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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 6

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-4

Teaching on Almsgiving - Note that the Mosaic Law had statutes that reflected the teachings of Jesus on almsgiving that He gives in Matthew 6:1-4 (Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 15:7).

Leviticus 19:10, “And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.”

Deuteronomy 15:7, “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:”

Scripture References - Note similar verses on helping the poor.

Proverbs 14:21, “He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.”

Proverbs 14:31, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.”

Proverbs 19:17, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”

Proverbs 28:8, “He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.”

Proverbs 28:27, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.”

Proverbs 29:7, “The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.”

Proverbs 31:9, “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:20, “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”

Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 6:1 Textual Criticism Most of the later manuscripts use the word ἐλεημοσύνην , while the early manuscripts use δικαιοσύνην . [384] Thus, modern English translations follow the earlier manuscripts and translate δικαιοσύνην as righteousness ( ASV, ISV), piety (Hagner), good works ( BBE), good actions ( Weymouth), kindness ( YLT), religious duties ( LO), etc.

[384] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1-13, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 33A, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas, Texas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 137.

Comments Matthew 6:1 serves as an introductory statement to Matthew 6:2-18, giving us the main point of this passage of Scripture. Jesus begins this section of teaching with a warning about serving others with the wrong motive. In contrast, Jesus teaches us here that we are to give to society in various ways with an expectation of receiving a heavenly reward, if we give with pure motives.

Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 6:2 “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee” Comments - John Broadus says the Greek commentators and most recent scholars believe this is a figurative expression only, and that it was not a literal practice in the days of Jesus. No actual instance of this practice has been found in Jewish writings. Broadus notes that Calvin conjectures the use of the trumpet, but with no evidence. [385] John Lightfoot says that he sought long and hard for evidence, but found none. [386] John Gill, Matthew Poole, A. T. Robertson, and Marvin Vincent all agree that this is intended to be a proverbial phrase, and that it was not practiced by the Jews. Therefore, the sounding of the trumpet is simply a figurative way of expressing ways to attract notice and applause of men.

[385] John A. Broadus, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, in An American Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Alvah Hovey (Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society, 1888), 127.

[386] John Lightfoot, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae: Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations Upon the Gospels, the Acts, Some Chapters of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and the First Epistle to the Corinthians, vol. 2, ed. Robert Gandell (Oxford: The University Press, 1859), 138.

Alfred Edersheim explains that the offering containers in Herod’s Temple were called “trumpets” because of their shape, narrow towards the top, and wider at the base. He suggests that Jesus was making an “ironical illusion” to these offering buckets in Matthew 6:2. [387]

[387] Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as They were at the Time of Jesus Christ (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1908), 49.

Because Jesus uses a hyperbole in the next verse when tells us not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, I suggest He is using this same form of speech when describing those who sound a trumpet as they give in the synagogues or along the streets, since there are no trumpets carried into these places.

Matthew 6:2 “as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets” Comments - The Greek word ύποκριτής has been transliterated into English word “hypocrites.” The term was used in Jesus’ day to refer to theatrical actors who played a role that was not real. Therefore, ύποκριτής is used figuratively by Jesus to refer to someone who pretends to be something that he is not.

The two standard ways to give benevolences in those days was to give an offering on the Sabbath at the synagogue, or to give to the poor who sit and beg along the streets.

Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

Matthew 6:3 Comments - The description of not letting a person’s left hand know what his right hand is doing is somewhat of a hyperbole, or an exaggerated expression used to emphasize a point. Jesus uses this same form of speech in the preceding verse when describing those who sound a trumpet as they give. Hiding the left hand from the right hand is not something that can actually be done; rather, it describes an extreme act of secrecy. In fact, man’s tendency is the opposite, which is to boast about his almsgiving and good deeds before others.

Matthew 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 6:4 Comments Our motive for giving to the poor should be from a heart of compation, and not to receive recognition from man. Jesse Duplantis says we are to give to those in need secretly in order to protect the dignity of those who are suffering. [388] Matthew 6:4 tells us that when we give to the poor with the right motive, we have a right to expect a reward from our Father who is in heaven. When we give to the poor we do not expect them to pay us back; but our God is rich, and He will be the one who rewards us. When we take a gife unto a king, he responds by giving an even greater gift back. This is what King Solomon did to the queen of Sheba. He gave her more to carry back than she brought to him. When we give to the poor as our way of worshipping and serving the Lord, then we are essentially giving unto Him. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” (Matthew 25:24)

[388] Jesse Duplantis, Jesse Duplantis (Jesse Duplantis, Destrehan, Louisana), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 5 November 2012.

When we give to the poor in secret, that is, with a pure motive, our Heavenly Father will reward us openly. Thus, the extent of God’s reward to those who give is done is such a way that men will recognize it as coming from God. Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts:

“Whatsoever ye sow in your secret thought-life, that shall ye reap. Sow love and kindness, and ye shall be rewarded openly. Sow charity and forgiveness, and ye shall reap in kind. Sow generosity and gratitude, and ye shall never feel poor. Sow hope, and ye shall reap fulfillment. Sow praise, and ye shall reap joy and well-being and a strong faith. Sow bountifully, and ye shall reap bountifully. Sow! Ye shall see your seed and be satisfied.” [389]

[389] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 93.

