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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 7:7

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Ask - seek - knock - These three words include the ideas of want, loss, and earnestness.

Ask: turn, beggar at, the door of mercy; thou art destitute of all spiritual good, and it is God alone who can give it to thee; and thou hast no claim but what his mercy has given thee on itself.

Seek: Thou hast lost thy God, thy paradise, thy soul. - Look about thee - leave no stone unturned there is no peace, no final salvation for thee till thou get thy soul restored to the favor and image of God.

Knock: Be in earnest - be importunate: Eternity is at hand! and, if thou die in thy sins, where God is thou shalt never come.

Ask with confidence and humility.

Seek with care and application.

Knock with earnestness and perseverance.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/matthew-7.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it shall be given you.

I. We have in these words, not formal definition of prayer, but an incidental definition, and most complete. To pray is to “ask” of God; the more childlike the asking the better.

II. A recognition of the hindrances which we meet in prayer. We are to ask when God is nigh; mercies are sometimes hid, then seek.

III. A positive injunction. Prayer not optional; it is a duty.

IV. Christ stimulates to obedience by words of encouragement.

1. He calls attention to universal experience-“Every one that asketh, receiveth.” Prayer is not an experiment.

2. Christ points to the conduct of parents towards their children.

3. A gentle reference to our common depravity-“If ye, being evil.” God far above all earthly parents, mere willing to give good gifts. (S. Martin.)

Prayer a duty, even though there be no desire to pray

In certain states of the body men lose all appetite for food. Are they to yield to this want of appetite? If they do yield to it, they are soon starved to death. Sometimes without appetite, it becomes necessary for them to take, day by day, nourishment. Just so with prayer. If I cannot pray as a privilege, I am to pray as a duty.

Prayer not a runaway knock

Watch in prayer to see what cometh. Foolish boys, that knock at a door in wantonness, will not stay till somebody cometh to open to them; but a man that hath business will knock, and knock again, till he gets his answer. (T. Manton.)

Keeping up a suit

Keep up the suit and it will come to a hearing-day ere it be long. (T. Manton.)

Ask and receive

1. Every promise is attached to a duty.

2. That concerning any duty it is not enough that you do it, you must do it scripturally.

3. It does not say when you shall receive.

4. The whole Trinity combine before there can be prayer.

5. This is the language of entire dependence. “Ask.” Man is empty.

6. It is God’s method to try the grace which He intends to crown. “Seek.”

7. Never be afraid of being too earnest. “Knock.”

8. God wishes you to have a clear understanding about the certainty of prayer. (J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Ask: Children speaking to God

I. Ask, whom? Not to angels, saints. God is the only Being who is everywhere present, and therefore the only one to whom we should pray.

II. Ask, when? Any time; some times better than others. Morning, etc.; the time of perplexity, etc.

III. Ask, where? “I will that men pray everywhere.”

IV. Ask, How?

1. Orderly; think about what you are going to ask.

2. Earnestly; not carelessly.

3. Repeatedly: until you receive an answer.

4. In your own style-as children.

5. In faith.

6. In the name of Jesus, the only Mediator, etc. (A. McAuslane, D. D.)

How to find the Lord

A man said to me the other night in the inquiry-room, “Mr. Moody, I wish you would tell me why I can’t find the Lord.” Said I: “I can tell you why you can’t find Him.” “Why is it?” “Why, you haven’t sought for Him with all your heart.” He looked at me, and said he thought he had. “Well,” said I, “I think you haven’t; because you will surely find Him when you seek for Him with all your heart. Now, my friend, I can tell you the day and hour you are going to be converted.” The man looked at me, and I have no doubt thought I was a little wild. Said I: “The Scripture tells me, ‘He that seeketh findeth.’” It don’t take a man long to find the Lord when he makes his mind up to do it.

Life a research

1 Life is a research.

2. Not get some one else to seek for you.

3. The Lord assigns no limit to the research. (A. Coquerel.)

Rogation Days. Ask, and it shall be given you

In May almost always the Rogation Days come. The fitness of this. These days are meant to prepare the people’s hearts for the coming festival of the Ascension; but mainly to be days of intercession “ for the fruits of the earth, which are then tender, that they may not be blasted,” as well as for health and peace at that season of the year when war and pestilence may be expected to begin. These intentions are indeed closely blended, for when our Lord ascended up on high He received gifts for men.

I. We pray for a blessing upon the fruits of the earth. We can scarcely help it unless we are untrue to nature. Man’s heart is on his fields; he has done all his work as far as crops are concerned-now he can only hope, watch, and pray. Now all depends upon what God will be pleased to do. We are not powerless: prayer is left to us. Thirteen centuries ago Rogation Days were first appointed; it was then felt that prayer was a power to secure peace and plenty. Though there is no service for these Days, there is nothing to prevent us from keeping them. Our great authority for them is found in the first and second chapters of Joel. In these days of agricultural depression we have need to remember them. (E. T. Marshall, M. A.)

