Biblical Studies/New Testament Commentaries/The Gospel of Matthew/Chapter 25

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Matthew 25 (New International Version)[edit | edit source]

Matthew 25:1-46 (New International Version)
The Parable of the Ten Virgins

1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in the jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out and meet him!’ 7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9“ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both of us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11“Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said, ‘Open the door for us!’ 12“But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ 13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day of the hour.

The Parable of the Talents

14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' 21“His master replied, ‘well done, god and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 23“His master replied, ‘well done, god and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 24“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.’ 28“ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw the worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Sheep and the Goats

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his thrown in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34“then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44“they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Background Information[edit | edit source]

Background of Matthew[edit | edit source]

Matthew is the Gospel of the King. It was most likely written to convince the Jewish people that Jesus was their Messiah--the “long-awaited” King. We assume this Gospel was written by Matthew. The bishop of Hierapolis, Papias, was quoted by the fourth century Church historian Eusebius, that the Logia (sayings of Jesus) preserved by Matthew was written in either Hebrew or Aramaic. Some believe this record of Jesus was originally written in Greek, and then translated into other languages. The date of this Gospel could be after A.D. 70, due to the destruction of Jerusalem (Hobbs 9). Hobbs writes, “...if one accepts the deity of Jesus Christ, there is no reason why it could not have been written prior to that time," i.e., before A.D. 70 (9).[1]

Overview of Matthew 25[edit | edit source]

Matthew 25 may be divided into 3 sections: the parable of the ten virgins (vv 1-13), the parable of the talents (vv 14-30), and the sheep and the goats (vv 31-46). The first parable is a story about ten young women taking their lamps to meet the bridegroom for a nighttime wedding. Five of them brought oil and were able to go into the wedding banquet with the door shutting behind them. The other five forgot oil and while they were buying more, the doors shut on them and they were not allowed in. The man said he did not know them. This, I believe, is a metaphor depicting us entering the kingdom of heaven.

The second parable is about a master's servants. He gave each of them different amounts of precious metal. One servant received the weight of five talents. He went out and invested his wealth to produce five more talents of silver or gold. The second servant received two talents and was able to produce two more. The last servant got one talent and was frightened. So he buried and hid that single talent. Thus, he did not produce anymore than he started with. The last servant was fired. The one talent he had been given to invest was taken away from him, because he did not multiply what was given to him. God gives us the tools to go out and be fruitful. Basically, this story teaches us to go out and multiply with what is given to us by God.

The story of the sheep and the goats is a metaphor for a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats; just like God will separate the righteous from the non-righteous. The righteous, on the right, will have served Christ through serving others, and because of this they will be allowed into the kingdom of heaven. Those who are not righteous, on the left, will have not served Christ through serving others. They will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. All three of these stories are about how to live in eternity with Christ.

Background of Matthew 25[edit | edit source]

This chapter of Matthew was most likely written by Matthew himself. According to Senior, the reason we can assume it is Matthew is because, “...the parable harmonizes with Matthew’s theology and his style” (Senior 274).[2] The literary context of this chapter has been said to be allegory and it’s obvious that he[3] uses parables. Originally though, these parables “may” have come from Jesus. We can’t ever know for sure since we were not in that place at that moment. It is only speculation and faith. The first and last parables do not have parallels in other Gospels. However, the second parable, in vv. 14-30, has a parallel in Luke 19:12-27. The last parable, of the sheep and the goats, is the last instruction from Jesus in the First Gospel. It is, as Ulrich Luz says, the “...last before the story of the passion begins” (264).

  1. This argument presumes that the only objection to a date before A.D. 70 is that it would require the ability to know the future for Jesus to have predicted the destruction of Jerusalem before it occurred. First, he mistakenly assumes that this would require him to have been divine. Numerous OT prophets predicted events in the near future; they were not divine. Second, the problem is that Matthew seems to have used Mark. Dating Matthew requires a date after the writing, publication, and distribution of Mark. When did that occur? This objection is naive.
  2. You misunderstand Senior's point. He is claiming that this is not from Jesus. Matthew invented these stories and credited them to Jesus. They reflect Matthew's theology, not Jesus'.
  3. What is the antecedent? Who is he?

