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Matthew 7

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4 NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Judging Others Do Not Judge Illustrations of Practical Meaning Of Jesus' Message Judging Others Do Not Judge
7:1-6 7:1-6 7:1-5 7:1-5 7:1-5
        Do Not Profane Sacred Things
    7:6 7:6 7:6
Ask, Seek, Knock Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking   Ask, Seek, Knock Effectual Prayer
7:7-12 7:7-12 7:7-11 7:7-11 7:7-11
        The Golden Rule
    7:12 7:12 7:12
The Narrow Gate The Narrow Way   The Narrow Way The Two Ways
7:13-14 7:13-14 7:13-14 7:13-14 7:13-14
A Tree Known By Its Fruit You Will Know Them By Their Fruits   A Tree and Its Fruit False Prophets
7:15-20 7:15-20 7:15-20 7:15-20 7:15-20
I Never Knew You I Never Knew You   I Never Knew You The True Disciple
7:21-23 7:21-23 7:21-23 7:21-23 7:21-23
The Two Foundations Build on the Rock   The Two House Builders  
7:24-27 7:24-27 7:24-27 7:24-25 7:24-27
      7:26-27  
      The Authority of Jesus The Amazement of the Crowds
7:28-29 7:28-29 7:28-29 7:28-29 7:28-29

 

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

 

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

BACKGROUND TO MATTHEW 7:1-29

A. The Lucan parallel starts the same section with a positive statement "Be merciful as. . ." Luke 6:36-38, 41-42. Usually Luke's accounts of Jesus' sermons are briefer than Matthew's, but here Luke records more of Jesus' words.

 

B. This chapter has several asyndetons (lack of linking particles, which was very unusual in Greek), Matt. 7:1,6,7,13,15. It was a grammatical way of highlighting individual truths. It is presuppositional to assume that Jesus' sermon had a unifying theme or structured outline. He may have been following the common rabbinical teaching technique called "pearls on a string," which links unrelated topics together. Although some of the individual subjects at first seem unrelated to their surrounding contextual units, it is the best hermeneutical approach to interpret them in light of (1) context and (2) their usage in other Gospel parallels. The author of Matthew did have a unified theme and structured outline determining which of Jesus' teachings to record and in what order to record them.

 

C. It is possible to relate verses 1-12 to the preceding context in the following manner:

1. Matt. 7:1-5 show the danger of Matt. 5:20 and 48

2. Matt. 7:6 shows the danger of sentimental, nondiscerning love

3. Matt. 7:7-11, prayer is the believer's key to proper discernment 

4. Matt. 7:12 is a summary of the great truth which should characterize all kingdom people

 

D. This section, like all of the Sermon on the Mount, paints life in black and white. An excellent discussion of the relation between Matt. 7:1-5 and 6 is found in William Hendricksen's commentary on Matthew, "The Lord has been admonishing his listeners to abstain from judging others (Matt. 7:1-5), yet also to judge (Matt. 7:6); not to be hypercritical, yet to be critical; to be humble and patient, yet not too patient," p. 360.

 

E. Remember this is not a presentation of the gospel, but an ethical message about life in the Messianic kingdom. Its three major truths are

1. the sin of religiosity

2. the supremacy of Jesus' teaching about God

3. our response to Jesus and His teachings and God's judgment of our response

 

F. The Sermon on the Mount ends with three or four invitations and warnings related to the two choices facing mankind (Matt. 7:13-27): (1) two ways, (2) two fruits, (3) two professions, and (4) two foundations. They all relate to the end-time judgment based on now-time actions.

 

G. Verse 28 is a summary statement by Matthew. Matthew concludes all five of Jesus' teaching sections with a summary statement. They may have formed his structure for the Gospel.

1. Matt. 7:28

2. Matt. 11:1

3. Matt. 13:53

4. Matt. 19:1

5. Matt. 26:1

 

H. It must be remembered that at this early stage of Jesus' preaching/teaching the full gospel was not yet known. The hearers, even the disciples, did not fully realize who Jesus was and the price discipleship would require to follow Him in persecution, rejection, and death.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:1-5
 1"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,'and behold, the log is in your 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 brother's eye."