Prayer, Knock with confidence

When thou standest before His gate, knock loudly and boldly, not as a beggar knocks, but as one who belongs to the house; not as a vagabond, who is afraid of the police, but as a friend and an intimate acquaintance; not as one who is apprehensive of being troublesome, or of coming at an improper time, but of a guest who may rest assured of a hearty welcome. (Dr. F. W. Krummacher.)

The nature and efficacy of prayer

I. The precept.

1. The nature of the duty.

2. A few of our obligations to this holy duty:

3. Some of the motives by which it is enforced:

II. The encouragement which the text affords us.

1. The promise itself.

2. Its Divine fulness.

Two reflections:

1. How happy is the believer.

2. How important to know the medium of acceptable prayer. (J. E. Good.)

Prayer the characteristic action of religion

I. Prayer is religion in action. It is the soul of man engaging in that particular form of activity which presupposes the existence of a great bond between itself and God. It is the noblest kind of human action, in which man realizes the highest capacity of his being. This estimate of prayer not universal amongst even educated people. They regard it as an outlet for feeling, a means of discipline; but less worthy the energies of a thinking man than hard work. But prayer is indeed work. The dignity of labour is proverbial.

1. Is it true that prayer is little else than the half-passive play of sentiment? Let those who have truly prayed give the answer. Jacob wrestled with an unseen Power (Matthew 11:12).

2. Take prayer to pieces; it consists of three different forms of activity.

II. But granted the dignity of prayer even as of labour: what if this labour be misapplied?

1. There is here no question as to the subjective effects of prayer; this is admitted by all.

2. Prayer is not chiefly a petition for something that we want and do not possess. It is intercourse with God, often seeking no end.

3. If prayer is to be persevered in, it must be on the conviction that it is heard by a living Person. We cannot practise trickery upon ourselves with a view to our moral edification. If God exists, if He be a Personal Being, then surely we may reach Him if we will. Where is the barrier that can arrest our thought, as it rises to the all-embracing intelligence of God. And if God be not merely an infinite intelligence, but a moral Being, a mighty heart, so that justice and tenderness are attributes of His, then surely we appeal to Him with some purpose. It is on this ground that God is said to hear prayer in Scripture. That He should do so follows from the reality of His nature as God. He who has planted in our breasts feelings of interest and pity for one another cannot be insensible to our need and pain.

III. But will God answer prayer when it takes the form of a petition for some specific blessing which must be either granted or refused?

1. The first presumed barrier against the efficacy of prayer to which men point is the scientific idea of law reigning throughout the spiritual as well as the material universe. But the laws of nature are not self-sustained forces; God can use His own laws. They have not escaped His control.

2. A second barrier to the efficacy of prayer is sometimes discovered in the truth that all which comes to pass is fore-determined in the predestination of God. Prayer, too, is a foreseen action of man, and is embraced in the eternal purpose of God.

3. The third barrier is the false idea of the Divine dignity which is borrowed from our notions of human royalties. Need not depreciate man’s place in the universe; God’s best creature, and He cares for the lowest.

4. A fourth barrier to the efficacy of prayer is thought to be discernible in an inadequate conception of the interests of human beings as a whole. But Christian prayer is conditioned.

5. The last barrier is really to be discovered in man’s idea of his own self-sufficiency,

6. That prayer is answered is a matter of personal experience. (Canon Liddon.)


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Matthew 7:7". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/matthew-7.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Christ said, "Men ought always to pray and not to faint" (Luke 18:1). This is the Saviour's great promise that prayer will be answered, although not always in precisely the manner expected. God answers prayer: (1) gradually, as in the case of Hawthorne's little Ernst in "The Great Stone Face," (2) literally as in the case of Jonah, (3) by denial of the request, as in the case of Paul's thorn in the flesh, (4) by sending something other than was requested as in the case of our Lord's prayer for the cup to pass but which was answered by his receiving strength to drink it, and (5) after delay as in the case of Jairus' prayer for Christ to heal his daughter. This wonderful verse is easily memorized by aid of the acronym formed by the letters A-S-K.

A-sk, and ye shall receive ... S-eek, and ye shall find ... K-nock, and it shall be opened ...


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/matthew-7.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Ask and it shall be given you,.... This is to be understood of asking of God in prayer, for such things as are wanting; whether of a temporal nature, as food and raiment, which Christ, in the former chapter, had warned against an immoderate and anxious concern for; or of a spiritual nature, as grace, and wisdom to behave in a proper manner, both towards God and men: and such, who ask according to the will of God, in the name of Christ, and under the direction, guidance, and influence of the Spirit, who ask in faith and fear, and with submission to the divine will, shall have what they ask for; not as what they deserve, but as a free gift.

Seek, and ye shall find. This is still meant of prayer, and of seeking God, his face and favour: which such shall find, who seek in a right way, by Christ, and with their whole hearts, diligently:

knock and it shall be opened unto you as beggars do, who use much importunity for relief and assistance. So men should stand and knock at the door of mercy, which will not always be shut against them. Faith in prayer is a key that opens this door, when a poor soul finds grace and mercy to help it in time of need. Our Lord's design is to express the nature, fervour, and constancy of prayer, and to encourage to it.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-7.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

(3) Prayers are a sure refuge in all miseries.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/matthew-7.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Matthew 7:7-11. Prayer.

