Parallel passages: Matthew 19:16-27; Luke 10:25-28, 12:33,18:18-27
17And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
19You know the commandments: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”
20And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.”
21And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
22At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
23And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”
24And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”
27Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Interpretation by the Church Fathers
As the preacher says, “Wisdom is a defence and money is a defence”7 also. We must not hastily conclude that this statement conflicts with that of the Lord: “verily I say unto you that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven; and again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.”8 Were it so, the salvation of Zacchæus the publican, described in scripture as a man of great wealth, would contradict the Lord’s declaration. But that what is impossible with men is possible with God9 we are taught by the counsel of the apostle who thus writes to Timothy:—“charge them that are rich in this world that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy, that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come that they may lay hold on the true life.”10
7 Eccl. 7:12.
8 Matt. 19:23, 24.
9 Mark 10:27.
10 1 Tim. 6:17–19: AV. has “eternal life” in the last verse.
Jerome. (1893). The Letters of St. Jerome. In P. Schaff & H. Wace (Eds.), W. H. Fremantle, G. Lewis, & W. G. Martley (Trans.), St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works (Vol. 6, p. 164). New York: Christian Literature Company.