We see different kinds of presentation of Luke 18: 23-24 concerning the rich man wanting to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For instance we read ....

" But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" (NRSVCE)

" When he heard this he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. When Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" ( Modern English Version)

I wish to know what the content of Verse 24 available in the original was, and why the words 'when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful' were omitted in the NRSVCE .

  • I've just looked at biblehub, in NIV and NAS: "Jesus looked at him and said". In Berean Literal : "And having seen him, Jesus became sorrowful, saying" In ASV and ERV :_"And Jesus seeing him said". But to be honest, I don't know whether those version mentioned above are Catholic Bible or not.
    – karma
    Apr 13, 2018 at 17:34
  • 1
    This seems like it would definitely be better on Biblical Hermeneutics - it's not about Catholicism per se but about a decision regarding translation. Apr 13, 2018 at 17:49

3 Answers 3


The phrase is missing from some important Greek manuscripts, including the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus.

According to its introduction, the NRSV-CE is based on

the most recent edition of the Greek New Testament, prepared by an interconfessional and international committee and published by the United Bible Societies (1966; 3rd ed. corrected, 1983; information concerning changes to be introduced into the critical apparatus of the forthcoming 4th edition was available to the Committee).

The UBS3 text is equivalent to the Nestle-Aland 26th edition "Critical Text". This Greek text reads, for Luke 18:24:

Ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς [περίλυπον γενόμενον] εἶπεν, Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσπορεύονται·

As you can see, the phrase corresponding to became sorrowful - περίλυπον γενόμενον - is enclosed in square brackets. Metzger's Textual Commentary explains here:

On the one hand, the excellent attestation for the shorter text (א B L f 1 1241 al) and the variety of positions of περίλυπον γενόμενον suggest that the words were introduced by copyists, perhaps from ver. 23 (περίλυπος ἐγενήθη). On the other hand, since Luke’s penchant of repeating a word or phrase in adjacent passages may have operated here, a majority of the Committee did not feel at liberty to omit the phrase entirely, but enclosed it within square brackets.

It would appear that the NRSV-CE translators and editors opted to exclude the bracketed Greek in this case.

This is not necessarily an innovation. The phrase was also excluded from the NRSV, RSV, and RSV-CE, which are based on the same Greek text:


Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!


Jesus looking at him said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!

The Modern English Version is based, as is the King James Version, on the 16th century Textus Receptus Greek text. This text doesn't have any kind of annotation (e.g. square brackets) to indicate the certainty of the text. It also has a slightly different word order at the end of the verse, but this is more or less irrelevant to the English translation:

ἰδὼν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς περίλυπον γενόμενον εἶπε, Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰσελεύσονται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ.


The NRSV-CE probably omitted those words because that translation is based upon newer manuscripts.

St. Jerome, when translating into Latin for the Vulgate*, had access to older manuscripts that are no longer extent (cf. this and Which Bible Should You Read?*).
*The Vulgate is the official edition of the Church.
**This book compares various translations, including the RSV-CE, which it calls the CRSV.

Here's the Rheims English translation of the Vulgate* Latin of Lk. 18:24:

  1. And Jesus seeing him become sorrowful, said: How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.
    Videns autem Jesus illum tristem factum, dixit : Quam difficile, qui pecunias habent, in regnum Dei intrabunt!

The phrase "Ἰησοῦς [Jesus] περίλυπον [very sad, deeply grieved] γενόμενον [being]" appears in this interlinear Greek/English edition on p. 110 (PDF p. 122), but it is missing in this Greek New Testament.

I wish to know what the content of Verse 24 available in the original

No original manuscripts of Holy Scripture are known to exist.


Basically, there are two types of bible translations, equivalent (formal equivalence) and dynamic. The two are not similar.

Equivalent tries to be literal, translating texts with a higher degree of equivalence as word for word. There would be fewer added words or subtracted words. The literal meaning would be more duplicated.

Dynamic would be less literal, trying to give more readability to the translation.

So, it's not like one "left out" words necessarily, but rather, what style of translation was used?

KJV, NASB, RSV, NIV, YLT, and others are more literal.

NLT, Good News, and others are more dynamic.

One key to keep in mind is not to build a doctrine on a dynamic translation.

PS There is a third category of bible that would be termed more parochial or to a degree in the dynamic category; that is, translated with specific doctrines predetermined. The translation follows the doctrine, rather than the other way around. An example of this would be the JW bible. Of course, they may argue the KJV was translated this way. In this case, one might look at historical facts to help guide one's usage.

  • This is a textual criticism issue, not a translation methodology issue.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 18, 2018 at 0:20

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