Purpose of Matthew 25[edit | edit source]

Like Matthew 24, Matthew 25 continues with the series of parables. The purpose of the parables in this chapter is for Jesus to give time between his death, resurrection, and his second coming. If you pay attention to these parables you will see that the other purpose of this chapter is to speak to those who are going to be judged. They will be judged accordingly and either will be rewarded with the Kingdom of God or they will be condemned to Hell. Another purpose of this chapter is to bring people to the realization of the responsibilities of being a “Christian”. As we read with the story of the Sheep and the Goats, we all have the same responsibilities, but it is up to us to respond to them.

Purpose of Each Parable/Story[edit | edit source]

Parable of the Ten Virgins[edit | edit source]

This parable teaches us the importance of being prepared. According to Don Schwager, the wedding customs in ancient Palestinian times were way different from now. Instead of going away for one’s honeymoon, generally the couple would stay and celebrate with the families for a week. Usually, in order to get into the celebration you had to have a wedding garment and a lamp. If you did not have these things then you were not permitted into the celebration. They were like tickets. The purpose of this parable is for us to understand there are consequences for not being prepared. As Schwager puts it, “There are certain things you cannot obtain at the last moment”. On the Day of Judgment, we better be prepared if we want to be invited in for the celebration.

Parable of the Talents[edit | edit source]

This parable has the purpose showing us that we need to be trusted with whatever it is that God gives us. Essentially, this parable is about responsibility. God gives us gifts and grace and entrusts us with things that are to be used. If we do not use them then we are just digging a hole and burying the things we are entrusted with. We are not multiplying. Schwager explains the purpose in one easy sentence, “We either advance towards God or we slip back." Being entrusted with certain gifts, such as talents, gives us the responsibility to do something with those gifts. God gives us the means and all we have to do is use them.

The Sheep and the Goats[edit | edit source]

The last part of Matthew 25 is a story about the Sheep and the Goats. The purpose of this story is to explain how the Last Judgment will happen. According to Schwager, Goats were more restless then sheep and this is why they are referred to as the evil of the two. Schwager defines The Day of Judgment as the day that will reveal “who showed true compassion and mercy toward their neighbor,” and obviously who did not. Many believe that God is going to judge the wrong that we do. This story reveals that God is also going to judge the things we have not done or fail to do.

Paraphrase[edit | edit source]

Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Women[edit | edit source]

v.1 The Kingdom of Heaven is going to be like ten unmarried women who took their lamps to go out and meet the bridegroom. v.2 Half of these women were ignorant and half were very smart. v.3 The ignorant women forgot to bring oil with their lamps. v.4 The smart women took oil along with their lamps. v.5 While the women were waiting for the bridegroom and the banquet they fell asleep. v.6 At midnight a man yelled out, “The bridegroom is ready! Come and meet him!” v.7 All the women awoke and turned on their lamps. v.8 The ignorant women’s lamps were going out and asked the smart women for oil. v.9 The smart women replied, “There won't be enough. Go buy some more oil to those who sell it.” v.10 While the ignorant women were buying oil the doors were shut to the banquet. v.11 When the ignorant women arrived at the doors they asked for them to be open. v.12 The man at the doors said that he did not know them. v.13 That same man told them to keep watch because they did not know what time it was.

Parable of the Money[edit | edit source]

