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Last updated: Sep 23, 2013
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What's New: Is the Bible "inspired"?
"Insights" from the New Testament Greek
By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida
STAYING IN BALANCE, Luke 10:38-42
Luke 10:38 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.
Iím sure you are all familiar with this passage about Jesus being a guest in Mary and Marthaís home. What a tremendous event, think about all the cleaning and dusting and planning for the meal. Time to get out the best dishes and silverware!
In verse 38, we find that Martha is the head of the household, and she feels the weight of the responsibility to be the good host. In verse 39, "also sat" indicates that Martha loved to sit at the feet of Jesus also, and in verse 40, we find that Mary WAS helping, but QUIT to sit and learn at the feet of Jesus.
The Greek word underneath the KJV word "cumbered" and "much serving" in verse 40 means that Martha was "distracted" from learning at the feet of Jesus by a "large amount of serving". Underneath "serving" is the Greek word "diakonos", from which we get our English word "deacon".
"Diakonos" literally means "to raise a dust by rapid activity", and was used in the ancient world for "one who waits on tables, or runs errands", and eventually came to include anyone who takes care of all the necessary details in any particular activity.
The Greek word translated "came to him" in verse 40 is an "ingressive aorist" verb, indicating that Martha "burst in", interrupting Jesus and demanding that He direct Mary to return to the kitchen to help her. There is a great lesson for us in Jesusí answer in verses 41 and 42. Jesus tells Martha that she is overly concerned with her "serving", and that only one dish, or course is necessary. Then Jesus states that Mary has chosen the "good portion", or "dish", that cannot be taken away from her. What is it that "cannot be taken away" from us? The Word of God resident in our soul. That is the only thing we can take with us from this life into the next, and it cannot be taken away from us.
Yes, many details of life are necessary, but we must be careful not to allow the "details" to prevent us from receiving the "good portion, or dish", the Bible food for our soul, which is the Word of God.
I have come to believe that the two most important things on this planet are people, and the Word of God. Everything else will eventually be burned up with a fervent heat and replaced with the eternal order. I pray that this Scripture will encourage us all to "stay in balance".