Verses 1-18

Divine Service in the Kingdom In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus teaches on sanctification in preparation for divine service. In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ teaches the people about true sanctification in preparation for divine service to God through almsgiving, prayer and fasting. He will expound upon the topic of divine service in His second discourse in Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1 and actually send out twelve apostles for training in divine service.

Under the Mosaic Law a Levite or priest must sanctify himself in order to be qualified for Temple service. After Jesus identifies true children of God in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) and in describing them as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), and after He delivers to them the true meaning of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:17-48), He now tells them how to sanctify themselves for divine service on their journey to the Promised Land. Just as Moses sanctified the Tabernacle and the people for the journey, Jesus gives us three keys to become sanctified before God in Matthew 6:1-18, almsgiving, prayer and fasting. This will prepare us for the rest of the journey described in Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:29. We are to give of our substance in almsgiving (Matthew 6:1-4), which acts of mercy sanctifies the heart; then we give our lives to prayer (Matthew 6:5-15), which sanctifies the mind by giving us spiritual direction and understand; and we afflict our bodies by fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). Together, these acts of piety will keep us strong in faith and in fellowship with God for the journey into our place of rest with God.

Outline - Note the proposed outline:

1. Almsgiving (sanctifies the heart) Matthew 6:1-4

2. Prayer (sanctifies the mind) Matthew 6:5-15

3. Fasting (sanctifies the body) Matthew 6:16-18

Jesus Teaches on Sanctification in Preparation for Divine Service Jentezen Franklin comments that this three-fold act of Christian service, almsgiving, prayer and fasting, brings a hundred-fold return in a believer’s life. He believes only practicing one virtue will bring a 30-fold return, and practicing two virtues will bring a 60-fold return; but all three will give a full return in our lives. With all three active in our lives, the blessings of God will so overflow as He rewards us openly that men will see these blessings (Matthew 6:18). We see all three of these virtues explained in Isaiah 58:1-14. God’s open reward is seen in the final verse of this chapter. [383]

[383] Jentezen Franklin, interviewed by Benny Hinn, “This Is Your Day,” on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 9 January 2004.

The frequent references to rewards from men and from God (Matthew 6:1-2; Matthew 6:4-6; Matthew 6:16; Matthew 6:18) in Matthew 6:1-18 reveals that when we give alms, pray, and fast according to God’s rules, we are to expect to receive heavenly rewards. In other words, we are to expect to receive from God when we give alms, or pray, or fast. To not have such an expectation would then be unbiblical.

Verses 1-34

The First Discours: The Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-49 ) Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29 records the Sermon on the Mount, which is perhaps the best known passage in the New Testament. This sermon is more accurately a teaching lesson, for the Gospel of Matthew reflects Jesus in His office and ministry as a Teacher, while Mark’s Gospel records His preaching ministry. Thus, scholars refer to the five “discourses” in the Gospel of Matthew. In this discourse Jesus gives to the people the Laws of the Kingdom of Heaven, in which He lays the foundational doctrines for the Kingdom.

The Sermon on the Mount will also serve as His inaugural address as the King of the Jews, in which He tells the people about the laws that are to govern the Kingdom of God. This new government is not a democracy where a leader is elected. Rather, it is a kingdom by which a king is chosen by royal birth, and whose rule endures throughout the life of the King. Its constitution and civil laws are not written and voted upon by the people as in a democracy and reads, “We the people…” as the constitution of the United States reads. But this is a kingdom by which the king’s words serve as the Law. This is why Jesus says in His Sermon, “Ye have heard that it was said…but I say unto you.” His Word takes authority over all pervious law. In a kingdom the king is honored, even worshipped. There can be no protests and demonstrations to impeach a king. This would only happen in a democracy.

How the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29 Reflects the Structure of Matthew’s Gospel The Sermon on the Mount is clearly the most popular passage of Matthew’s Gospel. This sermon reflects the underlying theme of Matthew’s Gospel, which the testimony of Jesus as the Messiah and King of the Jews through Jesus’ teaching ministry.

Divine Service (Matthew 6:1-18) ð See Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1

Perseverance: Worldliness (Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12) ð See Matthew 13:1-52

Perseverance: False Doctrines (Matthew 7:13-20) ð See Matthew 18:1-35

Glorification (Matthew 7:21-23) ð See Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46

Summary and Application (Matthew 7:24-29)

Justification (Matthew 5:1-16 ) - The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-16) emphasizes how a person is justified in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Indoctrination (Matthew 5:17-48 ) - Matthew 5:17-48 indoctrinates the people on the meaning of the original intent of the Law of Moses.

Divine Service (Matthew 6:1-18 ) They prepare themselves for divine service through almsgiving, prayer and fasting. He will expound upon this topic and actually send out twelve apostles for training in divine service in His second discourse in Matthew 10:1 to Matthew 11:1.

