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Matthew 19:17

    Matthew 19:17 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And he said to him, Why are you questioning me about what is good? One there is who is good: but if you have a desire to go into life, keep the rules of the law.

    Webster's Revision

    And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments.

    World English Bible

    He said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments.

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 19:17

    Why callest thou me good? - Or, Why dost thou question me concerning that good thing? τι με ερωτας περι του αγαθου. This important reading is found in BDL, three others, the Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Ethiopic, latter Syriac, Vulgate, Saxon, all the Itala but one, Origen, Eusebius, Cyril, Dionysius Areop., Antiochus, Novatian, Jerome, Augustin, and Juvencus. Erasmus, Grotius, Mill, and Bengel approve of this reading. This authority appears so decisive to Griesbach that he has received this reading into the text of his second edition, which in the first he had interlined. And instead of, None is good but the one God, he goes on to read, on nearly the same respectable authorities, εις εϚιν ο αγαθος. There is one who is good. Let it be observed also that, in the 16th verse, instead of διδασκαλε αγαθε, good teacher, διδασκαλε only is read by BDL, one other, one Evangelistarium, the Ethiopic, three of the Itala, Origen, and Hilary. The whole passage therefore may be read thus: O teacher! what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why dost thou question me concerning that good thing? There is one that is good. (Or he who is good is one). But If thou art willing to enter into that life, keep the commandments. This passage, as it stood in the common editions, has been considered by some writers as an incontrovertible proof against the Divinity or Godhead of Christ. A very learned person, in his note on this place, thus concludes concerning it: "Therefore our Savior cannot be God: and the notion of, I know not what, a trinity in unity, Three Gods in One, is here proved beyond all controversy, by the unequivocal declaration of Jesus Christ Himself, to be Erroneous and Impossible." Not so. One of the greatest critics in Europe, not at all partial to the Godhead of Christ, has admitted the above readings into his text, on evidence which he judged to be unexceptionable. If they be the true readings, they destroy the whole doctrine built on this text; and indeed the utmost that the enemies of the trinitarian doctrine can now expect from their formidable opponents, concerning this text, is to leave it neuter.

    Keep the commandments - From this we may learn that God's great design, in giving his law to the Jews, was to lead them to the expectation and enjoyment of eternal life. But as all the law referred to Christ, and he became the end of the law for righteousness (justification) to all that believe, so he is to be received, in order to have the end accomplished which the law proposed.

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 19:17

    Why callest thou me good? - Why do you give to me a title that belongs only to God? You suppose me to be only a man, yet you give me an appellation that belongs only to God.

    It is improper to use titles in this manner. As you Jews use them they are unmeaning; and though the title may apply to me, yet, you did not intend to use it in the sense in which it is proper, as denoting infinite perfection or divinity; but you intended to use it as a complimentary or a flattering title, applied to me as if I were a mere man - a title which belongs only to God. The intentions, the habit of using mere titles, and applying as a compliment terms belonging only to God, is wrong. Christ did not intend here to disclaim divinity, or to say anything about his own character, but simply to reprove the intention and habit of the young man - a most severe reproof of a foolish habit of compliment and flattery, and seeking pompous titles.

    Keep the commandments - That is, do what God has commanded. He in the next verses informs him what he meant by the commandments. Jesus said this, doubtless, to try him, and to convince him that he had by no means kept the commandments, and that in supposing he had he was altogether deceived. The young man thought he had kept them, and was relying on them for salvation. It was of great importance, therefore, to convince him that he was, after all, a sinner. Christ did not mean to say that any man would be saved by the works of the law, for the Bible teaches plainly that such will not be the case, Romans 3:20, Romans 3:28; Romans 4:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:9. At the same time, however, it is true that if a man perfectly complied with the requirements of the law he would be saved, for there would be no reason why he should be condemned. Jesus, therefore, since he saw he was depending on his works, told him that if he would enter into life that is, into heaven - he must keep the commandments; if he was depending on them he must keep them perfectly, and if this was done he would be saved. The reasons why Christ gave him this direction were, probably:

    1. because it was his duty to keep them.

    2. because the young man depended on them, and he ought to understand what was required if he did - that they should be kept perfectly, or that they were not kept at all.

    3. because he wanted to test him, to show him that he did not keep them, and thus to show him his need of a Saviour.

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 19:17

    19:17 Why callest thou me good - Whom thou supposest to be only a man. There is none good - Supremely, originally, essentially, but God. If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments - From a principle of loving faith. Believe, and thence love and obey. And this undoubtedly is the way to eternal life. Our Lord therefore does not answer ironically, which had been utterly beneath his character, but gives a plain, direct, serious answer to a serious question.