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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Matthew 7

Verse 1

7:1 Judge not. These words are often quoted by people who resent being corrected for their wrong doing. Such persons fail to consider that the word has a very wide range of meaning and that they should learn the bearing of it in any particular place before applying it to themselves. Were they asked if they believe the Bible contradicts itself in any way they would say no, yet the same Greek word is used in Joh 7:24 where Jesus says for us to judge. But it may be replied that Jesus says to judge "righteous judgment." That is the very point, and hence our present verse simply means not to judge un-righteously. But if a judgment is according to the truth and facts in a case then it would be righteous judgment and not forbidden by this verse.

Verse 2

7:2 With the first verse explained this one should not be difficult. If a man passes unrighteous judgment upon another he lays himself open to condemnation. In other words, if a man condemns another without evidence, it will indicate that he is himself the guilty one and is trying to divert attention from himself to another.

Verse 3

7:3 The terms mote and beam are used figuratively to illustrate the inconsistency of a hypocrite. Two wrongs do not make one right, neither must a man profess to be "as pure as an angel" before he has the right to condemn sin in others. It should be noted that both these men were afflicted in the same manner (in the eye), only one was less than the other. The illustration pictures a man with a serious obstruction in his eye and wanting to operate on the eye of another who is much less affected. In practice it would be like a man condemning another for getting drunk every Saturday night when he was himself drinking every day.

Verse 4

7:4 This continues the thought of inconsistency just described.

Verse 5

7:5 A hypocrite is one who pretends to be what he knows he is not. This man pretends to have unaffected eyes, yet he knows better if he is able to recognize what is an affection in the other's eye. That is, he knows his own eye is not right if he can understand that a mote renders the other man's eye detective. Verse 6. Dog sometimes means a sodomite (Deu 23:18; Rev 22:15) or other impure man, but it is here associated with literal swine and hence should be understood as meaning the brute creatures. Both animals were classed as impure and unclean under the law and hence are used to illustrate unworthy human beings. The lesson in the verse is that we should not bestow favors upon those who are not worthy. If a man spends money in unrighteous in-dulgencies, we should turn a deaf ear to him when be makes a cry of poverty and destitution.

Verse 7

7:7 The favors of God are offered to us on conditions. Thus the invitation to ask is restricted to the things that are "according to his will" (1Jn 5:14). The promise of obtaining what we seek for is to be in harmony with chapter 6:33, and the same principle would apply to knocking, which is merely a sign that we wish to be admitted into the favor of God.

Verse 8

7:8 This is an assurance of fulfillment of the preceding verse, the key to it being in the words every one. Since God is no respecter of persons (Act 10:34), it follows that all who meet the conditions set forth in the preceding verse will be favored of God without partiality as to who the individual is.

Verse 9

7:9 A humane father would not answer a son's request for bread with a stone.

Verse 10

7:10 Or will he substitute a fish with a serpent in his son's request.

Verse 11

7:11 Being evil is used as a contrast with God. The disciples would admit that they were sinful men and yet were humane in their treatment of their children. Certainly, then, a divine Father will be kind to his children. It is significant that He will give good things to them who ask him, not just anything they might think they needed. Even an earthly humane father might deny a request of his son if the thing asked for should not be the best thing for his welfare.

Verse 12

7:12 Therefore is from OUN and Thayer's over-all definition of it is as follows: "Then, therefore, accordingly, consequently, these things being so," and Robinson and Greenfield define it in virtually the same way. The conclusion is drawn from the facts and truths set forth in verse 7-11. God will not refuse to grant necessary favors to His children, and even sinful man will not refrain from granting like requests to a relative. Using this as an example, we should even not wait to be asked for a needed favor since we would not refuse the thing if requested, but should voluntarily advance the favor, such as we would expect from others under the same circumstances. This is the law and the prophets is equivalent to "on these hang all the law and the prophets" (chapter 22:40). If we love- our neighbor as ourselves we will do to him as we would expect him to do to us. We will not steal his property, or invade his home, or falsify on him, or seek to kill him, etc., because we would not want him to do so unto us.

Verse 13

7:13 A companion passage to this is Luk 13:23-30 where the connection shows the subject is eternal salvation after the judgment day. Enter ye in, therefore, means to enter into eternal life. Jesus first describes the way that leads to destruction. Gate and way are used figuratively, because there is no specific route established for the purpose of taking people to eternal death. It means that the opportunities for entering or starting on this evil way are many and the kind of life that will lead to death of the soul is so easy that it is compared to a wide or roomy one; that is the reason that many go that way. It is the universal practice of man to follow the course of least resistance in this life. Such is the way of sin because there are only a few people who will oppose a man who wishes to follow a life of sin.