Perseverance Amidst Worldliness (Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12 ) Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12 teaches how to perseverance amidst worldliness so that they will be able to find their place of rest with God. He will expound upon this topic again in His third discourse consisting of parables about man’s reactions to Gospel (Matthew 13:1-52).

Perseverance Amidst False Doctrine (Matthew 7:13-20 ) - In Matthew 7:13-20 Jesus places emphasis upon the need to persevere amidst offences and false doctrines within the Church. In this passage Jesus teaches us about the dangers along our journey to Heaven. He tells us that the path is narrow and many will not make it (Matthew 7:13-14). We are told that there are many detours to mislead us (Matthew 7:15-20). Jesus will expound upon this topic in His fourth discourse about handling offences in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:1-35).

Glorification (Matthew 7:21-23 ) - In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus Christ teaches on the subject of how to enter into our future glorification in Heaven. It is only those who stay on course and do the will of the Father who will enter into Heaven. Jesus will expound upon this topic in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46).

Summary and Application (Matthew 7:24-29 ) In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus Christ summaries His message by telling the people to apply the Sermon on the Mount to their personal lives. Matthew 7:28-29 serves as a transitional sentence that the author uses between the five major sections of the Gospel.

Outline - Note the proposed outline of Jesus’ first discourse, which we call the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29). This particular outline emphasizes this Sermon as the Giving of the Laws of the Kingdom.

1. Justification: The Children of the Kingdom Matthew 5:1-16

a) Nine Characteristics of the Children Matthew 5:1-12

b) The Salt and Light Matthew 5:13-16

2. Indoctrination: The Laws of the Kingdom Matthew 5:17-48

a) The Fulfillment of the Law Matthew 5:17-20

b) The Giving of the Laws of the Kingdom Matthew 5:21-48

i) Murder (Dealing with Man’s Heart) Matthew 5:21-26

ii) Adultery (Dealing with Man’s Heart) Matthew 5:27-32

iii) Swearing (Man’s Tongue/Mind) Matthew 5:33-37

iv) Retribution (Physical Actions) Matthew 5:38-42

v) Loving thy Neighbor (Summary of Law) Matthew 5:43-48

3. Calling: Divine Service in the Kingdom Matthew 6:1-18

a) Almsgiving (Sanctifies the Heart) Matthew 6:1-4

b) Prayer (Sanctifies the Mind) Matthew 6:5-15

c) Fasting (Sanctifies the Body) Matthew 6:16-18

4. Perseverance Amidst Worldliness Matthew 6:19 to Matthew 7:12

a) Seeking God First (Heart) Matthew 6:19-34

b) Judge Not (Mind) Matthew 7:1-6

c) Trusting God in Prayer (Bodily Needs) Matthew 7:7-12

5. Perseverance Amidst False Doctrines Matthew 7:13-20

6. Glorification - Entering the Promised Land Matthew 7:21-23

7. Conclusion Matthew 7:24-29

The Recipients to the Five Discourses of the Gospel of Matthew The five discourses that Jesus Christ delivered during His earthly ministry were primarily directed to His disciples (Matthew 5:1; Matthew 10:1; Matthew 13:10-11; Matthew 13:36-37; Matthew 18:1; Matthew 24:3). Although the multitudes gathered together to receive miracles and to hear Him, Matthew is accurate to note that Jesus addressed these discourse to His disciples. Thus, the purpose of the five discourses was the training of the Twelve, preparing them for His final command to take the Gospel to the nations, which is traditionally called the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

The Motif of Righteousness in the Sermon on the Mount In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew uses the Greek word δικαιοσυ ́ νη five times (Matthew 5:6; Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:20; Matthew 6:1; Matthew 6:33). Matthew uses this Greek word only on two other occasions in the rest of his Gospel (Matthew 3:15; Matthew 21:32). The first use is found in the narrative material preceding the first discourse (Matthew 3:15) in which Jesus demonstrates true righteousness prior to teaching on the topic in the Sermon on the Mount. Thus, the motif of righteousness is embedded within the first discourse, in which Jesus teaches on God’s true standard of righteousness for mankind.

The Motif of God the Father in the Sermon on the Mount The Sermon on the Mount is the first place in the Holy Scriptures where God is revealed as a Father intimately concerned about and involved with the daily affairs of His children. David was the first individual to recognized God as his Father, and the sweet psalmist of Israel called Him Father throughout His psalms. Yet, in the centuries that followed, few individual understood the intimacy that God intended for His children, so there is very little reference to this concept in the canonical Scriptures that were written after David. For this reason, the message Jesus Christ delivered in the Sermon on the Mount is a new revelation for the Jews of the divine character of the God of Israel as a loving Father for each of them.

