Biblical Studies/New Testament Commentaries/The Gospel of Matthew/Chapter 7

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to: navigation, search

Matthew 7 (NRSV)[edit]

Judging Others[edit]

1‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s* eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your neighbour,* “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.

Profaning the Holy[edit]

6 ‘Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.

Ask, Search, Knock[edit]

7 ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

The Golden Rule[edit]

12 ‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

The Narrow Gate[edit]

13 ‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy* that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

A Tree and Its Fruit[edit]

15 ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will know them by their fruits.

Concerning Self-Deception[edit]

21 ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” 23Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”

Hearers and Doers[edit]

24 ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!’ 28 Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, 29for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

Overview of Matthew 7[edit]

Verses 1-10 can essentially be grouped into the following three categories:

  • Concerning Judgment (vv. 1-5)
  • Desecrating What Is Holy (v. 6)
  • Making Requests To God (vv. 7-10)

Throughout this chapter, Jesus addresses the crowds that followed him (Matt. 4:25, Matt. 5:1) as he gave his Sermon on the Mount. In vv. 1-5, Jesus addresses the hypocrisy of the people’s judgemental attitudes. In v. 6, Jesus speaks to the people telling them not to “give what is holy to the dogs.” Verses 7-10 consist of Jesus’ teaching for the people to enter into a prayerful relationship with God.


Verses 13-20 can be grouped into the following three categories:

  • The Golden Rule (v. 12)
  • Narrow Gate (vv. 13-14)
  • A Warning Against False Prophets (vv. 15-20)

Verse 12 seems to be a similar allusion to Christ's commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself,” or vice versa [??]. Here Jesus establishes authority in what he is proclaiming by acknowledging the Golden Rule as “the law and the prophets”. Verses 13-14 speaks of the road to “destruction” and the road to “life.” He is encouraging the crowds to strive for the narrow gate, which leads to life. Verses 15-20 is a warning to the people against false prophets and how to discern the difference.


Verses (21) through (29) may be grouped into the following two categories:

  • Self-deception (v.21-23)
  • Listening Versus Acting On Jesus’ Words (v.24-29)

Verses 21-23 consists of Jesus addressing the necessity of obeying God’s will in order to enter heaven. Inward devotion to Christ’s teachings is necessary, not just outward devotion. In verses 24-29, Jesus uses the story of the house built on rock and the house built on sand to illustrate his point. It is wise for the people and their futures to act on Jesus’ teachings. Neglecting to do so will only lead to destruction.


Within the literary context of Matthew 7, it may be more appropriate to group the passage according to the flow of Jesus' sermon.

  • Judging (vv. 1-6)
  • Prayer (vv. 7-11)
  • The Golden Rule (v. 12)
  • True & False Discipleship (vv. 13-27)
  • Christ's Authority (vv. 28-29)

Jesus proclamation of the Golden Rule undoubtedly marks the highpoint of the Sermon on the Mount. The preceding verses serve as advice and warning to the people whereas the final words spoken are meant to encourage and instill discernment among his followers.

Paraphrase of Matthew 7[edit]

Judging Others[edit]

Do not judge others or you will surely be judged by God. With the same judgment you make you will be held to as well. Why do you only recognize the simple shortcomings of your neighbor but do not see the offending ways of your own life? How can you say to others, “Let me change your ways” while you maintain habits short of God’s glory yourself? You hypocrites, first change your ways so that you may justly correct your neighbor.

Profaning the Holy[edit]

Give not what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your precious belongings before pigs- they will trample your possessions and nip at your feet.[1]

  1. I think it would be useful in a paraphrase of a difficult passage to make the meaning of the metaphor more apparent. Who / what are dogs? pigs? Gentiles? Non-believers? Unsympathetic hearers? What holy things are intended? What are the pearls? You substitute "precious belongings." But is this about material possessions at all?

Ask, Search, Knock[edit]

Ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; everyone who searches finds; to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened to them- this I proclaim in regard to your Heavenly Father. If any of your children asks you for bread, do you give them a stone? Or a fish, do you give them a snake? If even all you who sin know how to give goods gifts, how much better is your Heavenly Father fit to give gifts unto those who ask of him!

The Golden Rule[edit]

In all things, treat others and you desire to be treated, for this is the purpose of the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow Gate[edit]

Enter the narrow gate- this is to obey God the Father; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction and many people follow it. In contrast, the narrow gate that leads to life is hard and there are few who find it.

A Tree and Its Fruit[edit]

Be wary of false prophets who come dressed as sheep but are like ravenous wolves on the inside. You may discern them by their fruits. No one picks grapes from thorns or figs from thistles. Likewise, a good tree produces good fruit; a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit and likewise, a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burned. It is the same for false prophets, who may be discerned by their deeds.

Concerning Self-Deception[edit]

Not everyone who says to me “God, you are my God,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On the day of judgment many will say to me, “God, my God, we preached in your name, and by you we forced out demons and worked many miracles.” But I will say to them, “I never knew you; get away from me you evildoers.”

Hearers and Doers[edit]

All those who hear these words and put them into action will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the floods rushed in, and the wind blew and beat his house, but it did not fall because it had been built on the rock. And all those who hear these words and do not put them into action will be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the floods rushed in, and the wind blew and beat his house, and it fell. When Jesus had finished speaking, the crowds were impressed with his teaching, for he taught them with an authentic authority- not as the teachers of religious law.

Key Words for Consideration[edit]

Judge: [krino /kree·no/] κρίνω The ancient Jews viewed God as the final judge between both individuals and the whole earth. This is reciprocated in the Nt as it was in the OT. God loves righteousness and abhorrs wickedness. His judgment is two-sided; He is both gracious and mericful as well as vindictive (Runesson, 457). 1 to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose. 2 to approve, esteem, to prefer. 3 to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion. 4 to determine, resolve, decree. 5 to judge. 5a to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong (Strong).