Enough, one might think, had been said on this subject in Matthew 6:5-15. But the difficulty of the foregoing duties seems to have recalled the subject, and this gives it quite a new turn. “How shall we ever be able to carry out such precepts as these, of tender, holy, yet discriminating love?” might the humble disciple inquire. “Go to God with it,” is our Lord‘s reply; but He expresses this with a fullness which leaves nothing to be desired, urging now not only confidence, but importunity in prayer.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you — Though there seems evidently a climax here, expressive of more and more importunity, yet each of these terms used presents what we desire of God in a different light. We ask for what we wish; we seek for what we miss; we knock for that from which we feel ourselves shut out. Answering to this threefold representation is the triple assurance of success to our believing efforts. “But ah!” might some humble disciple say, “I cannot persuade myself that I have any interest with God.” To meet this, our Lord repeats the triple assurance He had just given, but in such a form as to silence every such complaint.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/matthew-7.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

But ask — Pray for them, as well as for yourselves: in this there can be no such danger.

Seek — Add your own diligent endeavours to your asking: and knock - Persevere importunately in that diligence. Luke 11:9.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/matthew-7.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
    THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. (A mountain plateau not far from Capernaum.) H. CONCERNING PRAYER. Matthew 7:7-11

  1. Ask . . . seek . . . knock. The words here are slightly climacteric. Asking is a simple use of voice, seeking is a motion of the body, and knocking is an effort to open and pass through obstacles.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/matthew-7.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Ask; that is, ask of God. The whole passage (Matthew 7:7-11) offers to the Christian a strong assurance of favorable answers to sincere prayer. According to the usual custom of our Savior in his instructions, the principle is stated in a broad and unqualified manner, on the presumption that the good sense and candor of the hearer would apply the qualifications to which all general statements are liable. The very illustration which the Savior uses, show that these limitations are implied. The great Father of all like human parents, sometimes finds best to deny the requests, of his children, and often to answer them unexpected ways.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/matthew-7.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 7:7.Ask, and it shall be given you It is an exhortation to prayer: and as in this exercise of religion, which ought to be our first concern, we are so careless and sluggish, Christ presses the same thing upon us under three forms of expression. There is no superfluity of language, when he says, Ask, seek, knock: but lest the simple doctrine should be unimpressive, he perseveres in order to rouse us from our inactivity. Such is also the design of the promises that are added, Ye shall find, it shall be given to you, and it shall be opened Nothing is better adapted to excite us to prayer than a full conviction that we shall be heard. Those who doubt can only pray in an indifferent manner; and prayer, unaccompanied by faith, is an idle and unmeaning ceremony. Accordingly, Christ, in order to excite us powerfully to this part of our duty, not only enjoins what we ought to do, but promises that our prayers shall not be fruitless.

This ought to be carefully observed. First, we learn from it, that this rule of prayer is laid down and prescribed to us, that we may be fully convinced, that God will be gracious to us, and will listen to our requests. Again, whenever we engage in prayer, or whenever we feel that our ardor in prayer is not sufficiently strong, we ought to remember the gentle invitation, by which Christ assures us of God’s fatherly kindness. Each of us, trusting to the grace of Christ, will thus attain confidence in prayer, and will venture freely to call upon God

“through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whom (as Paul says)
we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him,”
(
Ephesians 3:11.)

But, as we are too prone to distrust, Christ, in order to correct this fault also, repeats the promise in a variety of words. He uses the metaphor seek, because we think, that those things which our wants and necessities require are far distant from us — and knock, because our carnal senses imagine, that those things which are not immediately at hand are shut up.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/matthew-7.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

SEEKING AND FINDING

‘Seek, and ye shall find.’

Matthew 7:7

Those who, in this world, seek for glory and honour and prosperity and a great name, are doomed to failure and disappointment; they seek, but they do not find. They who hunt after happiness, whether they hunt for it in pleasure, or in business, in gaiety or in retirement, in study or in dissipation, seek, but do not find. But Christ tells us a different tale—that there is something which we shall find, if we seek after it. What is it?

I. The promise applied.—We might apply the promise to a great number of things—comfort under sorrow, cheerfulness and contentment under disappointment, light and guidance in the dark days of doubt and despair, hope and trust and confidence in God when all earthly things begin to fail, peace to the troubled conscience, pardon to the sin-stricken soul, hope in an after life. In all these ways, and in numbers of others, we shall experience the truth of our Saviour’s promise, ‘Seek, and ye shall find.’