v.14 A man going on a journey gave money to each of his three slaves. v.15 To one slave he gave five talents, another he gave two talents, and to the last slave he gave one talent. He gave these talents according to the slaves abilities. v.16 The man who had received five talents gained five more by working. v.17 The man who had received two talents gained two more also by working. v.18 The man who had received one talent, however, dug a hole and buried it there. v.19 After the masters trip he met up with the slaves to see how they had done with his money. v.20 The man who had received five talents presented the master with tent ten talents. He said, “Master I have gained five more talents.” v.21 The master replied, “Well done faithful servant. I will make you in charge of many things.” v.22 The man who had received two talents presented the master with four talents. He said, “Master I have gained two more talents.” v.23 His master replied, “Well done faithful servant. I will make you in charge of many things.” v.24 Lastly the man with one talent came back with that same one talent. He said, “Master, I know you are hard working v.25 and so I was afraid and dug a hole to burry your talent.” v.26 The master replied, “You terrible slave! You know I am hardworking and did not gain more for me? v.27 You should have put my money with the bankers and gained interest on it.” v.28 The master took the talent from him and gave it to the slave with ten talents. v.29 The master said, “Whoever has a good amount will be given more and he will have a great amount. Whoever has a stingy amount will have what is his and be taken.” v.30 Then the mater said, “Throw out the slave so he can weep.”

The Righteous and the Unrighteous[edit | edit source]

v.31 The Son of Man will sit at the throne and be glorified. v.32 When all the nations gather before him, he will separate them into righteous and unrighteous. v.33 The righteous will be on his right and the unrighteous will be on his left. v.34 The Lord will say to those on his right, “Those who are blessed by God, come. The Kingdom of God is ready for you and has been since the beginning of time. v.35 This is because when I was hungry you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me water, I was an outsider and you invited me into your home, v.36 I was in need of clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you took care of me, and when I was in prison you came to visit me.” v.37 The righteous will be confused and answer, “When did we feed you, or give you drink? v.38 Or when did we invite you into our homes or give you clothes? v.39 Also, when did we take care of you when you were ill or go and visit you while you were in prison?” v.40 The Lord replied, “Whenever you did these things for my people you did for me.” v.41 The Lord will say to those on his left, “Get away from me and go to Hell. v.42 For when I was hungry you gave me no food, and when I was thirsty you gave me no water, v.43 when I was an outsider you never invited me into your home, when I needed clothes you gave me none, when I was ill you didn't take care of me, and when I was in prison you never came to visit.” v.44 The unrighteous answered, “When did we see you hungry or thirsty? When did we see you as an outsider or needing clothes? When did we see you sick or in prison? When did we not help you?” v.45 The Lord will reply, “Whatever you did not do for my people you did not do for me.” v.46 The unrighteous will go away to Hell for the rest of their lives, and the righteous will live life in the Kingdom of God for the rest of their lives.

Outline of Matthew 25[edit | edit source]

The Parable of the Ten Virgins[edit | edit source]

The bridegroom delays (25:1-5)

The bridegroom arrives (25:6-10a)

The wedding feast (25:10b-12)

The lesson (25:13)

The Parable of the Talents[edit | edit source]

The master distributes his resources (25:14-15)

The slaves do business for the master (25:16-18)

The slaves give account to the master (25:19-30)

  • The faithful slaves are rewarded (25:19-23)
  • The lazy slave is punished (25:24-30)
The Sheep and the Goats[edit | edit source]

The setting (25:31-33)

The King and the sheep (25:34-40)

The King and the goats (25:41-45)

Conclusion (25:46)

(This outline was taken from the Matthew: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by David L. Turner. The pages that were used were 595, 599, and 607)

Verse-by-Verse Analysis[edit | edit source]

The Parable of the Ten Virgins[edit | edit source]

Verse 1[edit | edit source]

In verse one, the Kingdom of Heaven is compared to the ten virgins. According to Luz, Jesus is comparing the “...coming of the reign of heaven with then young women who went out to meet the bridegroom,” (p. 233). This is an emphasis that Hendriksen refers to as us being prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ, who in this parable is the bridegroom (p. 874). An important factor to know is that the only time the word bridegroom comes up again is in Matthew 9:15 and John 3:29 according to the Word Biblical Commentary (p. 728).

Verse 2[edit | edit source]

In verse two there is mention of the wise and the foolish women or virgins. When we talk about the wise virgins we are saying they are wise because of “their taking of a supply of oil, i.e. in being prepared for unexpected circumstances,” according to The New Century Bible Commentary (p. 327). The focus on the foolish virgins, however, is the focus of the parable explained by Hagner (p. 728). For the foolish virgins were the ones who had not taken oil for their lamps.

