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Matthew 23:1-12 Pharisees

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The Pharisees made rules and regulations for the people to observe.  These rules and traditions were not what tells us to do.

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Matthew 23:1-12

1. “Matthew describes Jesus’ audience here as the ‘crowds’ and ‘disciples.’” (Blomberg, Craig L., The New American Commentary, Volume 22, Matthew. [Nashville: Broadman Press], 340)

2. “Jesus begins by acknowledging that these leaders are duly authorized officials with Judaism.” (Blomberg, 340)

3. “The people were to obey whatever the Pharisees taught from the Word. But the people were not to obey the traditions and the man-made rules of the Pharisees.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 83)

“The Pharisees were careful to say the right words and follow the right ceremonies, but they did not inwardly obey the law. God desired truth in the inwards parts (Psalm 51:6).” (Wiersbe, 83)

So, do not do what they do.

4. “The Pharisees were harder on others than they were on themselves. Jesus came to lighten men’s burdens (Matthew 11:28-30), but legalistic religion always seeks to make burdens heaver.” (Wiersbe, 83)


5. “Jesus now warns against imitating their performance of good works for human honor or reward.” (Blomberg, 341)

“They liked to wear certain religious garments and habits which set them apart from other people and drew attention to their high position. Our Lord is condemning all of this.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 119)

6. “The Pharisees also thought that position was a mark of greatness, so they sought the best seats in the synagogue and at the public dinners.” (Wiersbe, 83)

7. “The respectful greetings (lit., ‘a greeting that reflected homage or acclaim’; cf. Luke 1:28-29) often followed a set formula with the one of lower status saluting the superior.” (The Moody Bible Commentary, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, [Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 2014], 1496)


8. “Jesus forbad His disciples to use the title rabbi because all of them were brothers, and Jesus alone was their Teacher (‘Master). There is a spiritual equality among the Children of God, under the lordship of Jesus Christ.” (Wiersbe, 83) See KJV

9. “Jesus also forbad them to use the title father with reference to spiritual things.” (Wiersbe, 84)

“A ‘father’ is a life-giver. To call a man a ‘father’ in spiritual matters is to put him in the place of God as the one who gives spiritual life.” (McGee, 120)

10. “A ‘master’ is the one in a position of authority. Christ is the One in the position of authority as the head of the church today.” (McGee, 120) See KJV

11. “True greatness is found in serving others, not in forcing others to serve us (John 3:30; 13:12-17).” (Wiersbe, 84)

12. “True greatness is not manufactured; it can only come from God as we obey Him. If we exalt ourselves, God will humble us. But if we humble ourselves, in due time God will exalt us (1 Peter 5:6). (Wiersbe 84)


Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.

Blomberg, Craig L., The New American Commentary, Volume 22, Matthew. Nashville: Broadman Press
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
The Moody Bible Commentary, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 2014
Robertson, A. T., A Harmony of the Gospels. New York, HarperCollins Publishers
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004


Sadducees                                                                                                                                      Woe

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