At Mark 10: 17-18 we read:

"As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone."

This conversation involving goodness, in a way, goes against the traditionally accepted concept of 'good-better-best' hierarchy . Perhaps, the seeker and Jesus Himself might have used a word which could be translated as 'perfect' . I wish to know what the teachings of Catholic Church say about such a prospect ?

  • Do you mean the Greek text or the hypothesises Aramaic behind it? – curiousdannii Apr 18 '18 at 15:29
  • Jesus was apparently asking the man if he was acknowledging Jesus as God. – BYE Apr 18 '18 at 20:31

Jesus is referring to His created, finite human nature, as the rich man approached Him as though He were only a man.

St. John Chrysostom commentates (Hom. in Matt. 63):

Because he [the rich man] came unto Him as a mere man, and one of the common sort, and a Jewish teacher; for this cause then as a man He discourses with him. … When therefore He says, "There is none good;" not as putting Himself out from being good does He say this, far from it; for he said not, "Why do you call me good? I am not good;" but, "there is none good," that is, none among men.

cf. also St. Thomas Aquinas's Golden Chain on St. Mark's gospel chapter 10 lesson 3


good-better-best is a hierarchy of comparibles.

I have this orange which is good, but this one over here is better and that one is the best of all.

Jesus is referring to "good" in the sense of "a teacher", "a false teacher", and "a good teacher". "A false teacher" is not of God, "a teacher" is someone who gives guidance but may fail at it. The young man is saying he recognises Jesus as a good teacher, one of value. Now Jesus is saying this title only has relevance if the teacher is speaking from God, through the teacher. So in one respect the phrase is a complement, in another it is a lie, saying teaching other than from God is ok in the area of spiritual things, and Jesus is good on a sliding scale. Jesus is saying there is no sliding scale. Either you listen to God or you do not. So does this young man accept who Jesus actually is, or is he just playing games?

The reality is demonstrated by As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," Mark 10:17

This is play acting, for effect, to show how the young man is wanting to demonstrate what he has achieved and how he has recognised a teacher of worth, and hopes for a complement in return.

Now from the writings of the church I do not see such an analysis as this, so I think to answer your question, the church does not have an in depth view on this subject.

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