Law: How the Jewish "Law" is approached in the Gospel of Matthew tells us about the audience and/or situation the author had in mind when writing it. Matthew takes great care to show that Jesus does not undercut the law of Moses, but rather speaks as an interpreter of God's true demands. Matthew quotes parts of the Torah throughout the Gospel at the mouth of Jesus, where the latter must be heeded [Matt. 7:24-27]. Jesus would be the fulfillment of the law of Moses, at which the central goal of all Jewish "Law" is love [Matt. 22:34-40] (Westerholm, 595).

Authority: In the NT, all authority ultimately belongs to God, the source of "all authority" [Matt. 28:18], though He grants provisional authority to rulers as well as Satan. In the context of this verse where "authority" arises, we recognize that Jesus' authority is God's authority (Weaver, 351).

Destruction: [apoleia /ap·o·li·a/] ἀπώλεια (As appears in the context of Matthew 7:14)1 destroying, utter destruction. 1a of vessels. 2 a perishing, ruin, destruction. 2a of money. 2b the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell (Strong).

Scribes: Elite, highly educated class of professionals who specialized in the reading and interpretation of the Torah (law of Moses). In the NT, Scribes are spoken of as having high social status. In [Matt. 23:5-7], they are described as indivuduals who wear long robes, expect the best seats at banquets, and prefer to be called "rabbis". In the context of [Matt. 7:29] where Jesus spoke "as one having authority, and not as their scribes", we can recognize them as condescending and a class who was somewhat despised (Smoak, 136).


Parallels, Allusions, and Quotations to Matthew 7[edit]

Several allusions to noncanonical sources exist all throughout the Gospel of Matthew as well as the entire New Testament. Listed below are the verses in Matthew 7 where any quotations, references (including Biblical cross-references), or parallels to noncanonical literature can be found. Aside this, are the names of the corresponding documents along with their specific location within the text. This literature is important for exegesis because it provides us with greater insight to the meaning of words and concepts as well as historical, social, religious, exegetical, hermeneutical and canonical contexts (Evans, 3-6; 345-46).

Matthew 7:1-7 Nicomachean Ethics 3.2; Musonius 23, 32; Pseudo-Diogenes 50; Senca, De ira (On Anger) 2.28.5-8; Petronius, Satyrica 57.7; Sentences of Sextus, 183-184
Matthew 7:2 Testament of Zebulon 5:3, 8:3; 2 Enoch 44:5; Pseudo-Phcyclides, Sententiae 11; Mishnah, Sotah 1:7; Tosefta, Sotah 3.1, 2; Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 8b; Sipre on Numbers §106 (on Numbers 12:1-6); Cairo (Geniza) Targum, Genesis 38:26; Targum Neofiti, Numbers 12:15; Fragmentary Targum, Numbers 12:15; Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Numbers 12:14; Targum Isaiah 27:8; cf. Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 127b; Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 28a; Babylonian Talmud, Rosh HaShanah 16b; Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 100b
Matthew 7:4-5 Epictetus 3.22.98; Seneca, De Vita Beata (On The Happy Life) 27.4; Babylonian Talmud, Qiddushin 70a; Babylonian Talmud, Arakhin 16b; Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 15b
Matthew 7:6 Mishnah, Temurah 6:5; Didache 9:5; Dead Sea Scrolls [1QS 9:16-20]; Sentences of Sextus, 354
Matthew 7:7 Psalms 2:8, 21:4, 27:4; Proverbs 8:17; 4 Ezra 4:42; Wisedom of Solomon 6:12; Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 12b; Sophocles, Oedipus tyrannus 110
Matthew 7:9 Seneca, De beneficiis (On Benefits) 2.7.1
Matthew 7:11 Leviticus Rabbah 34.14 (on Leviticus 25:25)
Matthew 7:12 Tobit 4:15; Sirach 31:15; Letter of Aristeas 207; Isocrates, Ad Demonicum (Or. 1), Aegineticus (Or. 19); Seneca, Epistulae morales (Moral Epistles) 9.6, 94.43, 103.3; 2 Enoch 61:2, Sentences of Sextus 89, 90, 179; Sentences of the Syriac Menander 250-251; Mishnah, Abot 2:11; Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Leviticus 19:18
Matthew 7:13 Proverbs 16:25; Sirach 21:10; 2 Baruch 85:13; Diogenes Laertius 4.49
Matthew 7:13-14 Deuteronomy 11:26, 30:15; Jeremiah 21:8; Testament of Asher 1:3-5; Testament of Abraham (A) 11:2-3; 2 Enoch 30:15; Sipre on Deuteronomy §53 (on Deuteronomy 11:26); Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 28b; Cebetis Tabula 270; Pseudo-Diogenes 30.2
Matthew 7:15 Dead Sea Scrolls, Cairo Damascus Document, 6:1-2; Testament of Judah 21:9; 2 Baruch 66:4; Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah 5:2, 12
Matthew 7:16 Sirach 27:6; Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 48a; Epicetus 2.20.18; Seneca, Espitulae morales (Moral Epistles) 87.25; Song Rabbah 1:1 §6
Matthew 7:17-18 2 Enoch 42:14; Horace, Carmina (Odes) 4.4.29; Seneca, Epistulae morales (Moral Epistles 87.25, De ira (On Anger) 2.10.6; Gospel of Thomas §45
Matthew 7:19 Jeremiah 22:7
Matthew 7:21 LXX [Septuagint] Psalms 108:21; 1 Esdras 8:16
Matthew 7:22 Ezra 5:1; Zechariah 13:3; Acts 19:13-16
Matthew 7:23 Psalms 6:8
Matthew 7:24-27 Mishnah, Abot 3:18, Mishnah, Abot R. Nat. (A) 24.3; Seneca, Epistulae morales (Moral Epistles) 52.5
Matthew 7:28 Deuteronomy 31:24, 32:45

What you do in the following section is much more helpful than this list of parallels, which could be found in Evans' table.

Observations, Questions and Considerations: Noncanonical Allusions, Parallels and Quotations[edit]

Matthew 7:2[edit]

“For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”

  • Testament of Zebulon: Originally Jewish work; reworked by a Christian author; should be understood as a "Christian composition & a Christian missionary treatise for the Jews" (NIBD). Written between 109-106 B.C.E. (Evans, 40).