7:1 "Do not" This is a present imperative with a negative particle meaning to stop an act already in process. Christians have a tendency to be critical of one another. This verse is often quoted to prove that Christians should not judge each other at all. But, Matt. 7:5,6,15, 1 Cor. 5:1-12, and 1 John. 4:1-6 show that Jesus was assuming that believers evaluate one another spiritually. One's attitude and motives are the keys (cf. Gal. 6:1; Rom. 2:1-11; 14:1-23; James 4:11-12).

▣ "judge" This Greek word is the etymological source for our English word "critic." Another form of this same root in Matt. 7:5 is translated "hypocrite." It seems to imply a critical, judgmental, self-righteous spirit which judges others more severely than it does itself. It emphasizes one set of sins over another set of sins. It excuses one's own faults, but will not excuse the faults of others (cf. 2 Sam. 12:1-9).

SPECIAL TOPIC: JUDGING (SHOULD CHRISTIANS JUDGE ONE ANOTHER?)

7:2 The Greek text of Matt. 7:2 appears in a rhythmical, poetic form. This may have been a well-known proverb. The fact that this statement was used in the other Gospels in different settings backs up this interpretation.

This verse contains a significant truth which was repeated quite often in the NT (cf. Matt. 5:7; 6:14-15; 18:35; Mark 11:25; James 2:13, and 5:9). How believers act toward others is a reflection of how God has acted toward them. This is not meant to destroy the biblical truth of justification by faith. It is meant to emphasize the appropriate attitude and lifestyle of those who have been so freely forgiven.

7:3 "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye" "Speck" was used by classical Greek writers for the material that made up a bird's nest. Therefore, we are talking about bits of plant material and similar insignificant, small items.

▣ "but do not notice the log that is in your own eye" This was an Oriental overstatement. The "log" referred to some large piece of lumber, a building timber or rafter. Jesus often used this literary form of hyperbole to communicate spiritual truths (cf. Matt. 5:29-30; 19:24 and 23:24).

7:5 "You hypocrite" This compound word came from the theatrical world and was used for an actor performing behind a mask. It came from two Greek words, "to judge" and "under." It described a person acting in one way but being another (Luke 18:9). A good example of this kind of activity can be seen in the life of David (cf. 2 Sam. 12:1-9). Jesus used this term for the self-righteous Pharisees in Matt. 5:20; 6:2,5,16; 15:1,7; 23:13.

This verse implies the appropriateness of believers'concern for other Christians when it is not done in a condescending, self-righteous manner. Galatians 6:1 is helpful regarding the proper attitude and motive for Christians'exhorting and correcting one another. The Church has always had to spiritually examine and exhort its leadership and membership.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:6
 6"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

7:6 "Do not give what is holy to dogs" This is an aorist subjunctive with the negative particle which implied "never think of doing this activity." The Didache, an extra-canonical book used by the early Church, applied this verse to unbaptized people being excluded from the Lord's Supper (Didache 9:5 and Tertullian, Depraesc. 41). The real questions have always been: (1) What are the "holy things?" and (2) To whom do the terms "dog" and "hog" refer? The "holy things" must be taken in context of the entire Sermon on the Mount, which would be the teachings about God embodied in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Or, to put it another way, the gospel.

Jesus' reference to some human beings as "dogs" (cf. Matt. 15:26,27) or "swine" has caused great consternation among commentators. Both of these animals were vicious and repulsive in the society to which He spoke. There has been much discussion as to whom these terms refer. In the life of Jesus, it could have referred to the self-righteous Jewish leaders, as well as the apathetic and indifferent people of Palestine. This may be a prophetic reference to Jesus' rejection and death by the Jewish leadership and the Jerusalem crowd. However, in the life of the Church, it is not so obvious to whom these terms refer. William Hendricksen, wrote in his commentary on Matthew, "This means, for example, that Christ's disciples must not endlessly continue to bring the gospel message to those who scorn it" (p. 359). An example of this is recorded in Matt. 10:14, "shake the dust off your feet" (cf. Acts 13:51 and 18:5-6.) It is used of Jews in Phil. 3:2-3. It is used in Rev. 22:15 for unbelievers excluded from heaven.