Verse 14

7:14 Both Thayer and Robinson give "narrow" as one definition of the original for strait. Narrow is from THLIBO and is defined by Thayer, "A compressed way, 1. e. narrow, straitened, Mat 7:14; figuratively to trouble, afflict, distress." From the definition we understand the road. to eternal life is one in which the traveler will be pressed with hardships and persecutions. It is also narrow in the ordinary sense of that word because the travelers go as individuals as far as responsibility is concerned, and just one man does not nted a wide path; the going is "single file." Find is from HEURISKO and Thayer's first definition is. "To come upon, hit upon, to meet with; to find a thing sought." Not many people are looking for a way of life that will bring them hardships and tribulation, hence Jesus says few there be that find it.

Verse 15

7:15 False prophets comes from PSEUDOPROPHETES which Thayer defines, "One who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies, a false prophet" The same author explains sheep's clothing to mean "the skins of sheep." A wolf having the skin of a sheep around him would be like these evil men who are posing as the prophets of God.

Verse 16

7:16 Know Mem by their fruits. The wolf would soon show his true character by his ravenous attack upon the unsuspecting sheep. A thorn bush or thistle will finally prove itself to be such by bearing thorns instead of fruit.

Verse 17

7-18 These verses are a direct statement of facts upon which the foregoing comparison was based. The statements are absolute and describe conditions that are normal, not those that may only seem to be. However, an evil tree without exception will be unable to bear good fruit If a tree that is or was naturally good appears to bear evil fruit it is because something has been done to it to interfere with its regular function and virtually turned it into an evil tree. We know that such a change is possible in the life of a man, for a good one may fall from his righteous course of life and become evil and henceforth bear evil fruit in his life.

Verse 19

7:19 In the literal field, a farmer will remove an evil tree to make room in his orchard for a good one, and will do away with the bad tree by burning it. The lesson is that if men do not bear good fruit, which means to practice good deeds while in this life, the great Owner of the garden will cast them into fire.

Verse 20

7:20 This verse is the conclusion of the important comparison of good and bad trees which applies to the lives of men in this world.

Verse 21

7:21 Lord is from KURIOS and means, "One who has control of a person, the master." The mere addressing one as a master without doing what he expects of his servant is inconsistent. Such empty professors will not be admitted into the kingdom of heaven, because there will be things that need to be done by its citizens.

Verse 22

7:22 Neither may a servant select his own type of activities according to what suits his preferences and expect to be rewarded for it. If that should be permitted there would be much necessary though less apparently glorious work neglected. The works described in this verse were possible in the days of miracles and Jesus does not deny the claims of these one-sided servants.

Verse 23

7:23 In spite of the ritualistic performances or works of display which these men did, there was something of the practical that was lacking. They did only what suited them and were content to construct a character that did not respect all the sayings of Christ. For this reason Jesus says he never knew you, which means he never recognized or endorsed them as being true servants.

Verse 24

7:24 No doubt the people described in the preceding verse lived a life that made a fair appearance to others because their deeds seemed out of the ordinary. Yet they were not well founded because they were not backed up by a program of practical obedience to the whole law of useful service. A house must not only be pleasing to the eye of an admirer in order to stand, but it must be founded on something solid. Hence Jesus compares the all-around and serviceable man to one who not only put some desirable things into the construction of his building, but who was careful to underlay it with a rock foundation.

Verse 25

7:25 The elements of the weather are used to illustrate the final test that will be put upon every man's life. The trials of this world will have their part to play in the great drama, but the final test will come when the Lord tries all mankind at the bar of the last judgment when Christ sits upon the throne of judgment.

Verse 26

7:26 The man who builds a house on the sand is like one who estimates his needs by present conditions only. In the absence of water and wind, sandy ground would seem about as firm as a rock, or at least enough so that it would appear firm and hard and suitable to hold up a house. Likewise, if no tests were made of a man's work in this life, either now or at the judgment, then one kind of spiritual structure might be as acceptable as another and hence he might as well do as he sees fit about it.

Verse 27

7:27 But the test is sure to come and the house on the sand will fall. Great will be the fall because it will be the loss of a soul.

Verse 28

7:28 The word for astonished is defined by "amazed" in the lexicon, which was caused by the doctrine or teaching of Jesus. People is from mums and that Greek word has been rendered by company 7 times, multi tude 79, number 1, people 82, press 5. It has a wide range of definitions in the lexicon such as, "a crowd; multitude of men who have flocked together in some place, a throng; the common people; a multitude." From chapter 5:1 and 8:1 we cannot conclude that it means all the people of the territory heard him in the mount, yet a considerable number did follow the Lord to that place as those desiring to learn of him.

Verse 29

7:29 Having authority, not as the scribes. The scribes were not inspired men neither were they in any official position. Their business was to copy the law and then quote it to the people for their information; they could only say "it is written." Jesus was the Son of God and could speak independent of all written documents, although he always respected what had been written by Moses and the prophets.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 7". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/matthew-7.html. 1952.