5:3 “Have mercy in your inner being, my children, because whatever anyone does to his neighbor, the Lord will do to him.”

  • 2 Enoch: The work of an Egyptian Jew; written in the late 1st century C.E. (Evans, 30).

44:5 “Because on the day of great judgment, every weight and every measure and every set of scales will be just as they are in the market. That is to say each will be weighed in the balance, and each will stand in the market, and each will find out his own measure and in accordance with that measurement each shall receive his own reward.”

  • The Targums: The word “Targum” refers to a paraphrase of interpretive translation. Produced over generations in the homiletic and liturgical setting of the Synagogue, the Targumim constitute an Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible. Though Matthew 7:2 has many allusions to Targumim, it is thought that these Jewish texts are irrelevant because they were generated after the New Testament era (Evans, 187).

Conclusion: Based on these psuedepigraphal texts and the number of times the subject has been retained and discussed in Targumim, it may be fair to say this is a general principle concerning God’s judgment that Jews, Jewish-Christians, and early Christians embraced. Notice that judgment is ultimately reserved for God and He will be sure to hold you accountable according to your actions. This concept of receiving what one bestows upon others is reflective of the “eye for an eye” commandment given in Leviticus. What is more interesting here however, is how the author of Matthew approaches the issue of judgment. It seems he values the justice where reward or retribution is due in regard to this idea of judgment. This is demonstrated in [Matthew 5:38-42] and in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant [Matthew 18:23-35] (Evans, Background Commentary, 135).


Matthew 7:4-5[edit]

"Or how can you say to your neighbour, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye', while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye."

  • Babylonian Talmud: The Talmud are ancient commentaries on Jewish Scripture written composed by various rabbis over several centuries. The Babylonian Talmud combines the Mishna and Tosefta with gemara. Though the Babylonian Talmud was probably completed about 500-550 C.E., both the Mishna and the Tosefta contain the oral tradition of the Tannaic sages which extends into year 50 B.C.E. (Evans, 228).

Arakin 16b "Rabbi Tarfon said, 'I wonder whether there is any one in this generation who accepts reproof, for if one says to him, "Remove the speck from between your eyes," he would answer, " Remove the log from between your eyes."'"

Qiddushin 70a "He who accuses another of a fault has it himself."

  • Epictetus: (1st-2nd Century C.E.) was a stoic philosopher from Hierapolis, an ancient Greek city in Asia Minor- the same territory that Paul of Tarsus speaks of in his epistles. He lived in the years just after Paul's death and into the generation after. Epictetus' works influenced Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (Evans, 291).

(3.22.98) "If you censure others while you are hiding a little tart behind your arm..."

  • Seneca, Lucius Annaeus: (ca. 4 B.C.E.-65 C.E.) was a politician, advisor to Nero, and a philosopher. We currently have ten of his ethical treatises, including: De ira (On Anger), De provendentia (On Providence), Ad Marciam de consolatione (To Marcia, On Consolation), De beneficiis (On Benefits), De vita beata (On The Happy Life) and other series, namely the Epistulae morales (Moral Epistles) (Evans, 296).

(De Vita Beata 27.4) "Are you at libery to examine others' wickedness, and pass judgment on anyone? You take note of other's blemishes, when you yourself are a mass of sores..."


Conclusion: The fact that Matthew bears continually bears witness to a Jewish audience prevails no less here than it does in the rest of the Gospel. The principle is commonplace both within Jewish and Greco-Roman society. A similar critique is offered in the Old Testament book of Proverbs regarding the failure to address one's own problems. "No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy" (28:13). Helping your neighbor is not the issue; Matthew culminates with the presentation of the greatest commandment- to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and then our neighbor as ourself [Matt. 22:37-40]! Matthew encourages us to love and help one another, but it must be done with credibility and decorum as demonstrated in [Matt. 18:15-20] (Evans, Background Commentary, 135-136).


Matthew 7:6[edit]

"Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you."

  • Didache: May have been written as early as 70-80 C.E. Its purpose is to instruct in the "way of life" and the "way of death", as well as to provide order for church practice (Evans, 272).

9:5 And let none eat or drink of your Eucharist but such as have been baptized into the name of the Lord, for of a truth the Lord hath said concerning this, Give not that which is holy unto dogs.

  • Dead Sea Scrolls: The scrolls were recently found in the in the first half of the twentieth century along the coast of the Dead Sea. They were composed by the Essenes, a monastic community of Jews who sought a holier life. The Dead Sea Scrolls constitute the single most important biblically-related discovery of the twentieth century (Evans, 81).

(1QS 9:16, 20-22) "The Instructor must not reprove the Men of the Pit, nor argue with them about proper biblical understanding.... He shall instruct them in every legal finding that is to regulate their works in that time, and teach them to separate from every man who fails to keep himself from perversity. These are the precepts of the Way for the Instructor in these times, as to his loving and hating: eternal hatred and a concealing spirit for the Men of the Pit!"

  • Sentences of Sextus: A Greco-Roman work that includes short sayings by a man named "Sextus". Sextus was apparently a Pythagorean. This text was created cerca the 2nd century C.E (Evans, 296).

354 "Say nothing about God to the Godless."; 81 "When you purposely thow tour best possessions in the mud, then, being pure, ask for something from God."


Questions for Consideration:

What is Holy?

  • According to The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary, these questions can also be addressed with noncanonical resources as well. As stated above, the writer of the Didache believes that it is the bread and wine of the Eucharist that is Holy. This work teaches that non-believers should not partake in the means of grace, but this is not a possible meaning within the context of the verse because of the text's pre-Easter date. The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary suggests that what is Holy may simply be Jesus' teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. Later in Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples that if certain villages will not listen to their testimony, they should shake the dust off of their sandals as they leave [Matt. 10:14]. Verse 6 may be an extreme case of this principle. What the disciples had to offer (a message of love/hope in Christ) should not be given about lightly, or in some cases, not extended at all. Another meaning fittng to the context may be related to [Matt. 10:13]. "If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you." In this instance, what is Holy may refer to "greetings of peace". In such case, the Essenes of the Qumran Community seem to agree as distinguished in the segment of the Dead Sea Scrolls quoted above.

