New Defender's Study Bible Notes
18:2 called a little child. The phrase “little child” refers to very young children, not much more than toddlers. The same Greek word is translated “young child” in Matthew 2:8, referring to the very young Jesus as seen by the wise men. In essence, these verses (see also Luke 18:16-17) indicate that very young children can have enough understanding to place their faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation. It is testified of young Timothy, for example, that “from a child” he had “known the holy Scriptures” (II Timothy 3:15). In this verse, the word for “child” is actually the same word as elsewhere translated “babe.”
18:3 as little children. One does not receive salvation by bargaining or arguing, although the prior clearing of obstacles to faith is helpful and often necessary. In the last analysis, however, we are saved through faith—unconditional faith—like the unquestioning trust of a little child.