II. New Testament examples.—We might interpret these words of Christ to mean something more. We might interpret them by numberless passages which we find scattered over the Bible, where ‘seeking God’ and ‘seeking after God’ occur again and again. If we interpret seeking God and seeking Christ as bearing the same meaning, we shall find, from examples in the New Testament, that our Saviour’s assertion is absolutely true, and that at least whilst He was living upon earth none ever sought Him and found Him not. (Note the cases of the shepherds, Simeon, the Wise Men, the Magdalene, etc.)

III. Saints and martyrs who have found Him.—But not to these alone, but to an unaccountable number of saints and martyrs, and prophets and priests, and kings and wise men—nay more, to an unaccountable number of humble and holy men and women before and since, to children of every age and degree, to the needy and poverty-stricken, to the unfortunate and the miserable, to the sorrowful and to the unhappy, have the words of our Saviour been fulfilled—‘Seek, and ye shall find’—seek Me in all times of joy and of sorrow, in all times of pleasure and of disappointment—seek Me in times of prosperity and of poverty; seek Me in the house of mourning and in the house of feasting, and ye shall find Me—ye shall find Me whom your soul loveth.

IV. Your personal experience.—You have followed Him first of all at a distance, but gradually and gradually you have drawn nearer; you have pressed closer and closer; and when, unperceived by any, you have ventured to touch the hem of your Saviour’s garment, His words to you have cheered you and comforted you—‘Go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.’ And they have been echoed and re-echoed within you till they have been the only words that you have heard, and you have at last received Him into your soul; you have found Him to be your Saviour and your God!

Finding, following’, keeping, struggling,

Is He sure to bless?

‘Angels, Martyrs, Prophets, Virgins,

Answer, Yes.’

The Rev. Edmund Fowle.

Illustration

‘Success in life, as men call success, is, beyond question, the lot of very few among us. Where one succeeds a thousand do not! A thousand will start in life with the same aims and objects, with the same chances and opportunities—and where one succeeds the 999 will fail. As in the old Corinthian games all competitors would run, or wrestle, or fight, but one only would gain and receive the prize. And this not at all because the 999 are wanting in steadiness or industry, or boldness, or judgment, but simply because it is the natural order of things—many run the race, but one obtaineth the prize. And disappointment comes even to those few who do succeed, and therefore success does not bring with it the happiness which I suppose we all look for. Some of you may have read an old novel, in which the author very skilfully portrays not only the disappointment, but the utter failure and unhappiness of the man whom he had made the discoverer of the “Philosopher’s Stone” and the “Elixir vitæ.”’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/matthew-7.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Ver. 7. Ask, and it shall be given you, &c.] Whereas it might be objected, -These are hard lessons, neither know we how to quit ourselves in the discharge of them; our Saviour answers, as Isaiah did before him, "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near," Isaiah 55:6; and as St James adviseth after him, {James 1:5} "If any man want wisdom, let him ask it of God." "Ask," saith he, "and it shall be given you." Run to the great Doctor of the Church, as Agur did to Ithiel and Ucal, Proverbs 30:1, and he will teach you; seek his face and favour, and ye shall surely find it; knock at the beautiful gate of heaven with the hand of faith, and it shall open unto you (as the iron gate did to Peter) of its own accord, Acts 12:10. Elisha’s staff was laid (by his appointment) upon the dead child’s face, but there was neither voice nor hearing. He went therefore himself, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord, 2 Kings 4:31; 2 Kings 4:33. This staff he knew was long enough to reach up to heaven, to knock at those gates, yea, to wrench them open. "Ask, therefore, that your joy may be full." "Hitherto ye have asked me nothing," saith Christ, disliking our dulness to this duty. Quid est cur nihil petis? pete ne privatus de me queraris, said Severus the emperor to his courtiers: What meanest thou to ask nothing of me? Ask, that thou mayest have no cause of complaint against me. And Pope Nicholas V (a great favourer of learning), when he was told of some in Rome that made good verses; "They cannot be good poets," said he, "and I not know them. Why come they not to me, if good, qui poetis etiam malis pateo, who am a friend to poets though not so good?" Christ soliciteth suitors, "and the Father seeketh such to worship him," John 4:23; not for anything he gets by it, but merely for our benefit; as the sun draws up vapours from the earth not for itself, but to moisten and fatten the earth therewith. And although he come not ever at first call, yet be not discouraged with silence or sad answers. He is nearest to such suitors as, with Mary, cannot see him for their tears and griefs; if, with her, they continue to seek him in humility; if they rest not rapping and bouncing at his gates, he will open unto them, for their importunity, Luke 18:5-7. The saints sometimes have present audience, as Eliezer, Genesis 24:15; Daniel; {Daniel 9:23} the disciples, Acts 4:31; and Luther, who came leaping out of his closet with Vicimus, Vicimus We conquer, we conquer, in his mouth. But what if they have not? far be it from them to think that God is asleep or gone a journey, as the prophet jeereth at Baal; or that he wanteth ears, as the image of Jupiter did at Crete. ( Cretae Iovis est imago, auribus carens.) The Creteans have an image of Jupiter without ears. Questionless he that bids us ask, meaneth to give; as when we bid our children say, "I pray you, father, give me such a thing," we do it not but when we mean to give it them. If he defer help let it humble us, as it did David, Psalms 22:2; "I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not," &c. "But thou art holy," &c. Others have prayed and sped: "Our fathers trusted in thee, they cried unto thee and were delivered: but I am a worm and no man, yet will I call upon him" (not only in my sinking, but) from the bottom of the deeps. Let it also quicken us to further fervency, as it did St Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:8, and the Church, Psalms 80:3; Psalms 80:7-19; never giving over the suit (with the importunate widow, Luke 18:5) till we have obtained it. He that prayeth, moveth God, not as an orator moveth hearers, but as a child his father. The end of oratory is to speak persuasively, not always to persuade; but the end of prayer is to prevail and speed; ye which are God’s remembrancers, give him no rest till ye have what ye beg. {a} Ask, seek, knock; use an unwearied importunity; slip not any opportunity, pray without ceasing, pray continually; set aside all for prayer, wait upon it (as the word signifieth), Colossians 4:2; cf. Acts 10:7. {b} But must we never leave praying, may some say, till we have our request granted? there are other things to be done. True, and you must give over the words of a prayer for a season, but never the suit of prayer. A beggar, for example, comes to a rich man’s gate, and cries for an alms, but none there answers him. He being a poor man hath something else to do than to beg; and therefore he sits him down and knits or knocks, or patches, &c., and between the times, begs and works, works and begs. So should we, follow our necessary business, and yet continue our suit for grace. And the rather because beggars hold out to ask, where yet they have no promise it shall be given them; nay, when (many times) they are frowned upon, threatened, punished for begging. And whereas beggars come no nearer the house than the porch or entry, and so know not whether the master of the house be providing for them an alms or a cudgel. All God’s petitioners, that call upon him in truth, are admitted into the parlour, as I may so say, into God’s special presence. "An hypocrite shall not come before him," Job 13:16; "but the upright shall dwell in his presence," Psalms 140:13; "He hideth not his face from such, but when they cry he heareth," Psalms 22:24.