Who are the dogs?

  • Within the context of Matthew, Jesus' comment about the dogs seems to be a general reference, but nonetheless derogatory. Earlier in Matthew, Jesus himself refers to Gentiles as dogs in his encounter with the woman in [Matt. 15:26-27]. For this reason and the use of the word in coorelation to Gentiles in the Old Testament, it has been thought that Jesus is referring to the Gentiles in verse 6 as well. Therefore, Jesus is warning his disciples not to give holy things things to Gentiles, much like the Rabbis warn against teaching Torah to Gentiles (as in Babylonian Talmud, Hagiga 13a). This cannot be correct however, because the Gospel of Matthew explicitly commands the sharing of the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus to Gentiles in [Matt. 28:18-20]. The most probable context of the term "dogs" is embedded in the Old Testament Scriptures, in which it was used as an insult to Jews and Gentiles alike (e.g. 1 Sam. 17:43; 24:14; 2 Sam. 9:8; 16:9; Ps. 22:20; Prov. 26:11; Isa. 56:10-11). The use of "dog" is emulated in a variety of ways in the New Testament as well. In Philippians 3:2, the word "dogs" is used to refer to Judaizers, the wicked in Revelation 22:15, and apostates in 2 Peter 2:21-22.

Who are the swine?

  • The swine are essentially equated with the dogs in the context of this verse. Both animals are ritually unclean and both words were used as insults (1 Enoch 89:42-49; 2 Peter 2:22; Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 155b).

What are the pearls?

  • Pearls- much like they are today- were highly valued in antiquity. We can make this inference for a passage in Job 28:18, "No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisedom is above pearls." The author of Matthew even equates pearls to a high standard value. "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; one finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it" [13:45-46]. IN antiquity, pearls were often equated with wise sayings or proverbs, as exemplified excerpts from the Sentences of Sextus quoted above. Further examples of this may be seen in excerpts of the following Babylonian Talmud tractates: Berakhot 33b, Hagiga 3a, Yebamot 94a.


Conclusion: After establishing the historical and cultural context of the verse from cross-references and noncanonical sources, the meaning seems to be that Jesus did not will for his disciples to give his teachings to wicked or possibly dangerous persons. We know that the disciples reagrding the words of Jesus' as sacred as Scripture itself [Matt. 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33].


Matthew 7:7[edit]

"Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you."

  • Wisedom of Solomon: (1st Century B.C.E) claimed to be written by King Solomon, the wise ruler of Israel. It is accepted as canon by the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox churches. Majors themes include: wickedness, idolatry, God's mighty acts, and wisedom. It encourages the Jewish people to remain faithful to their heritage as well as resist paganism. Some scholars, including Bruce Metzger conclude that the Apostle Paul studied the text. There are various point where close parallels to Paul's thought remain evident (Evans, 14).

6:12 "Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her."

  • Babylonian Talmud: The Talmud are ancient commentaries on Jewish Scripture written composed by various rabbis over several centuries. The Babylonian Talmud combines the Mishna and Tosefta with gemara. Though the Babylonian Talmud was probably completed about 500-550 C.E., both the Mishna and the Tosefta contain the oral tradition of the Tannaic sages which extends into year 50 B.C.E. (Evans, 228).

"Megillah 12b "He knocked at the gates of mercy and they were opened to him."


Conclusion: Asking and divine blessing is a very familiar theme in Jewish antiquity. In this context, it is no different for Jesus either. He speaks as a Jewish sage prompting others to plead to God for the desires of their heart. This Jewish tradition of dependence on the divine for one's desire's is evidenced not only in noncanonical literature, but certainly in Old Testament scripture as well (e.g. Ps. 21:4, Ps. 2:8, Zech. 10:1, 1 Sam. 1:27, 1 Kings 3:5). The text from the Wisedom of Solomon listed above as well as other Old Testment passages (e.g. Prov. 1:28 [in reference to those who normally do not pursue wisedom]; Prov. 8) presupposes an infatuation with a continual search for wisedom and truth. A passage from the Apocryphal Book of Tobit serves as assurance that God will fulfill what is asked of Him. "Bless the Lord God on every occasion; ask him that your ways may be made straight and that all your paths and plans may prosper. For none of the nations has understanding; but the Lord himself gives all good things" (Evans, Background Commentary, 138-139).


Matthew 7:12[edit]

"In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets."

  • Book of Tobit: (2nd Century B.C.E.) a book from the Apocrypha concerning the story of two families united through marriage. It is both a moral tale and an adventure story. The Book of Tobit has made significant theological contributions in the areas of (1) Prayer, (2) Angels & Divine Providence, (3) Marriage & the Family, as well as (4) Hospitality & Almsgiving (Nowell, 212).

4:15 "And what you hate, do not do to any one. Do not drink wine to excess or let drunkenness go with you on your way."

  • Sirach: (2nd century B.C.E.) a large book of the Apocrypha concerning wisedom. Friendship, fear of God, conduct at banquets, and other topics are notable as well. Sirach was authored by a Hebrew man named Jeshua Ben Sira (Jesus Son of Sira). The text was composed during a time when there was Greek rule over Palestine, and likewise essence of Sirach is in response to Hellenisitic philosophy and influence (Corely, 285).

31:15 "Judge your neighbor's feelings by your own, and in every matter be thoughtful."

  • 2 Enoch: (Late 1st century) the text originally had a Jewish author and now only survives in Old Slavonis manuscripts. It takes a close examination of Genesis 5:21-32. Major theological themes include (1) ethical teachings, (2) heaven & hell, (3) the existence of souls before creation, (4) Creation out of nothing (ex nihilo), and (5)seven heavens and angelic hosts (Evans, 30).

61:2 "Just as man asks something for his own soul from God, so let him do to every living soul."

  • Letter of Aristeas: (130-70 B.C.E. with additions up to 100 C.E.) supposedly an eye-witness account of the translation process of the Hebrew Bible into Greek (Septuagint). Its accuracy is debatable. The Letter of Aristeas was used by Josephus (Evans, c. 27).