Verse 3[edit | edit source]

This verse gives the explanation of why the women who were foolish were, in fact, foolish. As we know, they did not take any extra oil with them in order to go meet the bridegroom. As Hagner put it they “...did not have the foresight to be prepared in the event of a delay of the bridegroom,” (p. 728).

Verse 4[edit | edit source]

This verse gives the explanation of why the women who were wise were, indeed, wise. These women took extra oil with them just in case. According to the original Greek context, the jars are actually translated as flasks (Hagner p. 728). Hagner then describes why they took the extra oil and it is because they were anticipating a delay of the bridegroom and they didn't want to be caught unprepared (p. 728).

Verse 5[edit | edit source]

The bridegroom was late and there is no account given as to why he was running late. Because he was late we are faced with the women falling asleep. According to Hagner, “The reference for sleep here and rising in v 7 are literal, not metaphors for death and resurrection,” (p. 729). Later Hagner makes reference to the delay of the bridegroom and how this is linked to the uncertainty of the return of Christ, Son of Man (p. 729).

Verse 6[edit | edit source]

This is the time where the women are woken in the middle of the night. Hagner assumes this means several hours later and that is apparently enough time for the lights to have dimmed on each of the lamps (p. 729). The women were then told to come out and meet the bridegroom.

Verse 7[edit | edit source]

At this point in the first parable the women are “trimming” their lamps to go meet the bridegroom. Hagner refers to trimming their torches or lamps as “clean[ing] and oil[ing] them so that they will burn brightly,” (p. 729). They are doing this so that they look beautiful with a bright light (Hendriksen p. 876).

Verse 8[edit | edit source]

This is the first time in the story that the foolish women realize they should have brought more oil. Their lights are not burning bright and are dying down so they ask the wise women for some of their oil. Hendriksen believes that the ten lamps were not burning all through the night while they were waiting (p. 877).

Verse 9[edit | edit source]

The wise virgins answer was "no" and that the foolish virgins should go buy more oil from a vendor. They suggested that there might not be enough for them and the foolish virgins. Hendriksen reminds us that “Wedding processions generally move slowly,” (p. 877). Hagner then reminds us of an important factor which is that it must be extremely difficult to find someone selling oil in the middle of the night, or in some translations midnight (p. 729).

Verse 10[edit | edit source]

According to two commentaries, The New Century Bible Commentary and The Abingdon Bible Commentary, verse 10 was originally sought out as the last verse in this parable (Hill p. 327; Abingdon p. 992). This was the point in the parable where the bridegroom arrived and the ones prepared went in with him and the ones who were foolish were nowhere to be found and thus the door was shut without them. According to Hagner, “The symbolism of the shut door points to the time when it is too late to alter the divisions between the saved and the lost,” (p. 729). The other areas where we find the shut door and sharp judgment are found in Matthew 7:22,23 and Luke 13:25 according to Hill (p. 327).

Verse 11[edit | edit source]

The foolish virgins finally arrived and asked if the doors could be open. They cry “sir,sir” and Hagner thinks that this an application of “Lord, Lord” (p. 729).

Verse 12[edit | edit source]

The man replied that he did not know them. This reminds me of God telling us at the final judgment, “I tell you the truth, I do not know you.” Hendriksen gives a different account of the way God portrays this in saying, “I do not recognize you as belonging to those whom I am pleased to call my own,” (p. 878). He takes this view from Matthew 7:21. Also II Timothy 2:19, “The Lord knows those who are his” goes along with this line of thinking.

Verse 13[edit | edit source]

The ending of this parable is for the foolish women to keep watch because they do not know the hour. Hagner refers to the word “therefore” in the bringing of the main point from the parable (p. 730). Hagner also refers to keeping watch as “spiritual wakefulness” and going further into implying “keeping oneself in a state of constant readiness for the coming of the Son of Man,” (p. 730).