The Motif of the Mosaic Law in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus refer to the Mosaic Law a number of times in the Sermon on the Mount. Since the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes Jesus as the Scriptural fulfillment of the coming Messiah, this Gospel also gives emphasis to Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom of God, a theological concept that the Jews incorporated with the coming of the Messiah. The Jews believed that the Messiah would usher in a new kingdom, where He would reign on earth from Jerusalem as King. Since Jesus Christ came as King of the Jews, He teaches the people the laws of the Kingdom of God by contrasting them to the Mosaic Law. Note these comments from Philip Schaff:

“After the Messianic inauguration and trial Jesus opens his public ministry with the Sermon on the Mount, which is the counterpart of the Sinaitic legislation, and contains the fundamental law of his kingdom. The key-note of this sermon and of the whole Gospel is that Christ came to fulfil the law and the prophets, which implies both the harmony of the two religions and the transcendent superiority of Christianity.” [359]

[359] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 1: Apostolic Christianity A.D. 1-100 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955), 617.

In chapter five, Jesus reveals how the Ten Commandments are to be obeyed in the Kingdom of God, and how the blessings and curses operate in this new Kingdom. In chapter 6, Jesus explains how the statutes of the Mosaic Law are also to be fulfilled in this new kingdom.

The major theme of the Pentateuch is the delivering of the Mosaic Law to the children of Israel. On Mount Sinai, Moses gave the people the Ten Commandments, which can be referred to as the “Moral Law.” He then delivered to them many statutes and ordinances regarding daily living and service in the Tabernacle. This set of rules and regulations can be referred to as the “Civil Laws.” The Ten Commandments became the foundation for the civil laws. Thus, the Ten Commandments dealt with a man’s heart, while the civil laws dealt with a man’s actions. When a man held the moral laws within his heart, he would then be willing to follow the civil laws.

When Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, He taught the people the true meaning of the Ten Commandments. He explained to the people the foundational laws from which the civil laws were derived. Jesus dealt with the heart of man, because the people were confused with the endless civil laws that the Pharisees had heaped upon them through the centuries.

In the days of Jesus, the people of Israel easily confused righteousness with legalism. The Pharisees imposed a strict and complicated legal system on the Jewish people, who lived in fear of these religious leaders. The Jews watched the Pharisees strive to keep the details of these rules and regulations while inwardly they were liars, thieves and murderers. For example, they misused the treasury money. They murdered the Lord Jesus Christ and lied about His body being stolen by the disciples. All of their actions were motivated to please one another. Thus, the people sought to please the Pharisees outwardly, to be seen by others, but inwardly, their motives were false.

It is in this setting that Jesus taught to such a people who had lost the true meaning of righteous. This is why Jesus emphasizes the word “righteousness” in the Sermon on the Mount, which is subtitled by A. T. Robertson as, “Christ’s Standard of Righteousness.” [360]

[360] A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ (New York: George H. Doran, 1922), 48.

This sermon clearly lays out what true, Scriptural righteous conduct is all about. In Job 31:0, Job lived many of these truths in his life. This lifestyle of righteousness had been lost during Jesus' day in the teachings of the Pharisees. So, as Moses instituted the laws of God at Mount Sinai to begin the kingdom of Israel, so Jesus lays the foundation of the Kingdom of God by teaching its laws and statutes. In laying this foundation, Jesus is attempting in His Sermon to explain to the children of Israel the real meaning behind the Ten Commandments and the laws of Moses.

In a similar way that Moses separated the children of Israel from Egypt through the Exodus, delivered to them the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and led them to the Promised Land, so does Jesus Christ call out the true children of God from the world in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-16). He explains the true meaning of the Ten Commandments in Matthew 5:17-48. He tells them how to get to the Promised Land (Matthew 6:1 to Matthew 7:29).

In addition, there is a clear contrast between this setting of Jesus teaching the people and the scene from Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:0. Note:

1. God came down to give the Law from heaven. Jesus went up into a mountain to teach, since He was among men, flesh and blood.