▣ "pearls" These were very valuable in the ancient world.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:7-11
 7Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

7:7 "ask. . .seek. . .knock" These are all present imperatives which speak of habitual, lifestyle commands (cf. Deut. 4:29; Jer. 29:13). It is important that one balance human persistence with God's responsive character. Believers cannot force God to do that which is not good for them. However, at the same time, they can bring any need to their heavenly Father. Jesus prayed the same prayer in Gethsemane three times (cf. Mark 15:36,39,41; Matt. 26:39,42,44). Paul also prayed three times about his thorn in the flesh (cf. 2 Cor. 12:8). But the great thing about prayer is not that one receives a specific answer to his request, but that he has spent time with the Father. See SPECIAL TOPIC: PRAYER, UNLIMITED YET LIMITED at Matt. 18:19.

7:8-10 Persistence is important (cf. Luke 18:2-8). However, it does not coerce a reluctant God but reveals the level of interest and concern of the person. Neither one's many words nor his repeated prayers will motivate the Father to give that which is not in one's best interest. The best thing believers get in prayer is a growing relationship and dependence on God.

7:9-10 Jesus used the analogy of a father and son to describe the mystery of prayer. Matthew gives two examples while Luke gives three (cf. Luke 11:12). The whole point of the illustrations was that God will give believers the "good things." Luke defines this "good" as "the Holy Spirit" (cf. Luke 11:13). Often the worst thing our Father could do for us is answer our inappropriate, selfish prayers! All three examples are a play on things that look alike: stone as bread, fish as eel, and egg as a coiled, pale scorpion.

The questions of Matt. 7:9 and 10 expect a "no" answer (like Matt. 7:16).

7:11 "If you then" This is a first class conditional sentence, which is assumed to be true from the author's perspective or for his literary purposes. In rather an oblique way this is an affirmation of the sinfulness of all men (cf. Rom. 3:9,23). The contrast is between evil human beings and a loving God. God shows His character by the analogy of the human family.

▣ "give what is good to those who ask Him" The parallel in Luke 11:13 has "Holy Spirit" in place of "good." There is no article in Luke; therefore, it could mean "the gifts" given by the Holy Spirit. This cannot be used as a proof text that one must ask God for the Holy Spirit, for the thrust of Scripture is that the Holy Spirit indwells believers at salvation (cf. Rom. 8:9 and Gal. 3:2,3,5,14). Yet there is a sense in which the filling of the Spirit is repeatable based on believers'volition (cf. Eph. 5:18).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:12
 12"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

7:12 This has often been called the Golden Rule (cf. Luke 6:31). This summary statement was based on the assumption that believers are kingdom people with a new heart. This is not an egocentric fallen human response.

Jesus was the only One who put this proverb in a positive form, although the negative form was known from the rabbinical writings (cf. Tobit 4:15 and Rabbi Hillel, found in the Talmud, b Shabbath 31a, and Philo of Alexandria). This is not an emphasis on inappropriate self-worth, but it is a good word about knowing who believers are in Christ and projecting that sense of peace and goodness onto one's fellow human in Jesus' name. It requires that people do what is good and right, which is far more than refraining from doing wrong.

▣ "for this is the Law and the Prophets" The Law and the Prophets are the names of two of the three divisions of the Hebrew canon. This was an abbreviated Hebrew idiom referring to the entire OT (cf. Matt. 5:17).

It was significant that Jesus made a summary statement summing up all that the OT requires (cf. Matt. 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34). This would have been extremely controversial to a first century Jew (cf. Rom. 13:9).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:13-14
 13"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter through it. 14For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

7:13 Does this verse imply (1) entering a gate and then walking on a path; or (2) walking on a path which leads to a gate; or (3) is it an example of Hebrew parallelism? The fact that the gate appears first and then a way implies that this is referring to one's coming to know God in a personal way through Jesus' teachings and then living a new kingdom life. Some of the confusion here can be attributed to the threefold aspect of biblical salvation: (1) initial faith and repentance; (2) lifestyle Christlikeness; and (3) eschatological culmination. This parable is paralleled in Luke 13:23-27. See Special Topic: Use of "Door" in the NT at Matt. 6:6.

