Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Luke 2:51

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Went down with them - Down from Jerusalem, which was in a high, mountainous region.

Was subject unto them - Performed the duty of a faithful and obedient child, and not improbably was engaged in the trade of Joseph - that of a carpenter. Every Jew was required to learn some trade, and there is every reason to think that our Saviour followed that of his reputed father. And from this we learn:

1. That obedience to parents is a duty. Jesus has set an example in this that all children should follow. Though he was the Son of God, and on proper occasions was engaged in the great work of redemption, yet he was also the “son of Mary,” and he loved and obeyed his mother, and was “subject” to her.

2. It is no dishonor to be a mechanic, or to be brought up in an obscure employment. Jesus has conferred honor on virtuous industry, and no man should be ashamed of industrious parents, though poor, or of a condition of life that is far from ease and affluence. Industry is honorable, and virtuous poverty should not be regarded as a matter of reproach. The only thing to be ashamed of, in regard to this matter, is when people are idle, or when children are too proud to hear or speak of the occupation of their parents, or to follow the same occupation.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is for the honour of Christ that children should attend on public worship. His parents did not return till they had stayed all the seven days of the feast. It is well to stay to the end of an ordinance, as becomes those who say, It is good to be here. Those that have lost their comforts in Christ, and the evidences of their having a part in him, must bethink themselves where, and when, and how they lost them, and must turn back again. Those that would recover their lost acquaintance with Christ, must go to the place in which he has put his name; there they may hope to meet him. They found him in some part of the temple, where the doctors of the law kept their schools; he was sitting there, hearkening to their instructions, proposing questions, and answering inquiries, with such wisdom, that those who heard were delighted with him. Young persons should seek the knowledge of Divine truth, attend the ministry of the gospel, and ask such questions of their elders and teachers as may tend to increase their knowledge. Those who seek Christ in sorrow, shall find him with the greater joy. Know ye not that I ought to be in my Father's house; at my Father's work; I must be about my Father's business. Herein is an example; for it becomes the children of God, in conformity to Christ, to attend their heavenly Father's business, and make all other concerns give way to it. Though he was the Son of God, yet he was subject to his earthly parents; how then will the foolish and weak sons of men answer it, who are disobedient to their parents? However we may neglect men's sayings, because they are obscure, yet we must not think so of God's sayings. That which at first is dark, may afterwards become plain and easy. The greatest and wisest, those most eminent, may learn of this admirable and Divine Child, that it is the truest greatness of soul to know our own place and office; to deny ourselves amusements and pleasures not consistent with our state and calling.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Was subject unto them - Behaved towards them with all dutiful submission. Probably his working with his hands at his reputed father's business, is here also implied: see on Luke 2:41; (note). No child among the Jews was ever brought up in idleness. Is not this the carpenter? was a saying of those Jews who appear to have had a proper knowledge of his employment while in Joseph's house. See the note on Matthew 13:55.

Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 32.4

Notwithstanding the sacred mission of Christ, His exalted relationship with God, of which He was fully aware, He was not above performing the practical duties of life. He was the Creator of the world, and yet He acknowledged His obligation to His earthly parents, and at the call of duty, in compliance with the wishes of His parents, He returned with them from Jerusalem after the Passover, and was subject unto them. LHU 32.4

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 264

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Ephesians 6:1. OHC 264.1

Jesus has given to childhood and youth a perfect example. Study the Pattern, Christ Jesus, and copy it if you would be like Him—pure, holy, sinless, and undefiled. Study the childhood of Christ. He was the Son of God, yet the Bible record tells us He returned from Jerusalem and was subject unto His parents.... OHC 264.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 417

It is essential for parents to find useful employment for their children, which will involve the bearing of responsibilities as their age and strength will permit. The children should be given something to do that will not only keep them busy, but interest them. The active hands and brains must be employed from the earliest years. If parents neglect to turn their children's energies into useful channels, they do them great injury; for Satan is ready to find them something to do. Shall not the doing be chosen for them, the parents being the instructors? FE 417.1

When the child is old enough to be sent to school, the teacher should co-operate with the parents, and manual training should be continued as a part of his school duties. There are many students who object to this kind of work in the schools. They think useful employments, like learning a trade, degrading; but such persons have an incorrect idea of what constitutes true dignity. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is one with the Father, the Commander in the heavenly courts, was the personal instructor and guide of the children of Israel; and among them it was required that every youth should learn how to work. All were to be educated in some business line, that they might possess a knowledge of practical life, and be not only self-sustaining, but useful. This was the instruction which God gave to His people. FE 417.2

In His earth-life, Christ was an example to all the human family, and He was obedient and helpful in the home. He learned the carpenter's trade, and worked with His own hands in the little shop at Nazareth. He had lived amid the glories of heaven; but He clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might associate with humanity, and reach hearts through the common avenue of sympathy. When found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and worked for the recovery of the human soul by adapting Himself to the situation in which He found humanity. FE 417.3

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Ellen G. White
Education, 185

“Incline thine ear unto wisdom;”
“search for her as for hid treasures.”

In childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus studied the Scriptures. As a little child He was daily at His mother's knee taught from the scrolls of the prophets. In His youth the early morning and the evening twilight often found Him alone on the mountainside or among the trees of the forest, spending a quiet hour in prayer and the study of God's word. During His ministry His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures testifies to His diligence in their study. And since He gained knowledge as we may gain it, His wonderful power, both mental and spiritual, is a testimony to the value of the Bible as a means of education. Ed 185.1

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