The Prince of Life at Nain -- By: Donald K. Campbell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 115:460 (Oct 1958)
Article: The Prince of Life at Nain
Author: Donald K. Campbell


The Prince of Life at Nain

Donald K. Campbell

The miracles of Christ have been the subjects of special study by many students of the Scriptures. They have suffered, however, at the hands of friend and foe alike. The critics have sought by various means to remove the supernatural element from these passages of the Bible. Their rationalistic devices are well known and are repudiated by those who believe in the supernatural character of the Word of God. In some cases, however, conservative expositors have mistreated the miracles also, for, while recoiling with proper indignation from the allegorizing or spiritualizing of the Old Testament prophecies, they employ the same method of interpretation in connection with the Gospel accounts of the miracles with no apparent awareness of their inconsistency. While the motive may be to find something practical, devotional, or edifying, we cannot assume the dictum that “the blessing justifies the means” (Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p. 166). The solution to this problem seems to be found in the recognition and application of the tried and true hermeneutical principle: “Interpretation is one; application is many.” The expositor should first give careful attention to the meaning of the text of Scripture, and then, and only then, seek applications that edify and instruct. With this principle before us, we give attention to a striking miracle performed by Christ in Nain of Galilee. It is recorded only in Luke 7:11–17.

The Setting of the Miracle

Luke, an able historian, gives full description of the setting for his miracle. The time, place, and personnel are carefully noted. The incident is introduced with the words “And it came to pass the day after.” The American Standard Version prefers the reading “And it came to pass soon afterwards.” Regardless of the reading taken, the contrast will not be missed, namely, that having just healed a dying man, the Savior now restores to life a dead man. On a previous day, the Lord ministered to the centurion’s servant and assuaged the sorrow of a Gentile soldier, but on this day He ministers to the widow’s son and removes thus the grief of a Jewish mother. The compassion of the Son of God knows no bounds nor limitations. He is no respecter of persons.

The village of Nain, mentioned only here in Scripture, has been identified by many with the modern Nein, located six miles southeast of Nazareth and twenty-five miles southwest of Capernaum. It has been suggested that Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. The multitude that accompanied them was no doubt composed of those who had been with...

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