The Parable of the Talents[edit | edit source]

Verse 14[edit | edit source]

A man is going on a journey and he entrusts his property (talents) to three of his servants. Hagner gives us the theme as “the absence of the master and the interim responsibility of the servants (disciples),” (p. 734). Hagner later tells us that the value of the money is not the importance but rather the “stewardship of what has been given to the individual disciples,” (p. 734). The Abingdon Bible Commentary has a different view of what the theme is for this parable and it is to “impress on the followers of Jesus the importance of the consecration of the gifts God has entrusted to us, and to show that though we vary in our several capacities the spirit of faithfulness and dependability in the performance of our trust is equally required of all,” (p. 992). I believe both of these themes could be true and of importance to this parable.

Verse 15[edit | edit source]

The man gave talents to each of the three men according to their ability. Talent is referred to as money in this part of scripture but can also be considered as a weight according to Hendriksen (p. 879). Hagner, along with other commentaries, gave us insight into the fact that one talent is equal to 6,000 denarii (p. 734).

Verses 16-17[edit | edit source]

The man who had received five talents went to work and gained five more. The scripture says “immediately” which Hagner refers to as the “urgency with which the first disciple goes about his business,” (p. 734). The man who had received the two talents doubles his earnings as well.

Verse 18[edit | edit source]

The third servant does not double his earning and in fact digs a hole to bury it in. Luz describes this act as him treating the “sum of money as a fixed deposit entrusted to him and guards it carefully,” (p. 252). We find that later on the direct reason of his digging and hiding the talent was due to laziness in verses 24-27.

Verse 19[edit | edit source]

This is the part of the parable where the master returns and settles accounts with his servants. By settling accounts with them Hagner believes this to be a representation of the eschatological judgment (p. 735).

Verses 20-21[edit | edit source]

The man with five talents presents the master with five more making ten in all. The master praises this man and tells him that he will gain many things. Hendriksen describes this scene as in the eyes of the master the servant had “proved himself to be thoroughly reliable,” (p. 881). Hill reminds us that the other reward to this man is further responsibility (p. 329).

Verses 22-23[edit | edit source]

This part of the scripture is exactly as verses 20-21 only this is the man with two talents who raises four talents all together. In fact, as Hagner points out, verse 21 is verbatim to the second servant in verse 23 (p. 735).

Verses 24-25[edit | edit source]

This is the point in the parable where the third servant, the one out of the loop, comes to give an account of his earnings...or lack thereof. Unlike the first two servants, Hagner notices, the third servant does not start with a reference to the amount he had made because he had not made any more money (p. 735). He instead tries to justify his actions. Later we find that the master does not want excuses or justifications.

Verses 26-27[edit | edit source]

The master returns with calling his servant wicked and lazy and cursing him. According to Hagner, “...only here in Matthew is a ‘servant’ described as ‘wicked,'” (p. 736). Hagner further goes into the reason he is being called wicked because of his bad stewardship (p. 736). The master tells the servant that he should have at the very least put the money into a bank to gain interest on it.

Verses 28-29[edit | edit source]

This is the point in the parable where the master is telling the servants to give his talent to those deserving, such as the servant who had made ten talents. He then says that whoever has will be given more, and those who do not have, will have what they do have taken away. Hagner refers to this scene as “...faithfulness provides more blessing; unfaithfulness results in loss even of one’s initial blessings,” (p. 736).

Verse 30[edit | edit source]

This is the last verse of the parable of the talents. At this point the master wants the lazy servant thrown out and to weep. The metaphors of the casting into the darkness and the weeping and gnashing of the teeth are the “favorite metaphors for the final lot of the wicked” according to Hagner (p. 736). Hendriksen explains the point of the parable being “everyone is faithful in using the opportunities for service which the Lord has given him,” (p. 884).

The Sheep and the Goats[edit | edit source]

Verse 31[edit | edit source]

The Son of Man will sit in his throne of heavenly glory. Hendriksen describes the throne as “a throne characterized by external splendor, brightness, brilliance, or radiance, corresponding with the internal and essential splendor of its Occupant’s attributes,” (p. 885). According to Hagner the “Son of Man will mean judgment,” (p. 741).

