
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Serving The Needs Of Others
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Good Samaritan
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Good Samaritan
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Good Samaritan
We might never be on that road from Jerusalem to Jericho, but we will meet people in need of help. What will you do when you see someone in need of help at school, at home or in the neighborhood? Will you pass by on the other side or be like the good Samaritan? Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 3, for ages 8-9.
Religion Lesson | Ages 8 - 9

 The Good Samaritan
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

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

 The Good Samaritan
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Oil of Human Kindness
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Value of Work
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Who Is My Neighbor?
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Why Did God Create Me?
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Why Two by Two?
Why did the Lord tell His disciples to go out in twos? What are some of the advantages to having friends support us in challenging situations?
Activity | Ages over 15

Commentary

Jesus reproves Martha

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Jesus Christ with Mary and Martha

There's a brief story in Luke 10:38-42, where Jesus is visiting in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus - two sisters and their brother. It's a busy time at their house, because people have come to see Jesus, and to marvel at Lazarus, who was just raised from the dead by Jesus. Martha is working to serve the guests, and Mary is sitting and listening. Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her, and - surprisingly - he doesn't. Instead, he gently reproves Martha for worrying, and says that Mary has "chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her".

It doesn't seem fair, on the face of it. But here's what's going on in the internal sense of the story:

In verses 38-39, when the Lord stops in this village to visit Martha and Mary, it means that the Lord is received by people who are love truth and of good.

In verses 41-42, when Martha is busy and stressed, she represents our state of mind when we are in the affection of truth, but are not yet purified from the anxieties of self-love. Then the Lord instructs us, that we should pay attention to the higher affection of good, and exalt it in our lives.


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