And it shall be given you] It is not said what shall be given, because the gift is above all name, saith Austin. Like as Amos 4:12; "Thus will I do unto thee:" thus? how? Non nominat mala, ut omnia timeant, saith Ribera out of Jerome. No evil is named, that they may fear all.

{a} Isaiah 62:7. It shows instantissimam necessitatem. Aug.

{b} τη προσευχη προσκαρτερειτε, Colossians 4:2; Romans 12:12.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-7.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Matthew 7:7

God is not only a great Giver, but He is sometimes a great Hider of His gifts. The subject to which the text applies pre-eminently, as the context shows, is the matter of the soul's welfare, and the things that accompany salvation. The promise is not, "Seek, health and ye shall find it. Seek fame, seek fortune, and ye shall find them;" but the whole discourse bears on the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness thereof, and the promise of the true and faithful witness is tantamount to this: "Seek God, and ye shall find Him. Seek His friendship, and He will not refuse it. Seek the Holy Spirit, and He will not withhold it."

I. Seek knowledge. To true religion a pre-requisite is a certain measure of enlightenment.

II. More especially, as comprehending the best knowledge, and as the most effectual means at once of reassurance Godward and of all progress in goodness, seek the Saviour. Seek not only to know about Him, but seek confidence in Him; seek to know Him as your own. Come boldly to the throne of grace; come, and you will obtain mercy now, and will find help in all your future times of need.

III. Seek certainty. Give all diligence so as to attain a full assurance of sin forgiven, and of your own acceptance in the Saviour. Dark shadows of apostasy will flit across your path, and your energies will be paralyzed by dreary forebodings. So cry to the Captain of salvation to deliver you from the hand of this enemy, and as for life, as for heaven, watch against his furious onsets or sudden surprises. And if you have any doubt as to the reality of your religion, solve the doubt by becoming definite and decisive now. You know who is the rightful claimant of your services; therefore, take up the cross, deny yourself, and follow Christ.

J. Hamilton, Works, vol. vi., p. 351.


I. In considering these words I would first inquire to whom such exhortations are rightly addressed. Now, it is to be remembered that these words occur in that great discourse of our Lord's which is called the Sermon on the Mount. And for the right understanding of that great embodiment of Christian morality, and of its relations to the whole body of Christian truth, it is, I think, very needful to remember that the Sermon on the Mount is addressed to Christ's disciples, that it presupposes discipleship and entrance into the kingdom, and has not a word to say about the method of entrance.

II. Consider in what region of life these promises are true. They sound at first as if they were dead in the teeth of the facts of life. Is there any region of experience in which to ask is to receive, to seek is to find, and in which every door flies open at our touch? If there be, it is not in the ordinary workaday world that you and I live in, where we all have to put up with a great many bitter disappointments and refused requests, where we have all searched long and sorely for some things which we have not found, and the search has aged and saddened us. But yet it seems that the distinct purpose of our Lord is to assert that the law of His Kingdom is the direct opposite of the law of earthly life, and that the sad discrepancy between desire and possession, between wish and fact, are done away with for His followers. The region in which we receive this great and liberal charter of entire response to our desires is simply and only the spiritual region in which the highest good is.