'207 "As you wish that no evil should befall you, but to be a partaker of all good things, so you should act on the same principle towards your subjects and offenders."

  • Mishna: (completed 200-220 C.E.) was edited and published by Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi and his peers. The mishna is the documented oral tradition of the Tannaic sages, which extends back to about 50 B.C.E. (Evans, 221).

Abot 2:11 "Even as man looks out for his own home, so he should look out for the home of his fellow."

  • Babylonian Talmud: The Talmud are ancient commentaries on Jewish Scripture written composed by various rabbis over several centuries. The Babylonian Talmud combines the Mishna and Tosefta with gemara. Though the Babylonian Talmud was probably completed about 500-550 C.E., both the Mishna and the Tosefta contain the oral tradition of the Tannaic sages which extends into year 50 B.C.E. (Evans, 228).

Shabbat 31a "What is hateful to you do not to your neighbor, that is the whole Torah, while the rest is comment on it; go and learn it."

  • Sentences of Sextus: A Greco-Roman work that includes short sayings by a man named "Sextus". Sextus was apparently a Pythagorean. This text was created cerca the 2nd century C.E. (Evans, 296).

89 "As you wish your neighbors to treat you, so treat them."

87 "Treat a pious person as yourself."

179 "What you do not want to experience, do not do."

  • Seneca, Lucius Annaeus: (ca. 4 B.C.E.-65 C.E.) was a politician, advisor to Nero, and a philosopher. We currently have ten of his ethical treatises, including: De ira (On Anger), De provendentia (On Providence), Ad Marciam de consolatione (To Marcia, On Consolation), De beneficiis (On Benefits), De vita beata (On The Happy Life) and other series, namely the Epistulae morales (Moral Epistles) (Evans, 296).

Epistulae morales (Moral Epistles) "If you want to be loved, love."

Epistulae morales (Moral Epistles) "Take care not to harm others, so other will not harm you."

  • Menander: lived his life around 344-392 B.C.E., he was a playwright. Several of his plays still exist; Dyskolos is still nearly in its originally entirety, while all the other six only remain in fragments (Evans, 293).

Sentences of Syriac 250-251 "All that is hateful to you, you should not wish to do that to your neighbor."


Conclusion: Matthew 7:12 compromises on of the best known qoutes of Jesus- both inside and outside of Christian circles. Many scholars make the claim that the foundation of this verse is set in the Torah. "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord" [Lev. 19:18]. This commandment was largely ignored within the legalism promoted by the Pharisees. Jesus and his disciples sought to renew this commandment. Outside of the Leviticus passage, most all of the noncanonical literature casts the principle of the verse in a selfish sense. In regard to these sources, both Jewish and Greco-Roman peoples, in religious and cultural terms maintained a general focus on the feelings of the individual rather than the promotion of the well-being of others during antiquity (Evans, Background Commentary, 139-140).


Matthew 7:13-14[edit]

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it."


Basis of the Two Ways

The context of verses 13 & 14 are embedded in Old Testament scripture and rather simply expressed in noncanonical texts. we find the basis of the "two ways" in the book of Deuteronomy: "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:" [Deut. 11:26], "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity" [Deut. 30:15]. Jeremiah picks up on this concept to formulate the identity of the two "ways". "And to this people you shall say: Thus says the Lord: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death"[Jer. 21:8]. Most specifically, it is this passage in Jeremiah that forms the background to [Matthew 7:13-14].

  • Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Testament of Asher: composed between 109-106 B.C.E. The Testament of Asher is one of five books in the collection known as the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs that was written from a speculative point of view, on information taken from other sources and interpretive readings of Genesis. Just as in the Testament of Zebulon, Jacob on his deathbed, is calling his son Ahser to a higher moral life before God (Kugler, 400).

1:3-5 "Two ways has God given to the sons of men... for there are two ways of good and evil."

  • Sirach: (2nd century B.C.E.) a large book of the Apocrypha concerning wisedom. Friendship, fear of God, conduct at banquets, and other topics are notable as well. Sirach was authored by a Hebrew man named Jeshua Ben Sira (Jesus Son of Sira). The text was composed during a time when there was Greek rule over Palestine, and likewise essence of Sirach is in response to Hellenisitic philosophy and influence (Corely, 285).

15:17 "Before a man are life and death, and whichever her chooses will be given to him."

  • Dead Sea Scrolls: The scrolls were recently found in the in the first half of the twentieth century along the coast of the Dead Sea. They were composed by the Essenes, a monastic community of Jews who sought a holier life. The Dead Sea Scrolls constitute the single most important biblically-related discovery of the twentieth century (Evans, 81).

(1QS 3:18-19) God appointed "for them two spirirts in which to walk until the time ordained for His visitation. These are the spirits of truth and falsehood"

  • Testament of Abraham: rewritten several times over several centuries, the Testament of Abraham exists in five different lanuguages (Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Slavonic, and Romanian). Scholars place its probable date of authorship in Alexandria in the 2nd century C.E. The comical testament tells of Abraham's death, and has an extreme lack of scriptural basis (Kugler, 400).

11:2-3 "So Michael turned the chariot and brought Abraham to the east, to the first gate of heaven; and Abraham saw two ways, the one narrow and contracted, the other broad and spacious, and there he saw two gates, the one broad on the broad way, and the other narrow on the narrow way. And outside the two gates there he saw a man sitting upon a gilded throne, and the appearance of that man was terrible, as of the Lord. And they saw many souls driven by angels and led in through the broad gate, and other souls, few in number, that were taken by the angels through the narrow gate."


Destruction of the Many

Rooted in the wisedom literature of Scripture, we find the reverberations of the second half of verse 13. "Sometimes there is a way that seems to be right, but in the end it is the way to death" [Prov. 16:25]. The sentiment of this Proverb extends into the deuterocanonical books as well. Sirach 21:10 states, "The way of sinners is smooothly paved with stones, but at ites end is the pit off Hades." Early Jewish tradition affirmed the danger of taking the easy way in life. Consider the following noncanonical text:

  • 2 Baruch: (early 2nd century C.E.) exists in four languages (Greek, Syriac, Latin, Arabic) and only survives in a fragment. 2 Baruch was written by a Jew who wished to ecourage fellow Jews in the dispersion. The major theme of the text in concentrated on the end of the era and the coming of the messiah. A major concern of the book is Jerusalem's second destruction in 70 C.E. (Evans, 36).

