Luk 18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (KJV)
Luk 18:17 verily I say to you, Whoever may not receive the reign of God as a little child, may not enter into it.’ (Young’s Literal Translation)
Luke 18:17 Truly I say to you, whoever may not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he may by no means enter into it.” (Lavender’s New Testament)
Luk 18:17 I solemnly say to you, Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a little child does, will never get into it at all.” (Williams New Testament)
Luk 18:17 Truly I say to you, Whoever does not put himself under the kingdom of God like a little child, will not come into it at all. (Bible in Basic English)
Luk 18:17 I can guarantee this truth: Whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child receives it will never enter it.” (God’s Word translation)
Each Bible translation of Luke 18:17 presents the translator’s best understanding of the underlying Greek text. Notice that only the Young’s Literal Translation and the Lavender’s New Testament preserve in English the underlying subjunctive mood (“may”) present in the Greek text. Most of the cited translations preserve the emphatic negative “may by no means enter,” “will never get into it at all.” It is good to compare several translations to get a better idea of what was originally said or written. I like to compare what I call “distinctive translations,” translations that do not say exactly what most translations say.
The sobering message of what Jesus said here has eternal significance and consequences for every reader. Unless we receive the kingdom of God the way a child does, we surely will not enter it.
There are many different opinions among Bible scholars about just what is meant by “the kingdom of God.” Most of their opinions are mistaken. I have placed a note in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury which explains what is meant by the “kingdom of God”:
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
the kingdom of God. Those (often of materialist and Arian persuasion) who cite this text in proof that a saved person does not go immediately upon death to be with Christ (**2Co 5:8, *Php 1:23) have confused the “kingdom of God” with heaven, which it is not. Neither is the church the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven (Isa 60:21 note). The kingdom of God or Heaven is the future permanent and eternal (Dan 7:14, Rev 11:15) earthly reign of Jesus Christ in a theocratic kingdom whose capital is Jerusalem (Jer 3:17, Mic 4:7, Zep 3:15), a reign which extends to all the earth (Zec 14:9), in fulfillment of the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants (+**Gen 12:2 note. +**2Sa 7:10 note. +**Act 7:5; +**Isa 55:3). The kingdom of God is identical to the kingdom of heaven. Those (particularly dispensationalists) who make a distinction between the “kingdom of heaven” and the “kingdom of God” have confused the “kingdom of God” with the “sovereignty of God.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses, who make much of this text, fail to note the one essential requirement to enter the earthly kingdom, the new birth (Eze 36:25, 26, **Joh 3:3; **Joh 3:5; **Joh 3:7 note. +**Act 3:19, 21), a requirement which they deny, which is proof enough that they, like the unbelieving Jews of Jesus’s day, will have no part or place in it (+*Mat 8:11; +*Mat 8:12). +**1Co 6:9, Jer 3:17, Mic 4:7, Zep 3:15, **Zec 14:9, +**Joh 3:3; +**Joh 3:5; +**Joh 3:7, +*Act 14:22, *+Rom 14:17, Rev 11:15.
neither doth. FS96B1, 1Co 15:12, i.e. can. Paul shows that the kingdom of God is yet future (Col 1:13 note. 2Ti 4:1 note), it is inherited (+*Eph 1:11 note) only by regenerated saints as co-heirs with Christ (+*Rom 8:17), who will enter the kingdom with glorified bodies, as his subsequent discussion (1Co 15:51, 52, 53) shows, by means of resurrection or glorification. +*Mat 19:28, +*Act 3:21, Rom 8:17, Col 1:13, +*2Ti 4:1.