▣ "the narrow gate" This type of proverbial truth has traditionally been known as "the two ways" (cf. Deut. 30:15, 19; Ps. 1; Pro.4:10-19; Isa. 1:19-20 and Jer. 21:8). It is hard to identify to whom Jesus was speaking: (1) to disciples, (2) to Pharisees, or (3) to the crowd. The general context would imply that the verse relates to 5:20 and 5:48. If so, then this would imply that the restricted nature of the gate was not rules, like Pharisaic legalism, but lifestyle love flowing out of a relationship with Christ. Christ does have rules (cf. Matt. 11:29-30), but they flow from a changed heart! If we place this verse in relation to a Jewish-Gentile context (cf. Matt. 6:7, 32), then it relates to belief in Jesus as Savior (gate) and Lord (way).

Starting with Matt. 7:13-27 there is a series of contrasts related to religious people.

1. the two ways of performing religious duties (Matt. 7:13-14)

2. the two types of religious leaders (Matt. 7:15-23)

3. the two foundations of a religious life (Matt. 7:24-27)

The question is not to which group of religious people Jesus referred, but to how religious people respond to their understanding of God's will. Some use religion as a guise to gain immediate praise and rewards from men. It is a " me" and "now" focused lifestyle (cf. Isa. 29:13; Col. 2:16-23). True disciples order their lives in light of Jesus' words about the present and coming Kingdom of God.

▣ "for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction" "Way" can be (1) a metaphor for lifestyle and (2) the earliest title of the church (cf. Acts 9:2; 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22; 18:25-26). This verse implies that salvation is not an easy decision which fits in with the mainstream of culture, but a decisive change of life which issues in obedience to the principles of God. The fact that one way leads to destruction shows the ultimate outcome of those who live lives independent of God. Often they seem very religious (cf. Isa. 29:13; Matt. 7:21-23; Col. 2:23)!

This phrase has a typical Greek manuscript variable. In the first of the verse it says, "enter by the narrow gate," but in the second half "the gate" is omitted in the uncial manuscript א*, some old Latin manuscripts, some Vulgate manuscripts, the Diatessaron, and the Greek texts used by Clement and Eusebius. It is present in the uncials אi1, B, C, L, W, and some old Latin, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic manuscripts. So the question is, "Was it inserted for balance" or "fell out by accident?" The UBS4 gives the longer text (i.e., its inclusion) a "B" rating (almost certain). However, its inclusion or exclusion does not change the meaning of the text. This is true of the vast majority of the NT variations in the 5,300 Greek New Testaments in existence today! See Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 19.

7:14 In a day of "easy-believeism" this is a needed balance! This is not saying that Christianity is dependent on human effort, but rather that the life of faith will be filled with persecution. "Narrow" in this verse shares the same root word as "tribulation" or "persecution" in other NT passages. This emphasis is the exact opposite of Matt. 11:29-30. These two verses could be characterized as the "gate" and the "way." We come to God through Jesus as a free gift of God (cf. Rom. 3:24; 5:15-17; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9), but once we know Him, it is the pearl of great price for which we sell all that we have to follow Him. Salvation is absolutely free, but it costs everything that we are and have.

The phrase "few they are that find it" should be compared with Matt. 7:13 and Luke 13:23-24. The question is "are more going to be lost than saved?" Is the verse teaching this numerical distinction?

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:15-20
 15Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20So then, you will know them by their fruits.

7:15 "Beware of the false prophets" This is a present imperative. Jesus often spoke of false prophets (cf. Matt. 24:4, 5, 11, 23-24; Mark 13:22). It is always difficult to identify false proclaimers because they usually have an element of truth in their message, and one is not always certain of their motives. Therefore, it becomes a crucial question as to how believers ascertain who are false proclaimers. There are several elements which must be brought into the evaluation.