85:13 "There is the sentences of corruption, the way of fire, and the path that leads to Gehenna."

  • Didache: May have been written as early as 70-80 C.E. Its purpose is to instruct in the "way of life" and the "way of death", as well as to provide order for church practice (Evans, 272).

"There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but a great difference between the two ways. The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love God who made you; second, your neighbour as yourself; and all things whatsoever you would should not occur to you, do not also do to another. And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you."


Matthew 7:15[edit]

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."

Warnings of the False Prophets

Warnings against false prophets are frequent in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. Clearly, they were an important issue in the life and times of Christ and the centuries that preceded Him. More importantly is how the cultures behind these texts understood these agents of false prophecy.

  • Cairo Damascus Document: (10th century C.E.) The surviving text is a medieval copy that was found in the library of a Jewish synagogue in Cairo, Egypt. The work is a call of the "Sons of Light" to be wary of the perverse, who are leading the Israelites astray. The text contains rules for the community and warnings against Satan. The Damascus Document was produced by the Essenes of the Qumran Community, a sect of monastic Judaism that survived along the Dead Sea (Evans, 141).

6:1-2 "...they prophesied falsehoood to turn Israel from following God..."

  • 2 Baruch: (early 2nd century C.E.) exists in four languages (Greek, Syriac, Latin, Arabic) and only survives in a fragment. 2 Baruch was written by a Jew who wished to ecourage fellow Jews in the dispersion. The major theme of the text in concentrated on the end of the era and the coming of the messiah. A major concern of the book is Jerusalem's second destruction in 70 C.E. (Evans, 36).

66:4 "...their polluted ones he burnt in the fire, and the lying prophets which decieved the people, these also he burnt in the fire..."

This text testifies to the audacity of the false prophets. Even despite pressure from righteous kings like Josiah, they continued to promote evil.

  • Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Testament of Judah: composed between 109-106 B.C.E. Originally a Jewish work; reworked by a Christian author. Just as in the other Testaments of the Twelve, Jacob is on his deathbed and is calling his son Judah to a higher moral life. Passages specifically within the Testament of Judah propeshy the defeat and faithfulness of the patriarch's descendants. Other passages also proclaim the ideal savior and refer to Christ. Most importantly, these testaments should be understood as a Christian composition as well as a "missionary treatise for Jews" (Kugler, 400).

21:9 "And there shall be false prophets like tempests, and they shall persecute all righteous men..."

This text from the Testament of Judah presupposes and understanding that false prophets continue to plague righteous men until the end of times.

  • Dead Sea Scrolls: The scrolls were recently found in the in the first half of the twentieth century along the coast of the Dead Sea. They were composed by the Essenes, a monastic community of Jews who sought a holier life. The Dead Sea Scrolls constitute the single most important biblically-related discovery of the twentieth century (Evans, 81).

The Dead Sea Scrolls of the Qumran Community affirm that false prophets should lose their lives.

4Q375 f1i:4-5 "But any prophet who arises to urge you [to apostasy, to turn] you from following your God, must be put to death..."

  • Didache: May have been written as early as 70-80 C.E. Its purpose is to instruct in the "way of life" and the "way of death", as well as to provide order for church practice (Evans, 272).

"Let every apostle that comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet that speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one that speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he hold the ways of the Lord."


Access to most of these noncanonical documents may be achieved online, specifically at: Wesley Center for Applied Theology: Noncanonical Literature


Verse Analysis[edit]

Matthew 7:1[edit]

"Do not judge, so that you may not be judged."

  • As established beforehand, the principles described in the historical context of these verses run deep through Jewish and Greco-Roman culture, and likewise, they have served as a powerful warning against condemnations that humans so willingly and inadvertently lash into others. In the context of this verse, the term "judgment" constitutes "condemnation or a harsh spirit (Mounce 64). The text is not explicitly speaking out against making judgments, rather these verses cry for individuals to use discernment, a loving heart, and a "spirit of tolerance" (Morris, 165) when making use of one's rational faculties. Jesus himself goes on later in the sermon to speak of some people as dogs and pigs (v. 6) and establishes a stern warning against false prophets that are inevitably going to plague his Disciples (vv. 15-20). Elsewhere, Jesus also demands that individuals take care in establishing a "right" judgment [John 7:24; 1 Cor. 5:5; Gal. 1:8-9; Phil. 3:2; 1 John 4:1] (Gaebelein 183). How are we to be wary of false prophets or avoid giving what is holy to dogs if we eliminate our process of mental discrimintation? This verse is not a call to check one's brain at the door. Do not judge does not mean do not think.

Matthew 7:2[edit]

"For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get."

  • The NRSV translation of this verse places the right emphases where it is due in the context of this passage. Those who readily pass criticisms and judgments against their neighbors will be sure to receive them in return, not only from others but from God as well. God will show mercy to us in accord to the measure we seek to show others. This presupposes an appropriateness to God's judgment, for He does not act arbitrarily in any matter. According to various rabbis as written in the Leviticus Rabbah [29.3], God uses two measures of forgiveness: mercy and justice. This may give testimony to Jewish origins of the verse. In any case, the point is akin to that already established [Matt. 5:7; 6:12], the judgmental person not being loving and forgiving testifies to his or her own arrogance and impenitence and this excludes themselves from God's forgiveness (Gaebelein, 184).

Matthew 7:3-5[edit]

"Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye."

  • The obvious hyperbole which Jesus used in making his point for this passage was sure to have sparked laughter among the Disciples. He is using this humor as a method of bringing contrast between our inclination toward picking the imperfections and faults of others and our lack of insight in discerning our own (Morris, 166). Some scholars have seen the verse as a description of the "enormous offense of our own failures in comparison with the minor failures between people". It must be noted however, that the point is not to restrain one another from lending a helping hand in times of difficulty. The purpose of the teaching is to restrict hypocritical correction, not from helping whatsoever (Mounce, 64). It is important not to overemphasize the individual's responsibility to look after oneself to the point where a denial of responsibility to our brothers and sisters takes place.

