"Somehow of all the Gospel writers, one would have liked to meet Luke best of all." - William Barclay

(1907 - 1978)
Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow, Barclay dedicated
his life to "making the best biblical scholarship available to the average reader."

The result was the Daily Study Bible, a set of commentaries on the New Testament, exploring verse by verse through Barclay's own translation of the New Testament, listing and examining every possible interpretation known to Barclay and providing all the background information he considered possibly relevant.

The 17 volumes of the set were all instant best-sellers and continue to be so to this day.

Barclay wrote many other popular books, mostly in the same accessible but scholarly style. In The Mind of Jesus (1960) he states that his aim was "to make the figure of Jesus more vividly alive, so that we may know him better and love him more."


The Words of Jesus Christ
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Chapters Three and Four

Jesus answered him, "It stands written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"


In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, and when Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and the district of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, when he was in the desert. So he came into the territory around Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance whereby sins might be forgiven - as it stands written in the book of the words of Isaiah, the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Get ready the road of the Lord, make his paths straight; every ravine shall be filled up; every mountain and hill will be made low; the twisted places will be made into straight roads and the rough places into smooth; and all flesh shall see God's instrument of salvation.'"

To the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, John used to say, "You spawn of vipers, who put it into your heads to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruits to match repentance. Do not begin to say among yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is laid at the root of the trees. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." The crowds asked him, "What are we to do?" He answered them, "Let him who has two robes give one to one who has none and let him who has food do likewise." The tax collectors came to be baptized and said to him, "Teacher, what are we to do?" He said to them, "Exact no more beyond what your instructions lay down." The soldiers, too, asked him, "What are we to do?" He said to them, "Treat no man with violence and do not play the false informer and be content with your pay."

When the people were in a state of expectancy and when they were all wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he could be the Anointed One, John answered them all, "I baptize you with water, but the One who is stronger than I is coming, the buckle of whose sandals I am not worthy to unloose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to cleanse his threshing floor and he will gather the corn into his store but he will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire."

So then, urging the people with many other pleas, John preached the gospel to them. But, when Herod the tetrarch was rebuked by him concerning the matter of Herodias, his brother's wife, and concerning all the other wicked things he had done, he added this also to them all - he shut up John in prison.

When all the people had been baptized and when Jesus too had been baptized, as he was praying, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit in bodily form like a dove came down upon him and there was a voice from heaven, "You are my beloved son; in you I am well pleased."

When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age. He was the son (as it was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Jesus, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Symeon, the son of Judas, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nashon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Pelag, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Chapter Four

Jesus came back from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and for forty days he was tempted by the devil; and in those days he ate nothing, and when they were completed he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you really are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered him, "It stands written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'" He took him up and showed him in an instant of time all the kingdoms of the inhabited world. The devil said to him, "I will give you all this power and the glory of them, because it has been handed over to me, and I can give it to whomsoever I wish. If then you worship me all of it will be yours." Jesus answered him, "It stands written, 'You must worship the Lord God and him only must you serve.'" He brought him to Jerusalem and set him on a pinnacle of the Temple, and said to him, "If you really are the Son of God throw yourself down from here, for it stands written, 'He has given his angels instructions concerning you, to take care of you, and they will bear you up in their hands lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It has been said, 'You must not try to test the Lord your God.'" So when he had gone through the whole gamut of temptation, the devil left him for a time.

So Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee; and the story of him spread throughout the whole countryside. He kept on teaching in their synagogues; and he was held in high reputation by all.

So Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been brought up; and, as was his habit, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read the lesson. The roll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He opened the roll and found the passage where it is written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to announce release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who have been bruised, to proclaim that the year which everyone is waiting for has come." And he folded up the roll and handed it back to the officer and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed intently on him. He began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your ears." And all witnessed to him and were amazed at the words of grace that came from his mouth. And they said, "Is this not the son of Joseph?"

He said to them, "You are bound to quote the proverb to me, 'Physician, heal yourself; we have heard about all that happened in Capernaum; do the same kind of things in your own home country.'" He said, "This is the truth that I tell you. No prophet is accepted in his own home country. In truth I tell you there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months and when there was a great famine all over the earth. And to none of them was Elijah sent but he was sent to Zarephath, to a widow of Sidon. There were many lepers in Israel in the times of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was healed; but Naaman the Syrian was." And the people in the synagogue were filled with anger as they listened to these things; and they rose up and hustled him out of the town. They took him to the brow of the hill on which their town is built, to throw him down; but he passed through the midst of them and went upon his way.

Jesus came down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and he was teaching them on the Sabbath day; and they were astonished at his teaching because his speech was with authority. There was in the synagogue a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon and he cried out with a loud voice, "What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God." So Jesus rebuked it. "Be muzzled," he said, "and come out of him." And after the demon had thrown him into the midst of them, it came out of him and it did him no harm. Astonishment fell on them all and they kept saying to each other, "What word is this? Because he gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and with power and they come out." And the story of him went out to every place in the surrounding district.

Jesus left the synagogue and came into Simon's house; and Simon's mother-in-law was in the grip of a major fever. They asked him to do something for her. He stood over her and rebuked the fever and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.

When the sun was setting all who had friends who were ill with all kinds of sicknesses brought them to Jesus; and he laid his hands upon each one of them and cured them. Out of many there came demons, shouting out and saying, "You are the Son o f God." And he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Anointed One. When day came, he went out and went to a desert place; and the crowds kept looking for him and they tried to restrain him so that he would not go away from them; but he said to them, "I must tell the Good News of the Kingdom of God to other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do."

turn to chapters five and six

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