Verse 32[edit | edit source]

All the nations gather before the Lord and he separates them into sheep and goats, sheep being the righteous and goats being the unrighteous. As Hendriksen points out, this is including the entire human race (p. 886). Hendriksen later describes the sheep as “those who trust-that is, ‘follow’ – the Savior” and the goats as “those who are belligerent, unruly, and destructive,” (p. 886).

Verse 33[edit | edit source]

The Lord then puts the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Hendriksen describes this scene as those being placed either know they are saved or condemned right away (p. 886). Hagner refers to the right hand of the Lord is generally “the place of honor” and the left hand is generally “disfavor” (p. 743).

Verse 34[edit | edit source]

As Luz says this is the area that the “comparison ends, and Jesus begins to speak literally,” (p. 277). The Lord is speaking to those on his right saying that they are blessed and will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Hagner says that those who are on the right are “to inherit the eschatological kingdom in all its fullness,” (p. 743).

Verses 35-36[edit | edit source]

At this point the Lord explains to those on his right why they deserve to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. He gives a long list of things they did for him. There are six different scenarios that he gives. Hagner describes these things as “basic needs of life in order to represent the meeting of human need in every kind,” (p. 744).

Verses 37-39[edit | edit source]

The righteous answer in confusion because they don't remember being there for Christ when he needed them. They question each and every act of good deed that they supposedly had done. Hagner describes the righteous as “understandably astonished at what Jesus has just said to them,” (p. 744). They were astonished because they took what Jesus said literally.

Verse 40[edit | edit source]

Jesus replies that whatever the righteous did for his people they did for him. This is the answer the righteous were looking for. They were answered of when they did these things for Jesus. Hagner explains this as “the righteous are told that to the extent that they did these things ‘for one of the least of these my brothers,’ they had in effect done them for Jesus himself,” (p. 744).

Verses 41-43[edit | edit source]

The Lord is now speaking to those on his left and he wants them to depart from him and be condemned to Hell. He again explains the same list he did before only now he is explaining in the light that these things had not been fulfilled. The good deeds were not fulfilled. “Depart from me” as Hagner explains, is a “reminiscent of the judgment,” (p. 745). Hagner later defines this scene as “the unrighteous faulted for their lack of charitable deeds toward Jesus,” (p. 745).

Verse 44[edit | edit source]

The unrighteous answer the same as the righteous, but now it's under different context. Hendriksen describes it as “both cases” an “utterance of astonishment” (p. 891). He also says that the “root of the question reveals a sharp contrast,” (p. 891). We know this because we know that the unrighteous did not do any charitable acts towards others.

Verse 45[edit | edit source]

Jesus answers them that whatever they did not do for his people they did not do for him. This was the answer to the above question in verse 44. Hendriksen tells us that “whatever was not done for Christ’s disciples is counted as if not done for Christ,” (p. 891).

Verse 46[edit | edit source]

This is the scene we have all been waiting for. This is the scene of the Last Judgment. The unrighteous will go to eternal punishment and the righteous will go to eternal life. Hagner refers to this scene as “the final separation of the righteous and the wicked,” (p. 746). We should know the importance of this scene and Hagner refers to the importance of eternal being used in both cases because it is “pointing to the gravity of the issue at stake,” (p. 746).

Parallel of Matthew 25[edit | edit source]

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Word Study[edit | edit source]

Bridegroom[edit | edit source]

English Definition[edit | edit source]

A man just married or about to be married (logos)

Greek Definition[edit | edit source]

Bridegroom in Greek, nymphios, is defined as one about to become the husband in a marriage (logos).

Good[edit | edit source]

English Definition[edit | edit source]

Of a favorable character or tendency (logos)

Greek Definition[edit | edit source]

Good in Greek, agathos, is defined as pertaining to different objects (logos).

Least[edit | edit source]

English Definition[edit | edit source]

Lowest in importance or position (logos).