Matthew 7:6[edit]

"Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you."

  • Matthew 7:6 may be one of the most complicated verses to contextualize in the Sermon on the Mount. In order to understand the verse, we must first establish what is holy. The fundamental idea in being holy is that of being set apart for service to God. As stated above, it was thought that this teaching was referring to the Eucharist, but this is not possible because of the Sermon's pre-Easter date. One scholars believes that the answer is hinted at in the Gospel of Matthew itself. What is holy is the Gospel of the Kingdom- everything must be sold in pursuit of it [13:45-46] (Gaebelein, 185). Others believe that it may be referring to a tyoe of meat that was held sacred to the Jews in the Old Testament, but this in not likely in light of the context of the Sermon. It seems then, that Jesus is referring to the very words that he was preaching to his followers. We know they held on to everything he said, for there was nothing more holy than the words of the Son of God. Secondly then, who are the dogs and the swine? We know from the noncanonical resources and biblical cross-references utilized above that these two terms were derogatory, referring both to Jews and Gentiles alike. Dog and Swine both refer to adjectives synonymous with dirty, crude, violent, and unclean. It seems then that Jesus is advising his followers to be wary of how they evangelize with the Gospel message. We know from a later reference that it is indeed offered to all [28:18-20], but there is a time limit that is given to the "obstinate rejectors" (Morris, 167). "Staying on in the company of those who ridicule the Christian religion is not fair to other fields waiting to be served, especially in view of the fact that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few." Jesus first addresses the error of letting our critical faculties becoming too harsh. He then turns around to the other extreme to address a lax attitude in giving what is Holy to dogs. Disciples (or Christians) are not to be judgmental, but they are certainly to use discernment (Morris, 168).

Matthew 7:7-11[edit]

"Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

  • The very basic precept of this passage is that one may be assured that one's prayers will be heard if they cry out to God and this is affirmed in Jewish tradition (Gaebelein, 186). In English translation, the imperatives "Ask, Seek, Knock" are all in the present tense constituting continuous action, or prayer. It seems as if each verb carries an increasing intensity until the individual goes from merely asking to fervently knocking in prayer for answers, or direction. The word "knock" draws upon imagery related to closed "doors" in life that all who serve God may be able to relate to and such prayer may lead to the opening of such doors. The point is emphasized however, that it is not human perisistance that wins out in the end it is the grace of a loving Father in heaven who bestows good gifts to those of ask of him (Morris, 170). Perhaps another point that can be asserted from this passage is the affirmation that this text is more broadly a call to relationship with God (Mounce, 65-66). Prayer is essential to knowing the divine. Interestingly enough, what are these good gifts that are bestowed? A cross-reference to Psalms 37:4 states that if we take delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. Thus, after the relationship is cultivated, He indeed does provide as is beneficial for us and the Kingdom. Such prayer is not for selfish means, but for the glory of God and Kingdom concerns. The Sermon on the Mount lays out the righteousness, sincerity, humility, purity, and love expected of Jesus' followers; and such gifts are assured them if sought through prayer (Gaebelein, 187).

Matthew 7:12[edit]

"In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets."

  • The principle of this verse speaks just as powerfully as Jesus' commandment to love God and neighbor later on at [Matt. 22:40]. The entire Sermon on the Mount culminates at this verse, at which Jesus proclaims that to "do to others as you would have them do to you" constitutes the "law and the prophets" (France, 145). To say say that somethiing is the law and the prophets means that the rule sums up the Old Testament teaching as a whole. Either way it is communicated- whether at v. 7:12 or 22:40- both ways of saying exclude slefishness and an attitude of love and care for others (Morris, 172). What is specifically unique to this phrase, is that Jesus seems to be the first person to have used it in the positive form. As Jesus puts it, the verse is set up to build intentionally build other up, rather than in the negative form, which constitutes an attitude of selfishness. In any case, the verse should be seen as a commandment: In EVERYTHING, DO to others as you would have them do to you; for this IS the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:13-14[edit]

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

  • The way of discipleship is narrow, because it is the way of persecution and opposition, a common theme in Matthew [5:10-12; 10:16-39; 11:11-12; 24:4-13] (Gaebelein, 189). What is peculiar about this passage is that Jesus did not state whethere or not the gate was entered at the beginning of the road or at the end of the path. Some scholars say the Jesus is calling for all to travel the narrow road- filled by persecution and opposition- and at the end pass through eschatological salvation. Others believe that we enter the gate at the beginning (by making a commitment to Christ)and then continually striving to maintain one's route along the narrow road. It appears that Jesus is appealing to the crowd for commitments to follow him (the gate) and for ethical endurance (the road). The overarching thought seems to be that the narrow road is a far from obvious way to go- it must be found. This may be why so many people take the gate that is wide and easy. No one comes upon the narrow way by chance (Morris, 174-175). Destruction in v. 13 is speaking directly to a plunge into Hades (hell). It was deeply ingrained into Jewish culture that there were simply two ways to many things: life and death, prosperity and adversity, etc. We find the basis for the two ways in [Deut. 11:26]. For further information, see the section on noncanonical literature above.

Matthew 7:15-20[edit]

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits."

  • False prophets were clearly a problem in the life and of the Disciples. We know this because of the numerous account they are mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. We we do not know however, is specifically what the false prophets Jesus is referring to looked like. 1 and 2 Timothy give up a glimpse of the specific evils that become them: ultimately they will tear down the faith [2 Tim. 2:18], promote divisiveness and bitterness [1 Tim. 6:4-5; 2 Tim. 2:23], and various kinds of ungodliness [2 Tim. 2:16]. It is apparent the what one is will evenutally be revealed in what one does. Matthew states after chapter 7 that however guarded one's words, they will finally betray him [12:33-37] (Gaebelein, 190-191). It has been proposed that the significance of the term "sheep's clothing" pertains specifically to the Israelites. Often, the Hebrews were compared to sheep in the Old Testament [Ps. 100:3; Num. 27:17] (Mounce, 68). In any case, this passage serves as a warning to those who seek the narrow way against false prophets who may detract them from their destination. We may discern false prophets by their actions; conduct reveals character and actions speak louder than words.