2. God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. Jesus explains how to live the Ten Commandments here.

3. God spoke out of thunder, lightening, and a thick cloud. Jesus spoke out of in a voice of authority.

4. At Mount Sinai, we sense God’s holiness. Here we see God’s love.

1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

5. On Mt. Sinai, the people were ordered to keep their distance. Here, the people are able to come up to Jesus.

6. On Mt. Sinai, Moses asked to see God. He only saw His back. Here, they see God in the flesh as Jesus.

John 14:8-9, “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

Jesus’ Authority verses Rabbinic Authority in the Sermon on the Mount - When the Jewish leaders heard Jesus teach, they marveled, saying, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” (John 7:15) Because Jesus did not rise up through the rabbinical educational system, He was unknown to the educated Pharisees and Jewish leaders. Andreas J. Kösterberger notes that the rabbis of the first century often cited other rabbinical authorities in their teachings. [361] Thus, the rabbis considered those who taught without such rabbinical authorities to lack credibility. [362] They themselves referred back to a long history of traditional interpretation of the Mosaic Law as their authority. Jesus, however, offered Himself as the sole authority in His teachings on twenty-five occasions in John’s Gospel, saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you…” (John 1:51; John 3:3; John 3:5; John 3:11; John 5:19; John 5:24-25; John 6:26; John 6:32; John 6:47; John 6:53; John 8:34; John 8:51; John 8:58; John 10:1; John 10:7; John 12:24; John 13:16; John 13:20-21; John 13:38; John 14:12; John 16:20; John 16:23; John 21:18) Throughout the Synoptic Gospels Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you…” When pressed by the Jews for His source of authority, Jesus refers to His Father as the source of His doctrine (John 5:17-26; John 5:36-37; John 6:44-46; John 7:16; John 8:28; John 8:38; John 10:18, John 10:37-38; John 12:49-50; John 14:31; John 15:15). Jesus’ response of elevating Himself above rabbinic authority incited the Jews to anger, as they accused Him of blasphemy because He made Himself equal to God, while the common rabbi lowered himself below rabbinical authorities in his teachings. Perhaps the best example of the Jew’s scholar’s dependence upon the long tradition of rabbinical authority is found in the Babylonian Talmud, which consists of lengthy discussions of the views of renowned rabbis regarding particular interpretations of the Law.

[361] Andreas J. Kösterberger, John, in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 232-233.

[362] Scholars cite Sotah 22a from the Babylonian Talmud as an example of the negative rabbinical attitude towards those who do not appeal to other authorities in their teachings, which says, “It has been reported, If one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah but did not attend upon Rabbinical scholars, R. Eleazar says he is an 'Am ha-arez' [lit. a people of the land].” (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 22a) The rabbis equated such teachers to “people of the land,” meaning such teachers were like the common, uneducated person.

The Pauline Epistles and the Sermon on the Mount - Paul the apostle will later write the nine Church Epistles, in which he will be divinely used to lay down the doctrines for the New Testament Church. But his doctrines will be built upon the Sermon on the Mount. Thus, Jesus Christ lays down a foundation upon which all of the New Testament apostles and prophets are to build upon. This is why Paul the apostle could say, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ;” (Ephesians 2:19-20). Just as Paul’s epistles are grouped into the doctrines of justification, sanctification and glorification, so is the Sermon on the Mount structured around this three-fold emphasis.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to the Structure of the New Testament Besides the similarities between the Pentateuch and the Gospel of Matthew, we find similarities between the five major discourses and the structure of the New Testament writings. To begin with, we know that the nine Pauline Church Epistles establish the doctrines of the New Testament Church. The three Pastoral Epistles establish the order and ministry of the Church. The three General Epistles of Hebrews, James and 1 Peter establish the perseverance of the saints in regards to persecutions from without the Church. The five General Epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John and Jude establish the perseverance of the saints in regards to persecutions from false doctrines within the church.

In a similar manner, we can compare the Sermon on the Mount to the Church Epistles in that they lay the foundation for the doctrine of the Kingdom of God and of the New Testament Church. The second discourse of Jesus sending out the twelve establishes the ministry and order of the Church, which can be compared to the Pastoral Epistles. The third discourse regarding the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven which reveals the ways in which men reject the preaching of the Gospel can be compared to the General Epistles of Hebrews, James and 1 Peter which deal with persecutions from without. The fourth discourse of dealing with offences and persecutions from the Jewish leaders can be compared with the General Epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John and Jude which discuss persecutions from false doctrine within the Church. The emphasis upon false doctrine in this narrative material is because the theme of this passage is about offences because of false doctrines in the Kingdom of God. These offences are not coming from the multitudes but from those who appear to be within the Kingdom of God, that is, the religious leaders. The fifth Eschatological discourse of the Second Coming of Christ can be compared to the book of Revelation, which deals with the glorification of the Church.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to the Six Foundational Doctrines of the New Testament Church - If we compare the foundational doctrines listed in Hebrews 6:1-2 with the scheme of the five major discourses in Matthew’s Gospel, we can observe some parallels.

Hebrews 6:1-2, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”

The six foundational doctrines found in Hebrews 6:1-2 were laid down by Jesus Christ. It is these six doctrines upon which the Kingdom of Heaven is established:

1. repentance from dead works

2. faith toward God

3. the doctrine of baptisms

4. laying on of hands

5. resurrection of the dead

6. eternal judgment

Jesus’ first discourse, the Sermon on the Mount, finds its parallel in the third foundational doctrine of the doctrine of baptisms. The second discourse, the Sending out of the Twelve, parallels the laying on of hands for Christian service. The third and fourth discourses emphasize the perseverance of the saints. The last discourse, the Eschatological Discourse, places most of its emphasis upon the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

Similarities of the Sermon on the Mount to Luke 6:20-49 Just as Jesus Christ visited the synagogues of Galilee and probably delivered the same speech out of Isaiah 61:1-2, do did He probably delivered messages similar to the Sermon on the Mount to the multitudes, which would explain the differences in the parallel passages in Luke 6:20-49 and the Sermon on the Plain (Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29). In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus chose the twelve apostles prior to the Sermon on the Plain, while the appointment of the Twelve comes after the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel. This helps to explain what many scholars otherwise see as conflicting accounts of the same events.