Greek Definition[edit | edit source]

Least in Greek, elachistos, is defined as pertaining to having low status (logos).

Observations/Questions[edit | edit source]

1. Why is it that the parable of the ten virgins does not have any parallels with other gospels?

2. Why is it that the story of the Shepherd and His goats do not have any parallels with other gospels?

3. Because the parable of the pounds has parallels in other gospels does this mean that it is the most important part of Matthew 25?

4. I noticed that within my translation (NLT) the first parable of Matthew 25 is titled The Parable of the Ten Virgins, but in the translation of the parallels it is titled The Parable of the Ten Maidens.

5. Why is it that the translations are different in the titles of the first parable?

6. Which title of the first parable is more accurate to the original Greek text?

7. I noticed that each of the parallels of the second parable all have the same title being The Parable of the Pounds.

8. If the second parable of Matthew 25 all have the same title, does this mean that the title is from the original Greek text?

9. The last story/section of Matthew 25 is titled in my translation (NLT) The Sheep and the Goats but in the translation of the parallels the title is The Last Judgment.

10. Why is it that the two titles are different?

11. Is there any significance to the sheep and the goats?

12. Are sheep better than goats or are goats better than sheep?

13. Between the two titles of the last section of Matthew 25 which of them is more accurate in the original Greek text?

14. Is there any significance of the title The Last Judgment?

15. My original thinking for chapter 25 of the gospel of Matthew was that the overall theme hidden in the parables and stories was that it was about eternal life and inheriting the Kingdom of God.

16. My thinking, although still very similar to before, is that chapter 25 in the gospel of Matthew has to do the Day of Judgment by God.

17. The chapter is also about getting us ready and prepared for that judgment day.

18. According to the first parable, of the ten virgins, we should be waiting for that day and when it comes we should be prepared.

19. According to the second parable we should take what we are given and make more of it for the Kingdom of God.

20. We are to take the people who are not Christians and multiply them into Christians so that they too can inherit the Kingdom of God.

21. The last story, of the last judgment, is another story of being prepared for the Day of Judgment.

22. We are to make sure that we know we are going to Heaven.

23. We are also to make sure that others are going to Heaven as well.

24. Are the two sections without parallels to other gospels just as important as the parable of the pounds?

25. Which section of Matthew 25 is the most important for us to follow or are they all equally important?

Theological Implication/Application[edit | edit source]

In the first Gospel, Matthew, the majority of the stories and parables lead up to the final Judgment. In fact, Hare backs up this comment by saying, “...all of them concerned directly or indirectly with the final judgment,” (p. 283). The parables we have been dealing with in chapter 25 are, as Hare says, “...concerned with three different kinds of accountability that Christians must face up to as they prepare for the glorious day,” (p. 283). The point of Matthew 25 is for us to know our responsibilities as a Christian, using our gifts that God gives us to the best of our ability, and to treat others as we would treat Jesus all because we will be judged at the final judgment day. We need to be ready. It is time for us to go beyond just having a relationship with Christ. We are called to a much broader life and we are called to be responsible, use our gifts, and to do all we can for others and the poor. This is what God has called us to do.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Eiselen, Frederick C., ed. The Abingdon Bible Commentary. New York: Abingdon, 1929. Print.

Hagner, Donald A. Word Biblical Commentary: Matthew 14-28. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1995. Print.

Hare, Douglas R.A. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox, 1993. Print.

Hendriksen, William. New Testament Commentary: Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973. Print.

Hill, David. New Century Bible Commentary: The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Company, 1972. Print.

Hobbs, Herschel H. Preacher's Homiletic Library. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company, 1961. Print.

Luz, Ulrich. Matthew 21-28 A Commentary. Augsburg Fortress, 2005. Print.

Schwagger, Don. "The Gospel of Matthew." The Gospel of Matthew. Don Schwagger, 2007. Web. 22 Mar. 2010. <>.

Senior, Donald. Abingdon New Testament Commentaries: Matthew. Nashville: Abingdon, 1998. Print.

Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament)(electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Turner, David L. Matthew: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008. Print.