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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

Matthew 7

 

 

Verse 1

Do not judge others. The meaning is plain. (1) He does not prohibit the civil judgments of the courts against those who commit crimes. (2) He does not prohibit the leaders of the church judging those who live in sin. Christ and the apostles command this. (3) He does not forbid our evaluating people by the things which they do (see Matthew 7:15-20). (4) What he does forbid is "jumping to a conclusion"—rashly condemning without looking at the facts [prejudice, intolerance, etc.].


Verse 2

Because God will judge you. God is aware of the harsh, critical spirit of those who find fault with everything. God will do to each of us, just what we do to our fellow man. "A man will reap exactly what he plants" (Galatians 6:7).


Verse 3

Why, then, do you look? An example to show how stupid this "judging" really is.


Verse 4-5

How dare you. One who criticizes his brother for having a speck in his eye, while having a log in his own eye, is a hypocrite. Many who want to reform the world, need first to reform and clean up their own lives.


Verse 6

Do not give what is holy to dogs. Jews did not think of dogs as "man's best friend." Dogs roamed in snarling packs and were scavengers. They were "unclean" by religious law, and they came to be the symbol of cruel, inhuman people who opposed every good thing. It is useless to teach spiritual things to such a person. Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs. Pigs were also religiously "unclean." Having no use for pearls, they would savagely attack those who threw them. Symbolically, there is a type of mind which would attempt to destroy the one who spreads Truth. It is our duty to help all people and save as many as possible, but there is a type of person whom we cannot reach. [But avoid "judging" who this person is.]


Verse 7-8

Ask . . . Seek . . . Knock. These refer to prayer. They form a climax. God's people are to come to him in prayer. Ask implies a simple prayer. Seek is stronger. Knock shows persistent action (See Luke 18:1-8). For everyone who asks [in faith, as God's child] will receive. For every one of the class of whom the Savior speaks. That class is all who, as children of the Father, can pray: "Our Father in heaven."


Verse 9-10

9-10. Would any of you. God is our Father, and therefore he will answer our prayers. No father would mock his child by giving him a stone for bread, or a snake for a fish. Bread and fish were the most common items of food for the common person.


Verse 11

11. As bad as you are. Even criminals love their children, and treat them kindly. If you believe that God is your "Father," you will believe in the power of prayer. Good things. Luke 11:13. the parallel account says "Holy Spirit" instead of "good things," as though the Holy Spirit is the greatest blessing of heaven (see note on Matthew 28:19).


Verse 12

Do for others what you want them to do for you. This is the "golden rule." Do to others what you would like for them to do to you—if your positions were switched. Socrates among the Greeks. Buddha and Confucius among the Orientals, and Hillel among the Jews taught a similar law, but theirs was negative: "Do not do to others what you would not have done to you." Christ taught a POSITIVE DOING!


Verse 13-14

Go in through the narrow gate. The key thought of the entire lesson is the Kingdom of heaven and its requirements. "Go in" means into the Kingdom of heaven. Nearly every town in Palestine was enclosed by walls and entered through gates. The main gates were wide, with double doors, closed and locked and secured with an iron bar. The "narrow gate" was a small door in the main gate, only opened to those who knocked. It was symbolic of restricted entry. The reason few people find it, is that it requires a conscious effort to enter this way, and many take the "easy road."


Verse 15

Watch out for false prophets. In the scriptures, a prophet is one who proclaims God's message to men. A false prophet is one who does not teach the truth. Jesus speaks here about the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. Looking like sheep. They look harmless, but inside they are very dangerous to the unsuspecting.


Verse 16

Yon will know them. Actions speak louder than words. Talk is cheap, but actions show what is really there. Thorn bushes do not bear grapes. Grapes and figs were two highly valued fruits. Nothing is more common than thorns and briers. Common sense tells you that you do not get good fruit from thorns and briers. You do not get "good actions" from a false teacher.


Verse 17-18

A healthy tree bears good fruit. This is a universal law of nature. Every tree bears its own kind of fruit. Whatever a man is—will show up in his actions.


Verse 19-20

Any tree. Jesus carries the figure further. Bad trees are destroyed. The useless and unfruitful will be swept away (see Matthew 25:31-46).


Verse 21

Not everyone. You must enter the Kingdom through the narrow gate. Jesus now shows what is necessary to enter. "Not everyone" implies that some who do say ‘Lord, Lord,' WILL be able to enter! Only those who do. No one can please the Lord who does not obey him and love him. See James 2:14-26.


Verse 22

When that Day comes. The great Day of the Lord. Jesus pictures the most religious of the "non-doers" and shows them at Judgment.


Verse 23

I never knew you. Augustine says that for Christ to say: "I never knew you," is only another way of saying: "You never knew me." They did miracles and drove out demons, but Jesus is saying that they were not his disciples at all [they loved neither God nor fellow man]. Away from me. Their religion had been all talk and prayers. They were religious, but they did not love God. Matthew 25:41 shows their punishment. Many fool themselves by being all talk and no action [even though they do things which they think are important].


Verse 24

Will be like a wise man. Another example to show how important it is to act upon the teachings of Christ. Common sense would tell you to build on the rock, Palestine had a rainy season with heavy floods. The one who "hears and does" Christ's words—is building on the rock.


Verse 25

The rain poured down. This verse pictures the sudden violent storms of the rainy season and the sweeping floods which could so quickly undermine and destroy a house. Built on the rock, the house stands. So will everyone who hears and does,


Verse 26-27

26-27. Will be like a foolish man. This is the one who hears and does nothing. In the past whole towns on the Missouri and lower Mississippi Rivers have been undermined and swept into the whirlpool because they were built on sand. So will it happen to the disobedient.


Verse 28

The crowd was amazed. No wonder! The whole world still stands in awe as they study this sermon.


Verse 29

He taught with authority. He did not speak out of human doubts and limitations. He was the Eternal Logos, and he spoke as One who knew the Eternal Truth of God.

 


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 7:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/matthew-7.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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