III. Note on what conditions the promise depends. "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

A. Maclaren, Christian Commonwealth, Nov. 20th, 1884.

References: Matthew 7:7.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 340; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., pp. 29, 71; S. A. Brooke, Christ in Modern Life, p. 146; H. M. Butler, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiv., p. 33.


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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/matthew-7.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Matthew 7:7. Ask, &c.— There is often a latent connection in the discourses of our Lord, which obviates difficulties and answers doubts that may arise from what has been said; as here, when he had taught how they who take upon them to instruct others ought to be qualified, and had cautioned them who were so qualified not to prostitute the precious truths of religion to such as were not in a condition to profit by them;—a doubt might justly arise in their minds, how they should be able to discern who were proper or not proper subjects of admonition; and to answer this, he subjoins what immediately follows: Ask, and it shall be given you. When the case is dubious, and the monitor himself so far purified by grace as to have no beam in his own eye, there will be no danger of enthusiasm, if, after lifting up his heart to the Father of lights, he in simplicity does what he believes tobe the will of God. See Heylin. But, though this be the immediate connection of the words, they may be understood in a more general sense, as referring to all mankind; teaching us, that God always grants our requests, provided we ask in faith, and pray for what is agreeable to his will. See 1 John 5:14 and compare John 9:31. See Calmet.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/matthew-7.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, a precept and a promise; the precept, or duty commanded, is importunity and constancy in prayer, we must ask, seek, and knock; the promise, or mercy indured,, is audience and acceptance with God.

Note, 1. That man, is a poor, indigent, and necessitous creature, full of wants, but unable to supply them.

2. That God is an all-sufficient good, able to supply the wants and to relieve the necessities of his creatures, if they call upon him, and cry unto him.

3. Yet if we do not presently receive what we ask, we must still continue to seek and knock; though prayer be not always answered in our time, yet it shall never fail of an answer in God's time.

4. That natural propensity which we find in our breasts to hear the desires and to supply the wants of our own children, ought to raise in us a confident expectation, that Almighty God will hear our prayers, and supply our wants, when we call upon him: if a father will give when a child asks, much more will God. If ye being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, &c. God loves to be giving and to give good gifts is his delight.

But prayer is the key that opens both his heart and hand: yet not every person nor every prayer shall find acceptance with God: the person praying must be a doer of God's will, and the manner of our prayer must be in faith, and with fervency, and unfeigned perseverance.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/matthew-7.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

7.] The three similitudes are all to be understood of prayer, and form a climax: ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ κρούειν τὸ μετὰ σφοδρὀτητος προσιέναι καὶ μετὰ θερμῆς διανοίας ἐδήλωσε. Chrys. Hom, xxiii. 4, p. 289.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/matthew-7.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 7:7. αἰτεῖτε, ask) Ask for gifts to meet your needs.— ζητεῖτε, seek) sc. the hidden things which you have lost, and return from your error.— κρούετε, knock) sc. ye who are without, that ye may be admitted within. See 2 Corinthians 6:17, fin. Ask, seek, knock, without intermission.(307)


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-7.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Matthew 7:8".


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-7.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Ask; in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.

Seek; continue to ask of God the blessings which you need.

Knock; at the door of his mercy and grace, with sincerity and earnestness, in the way of his appointment, and you shall be admitted to communion with him: in his light you will see light, and of his fulness receive according to all your wants. Men, in order to judge and act rightly with regard to their duty to themselves and their fellow-men, need wisdom and strength from above: they should therefore habitually ask them of God; and those who do this in dependence on Jesus Christ, may expect, for his sake, to receive them.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/matthew-7.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

(2.) Confide in God as a more than earthly father, 7-12.

In coming into the kingdom ye must entertain faith in God’s paternity, (Matthew 7:7-12;) ye must pass through the strait gate of life, (Matthew 7:13-14;) ye must elude false guides, (Matthew 7:15-20;) ye must show something more than mere profession, (Matthew 7:21-23;) for by these my words you stand or fall, (Matthew 7:24-29.)

7. Ask, and it shall be given you — Under the threefold symbol of asking, seeking, and knocking, all the expressions of our desire are included, rising in the force of climax. Our bounteous heavenly Father has a corresponding response for each. For the asking he has gifts; for the seeking, discovery, for the knocking, admissions.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/matthew-7.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

A Ask, and it will be given to you,

B Seek, and you will find,

C Knock, and it will be opened to you.

As we have seen these words connect back to their dealings with ‘what is holy’ (Matthew 7:6). While His disciples are not to degrade what is holy by offering it to those not ready to receive it, they are to make the greatest of efforts to obtain it for themselves. The tense of the verbs indicates persistence. They are to ‘Ask and go on asking, seek and go on seeking, knock and go on knocking.’ And in response they are to know that what they ask for will be given to them, that what they seek they will find, and that as they knock on their Father’s door it will be opened to them. In other words they are to have an absolute assurance that He will give them what is holy, that is, will give them all that Jesus has been speaking about.