Verses 5-15

Teaching on Prayer In Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus teaches on prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4 ) Matthew 6:9-15 contains a passage of Scripture that is popularly called The Lord’s Prayer. This passage gives us principles (Matthew 6:9 a), or guidelines, or a “manner,” on how we come to God with our needs, which needs are mentioned in the previous verse (Matthew 6:8). This prayer is intended to serve as a model of prayer, and not as a memorized prayer of repetition, which Jesus warns against in the previous verse (Matthew 6:7). As His children, we enter His presence with intimacy of and Father and a child by calling Him “Father” (Matthew 6:9 b), whom we worship and adore (Matthew 6:9 c). We then pray a prayer of consecration, yielding ourselves to His will, to His purpose and plan, for the situation that causes us to have a need (Matthew 6:10). In Matthew 6:11 we ask the Lord to make divine provision and supply our needs as we do His will. This is a walk of faith and trust in Him as our Provider. If we are going to receive from God in Matthew 6:11, then we are going to have to maintain a pure heart (Matthew 6:12); for without it, our prayers are futile and fruitless. As we pursue God’s will with a pure heart we pray for divine protection against the Devil, who comes to steal our faith and blessing and answered prayers (Matthew 6:13 a,b). With God on our side, we cannot fail to receive, so we close our prayers with a confession of faith giving praise and glory and honor to our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:13 c). Jesus end by warning of the believer’s need to maintain a pure heart of forgiveness against all fellow men; for without it, our heavenly Father will not answer our prayers (Matthew 6:14-15).

Prayers should begin in the morning, as Jesus set the example and as Matthew 6:34 shows, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” There is enough evil that we confront each day to cause us the need to be concerned about how to walk in victory today and not worry about tomorrow’s coming evil.

One suggested outline for the Lord’s Prayer uses the following scheme:

Praise (Matthew 6:9 b) We begin prayer by entering the Lord’s presence with praise and adoration.

Priority (Matthew 6:10) We then place the issues of the Kingdom of Heaven as the top priority before our daily needs.

Provision (Matthew 6:11-12) We ask the Lord for our daily provision and forgiveness in an unselfish manner.

Protection (Matthew 6:13 a, b) - We ask the Lord for protection.

Praise (Matthew 6:13 c) We close our prayer giving the Lord all praise and honor for what He is doing in our lives.

Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet” Comments - I once asked the Lord where my closet was. He replied that it was in my quiet place. In other words, a closet is a figurative term used to describe a place that you can go to that gives you peace and quiet, without distractions. No one can pray consistently and effectively without a prayer closet. A closet represents a place where you can be along with God, where you can pray unhindered, without distractions. Thus, Jesus says to “shut the door”.

The fact that Jesus says to have such a place means that we pray most effectively when we have dedicated a place to go to when we pray. Abraham built an altar at each of his dwelling places. He understood the need to have a prayer closet. We deceive ourselves when we think that we can pray effectively anywhere.

Matthew 6:6 “and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” - Comments - Another reason we must go to a closet to prayer most effectively is because our flesh has the tendency to get in the way when we pray in public. The hypocritical prayer of the Pharisee in Luke 18:10-14 reminds us of how tempted man is to please his listeners when praying in public, rather than being sincere before God.

Matthew 6:5-6 Comments - Note the words of Frances J. Roberts:

“Get you to the prayer closet! This is the reason I have taught thee to pray in secret: because there ye are beset by fewer false motives and less temptation. He who does not habitually commune with Me alone is almost sure to find true prayer impossible in public .” [390]

[390] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 30.


“The dazzle and glitter of public life is attractive to the eye of the carnal man; but I would closet you away in the secret places of humility and discipline of soul, denying the things that pertain to the outward man in order to perfect the inner life and enrich thy knowledge of Myself.” [391]

[391] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 174.

Illustration Jesus serves as an excellent example of a man who went to His prayer “closet” to pray (Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18).

Matthew 14:23, “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.”

Mark 1:35, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”

Luke 6:12, “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”

Luke 9:18, “And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?”

Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Matthew 6:7 Comments - In the Islamic religion public prayers are memorized. In fact, they project these prayers over their cities from their towers, believing that their god will hear them.

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray ye” Comments - In other words, this prayer is a guideline for us to use during prayer, rather than verses we are to memorize and repeat.

Matthew 6:9 “Our Father which art in heaven” - Comments - This shows a personal relationship that each individual has with God as Father. This concept was until now basically foreign to the children of Israel. David was the first individual in redemptive history to call God his Father, as recorded in the book of Psalms. Although three of the later prophets echoed this concept (Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 22:21; Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 3:4; Jeremiah 3:19; Jeremiah 31:9, Malachi 2:10), Jesus was the first discuss it at length.

Matthew 6:9 “Hallowed be thy name” - Comments That is, “let thy name be sanctified, reverenced, treated as holy.” A person’s character is reflected in his name. Therefore, God’s primary characteristic is holiness.