1. Deut. 13:1-3 and 18:22

2. Titus 1:16 and 1 John. 4:7-11

3. 1 John. 4:1-3, Based on these criteria, Christians are able to make their evaluation.

Verses 15-20 deal with the issue of fruit inspection, while Matt. 7:21-23 deal with people who bear seemingly good fruit, but have no personal relationship with God. There is both "a gate" and "a road" ; both an initial faith and a life of faith!

▣ "who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves" The wolf is the traditional enemy of the sheep (cf. Matt. 10:16; Acts 20:29). This may mean that one of the difficult aspects of the road that leads to life is that there are people who try to detour us by means of a false message (cf. Eph. 4:14). Usually this message will have some personal advantage for the false prophets. They look so religious! Verses 21-23 show how wolves can look like sheep!

7:16 "You will know them by their fruits" This parable is unique to Matthew. This is a future indicative used as a present imperative (see also Matt. 7:20). The question expected a "no" answer (like Matt. 7:10). "Know" is emphatic, implying that believers can and must recognize false proclaimers. We can know them by their lifestyle priorities and their doctrinal teachings. It has often been questioned as to which of these make up one's fruit, when actually, both do.

1. their teachings (cf. Deut. 13:1-3; 18:22; Luke 6:45; 1 John. 4:1-3)

2. their actions (cf. Luke 3:8-14; 6:43-46; John 15:8-10; Eph. 5:9-12; Col. 1:10; Tit. 1:16; James 3:17-18; 1 John. 4:7-11)

How people live reflects

1. their true selves

2. their relationship with God

It is difficult to hold together the twin truths of an absolutely free invitation to a free salvation, with the demand of Christlikeness. Yet both are true! A good brief discussion of this is in Manfred T. Brauch, Abusing Scripture, pp. 104-116.

7:19 Because of John the Baptist's use of this same phrasing in Matt. 3:10, many believe this was a common proverbial saying.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:21-23
 21"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,'will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? 23And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'"

7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me" This is a present active participle which speaks of continuing action. They said these words again and again.

▣ "Lord, Lord" The rabbis said that the doubling of a name shows affection (cf. Gen. 22:11).

The Greek word kurios was used in several distinct ways in the first century. It could simply mean (1) "sir" ; (2) "master" ; (3) "owner" ; or (4) " husband." But, in theological contexts, it is usually interpreted with its full meaning derived from the OT translation of the name YHWH (cf. Exod. 3:14). In this context these men were making a theological statement about Jesus, but did not have a personal relationship with Him. It is difficult at this early stage in Jesus' ministry to know how much theological weight to attach to this term. Peter also used it early as a theological title for Jesus (cf. Luke 5:8), as did Luke 6:46, where Jesus links one's verbal affirmations with obedience. However, in this context the scene is eschatological-these false prophets will be judged at the Second Coming.

Were they saved and fell away or were they never saved?

SPECIAL TOPIC: APOSTASY (APHISTĒMI)

▣ "will enter the kingdom of heaven" This is a future indicative. The Kingdom was the central focus of the preaching of Jesus. It paralleled the phrase "the kingdom of God" used in Mark and Luke. Matthew, writing to Jews, used "heaven" as a circumlocution for "God." This verse implies a future orientation, while Matt. 3:2 implies a present orientation. The kingdom of heaven is the reign of God in human hearts now which one day will be consummated over all the earth. Jesus, in His model prayer of Matt. 6:10, was praying for the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.

▣ "but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven" This is a present active participle. The real focus of the next few verses is on those people who say they are kingdom people but live in ways that reveal they are not. This can be seen in the concluding portion of Matt. 7:23, and in Matt. 7:24 and 26. The stated will of God is that one believe on His Son (cf. John. 6:29, 39-40). This personal relationship was what these religious, false prophets lacked (cf. Matt. 7:23).

