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Luke 11 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Luke 11 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

(11:2-5) "When ye pray, say..."
The earliest manuscripts show a much different version of the "Lord's Prayer." Since the prayer found in Matthew (6:9-13) had become so important liturgically, scribes simply changed the Luke's version to match.1 Here is the earlier prayer that is used in the New Revised Standard Version:
Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.  And do not bring us to the time of trial.
Ah, the Bible was a huge open source project idea again. Yes, everyone on those days was busily correcting the Bible as they saw fit. Word of God? Written by an apostle? They didn't think about that at all, but just kept scrapping and adding.
Actually no. It is extremely unlikely that people would consider changing copies. There might have been the odd mistake when copying something, but changing the Word of God? And if they supposedly copied Matthew, why isn't it still different? Compare for example verse 4 with Matthew 6:12.
Maybe, just maybe, our Lord Jesus intended us to gave a direction of prayer and not a liturgy? An example of prayer which we could follow but not copy? Couldn't that be the reason of the differences? See also John Gill on Luke 11:4.
On the supposed earliest manuscripts, J.W. Burgon, Gresham professor of divinity at Oxford claims that this reading can be traced back to Marcion, a heretic from the mid second century (in The Revision Revised). I wish my Greek was a little better, because as Burgon also claims, there is not a single Greek manuscript that has the text as quoted by the author of the SAB. This Greek is only found in “reconstructed” Greek texts such as found in the 27 edition of Nestle Aland.

3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Can God be found?
The author of the SAB has found some verses in the Bible that indicate that God will not be found (Ps. 18:41) of those that seek him. And he is right, many could be added such as Matthew 25:11-12. But these texts should never be read in isolation, but always in their context. This verse for example is spoken to those who have believed that Jesus is the Son of God. Those who have sought and found God. God is their heavenly father, see verse 13. One cannot apply this text to unbelievers, because God isn't their Father but their judge.
Prov. 8:17 on the other hand is spoken to everyone in this world, those who have believed, those who sincerely seek God and those who want nothing to do with Him, Prov. 8:4.
Ps. 18:41 on the other hand is spoken to the enemies of God. It is part of their judgment. They have rejected God and persecuted his saints, but when their time of judgment comes, and when they see that calling to their gods won't help, they might even cry to the God who they have mocked and whose existence they have denied. But God will not hear them. Either because they call not sincerely. the only reason they want to be delivered is so they can continue the persecution of the saints and their mocking of God. Or because their time of grace has passed and the time of their destruction has come.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

"And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb."
People who cannot speak are possessed with devils.

15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

"He that is not with me is against me."
Who is for or against Jesus?

24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

(11:24-26) "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man...."
Jesus says it is impossible to get rid of unclean spirits. If you manage to evict one, he'll soon return with seven others "more wicked than himself" and you'll be worse off than you were before. So just learn to live with whatever unclean spirits that are currently possessing you.

25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

"There shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet."
Did Jesus perform any signs and wonders?

30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.

31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

"Behold, a greater than Solomon is here."
Who was the greatest: Jesus or Solomon?

32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

"When thine eye is evil"
The meaning here is that how we use our eyes, is not only a good indication of our hearts, but is a major influence on it. If we look at woman and see mainly a sexual object, it will make our bodies dark. Job did the opposite, see Job 31:1.
If we use our eyes only to look for mistakes and contradictions in the Bible, what comfort do we derive from this reading for our lives?

35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.

38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.

39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

40 Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

(11:40-46) "Ye fools, hypocrites"
Jesus calls his critics fools, thus making himself, by his own standards (Mt.5:22), worthy of "hell fire."
Is it OK to call someone a fool?

41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.

44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

45 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.

46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

(11:47-52) "Ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them."
Jesus blames all the deaths of the prophets (from Abel to Zacharias) on his generation.
Where is the blaming? Jesus states a fact: your fathers killed the prophets, which was true. And they built the sepulchers of these prophets, also true.
But perhaps the author of the SAB refers to the end of verse 51 in particular “[their blood] shall be required of this generation.” However, the meaning of this is that those who reject the words of these prophets are as guilty as those we rejected and killed them. The prophets speak till this day and those who hear it are required to respond. They can either kill them, i.e. ignore them, or believe. A response is required because prophets don't speak their own words, but the word of God.

48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:

54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.