Matthew 7:21-23[edit]

"Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”"

  • In the context of this passage, Jesus presents himself as judge in which the criterion for judgment is a relationship with him (France, 148-149). Judgment is based on living out the will of God, not on claims of Christ-like activity. Jesus does not even deny that false prophets could have performed miracles [Rev. 13:13-14]. It is simply impossible however, that their mriacles could have had anything to do with him. One scholar suggests that the passage refers to Jews or Gentiles who "Judaized" their Christianity in order to escape persecution (Mounce, 69). The affirmation of Jesus' divinity is addressed in the passage as well. He does not say that "God will declare to them", rather it is Christ himself who will be the judge of those who seek to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The consequence of the failure to do the will of God is simply separation from God, which one does to oneself.

Matthew 7:24-27[edit]

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!"

  • This short parable simply ephasizes the importance of acting in accordance with Jesus' teachings. The choice is simple; either we order our lives in such a way that we respond to Christ's words or we do not. The Jewish basis of the two ways may be identified here here as well (Pillar, 24-25). Jesus' teachings are a solid foundation for all; everything else will ultimately crumble. The floods and winds may be perceived as sybols for the pressures, intricacies, and troubles that regularly plague the lives of many. One scholar asserts that the storm is final judgment (Mounce, 70). Where will we be in our final hour- the day of our judgment- if we have not heeded to the teachings of Christ in the Gospel? This parable testifies to a principle not to be taken lightly. Jesus is calling for his followers to make him their foundation, not the false hopes or frailties of the world.

Matthew 7:28-29[edit]

"Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes."

  • What is distinct in the final verses of chapter 7 is the crowd's reaction to the Sermon. It was not the content that they were so impressed with, it was the authority in which Jesus spoke that astonished them. This authority surely is another testimony to Jesus' divinity. He quoted the scribes and went well beyond the law on the authority of his own perception of the will of God. It is because of his established authority that he is able to place himself as judge in the final hours of men. Verse 29 may indicate a growing hostility between the emerging church and synagoguge by the time Matthew wrote his gospel (France, 150).

Gospel Parallels[edit]

Matthew 7- Gospel Parallels-0.png Matthew 7- Gospel Parallels-1.png Matthew 7- Gospel Parallels-2.png

The RED lines indicate verses that are identical between Matthew & Luke. The BLUE lines indicate verses that are identical between Matthew, Mark, & Luke. The YELLOW lines indicate verses that are identical between Matthew & Mark. The GREEN lines indicate verses that are identical between Mark & Luke. If a verse is underlined, it has connections to John. If the colored line is broken, this indicates verses that are similar but not identical.


Oberservations, Questions and Considerations: Gospel Parallels[edit]

  • The only passage that is shared with Matthew, Mark & Luke is "the measure you give, will be the measure you get".
  • Why is this passage the only parallel that is evidenced in these three Gospels?
  • The similar passage "Ask and it will be given/you shall receive" is the only passage shared by both Matthew, Mark, & John.
  • Both Matthew & Mark affirm the people's amazement at Jesus sermon.
  • Matthew & Luke share a vast majority of the same passages, either word-for-word or paraphrased.
    • There are a few parallel passages between Matthew 7 Luke that seem to be exact copies of each other with the author's own paraphrase added in between.
      • The sections on "Judging Others".
      • The sections titled "Ask, Search, Knock".
    • A few of the parallelpassages between Matthew and Luke seem to be paraphrases of one or the other with the author's own sentiment added in.
      • The sections on "The Narrow Way".
      • The sections on "False Prophets".
      • The sections on "Hearers & Doers".
  • Why is there such a strong tie between Matthew & Luke?
  • There is only one parallel that exists between Matthew & Mark only.
  • There is only one parallel passage that exists between Mark & Luke.
  • Mark leaves out entire sections of this sermon.
  • The section titled "Profaning the Holy" is unique to Matthew.
  • The parallel passages of Luke in comparison to Matthew are more brief.
  • Matthew's parallels expound more on the subject than Luke's parallels.
    • The section on "Self-Deception" is more harsh than the Luke parallel.
    • Matthew's section on "False Prophets" more explicitly warns against them
    • Matthew's section on the "Golden Rule" says it fulfills the Law & the Prophets.
    • Matthew's section on the "Effect of the Sermon" tells of the amazement of the people.
  • The Gospel of Luke does expound on one section that Matthew does not:
    • The section on "Judging Others" contains an expansion and a parable that is unique to it.
  • Only Mark & Luke mentions that Jesus and the Disciples entered Capernaum.
  • The Gospel of John offers a 'practical' passage concerning judging others as warned against in Matthew, Luke, and Mark.
  • The Gospel of John mentions police or official gaurdsmen who were also impressed with the sayings of Jesus.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Corely, Jeremy. "Sirach." New Interpreter's Bible Dictionary. Ed. Katherine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009. 285-294. Print.
  • Evans, Craig A. Ancient Texts For New Testament Studies. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2005. Print.
  • Evans, Craig A, ed. The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke. Vol. 1. Colorado Springs: Victor, 2003. Print. 3 vols.
  • France, R. T., ed. Tynedale New Testament Commentaries: Matthew. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985. Print. 20 vols.
  • Kugler, Robert. "Testament of the Twelves Patriarchs." New Interpreter's Bible Dictionary. Ed. Katherine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009. 400. Print.
  • Morris, Leon, ed. The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel According to Matthew. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992. Print. 19 vols.
  • Mounce, Robert H., ed. New International Biblical Commentary: Matthew. Vol. 19. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1985. Print. 36 vols.
  • Nowell, Irene. "Book of Tobit." New Interpreter's Bible Dictionary. Ed. Katherine Doob Sakenfeld. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009. 612-617. Print.
  • Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (G2919). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.