Category Archives: Does the King James Bible in Luke 14:10 suggest Jesus encouraged people to worship fellow humans?

Does the King James Bible in Luke 14:10 suggest Jesus encouraged people to worship fellow humans?

DOES THE KING JAMES BIBLE IN LUKE 14:10 SUGGEST JESUS ENCOURAGED PEOPLE TO WORSHIP FELLOW HUMANS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version King James Bible relates this portion of Luke chapter 14 to us in the following manner: “[7] And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, [8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; [9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. [11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Supposedly (as one “scholarly” critic argued), the King James Bible has a gross error in verse 10: “But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” The complaint is that the translators of our Authorized Version condoned or even encouraged human worship. After all, why would Jesus advise them how to have “worship” in the presence of others? In modern English versions, the Greek word “doxa” has been here rendered either “honor” or “glory;” allegedly, they have a superior reading. If the King James is correct, then Jesus sounds like He tolerated idolatry. While this author strongly disagrees with this assessment of the Authorized Version’s rendition of Luke 14:10, he must present it to you so you can see the charge laid against the King James Bible. Let us see how strong it is.

Before stumbling over verse 10, it would greatly help us to go back to verse 1 for the context: “[1] And it came to pass, as he [the Lord Jesus Christ] went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. [2] And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. [3] And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? [4] And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; [5] And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? [6] And they could not answer him again to these things.” (As touching the issue of “dropsy,” see our study linked at the end of this article.)

The Lord Jesus is attending a feast at which many religious elitists are present (verse 1). Re-read verse 7: “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,….” He notices how they are so egotistical they are presumptuously selecting the “chief rooms” (most prominent or important seats) at the table. Later, He will speak out against this hypocritical crowd. “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,…” (Matthew 23:5-6). “And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:…” (Mark 12:38-39). “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;…” (Luke 20:46).

Back to verse 7 and onward: “[7] And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, [8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; [9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. [11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

To the self-absorbed crowd, Christ offers them a “parable”—a “throwing alongside” or analogy—to describe their behavior. This Parable of the Great Supper spans verses 8-24, and is based on Proverbs 25:6-7. (Jesus knows His Hebrew Bible! Do they? “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”) He advises them to take the seat of lesser status, for if a superior person enters the room they will have to, most awkwardly, remove themselves from the seat of higher prestige. It is far better to let the host of the feast promote you than to advance yourself and he subsequently demote you (see Proverbs 27:2: “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”).

Concentrate now on Luke 14:10: “But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” Again, the King James translators have been faulted for rendering “doxa” as “worship” here, for, they are allegedly insinuating Jesus encouraged people to “worship” others. (Modern English versions have “honor” or “glory.”) Could the Authorized Version scholars have actually placed into the lips of the Lord words of idolatry? We think not! Although “doxa” is often rendered “glory” in the Authorized Version New Testament (almost 150 times), Jesus’ usage of “worship” here may be seen as sarcasm or mockery. Essentially, “If you conceited people are seeking worship from your fellow man, here is how you get it! You let the host do it, not yourself!” The point is stronger in the King James Bible; however, this thrust is lost or watered down in modern English versions, including the New King James Version.

Verse 11 is a fitting conclusion to our study: “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Of course, as Christ rightly pointed out, their problem is pride—particularly religious pride. Two other verses should come to mind here. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). “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” (Luke 18:14). You are strongly encouraged to read the contexts of these verses. The arrogant will be brought low, for apostate Israel will be destroyed in God’s wrath; believing, humble Israel will be magnified in the Kingdom. “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Saints, if the Lord of glory could humble Himself, then so can we!

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Also see:
» What is “dropsy?”
» What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?
» Is it permissible for us to be proud of our accomplishments?
» Is it truly a good deed if done for selfish reasons?