This dialectic or paradoxical structure is so characteristic of biblical truth. God's will is both an initial decision (gate) and a continuing lifestyle (way).

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE WILL (thelēma) OF GOD

7:22 "Many will say to Me on that day" The structure of this Greek question expected a "yes" answer. The phrase "that day" referred to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is often called Resurrection Day or Judgment Day, depending on whether you know Him personally or not.

▣ "in Your name. . .in Your name. . .in Your name" This phrase implied "in your authority" or "as your disciple." It is obvious from Matt. 7:23 that they did not know Jesus in a personal way. Notice that the works they performed are godly works. But fruit without relationship is as abominable as relationship without fruit. These same types of miracles were performed by Jesus' true disciples (cf. Matt. 10:1-4), including Judas Iscariot! Miracles are not automatically a sign from God (cf. Matt. 24:24 and 2 Thess. 2:9-10). Religious self-deception is a tragedy.

▣ "cast our demons" See Special Topics: Exorcism at Matt. 10:1 and The Demonic at Matt. 10:1.

7:23 "then I will declare to them" This Greek term meant "to profess" or "to confess" publicly (see Special Topic at Matt. 10:32). The implication of this statement is that Jesus has the position and authority to judge and that judgment is in relation to personal faith in Him.

▣ "I never knew you" This was a strong grammatical construction in Greek. The term "know" had an OT background meaning "intimate, personal relationship" (cf. Gen. 4:1 and Jer.1:5). It is frightening to think that the religious activity of Matt. 7:22 can be performed in such a self-deceiving way (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-3).

▣ "depart from Me" This is a present active imperative, a continuing command rendered literally as "keep on departing from Me!" Thus the implied meaning is "you are already going away-just keep on going!" It is an allusion to Ps. 6:8.

▣ "you who practice lawlessness" It is shocking that these apparently effective religious leaders were totally independent of the power and person of Christ.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:24-27
 24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell-and great was its fall."

7:24 "everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them" This parable was unique to Matthew and Luke (6:47-49). This is similar to the thought in the Hebrew word Shema of Deut. 6:1 where the word implies "to hear so as to do." Christianity involves (1) knowledge; (2) personal response; and (3) a lifestyle of service. It is interesting that both builders are said to hear Jesus' words. Again, it looks as if the context of these warnings is religious people who have heard and responded at some level.

7:24-27 These verses are similar to the truth of Matthew 13, the parable of the soils. It is only through persecution and adversity that the true character of "supposed" believers is revealed. A life of persecution is a real possibility for Christians (cf. John. 15:20; 16:33; Acts 14:22; Rom. 8:17; 1 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 2:21; 4:12-16).

7:26 It is interesting that both builders are said to hear Jesus' words. Again, it looks as if the context of these warnings is religious people who have heard and responded to some degree. A.T. Robertson said in Word Pictures in the New Testament, "Hearing sermons is a dangerous business if one does not put them into practice," p. 63, and I would add, as is writing and delivering them (i.e., sermons).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 7:28-29
 28When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

7:28 "When Jesus had finished these words" Matthew used this phrase to close several of the major sections in his Gospel (cf. Matt. 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). They form one possible outline of the book.

▣ "the crowds were amazed at His teaching" Jesus' teachings were so different from the scribes. He based His authority not on previous teachers, but on Himself. This aspect of Jesus' authority is a characteristic of the Gospel of Matthew (cf. Matt. 8:9; 9:6, 8; 10:1; 21:23-24, 27; 28:18). Jesus claimed the place of both the promised Messiah (i.e., the new Moses or new law-giver) and the eschatological Judge.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Is it sinful for Christians to judge one another?

2. What does verse 6 mean?

3. Does verse 7 imply that human persistence can avail in prayer?

4. Does verse 13 imply that it is hard to be saved? What exactly are the two ways?

5. How do you know who is a false prophet?

6. What does the term "fruit" mean?

7. Is it possible for successful ministries to be empowered apart from a personal relationship with Christ?

8. What is the relationship between hearing and doing in the Christian faith?

9. Is persecution necessary in the Christian life?

 

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