Note that we can bring glory and honor to His name as we shine as lights of truth and good works in this evil world (Matthew 5:16). The opposite one who brings glory to God would be a person who curses the Lord and adheres to idols and made-up gods.

Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come” - Comments - What is the Kingdom of God.

Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Matthew 6:10 “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” - Comments - Jesus came on earth in order to reestablish God’s will, purpose and plan on the earth. He then gave the Church the authority to take dominion over the earth and establish God’s will in the lives of mankind.

Matthew 6:10 Comments - In Matthew 6:10 we commit ourselves to perform God’s will for our lives. We may paraphraseMatthew 6:10; Matthew 6:10, “Use me to do thy will on earth in building the kingdom of God.” After we have placed God’s office above ourselves in Matthew 6:9, then are we able to submit to His plan and purpose in our lives. We are to pray that God’s kingdom will come upon this earth so that mankind will begin to live here on earth as he will be living in heaven. We can better understand the meaning of Matthew 6:10 by taking a brief look at the central theme of Ephesians. The epistle to the Ephesians takes us deeper into God’s divine plan for mankind than any of his other epistles. I believe that the general theme to this epistle is the revelation of the spiritual blessings and divine authority that God has given to His Church, referred to in the key verse as “being blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Matthew 1:3).

He is telling them that God has blessed the Church with a great plan and that He is actively working out His divine plan in the life of each believer. Therefore, the emphasis on the first three chapters will be God’s action towards mankind, and the last three chapters will emphasize man’s action towards God in light of this truth. There is a part of history that we can visibly see and there is a part of history that we cannot see, which is the part that God is orchestrating. This divine intervention by God underlies all visible history that we can see with our eyes.

The ultimate outcome will be the coming together of all things in Christ. If this outcome were dependent upon man, then it would fail. However, Paul emphasizes that this outcome will be determined by God, and this outcome by His grace, and not because of man’s good works. Thus comes the resounding, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Matthew 1:3). But we cannot underestimate the role of man in this ultimate outcome, which is seen in chapters 4-6. For the Church has been commissioned to take the Gospel to all nations. If they fail in this role, then multitudes of souls will not be found in heaven.

If God will determine the outcome of history, and He will do this by His grace (Matthew 2:8-10), then this work must be done in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the plan that God has chosen to accomplish His will and purpose for mankind. Therefore, Paul repeatedly emphasizes that all that we are is because of Jesus and all that we do must be done in accordance to our service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thus, the major theme of this epistle is that God has blessed the Church with many spiritual blessings in order to bring about His purpose and plan on earth. Did not the Lord Jesus refer to this role of the Church in bringing God’s will upon the earth in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10). Therefore, the believer will find peace and joy only as he sets his heart and affections on these things above and not on the things of this earth.

Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Matthew 6:11 Word Study on “daily bread” The Greek words “ επιου ́ σιος αρτον ” literally mean “daily bread.” The word “daily” (G1967) is only used twice in the New Testament, the other occurrence being found in the parallel passage of Luke 11:3. It probably comes from the Greek verb ε ́ πειμι (G1966), which means, “to come upon, to approach.” Used in relation to time, this verb means, “to come on, be at hand,” thus as an adverb, “next, following, on the following day.” F. F. Bruce notes that this phrase is used outside the New Testament on a papyrus in the sense of “daily rations,” thus justifying the familiar rendering. [392] Our daily bread is possibly an Old Testament reference to the manna in the Wilderness.

[392] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 69.

Matthew 6:11 Comments (1) Matthew 6:11 is a prayer for our daily needs, and not a prayer of desires to consume it upon the lusts of our flesh (James 4:3). The Christian life is a daily walk. God’s will for our lives is found in the events of today and not in future accomplishments. The emphasis in this verse is that the Christian life is not a project that must be completed, but rather a daily relationship with the Heavenly Father. God’s plan for our lives is to live holy and in fellowship with Him today, knowing that the cares of tomorrow will take care of themselves. We must learn to walk with Him day by day as the disciples did after forsaking all. As long as we serve Him, He will provide for us. This is why the previous verse reads, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) When we yield ourselves to divine service, God will provide.

James 4:3, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

Illustration - I first learned this divine truth when I stepped out of Seminary where I was pursuing a Master’s Degree in Theology. I wanted to make for myself a great career in the ministry. When I took time off to learn how to wait upon the Lord and how to maintain fellowship with Him and how to hear His voice, I resigned myself to listening to His directions for that day, and not worry about tomorrow. When I prayed a year after stepping out of Seminary, saying, “Lord, would you be pleased if I finished Seminary,” his reply was, “I would be pleased if you had faith in Me.” In other words, I was to not worry about the future, but take my life today and learn how to trust Him. In doing so, I began to see how He would divinely order my steps day by day into the place and in the direction that He wanted me to go.