But the question must then be asked as to why we are given this threefold description. Certainly one reason is for emphasis and in order to indicate what should be the urgency of their requests. But we may probably also see it in terms of how a son comes to his father. When he has a need a son comes to his father and asks, and because his needs are continual it is a continual process day by day. He asks continually because of his confidence in his father’s love and because he is dependent on his father. And if he is then aware at some stage of his father’s absence he is not satisfied with just waiting for him to seek him out, but he himself seeks out his father until he finds him, for he loves his father and he cannot bear to go on too long without seeing him. Indeed he is not content until he finds him. And if he discovers that he is behind a door that he cannot open he knocks on that door until the door is opened to him. For he cannot be satisfied until he is actually with his father, and he knows that his father will be pleased to see him, because he knows that he loves him. Thus these words place great emphasis on God as their heavenly Father, One to Whom they may come as confidently and persistently as a child, something which Jesus has been building up to during the Sermon. And because they are seeking Him as their heavenly Father, it includes the persistence with which they will continue to seek both Him and His Kingly Rule, for they are personally involved in both. So Jesus says that like a child looking for his father they are to allow nothing to prevent them from coming into His presence, because, like the child looking for his father, they know how welcome they will be. Note how this indicates that such prayer is not to be just a matter of asking. It is also to be a matter of wanting to be with their Father.

We should note that the thought here is that they can, as it were, enter Heaven itself. Asking might be accomplished by a call from afar, but seeking, and especially knocking, indicate making an approach right into His presence. (Compare for the idea Luke 13:25; Revelation 3:20 in both of which the knocking is with the purpose of immediate entry). They are taking to heart the words of Isaiah 57:15, ‘For thus says the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy, “I dwell in the high and holy place with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”.’ ‘So’, says Jesus, ‘He is waiting for you. Go and ask, go and seek Him, go and knock until He responds, and go on doing it again and again.’

And as Jesus has previously given a pattern of prayer they are not left in any doubt as to what they are to ask for and what it is that they are to seek. They are to ask for and seek the hallowing of His Name, the coming of His Kingly Rule and the bringing about of His will on earth (Matthew 6:9-10; Matthew 6:33). These are the ‘good things’ that they are to ‘seek first before anything else on earth’ (Matthew 6:33), and in Luke we find this related to the Holy Spiritas at present available to the disciples(Luke 11:13), something which Matthew also assumes on the basis of Matthew 3:11. In other words they are to seek the successful establishment through themselves of the Messianic age by means of the Holy Spirit with Whom Jesus has drenched them (Matthew 3:11). And this is something which goes along with His giving to them the gift of His Kingly Rule present on earth as a gift for those who come to Him, along with the gift of His inworked righteousness as promised by Isaiah (for in Matthew we are at this stage in the middle of the Isaiah quotations, see introduction). And that is why they are greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11). And along with these greater gifts we may also see the gifts promised in the beatitudes, and the ‘rewards’ and ‘recompense’ which are promised throughout the Sermon. God is no man’s debtor. All God’s true riches are theirs (Ephesians 2:6) if only they will pray and seek His face continually and walk as in His presence. These are the ‘good things’ that He will give them.

The idea of knocking as indicating prayer is also found in Rabbinic teaching, but not in the same context as the thought of a son coming to his heavenly Father. It is, however, there also an indication of an awareness that God does wish us to be insistent in the right way. Thus in the Talmud we read of Mordecai as ‘knocking at the gates of mercy’, indicating his sense of urgency and his confidence that God will hear him.

We can compare here also Luke 11:5-13. There the lesson is that they were to knock in order to receive the bread of the age to come, the Holy Spirit. The disciples are therefore left in no doubt as to what the source of their strength must be. But here the knocking is even more intimate, for it is knocking at the Father’s easily opened door.

We should note here that the reason that we have to pray is not in order to persuade God to do what He is unwilling to do, but so that we might rather have a part in it, and so that we might come to know Him better as we work together with Him. It is so that we might have the privilege of having a share in the fulfilment of His eternal purposes, so that in the ages to come great glory might be brought to His Name because of what He has accomplished through His people. God intends to do it with or without us, but He also intends to do it through the loving and earnest participation of those who love Him. That has always been His way. That is the story of the Scriptures. He uses earthen vessels through the greatness of His power so that the glory might be His (2 Corinthians 4:7). Ours is the privilege to share in it with Him, and if we refuse to have our part in it, ours alone will be the loss.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/matthew-7.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 7:7. The thoughts of judgment and unworthiness (Matthew 7:1-6), might discourage; encouragement is given by showing God’s willingness to give. The objection to connecting this verse with chap. Matthew 5:34, is that it must then refer to temporal things. At the same time it shows that the trust there spoken of is a prayerful trust

Ask, and it shall be given to you etc. ‘Ask,’ ‘seek,’ ‘knock,’ refer to prayer, forming a climax. The first implies simple petition, the second earnest desire, the third perseverance. ‘To ask, indicates the want of an object, which can only be obtained by free gift; to seek, that it has been lost; to knocks that it has been shut up hence this prayer, which is both the work of life and the evidence of life.’ Others apply ‘ask’ to prayer, ‘seek’ to our endeavors, ‘knock’ to our investigation of the Scripture; the former explanation is simpler.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/matthew-7.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 7:7. αἰτεῖτε, ζητεῖτε, κρούετε, threefold exhortation with a view to impressiveness; first literally, then twice in figurative language: seek as for an object lost, knock as at a barred door, appropriate after the parable of the neighbour in bed (Luke 11:5-8). The promise of answer is stated in corresponding terms.— δοθήσεται, εὑρήσετε, ἀνοιγήσεται.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/matthew-7.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

having preached these great and wonderful truths, after having commanded his apostles to keep themselves free from the vices of mankind, and make themselves like not to angels or archangels only, but to the Lord of all things; and not only observe justice themselves, but likewise to labour for the correction of others, lest they should be disheartened at these almost insurmountable difficulties: our Redeemer subjoins, Ask, and you shall receive, &c. When we offer our petitions to the Almighty, we must imitate the example of Solomon, who immediately obtained what he asked of the Lord, because he asked what he ought. Two things, therefore, are necessary to every prayer, that it be offered up with perseverance and fervour, and that it contain a lawful prayer. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. xxiv.) --- The reasons why so many do not obtain the effects of their prayers, are, --- 1st. Because they ask for what is evil; and he that makes such a request, offers the Almighty an intolerable injury by wishing to make him, as it were, the author of evil: 2nd. Although what they ask be not evil, they seek it for an evil end. (St. James iv.): 3rd. Because they who pray, are themselves wicked; (St. John ix.) for God doth not hear sinners: 4th. Because they ask with no faith, or with faith weak and wavering: (St. James i.) 5th. Because although what we ask be good in itself, yet the Almighty refuses it, in order to grant us a greater good: 6th. Because God wishes us to persevere, as he declares in the parable of the friend asking bread, Luke, ch. ii.; and that we may esteem his gifts the more: 7th. We do not always receive what we beg, because, according to St. Augustine, (lib. ii, de Serm. Dom. et epis. 34, ad Paulinum) God often does not grant us what we petition for, that he may grant us something more useful and profitable. (Maldonatus)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/matthew-7.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Ask. Greek. aileo. App-134.

it shall be opened. This is never done in the East to this day. The one who knocks is always first questioned. L Tr. WH m. read "it is opened"


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/matthew-7.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Though there seems evidently a climax here, expressive of more and more importunity, yet each of these terms used presents what we desire of God in a different light. We ask for what we wish; we seek for what we miss; we knock for that from which we feel ourselves shut out. Answering to this threefold representation is the triple assurance of success to our believing efforts. 'But ah!' might some humble disciple say, 'I cannot persuade myself that I have any interest with God'. To meet this, our Lord repeats the triple assurance he had just given, but in such a form as to silence every such complaint.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-7.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) Ask, and it shall be given.—The transition is again abrupt, and suggests the idea that some links are missing. The latent sequence of thought would seem to be this, “If the work of reforming others and ourselves,” men might say, “is so difficult, how shall we dare to enter on it? Where shall we find the courage and the wisdom which we need?” And the answer is, In prayer for those gifts.

Here, once more, the words are absolute and unqualified, and yet are clearly limited by implied conditions. It is assumed (1) that we ask for good gifts—for “bread” and not for a “stone,” for a “fish” and not for a “serpent;” and (2) that we ask, as Christ has taught us, in His name and according to His spirit. Otherwise we may ask and receive not, because we ask amiss.

The three words imply distinct degrees of intensity. There is the “asking” in the spoken words of prayer, the “seeking” in the efforts and labours which are acted prayers, the “knocking” at the gate with the urgent importunity which claims admission into our Father’s house.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/matthew-7.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
and it
11; 21:22; 1 Kings 3:5; Psalms 10:17; 50:15; 86:5; 145:18,19; Isaiah 55:6,7; Jeremiah 29:12,13; 33:3; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9,10,13; 18:1; John 4:10; John 14:13,14; 15:7,16; 16:23,24; James 1:5,6; 5:15; 1 John 3:22; 5:14,15; Revelation 3:17,18
seek
6:33; Psalms 10:4; 27:8; 69:32; 70:4; 105:3,4; 119:12; Proverbs 8:17; Song of Solomon 3:2; Amos 5:4; Romans 2:7; 3:11; Hebrews 11:6
knock
Luke 13:25

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/matthew-7.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

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" (1 John 5:14). The promise of obtaining what we seek for is to be in harmony with chapter6:33 , and the same principle would apply to knocking, which is merely a sign that we wish to be admitted into the favor of God.


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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 7:7". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-7.html. 1952.

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