For example, as I began to learn how to put my faith in God, I decided to start my own company doing handiwork around people’s homes. One day, I ran out of cement bags and it was too far to drive into town to purchase more bags before the cement I had poured would have dried, and I would have had to start the work all over. While I was standing there wondering what to do, the owner of the property drove up, asked me how I was doing, and showed me several bags of cement a few feet away in a storage room. What a divine appointment.

There was another time when the Lord gave me a dream and showed me the electrical problem on my work truck, a problem that had plagued me for many days. In this dream, a figure pointed to my fuse box under the dash panel of the truck and pointed to two burned wires. When I awoke, I went out to my work truck and found these two burnt wired exactly where I had seen them in a dream.

Another day, I was installing a plastic wrap around in the bathtub of a rental home. I cut the material wrong, and realized that this mistake would cost me about US$ 80. I did not enough money at the time to purchase new material for this job. I went out into the front lawn of this house, laid down on my back facing heaven and cried, “Lord, help!” Immediately, the Lord gave me an inspired idea. I jumped up, ran into the house, flipped the plastic panels around and somehow made them easily fit into the tub enclosure.

As I met people and gave bids on repairs to their homes, the Lord would place skilled craftsmen in my path when I needed to know how to do a particular job. I would talk to these men and go back and to the job like the craftsman had instructed me.

I had dreams of how to invent tools for particular jobs. Each day became an adventure. I stopped worrying about tomorrow and began to focus on finding the Lord’s presence and divine intervention for that day. I could tell other stories, but the point is that the Lord began to teach me how to follow Him that day. I learned to simply follow His steps.

Eventually, the Lord gave me a “rhema” word, a spoken word, to return to Seminary. He confirmed this word with multiple dreams before I moved back to Texas and finished Seminary. What a testimony of divine intervention I have experienced during that season of my life, as I learned how to cast my daily cares upon the Lord.

Comments (2) - The Scriptures teach us to not be anxious about tomorrow. The Sermon on the Mount emphasizes the need to focus on the events of today and cast the worries of tomorrow into the hands of God (Matthew 6:19-34). We see this truth illustrated when Jesus tells us the Parable of the Rich Fool who stored up his wealth, only to lose his life in vanity (Luke 12:13-21). The epistle of James warns us against saying, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain.” He tells us that we do not know what the future holds for us tomorrow. We are to rather say, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:13-16)

James 4:13-16, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

These are stories of how people put their faith in worldly possessions. Thus, we see that looking to the future for material or social gain without trusting in the Lord becomes a form of covetousness. However, when we focus on today, we are able to place our energies into being productive for the needs at hand, rather than wasting needless energy on issue that never bring fruit in our lives.

I am learning to live each day for the Lord and trust Him to determine my future, for I have placed it in His hands. For those who have learned the “daily secret,” you have found that God has a much greater and better plan for your life than you could have every dreamed. “Lord, give us this day our daily bread.”

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Matthew 6:12 Comments - Our debts and our debtors refer to “faults and those at fault.” The Lord wants us to always remember that although others are at fault with us, we have our own faults. It is so easy to be quick to criticize others for their faults and not be aware of our own faults.

Matthew 6:12 is a good verse to explain that the Catholic tradition of confessing sins to a priest should be directed to God the Father. It is God who has the power to forgive sins (note 1 John 1:9).

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:13 “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever” Comments:

The kingdom - He is called the Lord of Hosts.

The power - He is called Almighty God, or Lord God Almighty.

The glory - He is called the Holy One of Israel.

Scripture Reference - Note:

Psalms 22:28, “For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations.”

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15 Comments Prayer and Fasting - Prayer and forgiveness work together. In Psalms 24:3-4, with sin and unforgiveness in us, God will not hear our prayers.

Psalms 24:3-4, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”

Verses 16-18

Teaching on Fasting In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus teaches on fasting. This passage teaches us how to fast. There are some amazing stories in the Old Testament that reveal to us the power of fasting as we afflict our souls before God. The prophet Joel came to the nation of Israel during a time when the curse of the Law had devastated the land. The first thing that Joel did was to call a fast and a holy assembly (Matthew 1:14) and God promised to restore the land if they would repent and serve Him. The prophet Isaiah explained the true meaning of the fast to a people stricken with sickness and poverty (Isaiah 58:0).

Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

Matthew 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Verses 19-34

Perseverance Amidst Worldliness - After Jesus calls the true children of God out in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) and tells them their work (Matthew 5:13-16), and after He delivers to them the meaning of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:17-48), and after He tells them how to sanctify themselves for divine service through almsgiving, prayer and fasting (Matthew 6:1-18), He now tells them how to perseverance amidst worldliness so that they will be able to find their place of rest with God. He will expound upon this topic again in His third discourse consisting of parables of man’s reactions to Gospel (Matthew 13:1-52). Jesus talks about seeking God first, judging one another, and giving and receiving.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Seeking God First (The Heart) Matthew 6:19-34

2. Judging One Another (The Mind) Matthew 7:1-6

3. Giving and Receiving (The Body) Matthew 7:7-12

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 6". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/matthew-6.html. 2013.
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